Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 3

4 movies on Saturday, which might seem like a lot, but not for me, not on a weekend, not in the middle of a film festival. So Indiefest has only one midnight show this year. Which for the sake of my sleep, I appreciate.

Shorts 1: To A Fault
ALL YOUR FAVORITE SHOWS!: An animated/sampled story of a boy being a little overwhelmed by smartphone addiction. I can't possibly relate.
BOB SPELLS BACKWARDS: A very short film about a guy with an weird skill.
BRITNEY-HOLICS ANONYMOUS: A SPEAR-ITUAL AWAKENING: Exactly as it sounds, a club/support group for die-hard Britney Spears fans. Using her lyrics for inspiration.
DOG BOWL: A repeat of this Holehead selection. A woman who doesn't quite fit in with humans. In fact, she's more simpatico with her dog, drinking from a dog bowl and stealing an wearing a service dog's vest. And then she learns the surprising truth (either that or she's just fuckin' nuts.)
GUEST ROOM: A couple with Down's syndrome makes some very adult decisions. Very tenderly done.
SCRATCHERS: You're not going to win if you don't believe. And if you do win, why not dump your winnings back into more scratchers? Just don't lose your faith.
THUNDER ROAD: Hands down the standout of the program (and hot off of an award-winning debut at Sundance) in a single take, a bereaved son, in his police uniform, gives a loving, awkward, and hilarious tribute to his mother. 
VANILLA: In this Spanish film, a support group for people who have lost loved ones talk about their last words. And how it wasn't something important, it was often something silly. Which is often more important that important words. Also, it's about confusing Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.

Then the feature film THE WINDS THAT SCATTER. Ahmad is a Syrian immigrant in New Jersey. In the beginning of the film, he works in gas station and some jerk rips him off, getting $50 worth of gas and then insisting he only asked for $15 and won't pay him any more. So Ahmad is unemployed. And he bounces from job to job to job...to job to job. You get the idea, he takes a lot of different jobs, and doesn't hold on to any of them very long. He also lives his Muslim life. Going to prayers. Going to demonstrations where he reads his anti-Bashar Assad poetry. But more and more it becomes about his working-class, just trying to get by daily struggle. It's a slow, contemplative, slice-of-life film, and Ahmad (who is not a professional actor) makes for a compelling and sympathetic lead. Also, there's a jet lying in the woods for some reason.

Then the next feature was KEEP IN TOUCH, the funny story about a parolee looking up his old grade-school friend. Colin was in jail for an accident where he ran into a guy. Now he's paroled and working at his cousin's nursery, where the Mexican Guatemalan workers don't much care for him, and his cousin just wants to horse around and show him videos of their old classmate who went into porn. This gets him to thinking about the girls he went to school with, and after searching for some of them, he searches for Annie Parcel but without the word "porn." He finds out...that she's dead. But she does have a sister, and she's a musician in New York. So he breaks parole (he's not supposed to leave Connecticut unless it's for work) to see her play. And he starts to have feelings for her. And a lot of wackiness ensues, but the major conflict could've been avoided if he was upfront at first and just said he was curious about her because he knew her sister. It's an engaging, funny story with a lot of good characters (Reggie Watts as the motivational speaker is pretty amusing) and if you can get past his major mistake, he even becomes a likable character. And I just realized I wrote about his "major mistake" and wasn't alluding to the fact that he hit a guy with his car, but the fact that he's a coward with women. That...seems right.

And then I booked it to the Brava for THE BIG LEBOWSKI party. In it's 13th year, I've made it to at least some of...most of them? But there was no way I was missing this one, because in a team-up with The Bawdy Caste they were playing the movie with a live shadowcast of the action. Also, because my friend Ira was playing Walter Sobchak and he'd kill me if I didn't make it. So I got there just in time to grab an oat soda and catch the end of the costume contest, and then the movie/live action experience began. And it was frickin' awesome. I've seen the film more times than I can remember, and seeing the cast join in was a lot of fun. And somehow I always see something new every time I see it. I think I had previously noticed that Bunny's license plate was "LAPIN" which I knew was from the root for rabbit. But I didn't realize until I looked it up that it was specifically a castrated male rabbit, appropriate since Bunny almost makes the Dude lose his johnson. But what I definitely noticed for the first time was that in the ashes-scattering scene there's a guy walking on the cliff in the corner. I don't know if he's intentional or a mistake, if he's part of the crew or just some guy who wandered buy during the shot. But he's my new favorite obscure character. I'm going to tell people I'm in costume as him at the next Lebowski party.

Total Running Time: 381 minutes
My Total Minutes: 417,456
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