Who is K.K. Downey? is largely a film i can appreciate. It manages to be witty, hilarious, and vastly entertaining, but also happens to trash an entire counter-culture. The glory of this trashing is that it actually manages to be harmful to this counterculture, the "indie hipster" trend. The film makes an attempt at making an "indie" film in the style of many indie bands are created and book frauds are produced. With that in mind, I will explain the story within a story.
Theo and Terrence are in a shitty band and Theo is writing a book. This book largely resembles most auto-biographical literature that has to do with rim-jobs and cheese balls. Theo's book won't get published due to him being a fat white kid, so he tricks the sly Jewish book representative by giving the book to the star, K.K. Downey, thus turning it into a faux-biography. Terrence plays K.K. and becomes famous. Drugs, rock, blah, blah.
The story depicted in this film revolves around an entire "way of life", by which, when i say that, i am openly mocking all conformity to be non-conformist. The film is indebted to J.T. Leroy, for his "auto-biographical" book about his life growing up and being repeatedly raped. This later turned out to be a hoax, and was the work of a female newspaper writer, which comes as a big disappointment.
The degeneration of this style can be seen in many little conversational pieces, such as when K.K. does a reading, one hipster in the audience says "I find it to be like, Kafkaesque, but without like any bugs, right?" In that one line I knew that this films spoofing was part intentional, yet jokes still remain that mock the mockery. A book entirely about sodomy and heroin is largely uninteresting, but when it turns out to be a true story, people flock to discover beauty from a "false" spirit.
In order to poke fun at people who quote philosophers and recite poetry, a scene involving an over-bearing jealous cynicist who happens to review music occurs. Alone at night, trying to discover the coincidences behind the sudden appearance of K.K, he masturbates to a picture of Voltaire. Seeing what he has done, he lowers the picture in shame. Besides the outrageous humor, the film has a collection of mesmerizing scenes, such as K.K's love interest's synth pop poetry performance.
Who is K.K. Downey? is a film that i tried to hate at first, but i couldn't do it. It's brashly funny, honest, and manages to deliver a horrifying blow to these fads that seem invincible. Maybe now, we can derive some sense out of recent generations. As R.L. Stine would state, Hipsters beware, you're in for a scare.
Playing at the 17th Philadelphia Film Festival