2004: Comedy Shorts
thing about film festivals is the fact that you get to see
things you would never normally get to see by buying a ticket
at your multiplex. From surreal subtitled beasts from around
the world, to little movies that just blow your mind, you
can always count on something different from any fest.
THE San Jose film festival, gives us a bunch of those films
every year, and this year, they also manage to give us the
single best collection of short comedies I've ever managed
to any collection of short films is to find a way to hit as
many different styles as possible without feeling scattershot.
Comedy Favorites manages to do that brilliantly by
mixing up a big kettle of varying comedic approaches.
Babysitter, directed by Gideon Raff, is a sort-of coming
of age story about a 10 year old girl and her high school
babysitter. This is a weird film, with all sorts of single
entendre and odd situations. The two characters, played with
wonderful chemistry and charm by Jeremy Lelliott and Tierra
Abbott, are both living a world that they can't fess up to,
so they create an outward image that is far more interesting.
A really funny, and really good short.
is the type of film that you don't see enough of these days.
It's a Woody Allen psychologist film, only made short and
in Brazil. The story is that of a young man whose fantasies
and realities lead him to taking a job as a mascot passing
out flyers and to talking to a shrink. A bunch of coincidences
lead him to dinner at the house of the shrink with wacky results.
Funny and smart and sexy, and directed by Brazilian boy wonder
is any short this year that deserves to be viewed by the fanboy
in all of us, it's Oh Yeah, directed by my fellow Santa
Clara High alumnus Lon Lopez. It's a buddy cop movie where
the loose cannon who plays by his own rules is the Kool-Aid
Man. Yes, that giant, anthropomorphic pitcher. It's brilliant
and won Wizard's annual short film competition. Really funny.
Puppe is a spoof of Le Jette, the French "film"
that served as the inspiration for 12 Monkeys. I can't
do it much more justice than the director did when he wrote
that La Puppe was "A newly reissued film from
actor-writer-director Marty, the patriarch of the French New
Wave Plush-Toy movement and still the leading inanimate object
working in film today." Seriously, even if you have no
idea about the classic Le Jette, this will have you
of the film less than three minutes long is Karma Wheel,
the tale of two brothers on a ferris wheel-type contraption.
Sibling rivalry plays out as they swing around and, of course,
it doesn't end well.
Planet is a World Premiere for director John Cregan. It's
the story of a kid who helps his uncle Max get a place at
a retirement home and decides to stay with him. It features
Alex Rocco, Moe Green from The Godfather, and a really
old guy that I am sure I've seen in a bunch of movies. It
really make you laugh, especially when they sneak a Karate
Kid reference into a Rebel Without A Cause referencing
game of Chicken.
is a great variety of foreign shorts too, all of which made
me chuckle. Penalty Salmon, by Eiji Shimada, is the
tale of a futuristic game that combines Iron Chef, Soccer,
and Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. It's a fun watch.
Dangle is a German film about a guy who finds a very important
light cord. Spelunkers is another German offering that
deals with the German recycling program. While the meaning
will probably be lost on many viewers, there is enough madcap
fun to keep it interesting.
of the program has to be The Climactic Death of Dark Ninja
by Peter Craig. This film is genius, plain and simple, and
is having its world premiere at Cinequest. It is the story
of a group of teenaged filmmakers who are shooting the final
scene in their Ninja film in the woods. All sorts of trouble,
from heat stroke to color blindness to predictable fight choreography
turn the shoot into a trial. It's hilarious, smart and just
are in San Jose, check out the Cinequest Film Festival. Comedy
Favorites shows at 7:15 on The fourth of March, and again
at 2:45 on the sixth. Tickets are nine bucks, but worth triple
that for the amount of comedy packed into just two hour laugh-a-thon.