Friday, March 30, 2007

Mutual Appreciation

Like one of the characters in Andrew Bujalski's films, I'm having a hard time putting into words what makes his stuff so unassumingly satisfying. Just watched the follow up to Funny Ha Ha. This one takes place in Brooklyn, stars the delightfully dorky director again in a starring role, focuses on his character's amateur-rocker friend's arrival to town. It's shot in grainy black and white. The script feels improvised at times, although what I've read says it's actually pretty well thought out. And if that's the case, you can tell by the end, because scenes that seem like they might be throw-aways actually come together in the end and do a good job of making you care about the characters. What makes the film -- which you might be tempted to call a nothing-happens flick if it didn't seem so well made in its own indie way -- so above-average is the way the actors manage to fill the moments with that realistic swirl of mixed emotions. And not in the typical torn-between-two-poles way. More like the: I'd like to kiss her but she doesn't totally seem into it so I'll brush her arm and then tell her I can stop if she wants and then laugh nervously when she acknowledges it then freak at the silence and pause and start to pull away and worry what would happen if I take a risk and ... You know that mix of emotion. That's a scene in the movie, with none of those exact words spoken. And the funny thing is that the medium does such a good job of conveying all that and putting you in that halting, um-yeah mode that I'm not being able to express myself very well here. But it's late on a Friday after being stuck in a big magnet for almost two hours after a long day of work, so that might be it too. But the movie's good. Netflix it.

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