They say you bring what you know to a movie. Holds for the filmmaker, holds for the audience. If you didn't take the picture as a kind of documentary, you might proclaim Scattered Junk, in your sick little poll, winner of Best Production Design of any film of 2011. But the revolution is not a craft-service table, and Scattered Junk is the true document of real revolutionaries: this cell of dreamers, plotters, enact the same gestures of Carlos, transposed to an apartment not so much lived-in as occupied, embedded-within, just beneath the apex of a clapboard that recalls a similar form similarly haunted, halfway through The Night of the Hunter. Too real? Or just too earnest for a world (or movie landscape) where all is statecraft and lies?
Everyone will be cruel to this film — let's have no illusions that the critics are anything other than animals. The title of the picture applies to settings — to a final mixtape by subject Tim Cushing — to fragile emotions of fragile moments — to the approach by director Timothy Morton which might be characterized as junkle-rough, its thick-stitched and very kinetic patchwork the jigsaw signature of some second-, third-cousin to Trash Humpers, Gummo, or the recent films by HK's pal Jonas Mekas. Scattered Junk defies the viewer (it doesn't matter what his 'class' is or where she lays her regional roots) to reckon the whole affair sad, to deem the self-constructed squalor, the morning misery windshields, the implied prospectlessness, the suicide absent and central to the matters at hand, as all so sad. And this Whole is sad, and Morton celebrates its beauty accordingly with just about as little use for patronizing-"sad" as one might any slice of time.
Aside from his talents as a filmmaker, Timothy Morton is one of the most interesting actors/personalities in movies today: see his notable appearances in Kentucker Audley's Team Picture, Ginger Sand, Family Tree (playing Lena Dunham's brother), or the great Holy Land. You can watch Scattered Junk in its entirety on your laptop, desktop, iPad, or phone for free at Audley's excellent No Budge site here. (Just be good and watch in full-screen mode if you can, and plug in some headphones.)