The Crop

(Scott Patterson, Australia, 2004)


The Australian film The Crop opens with a subtitle declaring: "tryin [sic] to get a head". This is an unfortunate sign of the zero level of skill and wit achieved by this appalling fiasco directed by Scott Patterson (who previously presided over the aptly named A Wreck, A Tangle [2000]).

Tales of self-funded local films can sometimes be heroic, but The Crop is a good argument for why some movies should never be made. It is a vanity project masterminded by George Elliot, a former champion driver who scripted and – extremely unwisely – cast himself in the lead role of this lame action-comedy caper. He even allows himself to sing perform three mediocre rock songs.

Ronald (Elliot) is, the press kit informs us, a "larrikin night club owner". He wears a single, somewhat peeved tough-guy expression for the entire movie. For some obscure reason, the story is set in the ’80s. In the manner of several British comedies of recent years (such as Saving Grace [2000]), Ronald decides to cultivate a little marijuana business on the side.

Naturally, everything comes undone. Depending on eccentric buddies with names like Wack (Rhys Muldoon) and Billy Bong (Rudi Baker), Ronald and his girlfriend Geraldine (Holly Brisley) find themselves pursued by standover men and crooked cops.

The Crop is a comprehensively awful film. It is hard to say which is worse: the laughable action scenes in which (for example) our hero shows he’s aggro by driving into a pile of cardboard boxes, or the painful running gag of Geraldine whining "do you love me?", no matter the situation.

The Crop is, among the legion of bad Australian movies, inoffensive. Mostly, it is just plain stupid. It is possible – as happened at the preview I attended – for the audience to reach a Nirvana-like state of steady, percolating hysteria as each new scene reveals itself to be more ludicrous and inept than the last. A case of ‘so bad it’s good’, perhaps? In the wise words of Ghost World (2001): "It’s so bad it’s gone past good and returned to bad".

© Adrian Martin August 2004

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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