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Freak Flag Flix- ‘Spork’ Lets the Flag Fly

I’m trying out a new column here…Freak Flag Flix ….will feature a “cult” film that is currently on Netflix’s instant watch. All the streaming addicts know the desperation that comes from feeling like you’ve seen everything good that is available streaming. Maybe you just need a break from your Breaking Bad marathon or you just want to push your boundaries a bit more into the bizarre. Anyway, each week I will point you toward a thoroughly weird but great under exposed film.

I humbly submit for your viewing pleasure: Spork

spork film poster A colorful and foul-mouthed feature musical comedy.A film about a frizzy-haired, pink-cheeked outcast named Spork who is trying to navigate her way through the annals of junior high. When a school dance show provides a chance for Spork to show up a mean girls gang, her trailer-park neighbor steps up to coach her with some “booty-poppin” moves. Featuring a vintage 90′s soundtrack (that includes 2-Live Crew, JJ Fad’s “SuperSonic,” Dimples T’s “Get It Girl”), a score by Casey James and the Stay Puft Kid; and extended school hall dance sequences, Spork is a film about standing out and fitting

It’s easy to call this the female Napoleon Dynamite but in many ways, Spork is much more strange and wonderful.  Spork is a slightly disturbed young lady but it’s all very light-hearted and sympathetic.

spork and friend

The music and acting are the real draws here. It’s a great story of nerd pride but the buoyant electro-pop sounds of Casey James and the Stay Puft Kid are completely fresh sounding while being rooted in late 90′s indie electronica like Yo La Tengo.  Savannah Stenlin is perfectly likeable and laughable as Spork and Sydney Park is a firecracker as the krumping 12 year old Tootsie Roll. I can see Stenlin’s career going places soon.

spork tootsie roll

J.B. Gruman Jr. directed and wrote this little gem that went under most people’s radar. It has nice little details like video gamey sound effects similar Scott Pilgrim vs The World.  If you like odd-ball films at all, I feel confident you will like this dark yet uplifting one.

About the author

Joe Martinez

NERD! Documentary enthusiast. Independent and foreign cinema and historic theater booster. UC Santa Barbara Film Studies graduate. Homebase in Portland, Oregon. Top 10 Films (of this moment) 1. City of Lost Children 2. Black Cat, White Cat 3. Rivers and Tides 4. Sans Soliel 5. Stop Making Sense 6. Big Lebowski 7. Brick 8. 8 1/2 9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 10. Waking Life

  • Rokabiri

    It IS easy to call Spork a female Napoleon Dynamite – it tries pretty hard to mimic the look and feel of the movie so much so that while I was watching Spork I found myself constantly comparing the two.  Spork is just as pretty as Napoleon but falls short in every other area.  I was into the soundtrack and slo-mo dance offs but cringed at Tootsie’s ‘tude, which seemed so over-the-top and unnatural, due in one part to her poor acting skills – the other to a poorly written script.  This movie is also filled with a lot of inconsistent anachronisms that made it really clear the director was more interested in making a good-looking film rather than a good film.  Yes, 80s, early 90s, and late 90s pop culture are fun but Spork is not a movie about time travel so pick one era and stick with it.

  • thesoymachine

    Fair enough. I really was impressed by how different the film was from other films (despite taking some of the things I liked from Napoleon Dynamite). Spork is kind of like a zine, where Napoleon Dynamite is more of a
    magazine.  Spork is rough around the edges and doesn’t tie up side plots as
    well but I like just a small strange vision being filmed even if it’s
    similar to other films.  

    I liked the ambiguous time period (even if that is also like Napoleon
    Dynamite). I liked the overall ambiguousness of everything about the film.
    It’s not the classical Hollywood cinema narrative. Just kind of a

    Yet, I think certain things were very belieavable. Tootsie Roll
    is so over-the-top because she is trying to act older and tougher than
    she is, while Spork is soft spoken and unassuming because she has been
    picked on so much. I believed their motivations and the acting could be called bad but I saw it as campy. I really felt for Spork and was relieved when she found fellow outcast friends. 

    Thanks for commenting!