447) Stingray Sam (2009) Dir: Cory McAbee Not Yet Released Date Seen: December 13, 2009 Rating: 4.25/5
There's something magically deranged about the collage logic undergirding Cory McAbee's two feature films. Stingray Sam, his most recent feature and his best so far, is a scifi western musical featuring Gilliam-esque slideshow montages by John Borruso and wonderful experimental music by McAbee's band, The Billy Nayer Show. It's sixty minutes of serialized melodrama centered around McAbee's preoccupation with space as an isolating place that fosters "certain tastes," as one song lyric puts it. In that way, McAbee translate the little hints of deviant behavior his characters exhibit as new and exciting possibilities, just as his film plays around with its generic junkyard bits and pieces. Cowboy buddies could be cowboy lovers or even develop a paternal bond with a little girl they're rescuing from captivity or even become pregnant with a clone or even a stingray, though the latter option is only partially realized.
That's because consummation of that desire, even beyond hints of that peculiar passion, is not McAbee's thing. It would detract from his films' ceaseless love of boundless play, both thematically and aesthetically. Besides, people gotta do what they gotta do in Stingray Sam, making any extraneous interactions beguiling and enticing but never a viable option. Stingray Sam, played by McAbee, says it best: "Well, 'cause I'm a lounge singer and a lounge singer's gotta sing. He's gotta be there every night to make sure folks get sung to. I know that may not mean a lot to some people but it means a lot ta me and it means a lot to a lotta people that come to see a lounge singer, and that's me!"