With all the hoopla in Wisconsin about unions and teachers unions being underfunded and teachers jobs being cut, it's kinda ironic that I watched Richard Powell's 20 minute short Worm. It's produced by Zach Green and on the surface it's about a teacher with a serious darkside. On the inside, it's like watching the mind of a volcano about to explode.
Here be the plot.
A day in the mind of Geoffrey Dodd, a seemingly kind, gentle and sane High School teacher. As we follow Geoffrey through the course of a typical school day we gain an eerie insight into the darkest corners of his soul and beyond. Beneath the carefully constructed veneer of Geoffrey Dodd lies something wretched, insidious and foul rotting him from the inside out.
the jaded viewer says: Geoffrey has the shittiest job other than being a guidance counselor, being a teacher. Can you really educate the youth of America today in a world filled with distractions from Facebook and Twitter to Lady Gaga and Eminem? What do our teachers really think of the students they teach?
I really think it's not to far from what our disturbed teacher Geoffrey thinks. As we follow him along on a typical school day, we the audience get to hear what he's thinking like a twisted version of What Women Want. The narration is odd the first time you hear it but his ramblings are clearly what drives this short.
From mocking the dumb students to raging jealousy of the smart students, we hear his insults and his anger. After a few breaks in the teachers conference room, Geof blasts his fellow staff with a running commentary of the hot well dressed teacher's smarts to the fat teacher who he wants to have another heart attack.
It also seems he's writing a love story in his spare time but is interrupted by another fellow teacher with a dying mom. Geof lacks compassion and his thoughts echo that same view. Oh he says all the right things in reality and in face to face conversations, but we see his 2 face and slowly we begin to hate his guts.
At the tale end of the film, we begin to see he is enamored by one of his female students. A Lifetime movie of the week with kidanpping and To Catch a Predator overtones starts to seep into his narration. By the end we feel a reverse Columbine about to happen. What do you think happens?
Worm is clearly a play on the apple on a teacher's desk. It's a wonderful experimental short that blends noir-ish cliches into a modern day horror film. It sometimes strays into repetitiveness and hearing a man's thoughts like we were telepathic gets kinda irritating after a while. If somehow Worm was balanced with some suspense or another POV, it might have given it a counterpoint. Instead we get one man's drawl on his shitty life.
I liked it and if I had to pick a grade like our teacher Geoffrey does I'd give it 6/10. What he writes on one of his know it all students papers kinda holds true: YOU CAN DO BETTER :-)
Check out the some clips below.