Monday, March 6, 2017

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 6

Another full night of partying last Saturday, then a full day of films on Sunday, as my favorite drinking-festival-with-a-movie-problem marches on. First up...was a lot of morning drinking in the VIP lounge. A little breakfast, a little mimosa, a Bloody Mary, a couple of beers. Because I was explicitly told by the makes of  WILD MAN that I should drink before seeing their film (oh yeah, and I snuck a flask of whiskey in.)

WILD MAN is a very funny but heartfelt movie about a drunk loser living off former glory and never really growing up. Bo is a former high school football star and currently barely successful actor. He doesn't get the big parts, or even the small-ish parts. He's got one commercial for Bulldog Insurance, and he basically lives off his catchphrase, "I don't got a dog in that fight." But his contract even prevents him from taking other commercial work. So with a stalled career he heads back to Tennessee for his high school reunion to relive his glory days...and to get laid. Instead he gets shit-faced drunk, gets pulled over for DUI, and pisses on the cop. Oh, and the dashcam video of his arrest goes viral. So he's under house arrest...living with his sister...kinda. Actually, he's living in his niece's pink princess fantasy house in the backyard. Lead actor Ted Welch is perfect as the wretched slob with a (barely detectable) heart of gold, and does a great job humiliating himself through the whole film. He meets Elliot, the kid across the street (whose mother happens to be an old flame of his) and teaches the tubby, picked-on kid how to play football. Maybe if Elliot makes the team Bo can turn his life around. Or at least get with his mom. Funny and light-hearted with a semi-serious message about growing up. How hard it is to do as a kid, and how much harder it is to do as an adult. I can relate.

WILD MAN plays again:
Tue, Mar 7 6:15 PM in Redwood City
Fri, Mar 10 5:00 PM in Redwood City

Next up was FIXED, a comedy about vasectomy that is totally nuts. The funniest thing at the festival so far, I totally had a ball with this film. Allan is a father of three, and no matter how much he loves his kids, they're still a pain in his...lifestyle. He loves his wife, too, but they just don't have time for sex anymore. And when they do...she's not on the pill anymore. The hormones were doing bad things to her. And so...the conversation starts. Should he get a vasectomy? Of course, this makes him a bit testy. Men just always associate vasectomy with castration, even though there's a vast difference between them. So he's got his friends teasing him, even though one has already been snipped. They play a little like the angel and devil on his shoulders. Plus, as if that's not enough, his Jeep is falling apart and so maybe it's time to get...a minivan. His crisis leads to some pretty hilarious adventures, especially when he goes on a "rumspringa" from fatherhood and can indulge in his fantasies one last time (no spoilers, but the different idea of fantasies of a middle-aged father are pretty hilarious.) The jokes come at you rapid fire, so even though I was laughing pretty much the whole time, I'm sure there are some jokes that I missed. Maybe I'll just have to see it again. It's a potent comedy that couldn't possibly be improved by cutting anything out.

FIXED plays again:
Tue, Mar 7 9:15 PM in Redwood City
Fri, Mar 10 2:00 PM in Redwood City

Then back to the lounge for a few more drinks, and back to the California Theatre for ACTORS ANONYMOUS. It's based on a book by James Franco, and features Franco as a successful and conceited actor. But it's mostly about Sean and Ben, two different struggling actors. Sean (Scott Haze) has had bad problems with drugs in the past, but is now sober with the help of his sponsor, played by Eric Roberts. Ben (Jake Robbins) is a recent transplant from South Dakota, where he got the acting bug in a school play--while also taking some liberties with Shakespeare's script because he was in love lust with Juliet. Yeah, his romantic problems will be...more problematic as the film goes on. Obsessions escalate, and personal demons resurface, causing bad decisions and worse decisions. Because it's James Franco, there's always this uneasy tension on whether it's all fiction, whether it's based on something true, or whether it's purely fiction that Franco wants you to believe is true. In any case, it's a very...unappealing portrayal of the life of an actor. But it's a very well done, compelling, unappealing portrayal of the life of an actor.

ACTORS ANONYMOUS plays again:
Tue, Mar 7 8:30 PM at Santana Row
Fri, Mar 10 7:00 PM in Redwood City
Sun, Mar 12 6:15 PM in Redwood City

The screenings were running a little late. So I didn't make it to Santana Row for NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK. I apologize to them, and I will find a way to see it later in the festival.

I did stop by for the final moments of the VIP Soiree at Chacho's and Deluxe. And then I did something I rarely do at Cinequest--or any film fest. I skipped a time slot to go get a proper, sit down, not rushed dinner (at a great pizza place called Pieology, but I don't think it's on the CQ Dining Circle, so let's keep that a secret.)

And then I ended the night back at the Cal for SWEET GIRLS, a semi-dark comedy from Switzerland. Elodie and Marie are two teenage girls with no jobs and no prospects. Not even a place to live. And all because those stupid old people refuse to die or move away or otherwise give up their nice, affordable apartments (well, especially affordable if the old folks' pension checks are auto-paying the rent.) So they hatch a plan. It isn't entirely evil. Just a way to relocate the senior citizens. No need to spoil their machinations, but suffice it to say their plot is successful, somewhat. The senior citizens are quarantined underground, and the teenagers get to take over topside, and rule based on their naive world views. But the seniors find a community they've been missing, and the teenagers find how shitty they really are at running a community. Very funny, although it dragged on a bit. A great idea, mostly well executed, and just needs some editing for pacing. I wouldn't quite call it a "90 minute short" like so many independent films. But at 100 minutes...and the last film of an exhausting day...it was just a little bit too much.

SWEET GIRLS plays again:
Wed, Mar 8 8:30 PM at Santana Row
Sat, Mar 11 7:00 PM in Redwood City
Sun, Mar 12 10:45 AM in Redwood City

Total Running Time: 368 minutes
My Total Minutes: 421,019
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