I started Wednesday night in Redwood City, grabbing a margarita and some nibbles with some Guerilla Wanderers friends Sean and Elizabeth (have I mentioned how cool the festival trailer is every year, and that their series Doucheaholics is coming soon) at Quinto Sol. Then time for some sexy comedy.
First the short SOME BRIGHT WHITE. The son of a Bob Ross-esque famous painter has troubles. Mostly, that he can't find love. And then, when he least expects it, love finds him. And kidnaps him, thinking he's his father. And demands that he paint her. And tortures him when he says he can't. Love always wins, usually be kicking the crap out of you. Hilarious.
And then the feature, THREESOMETHING, a very funny take on sex, relationships, and how complicated and ridiculous they can get. Charlie and Isaac are best buddies. At least, Isaac will admit that Charlie's his best friend, Charlie is a little weird about it. And that's the theme of the movie--people being weird about their feelings. Anyway, they feel like...having a threesome. Charlie knows a girl, Zoe. She's pretty, and she might be down, and he's had a crush on her forever. Well, it turns out, on that night, after some awkward crying, she's really into...Isaac. And Charlie can just wait outside. Well that's just the start. I was afraid for a bit that would be the one joke carrying the movie all the way through. I have a concept I call 'feature length shorts,' which are feature films that have enough of an idea to be a great 10-20 minute short, but are stretched out to feature length. They're very common in independent film festivals, and for a few minutes, I was afraid I was heading into another one of those. In fact, I was ready to say that the short should've been longer and this should've been a short. But then it starts taking some turns and throwing new layers on and realizing there's more hilarious weirdness than just the starting premise. Not to give away too much, but I love Charlie's mom's advice. And when Charlie and Zoe realize they have something they really like doing together, too. But the best joke is Isaac's last name. You have to watch and pay attention to catch it, but as a Mr. Wiener myself, I appreciate humor that involves embarrassing names. And there's absolutely no way I'll ruin the joke by linking to to his character's Facebook profile.
SOME BRIGHT WHITE and THREESOMETHING play one more time, Saturday night in Redwood City.
Then I drove down to San Jose. Although I got lucky with the traffic, it's not something I recommend doing during the festival. There is a convenient Caltrain station that will take you between San Jose Diridon and Redwood City in 30-50 minutes (depending on if it's a bullet train or not.) The problem is that off-peak hours, it only comes by about once an hour. So if you time things right it's easy, but if not you can be waiting for an hour for your train. Best bet to maximize your film-watching is simply pick one locale and stay there all day.
Anyway, I was lucky and it worked out. Not only was I there in plenty of time, I was there with enough time to spare to stop by the Maverick Meetup at Loft to have a couple of drinks before the next movie.
And that movie was VIRGINIA MINNESOTA. Lyle (Rachel Hendrix) is a traveler, living out of her car, writing a travel blog, talking to her only companion, a hitch-hiking robot suitcase named Mister. She grew up in the care of the Larsmont home for troubled girls, or girls from troubled families...I forget the actual name of the place. The important thing is she's one of four girls who last lived there when the place shut down, and the old caregiver has passed away, and mentioned all of the girls in her will. But all four have to be there for the will to be read. And while two of the girls are already there, Addison (Aurora Perrineau) is stubbornly staying in her hometown of Gran Marais (which is a real town, along with Larsmont, along the Lake Superior coast of Minnesota. Well, Lyle has places to go, and can't stay long, so she takes on the mission of finding Addison and dragging her back to Larsmont. Along the way they'll have wacky adventures, but also dig up old childhood trauma. And it's all imbued with this sense of magic realism around the local legends, like the Wendigo, or the Lake Superior Sea Panther, of the Viking who is still looking for his lost daughter. Just fantastic all the way around. Funny and touching, great acting (from very beautiful actresses,) surprises, absurdity, and a recovery of the sense of wonder. An excellent way to end the night.
Well, okay, I really ended the night with one more drink at the Loft. But still...
VIRGINIA MINNESOTA plays one more time, as the early show on Friday at the 3 Below in San Jose.
Total Running Time: 179 minutes
My Total Minutes: 473,440