Things to see: Glorious | Houston Press

Title: Lovely

Describe this movie in one word Rick and Morty Quote:

RICK: You gotta be careful, Morty. If that guy catches you with a box of his eyeholes, he’ll come bursting through a window and just start kicking the crap out of you.

Brief plot synopsis: Lovelorn dude is experiencing the worst hangover ever.

Rating using random objects relevant to the movie: 3 Tommy Tutones out of 5.

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Tagline: “The universe has a favor to ask.”

Better tagline: “Just when you thought rest stop bathrooms couldn’t get any worse.”

Not so brief plot synopsis: Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is not having a good day. Unceremoniously shown the door by his girlfriend, he does what any rational dump-ee would do: gets drunk and burns a lot of her stuff. After heaving his guts out in a rest stop bathroom the next morning, he makes the acquaintance of Ghatanothoa (JK Simmons), or “Ghat” for short, the demigod in the next stall over, who claims that Wes is the only one who can stop his father from wiping out all life on earth.

“Critical” analysis: We’re kind of in a renaissance era of Lovecraft-inspired horror: The color out of space, the collected works of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, The lighthouse, Ron DeSantis’s Florida. But unlike many of these more expansive endeavors, Rebekah McKendry’s is Lovely sticks almost entirely to a single location and concentrates on dialogue and some well-placed shit.

A rest stop john is also an inspired choice for a plot with dire consequences for humanity, especially one as gross as the one depicted here. Those of us in Texas who have been spoiled by the restrooms at Buc-ee’s tend to forget what the norm often is, and McKendry (formerly fangoria) makes this one even more terrifying.

Sharp-eyed readers/HP Lovecraft geeks will recognize Ghatanothoa as part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and not many actors besides Simmons could deliver dialogue from a wretched creature from beyond time and space without sounding like a complete jerk, but he’s the perfect choice for this . Meanwhile, Kwanten (best known for playing True Blood’s Jason Stackhouse) is serviceable as the hapless guy at the low ebb of life.

There’s a humorous moment where Ghat’s pitch for humanity’s salvation sounds like the logical cosmological endgame every time some guy used the doomsday potential of the Cuban Missile Crisis/Cold War/9-11 to get thrown. Fortunately(?) for Wes, the request is (somewhat) less degrading than the presence of a gloryhole suggests.

The funny thing about the beings who offer these bargains is that they never seem to learn. Be it supposedly benevolent foreigners (End of the world), Satan (Persistent D in The Pick of Destiny), or other old gods (The cabin in the forest), none of whom ever realize until it’s too late that people are often annoying assholes.

Are the exchanges between Ghat and Wes believable? Always a factor to consider when it comes to humans interacting with Elder Gods, who historically tend to hide their true motives. Events spiral out of Wes’ control when an unsuspecting Parks Department employee (AndrĂ© Lamar) arrives on the scene, leading to…unpleasant consequences.

Which reminds me, many color palette similarities between this and Mandy/color out of place. Who knew red/purple would be the go-to for indie horror?

Lovely is entertaining enough for what it is: a rather rare fusion of horror, comedy and pathos that mesh well enough to forgive the rehashed plot and disappointingly mundane cash-shots (Sacrifices to the Elder Gods should be a little more creative).

Glorious is now streaming on Shudder.

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