Various - Cake Boy [Film/Soundtrack] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Cake Boy [Film/Soundtrack] (2005)

Kung Fu

On the Vandals' 1998 album Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, Joe Escalante penned lyrics for a song about a scheme for a feature film, aptly titled "An Idea For A Movie." Three years later, his vision came true as Kung Fu released the straight-to-VHS flick That Darn Punk. In the movie, Dirk (Escalante), a musician who's life has become a complete mess, is left stranded in the desert with the quest to find his way back home, while also trying to rediscover himself. The movie was created on a budget of merely $20,000, and although the content was sub-par, the D.I.Y. ethic Kung Fu Films maintained shines through in dignifying form. With a little more experience and funds from the The Show Must Go Off! series, Escalante and Co. are back with another cinematic effort: Cake Boy.

Warren Fitzgerald, Vandals guitarist and the script's writer, plays the lead character Selwyn and erotic cake designer whose eccentric soul is hampered by an abusive girlfriend (Pamela Gidly). Fed up with her harsh antics, Selwyn runs off as a roadie for No Use For A Name (the Ataris were originally picked for the part). The band's manager Mickey, played by Scott Auckerman, supplies some of the movie's more memorable moments with a handful of zingers; these combined with the antics of the band further depreciate our main character's life. Eventually, Selwyn is able to get back on his feet, thanks to a fresh start with a new girlfriend and with the help of the Sheriff (Fat Mike), who allows the movie to end on a comedic note along with the overly predictable happy ending.

Aside from some one-liners by Mickey, NUFAN's mischievous attitudes and live footage, a cameo from comedian Patton Oswalt, and Fat Mike's small role, the film fails on several accounts. While you feel bad for Selwyn, the plot is quite conventional and the trouble he is encompassed by neglects to give the viewer a meaningful relationship with said character.

Cake Boy, formerly titled Selwyn's Nuts, is more polished than That Darn Punk, but the D.I.Y. ideology is overly present. Recorded on 16mm and 35mm film for only $30,000, Escalante poured heart and soul into making the movie on nights and weekends over a lengthy time span (documented in the movie's bonus features, as well as a few outtakes and bloopers). This will not be the end of Kung Fu's cinematic portion, as Joe and Warren have scripts ready for more film along with the gleaming success of The Show Must Go Off!

Unlike Escalante's previous effort, the soundtrack comes free with the movie; thankfully, sketchy sound clips do not plague it. The OST features five unreleased No Use For A Name songs; the film's theme "No Way To Live" is a more melodic Leche Con Carne-era song. The rapid, snotty "Sewlyn's Got A Problem," outlines the movie's lead character. The additional new cut is a cover of "1945" by Social Distortion; the band comes through fine, but Tony Sly sounds awkward and insecure trying his Mike Ness impersonation. Topping off No Use's portion are acoustic versions of "Fatal Flu" and "Coming Too Close," touted in the same vein as Sly's acoustic split with Lagwagon's Joey Cape. Former NUFAN member and current Foo Fighter Chris Shiflett lets a new song from his side project Jackson, an upbeat pop-rocker that's less glossy than their debut EP. The rest of the soundtrack is delineated by usual Kung Fu names such as the Vandals, Ozma, Useless I.D., and Audio Karate.