Movie Review: “Motivational Growth” Is Beyond Belief

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Review by James McDonald

Ian Folivor, a depressed and reclusive 30-something, finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt.

Sometimes, you watch a movie and afterwards, you are left speechless. Literally. Depending on the movie itself, that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. In the case of “Motivational Growth”, I am leaning towards WTF? This movie is Lucy in the sky with diamonds but without the memorable lyrics and harmonious melody. It’s a script that was obviously penned while the writers were dropping acid and at that particular moment in time, they obviously deemed it a masterpiece and continued ingesting the drug for the duration of time it took to make the movie in order to keep their kaleidoscopic vision alive.

The entire movie takes place in a grungy, dilapidated apartment which is owned by Ian (Adrian DiGiovanni), a scruffy, disheveled man who has not been outside of his sanctuary in over a year and a half. When his old, decrepit 1970s TV, whom he has named Kent, finally expires, he decides that he can’t go on with his life as his TV was the only thing worth living for and tries to commit suicide in his bathroom. Instead, he accidentally falls, hits his head and knocks himself unconscious. When he comes to, he discovers a large mold growth in the corner that begins talking to him.

Naturally, he thinks he is going insane but the mold (voiced by the great Jeffrey Combs), is able to help clean him up and get back into the human race again, even so far as getting to know his beautiful but slightly kooky neighbor Leah (Danielle Doetsch). But alas, the nefarious mold is apparently not what it appears to be and it’s only a matter of time before Ian begins to doubt it and his world comes crumbling down. I can’t believe I just wrote that about a movie plot. I can’t believe that this film actually got made. With so many filmmakers out there struggling to get high quality movies produced, I just cannot fathom that a movie of this magnitude actually exists.

I am all for weird, alternative and divergent ideas, God knows, David Lynch and Alex Cox have made careers generating eccentric movies but for crying out loud, a feature-length movie about a talking accumulation of mold? I am still scratching my head in sheer amazement but I do have to give credit to the film’s human star, Adrian DiGiovanni. He manages to portray a man suffering from agoraphobia with great aplomb and you actually feel sympathetic for him during the moments when he thinks he’s losing his mind. And indeed, we are in the same boat along with him because by the end of the movie, we are none the wiser.

I also have to give kudos to Bliss Holloway, the film’s cinematographer. He elevates the movie from what could have been the obligatory hand-held/shaky cam method employed by so many of today’s horror movies and opts instead for smooth, wide-angle tracking shots that are usually incorporated into bigger budget movies. These two plaudits aside however, I would only recommend this movie if you are completely bored or if you feel like dropping some acid, maybe then, it might be perceived as the best movie ever made.

Available on VOD September 30th and on Blu-ray/DVD October 7th

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James McDonald
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