Simon Geist is the most dangerous man in Los Angeles. Fueled by the Underground Agenda, Simon sets up interviews with musicians, models, actors and comedians for his magazine, that doesn't actually exist, only to berate and terrorize those who foolishly agree to meet with him. A chance meeting with one of his victims lands Simon opportunities and causes him to grow in popularity. Will he stay true to his convictions or will he become part of the system he hates and become the next big thing?
After Ronny's review of Louis CK's film "Tomorrow Night" and the following discussions, I found myself having a renewed interest in low-budget and independent comedies from the '90s. And by happenstance, we randomly received an email from the distribution company Vanguard Cinema in regards to Dan Zukovic's "The Last Big Thing". A movie I never heard about until opening that email and after watching the trailer, I immediately wanted to give it a shot due to how unusual it looked in the trailer and carrying quotes promoting originality. Yes, I am still a sucker for well put together trailers and even pull quotes. I'm sorry for being gullible.
Simon Geist, a man seemingly on the edge, drives around Los Angeles terrorizing stand-up comedians, models, actors and musicians under the guise of writing an article about them for his non-existent magazine. His never ending diatribe of attacking pop culture attracts the attention of would-be writer Darla who does everything she can to help Simon in pursuit of fulfilling his Underground Agenda. However, things begin to change as Simon's act begins to attract attention of those he is supposedly rallying against.
As a cynical person who lives for the pursuit of almost all forms of media from the independent scene, I thought there was going to be an instant connection with the material for "The Last Big Thing". And admittedly, the movie got a few laughs out of me in the beginning and the movie does have a very angry and cynical view point of contemporary culture. The movie is actually written well enough that a lot of content and Simon's views of society is still applicable 18 years later.
Actually, the movie is written well enough that it isn't merely criticizing media and pop culture, but also satirizes those who are like Simon. Those who like to sit around and criticize people and society as if some how they have a better understanding of the world around them -- punks, hippies, hipsters, etc. Whatever label you prefer to use for scenesters. In some instances, Simon is even willing to disrupt the system by sending an enraged alcoholic young woman into a random office building, promising the woman she'll be the next "big thing" if she can impress a particular talent agent. For the most part though, Simon spends his time shouting and bitching about everything. You know, exactly like the people the movie is mocking.
For awhile it is amusing and the movie can be absurdly entertaining as it is rather over-the-top in its portrayal of just about everything. The problem with the movie is that it does wear thin after awhile and begins to grate on your nerves. As a cynical person, I tend to love cynical based humor, but there needs to be more than that. "The Last Big Thing" does allow for some breathing room when it does little more than wallow in its own absurdity but in general, the movie tends to just beat you over the head with its bitter, angry point of view of the entertainment business. It's like listening to some smug prick talk about how original they are while everyone else is too stupid and incapable of understanding the world like they do for an hour and a half. Sure, the movie is making fun of those who are like that but it doesn't change the fact you're still having to listen to it in the form of a movie.
I can only assume that's why "The Last Big Thing" has only managed to maintain a modest cult following for nearly two decades. Sure, I can appreciate the wild and absurd atmosphere of the movie where Simon and his followers chant, "Kaw! Kaw! Kaw!" at James Lorinz as the stand-up comedian. But because the movie spends all 98 minutes sneering at both pop culture and those who criticize it, it loses its charm by the half way point. "The Last Big Thing" is noteworthy for being an little more than unusual for a mid '90s comedy and it's not unwatchable, but it does become tiresome half way through. If you're looking for something offbeat though, I'd say just watch "Tomorrow Night" instead. Or better yet, "Reflections of Evil".