RVOD111 Watch Out For My Plant

(1984, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Remedial Botany: The Motion Picture

Rating: **

In a Nutshell:

A little kid tends a plant.


It's a mean green mutha from outer space and it's bad.A kid buys a plant. He stops on the way home to show it to his outrageously accented (Russian? Greek?) neighbor Papa Nikolai. Mr. Nikolai sagely recommends “sun, lots of sun,” and gives the kid a big can of dirt. The kid clears the weeds out of his tiny front yard and puts his plant in the ground. Weeks later, it has bloomed into a beautiful flower. Someone steps on it and it dies. The kid buys a new plant.


Most internet references to this film fix the date at 1984, so that’s the one I went with above. One lone listing said 1972, though, which seems a bit more plausible to me. Why? Seventies or no, Watch Out For My Plant reflects that decade’s loathing for education as much as any short we’ve seen. The kid buys a plant, it dies, so he buys another one. Have we learned anything? No. Instruction has not even been attempted. Have we been entertained? Well, it’s ten continuous minutes of a solitary child squatting in the dirt, so no. At least, I wasn’t. The thought that someone out there might be is actually kind of disturbing.

A few favorite comments: When the kid walks out of the plant store empty-handed, Mike says, “It seems they don’t have mutant superplants that do my evil bidding.” As the child’s plant-tending montage stretches onward, Mike says, “This is one of those Andy Warhol real-time art films, isn’t it?” When the kid returns to the plant store at the end, Kevin sums up the short with, “If at first you don’t succeed, buy and kill another plant.” The riffing’s okay, but the slow, empty short drags the commentary down with it.