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IndieDVD presents
Drawing Flies (2002)

"In Vancouver there is a celebration that takes place the last Wednesday of every month. Some compare it to Mardi Gras. It's called 'Welfare Wednesday.'"
- Donner (Jason Lee)

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer   
Published: April 03, 2002

Stars: Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Renee Humphrey, Carmen Lee
Other Stars: Martin Brooks, Scott Mosier, Carmen Llywellyn
Director: Matt Gissing, Macolm Ingram

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some foul language)
Run Time: 00h:59m:45s
Release Date: February 26, 2002
UPC: 802695000798
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- C-DD+ B-

DVD Review

Drawing Flies was a movie that Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier produced in 1996 but, for one reason or another, was tucked away and never saw a theatrical release. It also hadn't seen a home video release until this DVD edition. It proves that for the most part, it's exceedingly difficult to write Kevin Smith-type dialogue and actually make it work. The film has its moments, but they are few and far between in this rambling film.Jason Lee stars as Donner, a stoner who glides through life on welfare payments. When the government decides to stop paying, Donner becomes depressed and sullen until he has a vision. He then drags his friends with him into the Canadian forests, looking for something that he is hiding from the rest of the party. Is there something out there, or is Donner just crazy?Jason Lee is easily the best part of Drawing Flies. He comes off as believable, which is more than can be said for the rest of the cast, who range from slightly forced to "their acting style annoys me to no end." Lee takes the overwrought dialogue (especially in the opening monologue) and makes it seem like a real person would say such things when not trying to make a speech before a large audience. He also does a good job of not going over the top with his performance, so that the audience questions until the end just how sane Donner is. Drawing Flies also features a lot of other View Askew faces, most notably Jason Mewes, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, and Kevin Smith. Mewes is actually one of the main characters, and this proves that the "Jay" character is the only one Mewes can play. Joey Lauren Adams is funny as a ditz, Kevin Smith is Silent Bob once again, and Scott Mosier plays a man in a group of grown men who wear diapers and live in the forest. And this brings me to another problem. For some reason the writers felt the need to put in inexplicably weird scenes that have nothing to do with the rest of the film. The diaper-wearing men is one such example, and there is also another scene where a male and female go off and the lady puts makeup on the guy. I don't know why these scenes were included, since they just drag down the film. I also have to wonder why these scenes were included in the regular cut instead of scenes only included in the director's cut that actually move the plot along and give the characters the impetus to walk into the forest. I think it's indicative of the movie at large that the directors decide to cut out scenes that give the characters reasons for their choices in favor of scenes that are odd and useless.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Okay, Drawing Flies is a small 16mm film shot on the cheap, and that explains why it looks the way it does, but no matter what the reasons are, it looks bad. The image is really contrasty and grainy, without a lot of detail, and there are marks all over the print. At times it's hard to make out which character is which, especially during the dark party sequences.

Image Transfer Grade: D


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio isn't quite as bad as the video, but it's still of very low quality. Hiss abounds, and sometimes dialogue can be mixed so oddly that it's almost jarring.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
18 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1) Directors Malcolm Ingram and Matt Gissing 2) Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Renee Humphrey, Carmen Llywellyn
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Introduction by Scott Mosier and Kevin SmithDirector's cut option
  2. Director's cutDirector's commentary on deleted scenes
  3. Introduction by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier
  4. Title suggestions
Extras Review: For an unreleased film, Drawing Flies has quite a lot of extras. There is a commentary by the directors which is too dry by half, and then another commentary with various members of the cast and crew which has no editing and this everyone is talking at once and you can't make out what anyone is saying. Normally I like the Kevin Smith roundtable commentaries, but usually I can hear people in an orderly fashion. There are deleted and extended scenes mixed in with outtakes, which are mostly long takes of the actors not saying much. There is an introduction by Scott Mosier and Kevin Smith that is perhaps more rambling than the movie, and not worth watching. Finally there is the director's cut option. There is an interesting facet of this feature whereby if you try to access the director's cut right after watching the movie, instead of seeing the longer cut, you'll be sent to footage of Kevin Smith, who then holds an impromptu question and answer session with the DVD viewers. It is funnier than anything else on the disc, including the movie. If you access the director's cut without having watched the regular cut first, you will see a chunk of scenes added in to the beginning section that shows the gang spending the last of their money on pot and kegs for a party. The kegs are stolen, leaving everyone broke, which is why they all go into the forest. I don't know why this was cut from the regular cut, anyway.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Some people might consider it a lost indie gem, but I think it's just lost. Drawing Flies has Jason Lee going for it, and that's about it. Skip it and go see a film in the New Jersey Trilogy.


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