Friday, February 12, 2016

Jason goes to Indiefest--Opening Night

My first film-fest love kicked off for the 18th time last night (15th with me in the front row.) Jeff still managed to seem like he was winging his opening remarks even when reading from his paper, that's just the punk-rock, DIY aesthetic of the place (something that shouldn't be lost just because they have an actual corporate sponsor.)

So then the movie, FRANK AND CINDY. Based very definitely on director G.J. Echternkamp's family (and looks like a dramatic take on his 2007 documentary of the same name,) it's the story of his mom and step-father. Frank Garcia (Oliver Platt) was the lead singer of OXO, a one-hit wonder in the 80s. Cindy (Renee Russo, completely unrecognizable in character) was his groupie, and married him. And G. J. (Johnny Simmons) is home, ready to go to arts school as a film student, and fucking hates his alcoholic mother and even worse step-father. And when he finds out that A) his mom has (claimed to have) stopped drinking and B) spent all of his savings (intended to send him to film school) on a basement studio for Frank, he gets pretty upset. And decides he's going to film them, every day, to document their horribleness.

The thing is, I didn't understand right away why the audience was roaring with laughter at moments I thought were kinda funny, but mostly uncomfortable. By the end, I was laughing along, because here's the secret--Frank and Cindy are flawed people, but G.J. is a truly horrible person. Not just torturing his parents, but sleeping with any woman who's willing, including cheating on the one girl (Jane Levy) who he might actually feel something for.

There is some resolution by the end, and a nice scene with G.J.'s biological dad (who was a cool surprise, so I won't spoil that.) And the final concert is actually...redemptive, in a way. For everyone, in fact. So G.J. didn't make a movie entirely about what a horrible person he is. That was just my favorite part of it.

Running Time: 100 minutes
My Total Minutes: 416,897
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