Towelhead (2008)

How Can You Find Yourself if No One Can See You?

I mentioned this movie, Towelhead on my worst movies of 2008 list a while ago. I didn’t want to write a review, because why waste my time with this movie. I heard that a podcast that I listen to on a regular basis, /Filmcast was reviewing the DVD on their show with Stephen Tobolowsky. Stephen is so cool that I would give this movie another shot for him.

I still hate it, even more now. I would be revealing spoilers out the yin-yang about this pile of a movie.

If you have any desire to watch this movie, don’t. If you do, do not read any further. You have been warned.

Towelhead tells the story of a 13-year-old Lebanese girl named Jasira Maroun (Summer Bishil) who in the opening scene of this movie is in the bathroom with her mom’s boyfriend, Barry (Chris Messina) shaving her pubes. What the fuck? There is a whole deal with her pubes that I will delve into later.

Her mom, Gail Monahan (Maria Bello) discovers them. She blames Jasira for her boyfriend doing that to her. She promply sends Jasirs to her uptight, conservative Lebanese-Christian father, Rifat’s (Peter Macdissi) house in Houston.

He treats her like a servant. When she arrives at the table with no bra on under her shirt. He slaps her across the face.

The next door neighbors Travis and Evelyn Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart, Carrie Preston) come by with their son, Zack (Chase Ellison). They try to be nice to Jasira welcoming her and they offend the father about the Persian Gulf War.

Jasira becomes Zack’s babysitter. He calls her “towelhead”, “camel jockey”, and “sand nigger.” Why? Are all Texans that ignorant? She catches Zack in his father’s weight room looking at a porno magazine. Jasira has daydreams about the busty women in various montages. Why are they there? Travis catches them reading the mags. He is taken with Jasira.

She rhythmically moves her legs until she has an orgasm when she is by herself at home or school.

Anyway, writer/director, Alan Ball shows Jasira riding the crimson wave all over the place. Rifat doesn’t want to buy tampons for her. The maxi pads he buys doesn’t hold her heavy flow. A Hispanic woman talking to her in Spanish in the school toilet while handing her a tampon. What? Everybody brown-skinned person should know Spanish all of sudden. They show her bloody tampon in the toilet at the father’s house. He discovers it. Calls her a slut.

Then, everybody post-pubescent boy wants to have a piece of Jasira. I guess, when she is bleeding, the boys go in heat. Everybody wants her milkshake. Travis Vuoso comes back and fingers her up and sees his bloody fingertips and leaves.

There is a sequence with the grandmother in Beirut. Why is she writing to Jasira in French? Jasira doesn’t know French. If they speak French in Lebanon, then I stand corrected. She had to have a classmate translate the letter to her class. After class, people are calling her “diaperhead” and “sand nigger”. Give me a break.

The boy that called her a sand nigger, Thomas (Eugene Jones III) says to her that people shouldn’t say that to her. You just did it, you dipshit. Later, he wants to shave her crotch, feel her up, jerk off in front of her and then “take her virginity.” Oh, spare me, One Minute Man.

The father gives Jasira a taste of beer. Travis comes back to apologize. He takes Jasira out of dinner in a Mexican restaurant has gotten Jasira drunk off of his margarita. Then, later has Jasira take her clothes off and have sex with him while her dad is away with his girlfriend.

The only saving grace in this film is Toni Collete and Matt Letscher as the other neighbors, Gil and Melina Hines. Their house was a safe haven for Jasira when her father physically abuses her.

I had enough of the film and I turned it off.

I was personally offended as a fellow Houstonian where this film takes place. We do not have the stupid accent that everyone is speaking. We are not stupid hillbillies that called people, “towelheads”, “diaperheads” or “sand niggers” in rapid secession.

Why would anybody love this movie? What is it about the subject matter that appealed to Alan Ball?

These characters are awful human beings. Why was this movie made? I’m sorry. Not everything that Alan Ball touches turns to gold. This was a large lump of coal.

My judgment: If you want to have a story about child molestation, bodily fluids and dysfunctional families, I would suggest reading Running With Scissors. Don’t watch that godawful movie it was based on.

My rating: *

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on January 27, 2009, in 2008, Drama, Independent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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