by Alex Jackson It took me a while to have any reaction whatsoever to Linas Phillips' Bass Ackwards. I guess I ultimately settled on mild affection, but this is not a film that's going to divide people. Phillips plays a Seattle-area wedding videographer named, yes, Linas. He's living with a young married couple and having an affair with the wife thereof (Davie-Blue). She's not willing to develop the relationship any farther and her husband kicks Linas out of their house. With no home and no girl, Linas picks up a '76 Volkswagen bus and decides to drive to the east coast to stay with his parents. Yeah, so it's a road-trip movie. Phillips is essentially playing himself and the film seems to be based on personal experience. Accordingly, as a writer, director, and actor, he is generously self-effacing and willing to look foolish--but he's never particularly critical of the Linas "character." Until the movie was over, I was only about seventy-five percent sure that Linas was having an affair. (The other twenty-five percent of me believed that his girlfriend and the wife were actually two different people who happened to look alike.) Even though I don't think this is an "emotional affair," nobody ever has sex. They just talk to one another with a familiarity more suited to lovers than to friends; the entire thing is left for us to infer. It seems that anything more explicit would render Linas unsympathetic--a loser-loser instead of a lovable one--and Phillips couldn't stand us seeing his alter ego that way. He appears to have had a rather conventional "quirky" road comedy in mind when conceptualizing Bass Ackwards and maybe the film would have turned out that way had he never met cinematographer Sean Porter. Imagine Little Miss Sunshine directed by Terrence Malick and you might get some idea of what you're in for. Porter's photography is incredible on an aesthetic level, and it's genuinely shocking to learn that the finished film (after post-production) cost a mere $90,000. Bass Ackwards would no doubt be worse without him. But I found all that beauty problematically tasteful, especially when combined with Phillips' softball treatment of "Linas." How about this? Anybody who hates Bass Ackwards is doing so for reasons unrelated to the quality of the movie itself; anybody who loves it has given up on asking for films that demand anything of them.