Last night San Francisco’s Juggathological community and the merely Juggalo-curious were treated to an advanced screening of Whoop Dreams at the Roxie. The film, still in production, documents five friends’ foray into the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, which today was announced to be moving to Missouri in 2014.
As Uptown Almanac’s Senior Juggalo Reporter, I could not be more fascinated by this subculture—built around a rap group made up of men in clown makeup flummoxed by magnetism. Judging by the speed at which the Kickstarter to make Whoop Dreams was funded, and the packed house at the sneak peek, I’m not alone. The Roxie made the event all the more festive by stocking the concession stand with Faygo:
What we got to see last night was more-or-less the final cut of the film, with a stand-in soundtrack to set the mood in place of an original score, which will be added before the film’s official release.
Whoop Dreams promises “sex, drugs, clowns, boobies, dildos, and people hurting themselves for the sake of their Juggalo family,” and for the most part, the film delivered. With what the trailer teased, I was fully expecting a feature-length shitshow, but what we got was surprisingly tame (even with the extreme nipple torture).
Whoop Dreams may just be the most polite movie about Juggalos you’ll ever see.
How did this happen? Well, as five relatively clean-cut bros in a sea of tatted ninjas and ninjettes, their strength in numbers may have kept them from assimilating into The Family. Coupled with the great care they all took not to mock Juggalo culture, there’s a noticable distance to the film. It’s this neutral stance that is Whoop Dreams’ only weakness. Metaphorically speaking, the guys merely dipped their toes in Hepatitis Lake. During the Q & A, it was also revealed that the guys captured less footage then they’d hoped—only 8 hours in 3 days (they got their fill of family and bounced a day early). And they were only able to allude to a lot of the sex and drugs they witnessed due to their own diligence in getting signed release forms from their subjects.
Despite its lack of teeth, I still really enjoyed Whoop Dreams. Honestly, I love Juggalo culture so much that I was bound to be satisfied by any glimpse into the Gathering. No doubt the rest of the audience last night felt the same. There were plenty of big laughs during the screening and we basically had to be kicked out of the Roxie because the Q&A ran over its allotted time but nobody wanted to budge. And with the guys collecting feedback forms in earnest, there will likely be a few tweaks made before the final version of Whoop Dreams is unleashed on the masses.
My feedback? I think the movie could be improved by including postmortem interviews with each of the guys describing their experiences documenting the crazy shit they saw. These could then be incorporated as voice over to boost some scenes that need additional explanation. (For example: a slow-motion montage of ladies oil wrestling makes a lot more sense when you know that the wrestlers were not the ladies originally hired for the event, but willing Juggalettes who stepped in when the professionals went on strike.) I know they’re planning on creating bonus commentary for the DVD—so why not put the best soundbites in the feature as well?
If they had it to do over again (which the guys emphatically stated they have no interest in), they’d also be better off sending only Matt Lieb and Laremy Legel, who seemed the most down with the clown…or at least into the adventure of it all.
How Whoop Dreams stacks up in the cannon of Juggathological film remains to be seen, but for right now I give it two enthusiastic Whoops. Until I see the final cut, I’m leaving my titties in my shirt.