Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 7

Another day, another 5 movies, another untold amount of beer.

We started the day with LAWRENCE & HOLLOMAN, a wacky comedy about a sad sack loser accountant (Glen Holloman) and his eternally optimistic, charismatic, charming, handsome salesman (Lawrence) who works at the same department store. Holloman is about ready to kill himself. But instead he has a drink with Lawrence to find out what makes the world work for him (Lawrence) while it seems to not even notice he (Holloman) exists. Lawrence is just a happy, happy guy, the eternal optimist dropping malapropisms all over the doggy-dog world. So Lawrence takes Holloman under his wing, and...Holloman decides to torture the crap out of him. See, it's just not fair that one person gets to  be so happy while another is so miserable. So to prove Lawrence's happiness is all because of his good luck, Holloman sets out to make his luck become very, very, very bad, in escalating and morbidly hilarious ways. And that is sickly awesome.

Shorts 7: Wait for It
ADRIFT: Fog, rolling in an out of the San Francisco Bay. That's all...nothing happens...and it's beautiful.
THE BRUNCHERS: A British couple, afraid they've become boring, decide to have brunch like all their hipster friends. An adventure to try to get a seat at new Toast, or even old Toast, or even Marmalade (where no one goes because it isn't hip.) Very funny.
GOLDFIELD: Finding gold is hard. Not killing each other after you've found it is even harder.
HALF SHAVED: The whole time I was trying to remember why this was so familiar and where I had seen it before. Turns out I hadn't; it was supposed to play in Cinequest last year and in looking up why it didn't, I discovered the screenplay. By pure chance, a barber happens to meet his former tormentor.
ME + HER: Cardboard characters on a journey of love, loss, life, and recycling.
MY FATHER'S TRUCK: A coming-of-age road journey in Vietnam, as a little girl follows her father around for the day as he makes a living giving rides on his truck. Sometimes to good people, sometimes to bad, and sometimes it's complicated.
THE TRYOUTS: A young American Muslim girl tries out for her school's cheer-leading squad. She's good, she's been practicing with her friends. But the issue of the uniform might be a problem. A problem that can no doubt be solved with a little creative teenage rebellion.

Shorts 3: Humor Me. Comedy shorts that are funny with the jokes and humorous situations that make you laugh!
#TWITTERKILLS: A woman is tormented by a stranger (or strange force) who is deleting her tweets and replacing them with tweets about what she's really doing. The horror, the horror!
BOWLING KILLERS: Killing for a living, bowling for fun. We see a mundane conversation about the big match, their uniforms, Flemish colors, etc.--all through the eyes of their latest contract victim, who is apparently unkillable. Very funny.
DATE OF THE DEAD: Exactly what it sounds like, a date with a zombie. But when you look past the rotting surface, you realize you have a lot in common. So don't blow it by coming on too strong.
THE GHOST PEPPER EATING CONTEST OF JEFFERSON COUNTY: A hilarious documentary about eating really, really, really hot peppers.
OLYMPIC AND WESTERN: A PRIMER ON THE TYPOGRAPHIC ORDER AND AND ARGUMENT FOR ITS PROPER USAGE IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: The most important thing you will ever read and/or hear. So important that rather than try to sum it up, I will simply link to the full film on Vimeo.
REEL LIFE: A man who knows he's in a movie, and recognizes montages, cutaways, etc. He's on a date with a woman who is very confused about it. Especially when they go back to her place for a PG-13 edit of a love scene.
SUMI: A woman who makes a strange living on the phone, giving...many different services.
TEXAS: A dispute on the Texas/Oklahoma border, where a broken family tries to work it out and get back together.
THANK YOU, CABBAGE: An acclaimed female writer, the "songstress of the small" who embraces neo-domesticity, is confronted with what a freakin' jerk her husband is and finally reinvents herself. Um...all thanks to a cabbage.

And then just a little break before WHEN THE MAN WENT SOUTH, the first feature film shot in the Tongan language. The light-hearted narration explains from the beginning that this isn't an important story, or one with a deep lesson. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened. Flying Fox is beloved in his village. Enough so that he's the front-runner to be the new Headman. His only competition is a complete moron who is only under consideration because his father begged the current Headman. But first, Flying Fox must learn of the world, so he heads south to learn what he can learn. And he runs into villages who have been at war so long they can't remember why they're fighting. He studies the situation, thinks up clever solutions, and eventually decides it's time to return home. There he finds new challenges, and perhaps the lessons he learned in the south will help him. Or not. Maybe all that's really important is getting a well-prepared meal. A wonderful little gem of a film that provides a window into a different culture, shows us our similarities, and makes us laugh. At least, it made me laugh.

And finally the last film of the night started with the PTP short JASON AND ROY, which is an awesome title since I've been running around with my friend Roy all festival. But it's not actually about that, it's about Jason Collins, coming out as a gay professional basketball player. And it's about some other player named Roy who made some homophobic slur in a game. And mostly it's about two friends talking about that, and one learning something about his own homophobia.

And then the feature, BITE SIZE, about childhood obesity. By following a few children, it makes the epidemic personal instead of a statistical. Like Davion, a kid who was told he had the body of a football player, but can't even run a lap around the field. Or Moy, who likes playing video games and is trying to learn to eat right. Or Emily, who has been to fat camp a couple of times but always backslides when she gets home. Or KeAnna and her group of friends all going through a weight loss/healthy living program together with their diabetic counselor. A big recurring theme is how much the adults--be they parents or teachers--have to learn. And how bad it is for parents to keep up their bad habits when the kids are trying to be good (I'm looking at you, Moy's dad!) And most importantly, it's about realizing that obesity is a symptom of something else. And finding that problem, replacing food with another passion and realizing that the goal isn't about losing weight (especially not about losing weight quickly) but about finding what you're living for...that's what it's all about. And seeing Davion grow into actually being a football player and a bit of a leader--he seems to be the one who gets it the most. He might just grow up to be okay (of course, I hope that for everyone.) And that's pretty cool.

Total Running Time: 466 minutes
My Total Minutes: 356,065

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