Saturday, November 28, 2015
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0042: THE COMEDY (2012)
Directed By: Rick Alverson
Written By: Rick Alverson, Robert Donne & Colm O’Leary
Cinematography By: Mark Schwartzbard
Editor: Michael Taylor
Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, James Murphy, Gregg Turkington, Jeffrey Jensen, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alexia Rasmussen
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
Indifferent to the notion of inheriting his father's estate, a restless, aging New Yorker passes time with his friends in games of mock sincerity and irreverence.
This is a film that I went into mostly blind. Which is the best way to truly appreciate the film.
The script was a treatment by Rick Alverson and his co-writers, with the cast improvising in their scenes.
Shot in 15 days, with only a 18-20 page treatment.
Rick Alverson wanted Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim to be in the film after seeing their performances on "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" because of their signature use of excessive awkwardness.
This film is certainly not for everyone.
Initially I found. The film pretentious and sort of representative of this generation of so-called hipsters. Which it is, but also manages to give them at least more depth then usually. Though it still asks us to a degree to sympathize or at least relate to an unlikeable lead character. Which in it's own way tries to make an anti-hero and an anti anti-hero as he And his friends are barely redeemable.
Though the film does let us see the obnoxious and privileged In their element. Which is mostly due to them not only invading but taking over others.
The black males Swanson encounters at a Brooklyn bar were not actors but participants. Their reactions from Heidecker stereotyping them were genuine.
Which seems to be a growing trend in films like this. Where their version of a character being real is to show them in unflattering light and being petty. Sure we all have those feelings, but not everyone is as bad as the characters these films present. I am all for honesty, but it is becoming just another way of making these characters be seen as quirky or raw. Instead of using real emotions or storytelling. I am guessing that would seem like too much manipulation to the filmmakers?
BUFFALO' 66 is when I like to think I started noticing this type of character gaining in popularity and becoming used more and more. Over the years this type of character seems to populate more and more cinema. I think it is also a film that inspired this generation. Though they are too cool to admit it. noticing With time spent we also might recognize little aspects of ourselves or at least he humanity of the character.
As there seem to be more contemporary indie films. Just as these films seem to try to be different as the main characters tend to try to be. Usually unlikeable. The reasons might be because it helps the characters stand out. In their own form of anti-hero. It also humanizes the characters. Letting us see them when they are weak and make bad or worse decisions, showcasing an honesty their is definitely rate in studio films. Though reminds us of shows like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. Also why we like those shows and it's characters.
I will as that with this film it is one of the few times I have found something TIM & ERIC of TIM & ERIC AWESOME SHOW!!! Fake. Actually be good and funny. As one stars and the other co-stars. Though as I find myself liking some of these up and coming so called hipster directors and their films. Which others would call more contemporary Cinema. I find them to be the next generation of MUMBLECORE films that have matured somewhat. I am afraid I am falling into a fan of that crowd, but with reason.
As these films at least not only are taking on more contemporary culture. They also seem to be more experimental in the way they tell their stories. They are in a sense more personal and while comedic not too broad that it becomes unbelievable. They also are usually strongly based on characters and character and though largely improved to give them an in the spot feeling and guerrilla film-making look. They are strongly dialogue driven and feel spontaneous yet structured. They add some spice and life to stories and genres. They are also a natural byproduct of the indie 90's. Where the films felt the same way. Though more heavily scripted. Before all of the indie movement superstars either became more studio directors. As it was their calling cards or big studios started buying up small independent studios or creating their own. Where what was coming Out independently just seemed like lower budgeted studio films only with a twist. The indie films that come out now are so few and far In between that they go for broke In Material. So that hear film feel of course heavily influenced but more a product of somewhat challenging films of the 1970's. Though never seem like the subject matter is as revolutionary or hard fought.
I chalk it up to youth, breaking boundaries and being more experimental in presentation and telling Stories in a new way. The films also seen more collaborative within the cast and crew. All banding together. Not only on the film, but his generation of filmmakers seem to help one another Along in support and sometimes when it comes to production. Almost like a kind of French new wave. Only modern and in the United States.
It's a film that you find yourself really thinking about after and working it all out then.
It feels like a piece of art challenging and more cerebral as you try and put it together. Though the more you think about it you admire it.
Real alcohol was used in scenes involving characters drinking beer and other sorts of liquor. As you can look at the film as sort of a way that most of us put on a certain aspect or character when it comes to the world. To impress each other and get by, but have another self that is more petty, selfish and sad. That we keep to yourself. The characters throughout this film more show the petty side in public putting on a show for their own entertainment and expense at the world. As it amuses them and allows them to keep bottled their true selves as no one will want to delve deeper. Including them when it comes to each other. As the others are the only ones in on it so they are in essence co-stars. Where as the audience the world at large is at their disposal. Think of it sort of like the BORAT film where he is playing a character bit everyone else is themselves and we in the audience find humor in that and that kind of embarrassing yet real reactions they have. Only here that is how he main character goes through life. The film is all. Scripted and improv filled with characters. No so called real people.
I am a bit ashamed as it is hard for me to put I words why I like this film. Hell not only like, but I actually enjoyed it also (The two are not exclusive all the time to one another) maybe It's the absurdist meets reality quality or I just appreciate that it is just different.
I believe part of the fascination and appreciation I have for the film is on how the film Was made. Making people react to him for his enjoyment. Though never seems scared. He has an emotional detachment maybe realizing how empty he and his friends lives are. They are in essence challenging themselves to feel down thing genuine. They get s high off of others reactions. While they seem well off and only to do this for their amusement torturing people.
I am amazed at what his film accomplishes off of an initial 20 page only treatment. It is all improved.
Also as an audience. As the characters are usually the protagonists. we can either sympathize for them as we are pretty much chained to them and must endure with them. So that we can be a witness or can choose to detest them and see the films as an endurance test. Where we hope for a comeuppance.
Also as the characters tend to be a surrogate family for the writer and directors. A voice for them in unpopular opinions or things that they and we wish we could do or say
Also this some might think generation seems to have very little or any shame might be the driving force of this films heart. As because of the open source of the Internet allows you to find anything. Probably too early and without Any context. So that they seek the extreme more to actually feel anything or truly be surprised as boredom is an enemy and a fate worse than Death. Rather than take the time to learn what they seek and have a more informed opinion.
The film was purposely leaked online. After the first ten minutes, however, the film cuts to Heidecker sitting on a boat with an anti-piracy banner that scrolls across the screen which repeats for the rest of the film's running time. Which would seem to fit the attitude of this film.
This film would go nicely with films such as OBVIOUS CHILD, FORT TILDEN, SUMMER OF BLOOD. Though I will admit those films seem more focused and understandable then This film