The Catechism Cataclysm (2011, Todd Rohal)

Father William (Steve Little, a writer on Camp Lazlo and Flapjack), introduced using his bible as a mousepad, calls up his old buddy Robbie for a canoeing trip. It turns out Robbie isn’t even his old buddy – he’s William’s sister’s ex-boyfriend whom William has long idolized. Robbie doesn’t even remember William, and just barely remembers the sister. And William is a terrible canoer and a terrible priest.

A Sundancey character drama could’ve been made from this material, but Rohal is more interested in being unpredictable. He has the couple meet two Japanese girls calling themselves Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, who carry a musical device that makes Robbie’s head explode. Robbie briefly comes back to life with a huge rock for a head, the silent “Jim” riding with the Japanese girls confesses his crimes (offscreen) to William, and it closes with a pleasant folk song about how “God will fuck you up.”

I can’t say all this wasn’t amusing, but I’m not sure what it all leads to – a combination of the strained friendship vacation in Old Joy, the deluded social disfunction of Lars and the Real Girl and the straight-up indie wackiness of Little Dizzle, without having enough of either – using the recent trend of movies with elliptical endings, but with an unclear motive. Maybe I give it too much credit, and it was really just Rohal and Little making each other laugh, and assuming (correctly) that we’d sometimes laugh along.

I liked the death-metal theme, and the closing credits were pretty awesome. Twitch reveals that the ending has “a major homage to a film that almost nobody has seen,” Funky Forest: The First Contact. Rohal’s earlier The Guatamalan Handshake got better reviews, and his next one features rival scoutmasters Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville.