Crispin Glover presents “It is Fine! Everything is Fine!” Live- Review
Crispin Glover presents “It is Fine! Everything is Fine!” live in Seattle
Full Results and Review
When I first heard the show announced, I almost did a back flip in joy. Crispin Glover, one of my favorite actors of all time live and in person in my town? A chance for a Q and A session with the legendary enigmatic actor himself? You better believe I was quick to jump on those tickets right away. This writer is glad he did too, as the show sold out rather quickly, leaving many outside hoping for cancellations, no shows and scalpers.
Crispin was in town over two nights late last year for the showing of two of his films, “What is it?” and “It is fine!, Everything is Fine!” After reading a brief synopsis of each film, I quickly decided that the latter film was the right choice. “What is it?” just seemed a bit far out there for this guy and sounded more like a bad acid trip than an actual film. This is why I chose to see “Everything is Fine!”, described as an “autobiographical, psycho-sexual, fantastical retelling of (writer and star) Steven C. Stewart’s point of view of life”, as it seemed like more of a straightforward film and seemed also like the more intriguing of the two.
With that said, this writer arrived just in time for the show, finding seating hard to come by at this point, and ended up taking a seat near the back of the theater. Still, given the size of the theater, there wasn’t really a bad seat to be found in the house. The lights dimmed and the show began with a single spotlight on the stage which would change colors with each story. Crispin arrived with no introduction on the stage smartly dressed in a nice suit and tie and began the slide show of several of his books that he has written. He introduced each and read along to several of the slides. As he did so, you could tell he was getting very into it, visibly showing a variety of emotions that changed at the drop of a hat, from laughing to crying to yelling, from jovial to morose. It reminded me of the wide variety of some of his eclectic characters that he has played on screen over the years, and seemed all over the map. On one occasion, he even recited one book completely in German! Some of the stories themselves seemed quite odd, such as one called “Egg Farm”, which went like this:
I am at an egg farm
(next slide) egg farm
(next slide-now yelling) EGG FARM!
Next slide) Yet somehow it feels like home
(Next slide) Is It home?……………
(Next slide-yelling again) NO! You’re at an egg farm
That was Egg Farm, thank you (blank stares from many)
Try as I may to grasp the exact concept of much of this particular form of art that Crispin presented, I found it a difficult task. Still, it in itself was a very unique experience, almost vaudevillian in its presentation. After readings from several of his books accompanied by slides, Crispin briefly introduced the film and left the stage as the lights dimmed for the movie.
“Everything is Fine!” turned out to be a truly unique, one of a kind film. The story revolves around a man in a wheelchair, (writer and star Steven C. Stewart) suffering from Cerebral Palsy. The movie begins with the man sprawled out on a cold hospital floor after suffering a terrible fall from his chair. Once rescued and returned to his room, he stares off into the distance and we are launched into a flashback from years before. The majority of the film from this point is set in the 60s and 70s. The film then follows him and the many loves of his life, in particular, beautiful young women with long hair who the man is revealed to have an unhealthy fetish for. It seemed odd to me that all of the women could understand his unintelligible words and also readily jumped into bed with him, quite quickly. This happens with several of the women. There are several instances of rejection and heartbreak, and at first you really feel for the character…that is until we discover that he is a murderer, killing the women via strangulation whether before, after, or during lovemaking. There were many questions that arose throughout the duration and some odd inconsistencies, but all was soon to be answered and explained by the man himself after the film.
Once the film was over, I must admit that I readily and wholeheartedly applauded it. In fact, the entire room gave a standing ovation. It was a film that really made you feel and a true cinematic achievement. The subject matter itself is something that has never been touched before due to many of the taboos involved and it seemed like a very brave project to undertake. To agree to take on such a dark and different project shows some major guts on the part of Glover. The movie is very dark in subject matter and there are many scenes of violence (such as an extreme scene of Stewart rolling over a woman’s neck in his wheelchair), and believe it or not, there is even a scene of full on hardcore sex thrown in between our lead and one of the women!
Soon after the ending credits rolled, Glover returned to the floor in front of the stage to casually discuss the film with the audience. This part was the definitive highlight for me and surprisingly opened my eyes up to many things. Crispin spoke clearly and with authority and elegance, like a college professor at times and answered many questions about the film. He shared such information as to his DIY ethics (he manages his company, the tours and films himself as well as emails and calls to his company) and hands on approach. He even stated that he doesn’t want the film mass produced because he would rather show it in person to provide the behind the scenes explanations and context. He shared how he only took on Charlie’s Angels to make the money to finance this film, his dream project, one he had been wanting to do for years after hearing Stewart’s story. In a moment of genius, he shared how he cast Stewart himself, a real life sufferer of Cerebral Palsy, for authenticity and how it wouldn’t be authentic to have just some random actor playing the role. Sadly, Stewart died right after filming completed, so it almost seemed like Glover granting him his last dying wish. Glover spoke with great affection for Glover and what an honor it was to bring his tale to life. The final conversation he relayed between the two was heartbreaking to hear, Glover stating that Stewart suffered from a multitude of medical issues, but seems to have literally held on until filming was completed, even asking if he was needed for any more scenes before passing on. Stewart also apparently fell in love with one of his co-stars in the film and left all of his earnings to her in his will. The story is truly a remarkable one and fascinating, itself sounding like it deserves a film all on its own. The one thing that helped make the most sense out of the film itself was the explanation of it being fantasy, that it was what Stewart had wished had happened throughout life; the women, the ability of people to understand him clearly, etc. It was after this reveal, that one could truly appreciate just how beautiful the film is…dark and disturbing, yet oddly beautiful and touching.
During the Q and A, all of the audiences questions were answered by Glover about the film and his genius and artistic vision really came through clearly. I left with not only a clear understanding and appreciation for the film itself, but also a much clearer picture of Glover himself as an artist and an understanding of why he does what he does. I have heard many say that he is eccentric, odd or crazy, but I left understanding the man and his art form a little better than when I walked in. I now have a greater respect for him not only as an artist, but as a human being as well. Kudos to you Mr. Glover and a job well done. I strongly urge anyone to go see one of his shows the next time he is in town. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience and a truly unique experience as well.