Friday, February 6, 2015

Jason goes to Indiefest--Opening Night

My first and (for the next two weeks) favorite film festival started last night. And there was definitely a feeling of old friends in the air. I arrived early at the Brava Theater to grab my pass, chat with friends (some of whom I see routinely at the movies, some I see practically just this time every year) and drink some free wine courtesy of Dark Horse Wines. The love was definitely there when I saw this on front row center:
Then promptly at 7:30 Jeff took the stage, thanked all the sponsors behind Indiefest, and introduced the director of the opening film, David Cross! He was, of course, hilarious in his introduction, but I was a bit puzzled why he warned the audience not to expect broad comedy. It seemed like he was setting the expectation that it might not be as funny as we expect. If so, that expectation was wrong, because it was hilarious.

HITS is a story of desperate people and Internet fame. Some are just desperate for justice...or their version of justice. Like Matt Walsh's character Dave, a loving father, municipal worker, and thorn in the side of the city council. He always shows up to demand redress of his grievances--from unplowed streets (I mean, they were unplowed months ago, the snow is gone now) to unfixed potholes. Despite his lack of speaking skills and tenuous grasp of Constitutional law, he's a generally sympathetic character. More on that later. His daughter is desperate for fame, imagining herself being interviewed on Ellen. Unfortunately she can't really sing and won't take advice of Amy Sedaris, who was on Star Search Jr. once upon a time. And then there's the creepy, white, wanna be gangster who follows her around. He's desperate for love...or respect...or fear. The town is rounded out with a who's who of David Cross' celebrity friends, from David Koechner to Wyatt Cenac to Michael Cera. Well, Dave's city council rants grab the attention of a small group of Brooklyn social justice warriors, who make him their cause celebre, producing pandering videos of him as a heroic figure against the evil city council of the ironically named Liberty, NY. The cynicism of YouTube fame and hipster douchebags is given a good skewering, and Dave's final rant in a climactic city council meeting is an excellent payoff. I heard later that some test audiences didn't think it was too funny, and that probably had something to do with his introduction, but I loved it.

And then of course he was hilarious again in the Q&A, chatting with Michael Keegan, talking about how many city council videos he watched and how much of Matt Walsh's dialogue in the meetings was taking from real life.
And then there was an after party where I drank a lot of beer before it was time to BART home. Hooray, another Indiefest is kicked off!

Running Time: 96 minutes
My Total Minutes: 381,542

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