2006 black comedy
Plot: Jerome enrolls in an inner-city art college after high school graduation. He finds that art's a competitive game. He falls for a girl featured in the college brochure, a girl who, luckily for Jerome, does a little nude modeling for the drawing students in John Malkovich's Intro to Drawing class. An arch rivalry forms with another first-year student, Jonah, who seems to be standing in his way romantically and artistically. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose. Oh, snap!
You have to look closely, but there is a brief Charlie Chaplin spotting in this movie.
This is 1/2 of a satirically fun comedy and 1/2 of a really dark satirical downer. Despite some foreshadowing, some dropped hints that things might turn uglier, it was still a little jarring. It forces you to switch the brain on though. So much of this centers on the main character, a straight man in a movie crowded with some more eccentric personalities. I liked the kid who played him, Max Minghella, a guy you almost recognize, then think you're just confusing him with Justin Long or somebody, and then later find out that he was in The Social Network. John Malkovich has a subtly comedic role as a drawing teacher/triangle artist. I enjoy Malkovich in comedies; of course, I think Malkovich actually might think all of his movies are supposed to be comedies. My favorite periphery lunatic is straight from the lunatic fringe, a failed Bukowski-esque artist played by Englishman Jim Broadbent. He's great and gets the best lines--"What are you laughing about, laughing boy?" and "I have to get back to my masturbation," a line followed immediately by The Facts of Life theme song. Despite this being a bit uneven and pretty thematically heavy, I enjoyed this enough to wonder if I really actually liked Zwigoff's Ghost World more than I think I did.