Zero Charisma : Nerds, Board-games & Retribution
“What’s hard is to get people to think. To get them emotionally invested in the story.”
Says the protagonist in Zero Charisma. He is the well known stereotypical “fat nerd living with his grandmother” kind of a deal. But the character is deeper than that. Yes! He eats while he drives and gets ass-faced when it comes to behaving normally. Wherein, normality is just defined by the people who feel that they are the ones who define it. What if his definition of normality is something entirely different? What if imaginations and reality are something of a mismatch for him? What if the board-games make him feel good about himself? Do these questions get you emotionally invested? Probably not, because I don’t really get a dig into the nerdtastic culture of being. But I do understand that you are humane, no matter what.
Katie Graham & Andrew Matthews’s Zero Charisma is one of the greatest commentaries on the nerd culture and most of its other shenanigans. Every single one of us is a nerd in some way or the other. We sit on our asses going up and down random links on the internet knowing very little about where they are leading us. We sit for hours watching thousands of movies, reading comic books and watching sitcoms that make references to Star Wars and intergalactic bullshit.
I have seen quite a few films that make fun of nerds but this film here is about them. About the feelings, routines and crap that every single nerd goes through. We have been living in a world where The Big Bang Theory and IT crowd overpowers every other thing that ever decides to talk about the cultural significance this new breed of people have had on the world. But mostly they don’t understand the culture in the right way. At least that’s what I thought when I was watching Zero Charisma for the first time. The sort-of technical nerdy jargon did not make sense to me because I have been made to believe by these sitcoms that they are pretty much like every random episode where somewhere in the 91st episode the geeky guy gets to hug the girl and stare her in the eyes. This film here makes the jokes and humour in those sitcoms look like toilet paper. Also, what these shows don’t tell us is the fact that nerds are nerds because they choose to be one. Pretty much like a novelist who finds inspiration in a couple walking in the park but totally shits over a guy playing a video game for no reason whatsoever.
Zero Charisma is about Scott Weidemeyer, overweight and overbearing fantasy role-playing gamer. He hates his job and he hates the fact that he has to live with his grandmother who considers his games as “disturbing”. While he is trying hard to grow up, he can’t seem to get in agreement with the scene that fantasy is the only world he wins in. Scott finds his life turned upside-down when a handsome and charismatic hipster joins his game. The movie deals with the self-doubt scenario, the time when he starts getting wrong on everything that his life is. Things get worse when he finds out about his family issues when he is not able to deal with his anxiety because he is too sensitive.
Even though I find myself in split when I have to decide whether the film does justice to the nerd culture. I am sure of the fact that it comes the closest to it. When Scott plays with his action figures or moderates his games, an epic World of Warcraft orchestra style music kicks in to reflect what Scott’s sees in his head during those moments. Similarly, various nerd-culture discussions of Star-Wars, Star Trek, The Matrix and the comic books almost remind you of the Kevin Smith movies which are pretty close to being the best in the genre.
The movie establishes the contrast between the Cool Hipster Vs The sensitive nerd in exact implications. The performance by the hefty Sam Eidson is applause worthy. He brings out the helpless innocence in his character and excels in the scenes of frustration.
Final Verdict: Zero Charisma is a very good film. If you are a man-child if you still watch cartoons and discuss board games and television shows and movies more than anything in the world. This is a must watch.
Zero Charisma Trailer
Zero Charisma Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic.
Zero Charisma; Directors: Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews | Written by Andrew Matthews | Stars: Sam Eidson, Brock England, Garrett Graham, Anne Gee Byrd | Music by Bobby Tahouri | Cinematography by Ellie Ann Fenton.
First Published on God’s Unwanted Children.