First up was CASH ONLY, a story of a struggling Albanian American landlord in Detroit. Elvis Martini (Nickola Shreli, who also wrote the script) might have the coolest freakin' name in the world, but his life is not that great. A couple of years ago he burnt down his house for the insurance money, and while he was never charged, it was suspicious enough that the insurance didn't pay out. But that's not the bad part--unbeknownst to him his wife was home taking a nap. Now the mortgage on his apartment complex is in arrears, he has 4 weeks to pay up, and that's not his only debt. He owes money to bad people and his tenants are...not good people (except for the gay guy who's really doing a nice job cleaning up the place.) His friend Kush is growing pot in the basement, there's a hooker who leaves her son at home alone with no food...and none of them are paying their rent regularly (again, except for the gay guy, but even he's a bit late.) He needs that money now, and in the process of shaking them down he ends up evicting the wrong person. Someone who stole something from a very, very bad man. And now his daughter is in danger, and if he's not smart he will be in even more danger. Shreli does a great job carrying the movie, and the tension builds beautifully as he struggles to do the right thing. The ending is way over the top, which in the hands of a less skilled writer, director, or actor could feel wildly out of place. But they make it not just work, but build to an excellent climax. Great fuckin' movie!
And then VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH was a bit of good-ol' bigfoot fun, but with a solid human drama behind it. Michael and his father Roger are moving to a cabin in the woods. We learn pretty quickly that Michael's mother died in a car crash and they are both morning in their own way. Which involves a lot of passive-aggressive fighting with each other. The cabin belongs to Michael's uncle (Roger's brother-in-law) Will, and Roger invites along his buddy Sergio, a loud, drunken, macho Mexican who's constantly calling Michael a pussy when he does stuff like refuse a beer or not want to go hunting. They go hunting anyway. And they run into bigfoot. Actually, bigfoots... bigfeet... what's the plural? And so a night of terror begins, with
Total Running Time: 182 minutes
My Total Minutes: 409,970