Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 12

President's Day. Since the movies didn't start until 7:15, I spent my day off not sleeping (that would've been smart) or writing these reviews (would've also been smart), but going to the Toronado for their Barleywine festival (not smart, but fun and delicious). By sheer force of will I mostly stayed awake through all the movies.

Those movies which I stayed awake for started with the short The Party, about a group of women getting together for a sex-toy party. Some are into it, and happy just to be able to talk openly and comfortably about sex and toys. Others want no part of it.

This was the lead in for the surprisingly funny mockumentary RSO (Registered Sex Offender). An unnamed 20-something anti-hero (Gabriel McIver) has just been released from prison after a 3 year sentence. We never really get a good explanation of what he did (we get several possible crimes, but I chose to believe they were all bullshit), but we know he's now on the Texas Registered Sex Offender list, and has to go door-to-door in a 3 block radius telling all his neighbors. At the same time, he's trying to pick up where he left off with his girlfriend (Kristen Tucker, who's way too hot for him. That was the hardest thing to buy about the movie). She still supports him, while he tries to look for work, attends mandatory meetings, and just tries to navigate through the world. This could be an interesting look at redemption, rehabilitation, the fairness of sex offender registries, whatever. But instead it focuses on him being a smart-ass and not getting his life together. Same with all the people in his support group. In fact, while it's alternatively funny and hard to watch, that's really the point of the movie. The offenders are smart-asses who won't turn themselves around until they hit rock bottom. So in the meantime, let's laugh at them? Maybe I missed the point, but I enjoyed the movie. Plus it has cameos by directors Andrew (I defined "mumblecore") Bujalski, Richard Linklater, and San Francisco's own sex addict, Caveh Zahedi.

And then it was time for some Plymptoons, from Indiefest's favorite animator, Bill Plympton. First up, he continues his Dog series (Guard Dog, Guide Dog) with Hot Dog. Now that annoying yappy dog wants to be on the fire department. With predictably hilariously tragic results.

And finally, the Plymptoon feature Idiots and Angels, a surprisingly moralistic, even religious film. Angel is a jerk. He hangs out in his local bar, berates his fellow patrons, and is an all-around miserable guy. One morning, he finds angel wings growing out his back. At first he wants no part of this, but once he learns to fly he thinks the world is his. He can soar through the air, moon passing jets, and swoop down and snatch a lady's purse. Wait, check that last one, because the wings come with their own conscience, and force him to be good. Well, now he wants no part of this, and tries to remove them. But what's worse than having wings that force you to be good? Someone else having the wings and learning to use them for evil. Finally Angel has to become a hero and save the beautiful lady (and, oh yeah, his own soul). Plympton works his typical minimal dialogue (actually, to my memory there was absolutely none in this film) to tell a solid story. My one complaint could be that the music was so soothing that in some of the early parts it was hard to stay awake (but again, I had 11 barleywines in me).

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