Friday, September 21, 2012

Worth Mentioning - women, cinema, yay!

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody finds some more indie love. Sort of.

GOOD DICK (2008)

In addition to making her writing/directing/producing debut on this movie, Marianna Palka also stars as an emotionally disturbed, socially awkward young woman who lives alone in a garbage-strewn apartment and has a predilection for watching softcore pornography.

Palka cast her real life boyfriend Jason Ritter opposite her, in the role of the homeless young man who works as a clerk in the video store the woman regularly rents her erotica from.

Intrigued by this strange girl, the young man follows her to her apartment and sets out to work his way into her life, delivering movies to her door, spinning lies that he's the nephew of her elderly neighbor as an excuse for why he's around so much, very slowly getting her to befriend him through will and determination. She likes his company, and the food he provides, but would prefer if he didn't talk. A major breakthrough occurs when the woman decides to allow the man to watch the porn with her, on the condition that he not get a boner. Eventually, the man notifies the woman, "I am your boyfriend." She replies, "I don't even like you."

And so this very strange little love story of sorts plays out, with an oddball stalker talking and deceiving his way into the life of a rude, damaged porn addict, and it's not quite clear why for most of the running time. But it's interesting, and if the man could just get the woman to lower her guard, the relationship would probably be a very good thing for her.

Shot on a Sony HDW-F900 with a budget of around $200,000, the movie looks great. Mark Webber, Martin Starr, and Eric Edelstein have fun supporting roles as the man's co-workers, and Palka and Ritter both do quite well as the leads, with Ritter being especially charming (or as charming as his weird character can be) and entertaining.

The DVD features a sixty-five minute documentary following the Good Dick cast and crew through their experience at Sundance.


The morning after an alcohol-fueled party at the home of a mutual acquaintance, a man and woman in their twenties wake up in bed together, hung over and unaware of each other's names. They silently and awkwardly get dressed and leave, and once they're outside the man finally speaks to the woman, asking if she'd like to join him for coffee. They chitchat, she's not very open with him but they do finally tell each other their names - he's Micah, she's Angela. They share a cab ride, and Angela is the first to be dropped off. When she exits the cab and walks off into her neighborhood, she may well be out of Micah's life for good.

But when the cab reaches Micah's home, he realizes that Angela left her purse behind in the vehicle. Checking her I.D., he discovers that her name is really Joanne. Now that he has her full name, he's able to look her up on MySpace, and after looking over her profile decides to hop on his bike and return her purse in person.

Jo' continues to be standoffish after Micah shows up at her place, but the reason for that is soon revealed - she has a boyfriend, who she lives with and who is currently out of town. Micah is gradually able to talk and charm his way into getting her to smile and then agree to hang out with him some more.

From that point on, the film plays out similarly to the Richard Linklater greats Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, following the young, potentially romantic duo as they spend the day together, making their way around a city (San Francisco in this case), talking, discussing social and racial issues, getting to know each other, enjoying each other's company. The odds are against Micah and Jo' - she is already "in a relationship" after all - but they have this day together, if nothing else.

Medicine for Melancholy is an awesome feature debut for writer/director Barry Jenkins, made on a very low budget (the IMDb estimate is $13,000) and shot with a Panasonic HVX-200 HD camera, through Nikon Still SLR lenses. The footage captured by cinematographer James Laxton was desaturated, the level of color in the image manipulated from scene to scene, giving the movie a very cool, unique look.

Jenkins found his leads on the internet, contacting Wyatt Cenac through MySpace to play Micah and finding his Jo', Tracey Heggins, on His online search worked out perfectly, as Cenac and Heggins give great, likeable performances.

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