The presumption is that “I Love You All,” a song sung by Michael Fassbender in Frank (Magnolia, 8.15), is meant to be taken ironically, at least when Fassbender performs it with his costars while wearing an “ironic” paper-mache head. I have this vague suspicion that you can’t love or even like anyone while wearing a head mask, but I could be wrong. My understanding is that affection is not a pose or a musical attitude — it’s as sincere as a heart attack, and the act of wearing a dumbfuck mask is testimony to the fact that the wearer is too emotionally chickenshit to feel or offer love.
But maybe that’s just my hostility talking. The song would probably work better if it was called “I Hate You All (But Not So Much As I Hate Myself)”. Fassbender’s character is based upon a real-life comic musician persona, “Frank Sidebottom”, who was inhabited by the late Chris Sievey. (Don’t ask.) Fassbender and his costars performed the song last night on the Colbert Report.
I saw Frank a couple of nights ago. (Well, most of it and then I saw the rest last night through an online link.) I was asked for my opinion the next day, and I tapped out the following: “It’s a movie that’s stuck on itself and its own sense of hip bemusement. It’s very dry, very smart, very well done, sometimes funny and utterly marginal and peripheral.” And yet Devin Faraci, who was sitting two rows in front of me, was laughing out loud from time to time so maybe…you know, I’m just not hip enough for Frank but Devin is. I mean, that’s one possible interpretation.