Idiot Box (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

If this were an American movie instead of an obscure Aussie independent, it would already be a cult classic. It is one of the stranger movies I've seen, certainly deserving of the often overused epithet "offbeat", and it is really funny if it catches you in the right frame of mind.

Kev and Mick are two no-hopers on the dole in Australia, drinking beer, causing mayhem, and committing minor acts of vandalism and theft. They manage to keep getting unemployment benefits because their unusual job qualifications make them hard to place. Kev claims to be an out-of-work fashion photographer, and Mick lays claim to being a poet.

In fact, his poems are interspersed throughout the film


Every second Thursday

they pay the dole into my bank account

so I go to a keycard machine

and hope to remember

my PIN number

Our two yabbos are bored with their lives. While they watch one of those crime reality shows, they decide that they, too, can be bankrobbers. They figure that they don't even need originality. They model out a robbery based on the exact same methods shown in the TV story. Of course, their plan has a few holes in it: 


 1. They don't have a car, so they plan to get away on bicycles.

2. They are somewhat lacking in planning skills.

3. The actual robbers shown in the show are still using the same plan of attack shown on the TV. Since Kev and Mick copied their techniques, they end up robbing the same bank at the same time as real desperadoes.

4. Since the cops have also been studying the robbers' plan of attack, they also have determined when and where the next robbery will occur.


Their dead-end lives, which are not without some amusing mischief, provide a great source of humor. Kev and Mick are also dense, perpetually drunk, and self-deluded enough to think they aren't complete losers. In essence, they are Beavis and Butthead with Aussie accents and rough speech. 

The real key to the movie, though, is not that you will laugh at these guys, but that you will actually get involved in their lives, probably against your will. It reeled me right in. Cool little flick.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.6 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics - or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Not for everyone, but a truly odd comedy with cult potential, along the lines of Trainspotting.

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