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Case Number 06841

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Lost Lake

Warner Bros. // 2003 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // May 20th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Mitchell Hattaway can't hold his moonshine.

The Charge

A mysterious past emerges. A secret world unfolds. A new life awakens.

Opening Statement

Don't let the cover art fool you. Apparently hippies don't make softcore films.

Facts of the Case

Several people spend a few days at a ski lodge in the High Sierras. They drink moonshine, smoke weed, go snowboarding, have (not enough) sex, sing some awful songs, argue, get caught in an avalanche, and discover that they've all met in past lives. And I haven't even mentioned the really bad parts.

The Evidence

I don't know what to make of Lost Lake, and apparently neither did the filmmakers. The so-called plot is a mixture of (not enough) sex, environmentalism, reincarnation, drugs, flashbacks, family histories, and some crap about all matter in the universe being composed of tiny sparkling lights. What does it all mean? Well, if you ask me, it means not everyone with the resources to make a movie has the skills to make a movie.

Our story begins as Kat (Angel Boris, Boa vs. Python), a free-spirited young woman who roams from town to town and spouts bad poetry, quits her job at a coffee bar and accepts a job as a housekeeper at a ski lodge. Once she arrives, Kat slowly becomes attracted to Andre (Michael McLafferty, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction), a former Olympic athlete who now serves as the lodge's ski guide. E.Z. (Mark Collie, Fire Down Below), Kat's new boss, is haunted by her resemblance to his long-lost love. They are soon joined by Cameron (Neil Dickson, Timecop: The Berlin Decision), a physics professor, and Heather (Daisy McCrackin, 3000 Miles to Graceland), his student/lover. Also arriving at the lodge is Buck (Frayne Rosanoff, Python), Andre's estranged brother. What follows is roughly an hour of mind-numbing boredom.

If you boil it down, what we're dealing with here is a series of bad ideas strung together with absolutely no concern for coherence. Exactly what the hell is this nonsense about the Sparticle Theory (that's the sparkling lights thing)? What about this theory is so profound that Cameron felt the need to steal the idea from one of his students (a student who devised the theory after smoking some hash, no less)? I also don't understand the movie's concept of reincarnation. Get this—Kat is actually the reincarnation of E.Z.'s lover, which means she is also the mother of Heather (who's the product of a three-way romp between Kat's old self, E.Z., and Andre's father); thing is, Kat and Heather are the same age, although Heather was about five years old when her mother died. (Midway through the movie Kat and Heather take a dip in a hot spring, and the sexual subtext of the scene becomes more than a little sick after the true nature of their relationship is revealed.) Isn't karma supposed to play some part in reincarnation? If that's the case, why would a good hippie like Kat be reincarnated as the daughter of uptight Mormons? Speaking of good hippies, Andre's dad was an environmentalist who died while setting fire to a lumber mill (this fire also killed the old Kat), which leads me to my next question: Who the hell would build a lumber mill on a mountain peak? Better yet, if said lumber mill is roughly 24 square feet in size, exactly how productive could it be? (I was about to ask how one man with a five-gallon can of gasoline could completely destroy a lumber mill, but I guess he could do it to such a small lumber mill.) Why does Heather sit down on a rock to urinate? Okay, let me set the scene for you. Everybody is out skiing when Heather says she needs to pee. Andre points her in the direction of a rock monument. Heather walks over to the monument, which is nothing more than a rock with a bronze plaque attached to its surface, and sits down on it. Her ass instantly freezes to the plaque; in order to free her, Buck pees on her ass, thereby thawing it out. Like I said, why'd she sit on the rock in the first place? Wouldn't she have ended up pissing all over herself? Come to think of it, if she had pissed all over herself, wouldn't that have thawed out her ass? Here's an even better question: Why am I bothering to think logically about this crap? Okay, one last thing: Where the hell is the ending? An avalanche hits the lodge about ten minutes before the final credits roll (I can't be absolutely sure, but it looks like the avalanche footage was lifted from xXx), trapping everyone but E.Z., who was outside. Cameron, thinking he's going to die, breaks down and cries about his past misdeeds. Buck and Andre start looking for a way out. Kat somehow travels back to the past, sees the lumber mill burning, has somewhat of an epiphany, and then zooms back to the present. She looks at an old newspaper clipping about the fire, realizes the truth about everything that's been going on, tells the others what she's discovered, and then the movie abruptly ends. That's right—it just ends. There's no scene in which everyone gets together to talk about this newly discovered facet of their lives, nor is it clear how, or even if, they make it out. How much contempt for your audience do you have to have to think you can end your movie like that?

Okay, I want you to grab a pencil and a piece of paper. Ready? Write down these two names: Anthony Leigh Adams and Christina Adams. They're the husband-and-wife team responsible for Lost Lake; they co-wrote the script, he directed, and she produced. (Christina also warbles the song played over the closing credits. Anybody out there remember Sylvester Stallone singing the theme to Paradise Alley? Well, after hearing Christina, I think we owe Sly an apology for all the jokes we made at his expense.) If you ever see those names in the credits of a movie, run away. If you ever happen to meet them, punch them for me. In the behind-the-scenes footage and in their feature commentary the couple describe how they came up with the idea for this movie after seeing a profound, life-changing inscription someone carved into a rock and wondering what could possibly bring someone to carve a profound, life-changing inscription into a rock (or something like that—I was too busy laughing at them to pay close attention to what they were saying). They spend an awful lot of time talking about nature, beauty, love, identity, whatever—seemingly under the impression they've actually crafted something worthwhile. Talk about delusional. They also fawn over the cast they assembled, which is a hoot because there's not a decent performer in the bunch (Angel Boris once again proves that when it comes to being an actress, she makes a good Playmate).

As far as the technical quality of the film goes, well, it's also crappy. The non-anamorphic transfer is dull and flat; it's way below the quality of most analog television broadcasts. The stereo soundtrack, which sounds mono all the way, is also incredibly lifeless. Along with the featurette and commentary I mentioned above, extras include a trailer and an alternate ending (in which the avalanche kills everyone and, I kid you not, E.Z. transforms into Willie Wonka and takes his friends on a tour of the afterlife).

One more thing before we wrap up: Lost Lake was originally screened under the title Peak Experience, which means you have two titles to avoid.

Closing Statement

Absolutely nothing about Lost Lake justifies its existence. I know not much money was spent on the production of this movie, but even this paltry sum could have been put to better use—such as funding a study on how junk like this gets made.

The Verdict

I'm trying to stay awake long enough to hand down a guilty verdict. Hey, looks like I just barely made it.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 60
Audio: 60
Extras: 40
Acting: 40
Story: 30
Judgment: 45

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Bad
• Drama
• Fantasy
• Mystery

Distinguishing Marks

• "Experiencing Lost Lake" Featurette
• Commentary
• Trailer
• Alternate Ending

Accomplices

• IMDb








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