THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM “So...whatcha thinkin’?

SHOT IN 12 DAYS, edited in seven, and a hit at both Sundance and SXSW, for some reason The Catechism Cataclysm is playing for only a single night in Portland, which is both annoying and unfortunate.

Starring Steve Little (Stevie on the always-excellent Eastbound & Down), it's a totally fucked-up road movie that never works out like you'd expect, partly because hardly any of it takes place on the road. Instead, Father Billy (Little)—who tells his handful of confused parishioners long, rambling stories with no discernable point, leaves comments like "LOL!!!!" on YouTube videos when he should be doing his catechism studies, and occasionally lets out profoundly sad little revelations like "I've never been happy"—awkwardly reunites with Robbie Shoemaker (Robert Longstreet), a man who once dated Billy's older sister. For years, Billy's idolized Robbie from afar; now, he's somehow tricked Robbie into going on a long canoe ride with him, and he finds out that Robbie—once a badass rocker with literary ambitions—now tours around the country as a spotlight operator for the Ice Capades, festering over how his life went wrong.

So: These two guys, in a boat, on a slow river. And then there's a man who can't die, and a man entombed in the concrete support of an overpass—he survives off of Cheetos that are slid through a tiny breathing hole—and an awkward pee puddle. And then there are the giggling Japanese girls, and then shit gets really weird.

The Catechism Cataclysm either goes totally off the rails in its last third—devolving into a surreal, bewildering mess—or it totally hits its stride in its last third, evolving into a surreal, bewildering mess. It kind of doesn't matter, though: Throughout, it manages to be completely hilarious; occasionally, it also manages to be unexpectedly affecting. Thank Little and Longstreet, both of whom are great, or the low-fi, low-key direction of writer/director Todd Rohal. This thing's one of the funnier, weirder, and more unique movies you're gonna see this year. So make sure you're free on that one night it's screening, I guess.