Friday, March 8, 2019

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 3

I wasn't able to make it to San Jose in time for any of the 5:00 shows (I was hoping to catch RICH KIDS) due to possibly very exciting developments in my day job. But of course I was there for at least some of the VIP Soiree at Il Fornaio. Tasty snacks and drinks with filmmakers from such films as THE TINY LIFE OF BUTCHER DUKE, ADONIS COMPLEX, and APARTMENT 413, so I have those circled in my program now. And then I was off to the California for the Thrive Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, this year presented to Patch Adams and the documentary CLOWNVETS.

But first, the short documentary series STORYBOOKED: INNER WORLDS. It's a showcase of creativity and drive, with an underwater dancer/performance artist, a musician, a choreographer, and an Olympic long-distance runner (is long distance running and introspection an emerging theme of this year's festival? I'll keep my eyes open for it.)

Then CLOWNVETS was an absolutely amazing and beautiful story starring the real-life Patch Adams. Actually, "starring" is the wrong word. He's the catalyst that kicks everything in motion, but the stars are his team of humanitarian clowns. We start with profiles of several veterans, all suffering from PTSD. There are the grim statistics on suicides (the biggest killer in the military, more than combat) and these people are at risk. And Patch comes in with a proposal--a trip to Guatemala to clown around for the needy and disabled in hospitals. I can't stress this enough, but none of these veterans were clowns before. In fact, they seemed like the least likely people in the world to crack a joke or even a smile. But their first assignment--via Skype--was pulling a funny face. Patch walks them through it easily--take your two index fingers, stick them in the sides of your mouth, pull your mouth open as wide as you can, and stick out your tongue. And then we're off to the races. And you can simultaneously see the vets come to life and the poor, disabled Guatemalan kids. It's a story about helping yourself by helping others, and it's about the healing and resilience powers of goofiness. I'm a big fan of goofiness, and a big fan of this movie.
Making this face can save your life. I'm absolutely serious
STORYBOOKED and CLOWNVETS plays again Fri, Mar 8 (today!) at 11:30 AM; Sat, Mar 9 at 5:30 PM; and Mon, Mar 11 at 7:15 PM. All 3 screenings are in Redwood City.

Then it was time for more fun with a sci-fi-rom-com, THE WRONG TODD. Todd is a nice enough guy, if a little bit lazy, coasting through life with his best friend Dave and his lovely girlfriend Lucy (Dave's sister.) And Lucy has some exciting news--a new job offer in Seattle! Thing is, Todd has barely ever left Rhode Island and isn't all that thrilled to move. And then his doppelganger from an alternate universe shows up, clonks him over the head, and sends him into his universe so he can steal Lucy. Now Todd #1 seems crazy to other Dave (with a crazy mustache) and his alternate universe wife-and-mother-of-his-child other Abby (Abby is Lucy's best friend, and in universe #1 she and Dave don't get along.) Confuse yet? Well, it's not that hard to follow, even when the technicians operating the parallel universe transport machine enter the picture. The sci-fi story keeps everything light and entertaining, but the heart of the movie is about the love story, and about Todd learning to appreciate what he had and doing whatever it takes to get back to his universe and win back his Lucy. And finally being willing to move to Seattle (which is an awesome town, I don't know why anyone wouldn't jump at the chance to move to Seattle!)

THE WRONG TODD plays again Fri, Mar 8 at 11:45 AM at the 3 Below; Sat, Mar 9 at 3:15 PM in Redwood City; and Thu, Mar 14 at 7:45 PM again in Redwood City.

Total Running Time: 169 minutes
My Total Minutes: 498,201

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