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SXSW Film Review


Director & Writer: Aaron Burns

Sad, fat, black, latino, nerd. It doesn’t get any worse than that. Cast: Austin Marshall, Devyn Ray, Tiger Sheu, Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey (World Premiere)

WHO'S IT FOR?: I would only recommend blacktino to people who need to learn how not to make a film. If there was a way for me to show this to Aaron Burns four years ago, he'd be my first victim.


Writer/director/editor/future-movie-director-deity Aaron Burns overindulges on his technical pride and makes blacktino morbidly bloated in the process. Whole subplots serve little purpose to whatever the main plot could possibly be (the story goes from Point A to Point Hat to Point Water Faucet). The film’s attention span is minimal, spurring onto extended sequences/tangents (a party scene, a store robbery, a day-trip to Austin), that make blacktino feel as long as Children of Paradise, which only serve to prove that Burns should stay in the editing room, and nowhere else.

Not only does blacktino need a cut, it also needs a conscience. Burns throws into his script a whole slew of flimsy characters, and defines them with god-awful stereotypes. Burns refuses to make his characters fresh, (even the title character reeks of Napoleon Dynamite, with his inflections, sitting in the back seat of the bus and all), and he even more horrifically refuses to reverse their demeaning aspects. Burns prefers to milk up the stale comedic worth of a stereotype than to provide any other perspective as to how they could be perceived. He reinforces stereotypes and greatly mistakes his “tactics” for edgy humor. These are walking caricatures that a non-racist society is supposed to have nightmares about, and there’s sadly no other way around it.

Burns has no love for the audience’s patience, or his characters. He only has love for himself, as on top of all of the terrible lulls of pacing and extended painfully unfunny moments, he has the absolute arrogant audacity to throw himself some backpats. In the story, after dealing with various problems in acceptance (but remember, kids, drinking alcohol makes you look cool), Burns’ title character decides to write a play from his heart. What is it called? “Blacktino.” What do characters say about it? “You have to be careful with this subject matter, you’re going to piss a lot of people off.” “I loved … every single word of it.”

Perhaps if the actual product of blacktino were not so poorly acted, carelessly written, hopelessly directionless and extremely unenjoyable, a couple of winks to the audience might be accepted. But here, Burns stinks up all corners of his film with rampant undeserved ego, raising the general factor of being unbearable to infuriating heights.

blacktino is an ugly, ugly movie – on the inside and out. It refuses to be fresh, it refuses to be shorter, it refuses to modest, and worst of all, it refuses to love. It provides non-reversed despicable caricatures colored by stereotypes, as paraded proudly and loudly by an incompetent self-loving storyteller. blacktino inspires nothing but hatred.


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