Slacker culture is surely alive & well in 2015, but there was something unavoidably ubiquitous about 90s MTV slacker culture. Pretty much the definition of a low-stakes drama, Buzzard feels oddly old-fashioned in its portrayal of an apathetic underachiever, Marty, who feels like a cultural relic from a bygone lackadaisical era. Cheaply filmed and intentionally flat in style, Buzzard seemingly cares as little as Marty does, echoing his “It doesn’t matter” mantra with every fiber of its being. Buzzard portrays a world of petty victories & major losses where the odds are stacked so highly against Marty that he really has no incentive to try or care about anything and the movie itself has its own apathetic crisis in the same vein.
An angry, depressed loser with a go-nowhere job as a temp for a bank, Marty’s petty victories involve eating junk food, listening to metal, jumping on his bed, watching pornos while wearing a Halloween mask, and scamming suckers for small increments of cash. His half-assed scams typically pay off as long as the person on the other end cares as little about the transactions as he does. The problems that Marty faces only get rolling once the people he’s scamming start to care & take notice of his chump-change crimes. Marty amps up the damages of his mistakes as well when his most significant petty victory of all comes to fruition: a homemade Freddy Krueger glove that gives his “nothing matters” attitude some real-life consequences.
If Buzzard was intentionally looking to cultivate the 90s MTV slacker aesthetic it was astute in including outdated cultural markers like Nintendo NES, CD towers, and Freddy Krueger posters & merchandise. Although its ambitions & style feel like little more than a vintage throwback, its themes exploring the isolation of poverty, corporate culture, and poor mental health still resonate. Although it’s unlikely that Marty will ever approach anything that resembles a “successful” life, it’s still satisfying to watch him achieve short-term goals like the construction of his Krueger glove or eating a massive plate of spaghetti in a luxury hotel room. Due to Marty’s (and Buzzard’s) lack of motivation, regard, or enthusiasm for anything, it’s hard to celebrate too much of his life other than with surface-level observations like “Cool Demons t-shirt, dude,” but in a world where he has very little room to achieve much of anything, that line of shallow praise has considerable amount of significance.