256 levels of hell! You read that right … 256 levels of hell are experienced by one man, on his couch — in his underwear — as the world creeps ever closer to the end. That is what Oscilloscope Laboratories has in store for those in need of some non-romcom comedy relief on July 16.
The film in question is writer/director Joel Potrykus’ cinema of the absurd, Relaxer, which will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on that date.
The film opened at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March of last year to some terrific buzz, worked the festival circuit — both domestically and in some selected foreign markets — and then Oscilloscope took it out theatrically to the arthouse market place. Again, to solid reviews and the approval of audiences lucky enough to discover it.
For the record, the ARR comes in at 109 days.
It’s 1999 and the approach of the Y2K meltdown has seized the nation. The forthcoming end of the world has certainly had its way with filmmaker Joel Potrykus’ favorite actor, Joshua Burge (as Marty in Potrykus’ Buzzard; as Trevor is Potrykus’ Ape). He plays Abbie, an adult slacker, who is ensconced in his living room as he awaits the sure to be meltdown.
To pass the time, his brother, Cam (David Dastmalchian — Animals), makes him a bet, well, actually, throws him a challenge (with a potential payout of $100,000). Beat Pac Mac by getting to all 255 possible levels (a daunting task) and then achieve the 256th level, where in theory the game begins to consume itself. This has to be done without leaving the couch!!
There are, today, websites devoted to the discussion of the 256th level of Pac Mac, so it is a real thing. It is damn near impossible to get to … like pitching back-to-back-to-back no-hitters.
Now, imagine a slacker, on-task, who accepts such a challenge and never leaves the couch. The term “gross” immediately leaps to mind, and that’s being gentle; kind.
Time passes. A lot of time passes, but Abbie stays on task. People come, people go, the end of the year — and humanity — creeps closer and all the while Pac Man is played in a desperate effort to get to level 256.
How does it end? Ha! July 16 for those unable to catch the film in a nearby arthouse venue (the film will continue to play in various spots as the street date approaches) will be the perfect point in time to find out if Abbie survives the test.
Bonus goodies include commentary from filmmaker Joel Potrykus, a deleted scene and a pair of production featurettes — “Behind the Scenes of Relaxer” and “Milk Party.”