What I enjoyed about this film was how natural it all felt. I felt like I was a fly on the wall and this was a documentary of someone’s life. The film had such an intimacy to it. The performances and dialogue was so natural that it never for a moment felt forced or contrived. The film reminded me of the films of John Cassavetes. The director of the film Jeff Lipsky was on hand to introduce the film and to answer questions afterward. He said the entire film was shot in 30 days at a cost of $470,000 and on actual FILM! This film is all the more impressive knowing how much was accomplished with so little. What I also admire about this film is how rich and complicated the characters are. I also like how the film balances them out in terms of their relationship. There is not a “bad guy” per say in the story. Both the man and the woman make mistakes and contribute to the relationship’s demise. They are both at fault in equal measure and you find yourself really caring about them and wanting them to make it. The film charted many sad truths about relationships and life in general. It is all painful and complicated yet beautiful at the same time. Watch the trailer and find out more at the Official Website.
This year’s theme involved Stooge shorts where they were in some way, shape of form embroiled in the military. Here is what the program line up consisted of:
Uncivil Warriors (1935)
In this short, the Stooges were Union soldiers who are assigned to spy on and infiltrate the Confederate headquarters. Seeing the Stooges sip mint juleps and attempt Southern accents was hilarious to say the least. Of course there were plenty of laughs when Curly tried to dress as a woman and imitate a Southern belle. My favorite moment was when he ran out screening wearing only pantaloons and a curly haired wig.
After the end of the show, I determined that this one was my favorite.
Boobs in Arms (1940)
In this one the Stooges start out as “regular Joes” selling greeting cards door to door but inadvertently wind up in the military. Hilarity ensues when they are unable to conform to military life and are sent to the front line.
I’ll Never Heil Again (1941)
The program notes mentioned that this film was a follow up to You Nazty Spy and was the most political film they made. Moe pulls off a funny but frightening Hitler impersonation while Curly played Field Marshall Herring and Larry played the Minister of Propaganda. The funniest scene is when Moe takes the globe and declares that he has the whole world in his hand…and then Curly proceeds to break it over his head. Watching comedies like this one is always a double edged sword. Sure it is funny, but given the horrifying true life events that inspired it, there is always a sense of tragedy under the humor…to me at least.
Fuelin’ Around (1949)
This film had more of a Cold War backdrop. In this one, the Stooges are working as carpet layers when Larry is mistaken for a Rocket Scientist. The Stooges are kidnapped and taken to a secret compound where they are commanded to re-create a special rocket fuel. Not wanting the REAL Rocket Scientist to be kidnapped, they try their best to improvise. Eventually they create a solution that will dissolve the floor and help them to rescue the scientist and to defeat the enemy.
Three Little Sew and Sews (1939)
This film features the Stooges working as tailors in the Navy. When Curly finds a party invitation in the Admiral’s coat, he decides to wear the coat and attend the party in his place. This leads Larry and Moe to do the same. Misunderstandings ensue and the Stooges wind up capturing enemy spies. This short featured submarine, bomb, planes and chase scenes. It was by far one of their most elaborate productions.
One thing that I always enjoy about these Stooge Fests is how excited and enthusiastic the audiences are. People were clapping along with the theme song and cheering and clapping at the end of every film. Many people brought children to the event. I envied these kids getting to see the Stooges on a big screen in a historic movie palace! I used to wake up at 6:00am and watch them on Channel 11 when I was a kid growing up. That was the only way I could see them! This event was great and all of the prints looked terrific. If you happen to be in town next year over Thanksgiving weekend, I strongly endorse going to this festival.