Monday, February 16, 2015

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 10

4 shows as we kick off the big second weekend of the festival.

Shorts 3: The F Word (that word being "Funny")
BEST SOUND: Drink a lot of beer. Get sick, throw up. All so a found sound musician can mix it into a song.
BREAK A LEG: The strangest, cruelest, most unfair auditions ever. Seriously, the movie is based on the true story of a blind girl trapped in a well who taught herself to see and then climbed out of the well. And that girl went on to become an actress but can't even get a role in the movie based on her life? What the hell!?
DIAL Y FOR YESTERDAY: Sad loser telemarketer dreams of his childhood. And then a mysterious figure shows up and offers him a way to reclaim it. But not in the way you'd expect. Nice twist ending.
FRIEND$HIP: A Sili-Valley startup with the brilliant idea to take social networking off the Internet. After all, while most people have the Internet, everybody has not the Internet. It's a huge untapped market!
HAND JOB: PORTRAIT OF A MALE HAND MODEL: For a while, I actually thought this mockumentary was a real documentary behind-the-scenes of a hand model on a commercial shoot. Turns out, it was because the lead actor actually is a hand model, too. And the director just approached him on a commercial shoot asking if he could follow him around. Then when he found out he wasn't as odd as the typical hand model he's met, they got to talking and made it a fictional film with the actor playing the character of a slightly crazier hand model. Anyway, it was really funny.
MIND GAME: A cool Spanish story about a young boy who is convinced he has telekinetic powers. Great twist ending.
POSTER BOY: And then the best twist ending, the story of the graphic designer who makes all the signs for a gay-bashing church, and how he gets the best of them in the end.

Then with the next feature, tardfest developmentally-disabled-fest continued with LOVE LAND. A story of disabled rights and the tension between care and freedom. Ivy is a 24 year old woman with some brain damage from an accident that sort of makes her a perpetual teenager. She hides her disability pretty well most of the time. But eventually, especially after she's caught doing something illegal with her underage crush, Oscar, she is sent to an assisted living least on a trial basis. Which comes off as less of a decision for her benefit than it is for her sister who takes care of her (and who wants to start a family of her own.) The institution has everything she could want--except freedom. In there she meets Roger (Michael Iovine, who was excellent) who loves living there, giving tours, basically helping run the place. Roger could actually leave any time, and when Ivy figures that out, he becomes her ticket out of there. This movie surprised me with how good it was, in telling a sensitive difficult story in a truly entertaining way (the trailer makes it look like meandering mumblecore, and it definitely isn't, it has a good story that's well told.) And it makes an excellent point that the residents aren't necessarily there because of how they are, they are how they are because of where they are.

And then a teen-movie documentary BEYOND CLUELESS, which surprisingly had little of CLUELESS in it. Instead it was a smorgasbord of teen movies--comedy to drama to horror--with a through line of narration by Faruiza Balk trying to tie it all together. Trying being the operative word, because I don't think it really succeeded. There are points in there about the strict social codes of the cliques, and how conformity is imposed. But I think it stretches too far trying to make its point. Ultimately I have to go with what my friend Ira said at the end--that was pretty but empty.

And then the 80s Power Ballad Sing-A-Long/Anti-Valentine's Party, an Indiefest tradition for several years now (I'm an old guy, I remember back before Indiefest did this.) This was a "new" show--meaning that maybe 20% of the lineup was different. But the standards--"Love Bite," "Shot Through The Heart," etc. are still there. They opened the show with a couple of comedy acts, and then about 90 minutes of power ballad, ending with one of the new entries, "Bohemian Rhapsody." And that, of course, is always cool, no matter how much the house reeks of sweat, PBR, and...I don't want to know what else. I will say the stench was remarkably mitigated the next day, and the floor was only slightly sticky. So my endless kudos to the cleaning crew.

Total Running Time: 392 minutes
My Total Minutes: 383,683

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