Beka P., Here….
I don’t even know where to begin in describing the strange that is Booger Red. On paper, this true crime drama is right up my alley. Native Texan director, Berndt Mader, takes on the incredibly disturbing story of the Mineola swingers club that allegedly preyed on teens and children, coaxing them into a child sex ring. It goes further to investigate the seven people who were arrested, charged, indicted, and convicted for these crimes. It focuses on the one man still in prison, Dennis Pittman.
The film mixes mediums to try and blend together a cohesive story but it just doesn’t gel. Berndt utilizes interviews with actual defendants with fictional acting, mostly by a journalist (Onur Tukel) who sets out to get this story. He is joined on his journey by his sister-in-law (played by Marja Karan); however, there is a weirdly sexual vibe throughout their entire interaction. The acting is hard to swallow and feels forced on Tukel’s part.
The scripted portions seem out of place and shoved into the film that otherwise would be a very interesting piece on a huge injustice. The way in which the acting is merged into the interviews with actual defendants and people affected by the events downplays the gravity of the situation and takes away from the interviews themselves.
The moment I gave up on the film was during the all-too-long scene where Tukel is tripping out and breaking into the swingers club. It felt like an alternate reality that one could not escape and yet I felt like I was already trapped there just by the nature of watching the film in the first place. It added another dimension of “what the hell is going on here” to the piece.
Normally I wouldn’t tear something up outright, but if the subject matter you take on is something so deep, something so tragic for many people, and the heart of your film is someone still sitting behind bars- it just feels like the focus should have been clearer. This felt just like the scene that lost me – a bad trip.