SLAMDANCE SHORT REVIEWS: 1998

The shorts below represent the notable shorts from Slamdance. (NOTE: We didn’t say they were good films, just “notable.”)
[ JUNKY ] ^ (Directed by Tony Nittoli) ^ The story of one parrot’s struggle with a cracker addiction. The owner of the bird in question resorts to drugging and raping his little “friend”. The things that happen to this poor parrot are funny, disturbing and perverted in this black and white animated short. If you ever meet Mr. Nittoli be afraid. After viewing this short one is moved to one word … WRONG!!!
[ FREE RIDE ] ^ (Directed by David Murphy) ^ Have you ever wondered about those hobo’s that jump from train to train? Neither have we. 35 minutes of dirty, grimy, smelly, train-jumpin-hobo’s is all that we have here. And not much insight. I never thought twice about train-jumping-hobos, hell I never thought once about train-jumping-hobo’s. Interview after interview with hobos … again and again … too long … too long … too long.
[ TRULY COMMITTED ] ^ (Directed by Eric Kripke) ^ Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, this hilarious little film shows just how far a married couple will go to stay together. When the husband is falsely convicted of murder and sentenced to death, his wife, being so devoted, decides to join him on death row. She buys a gun, closes her eyes and shoots the first person she sees, thus achieving her goal of a death row sentence. Unbeknownst to her, a surprise witness comes forth and all charges against her husband are dropped. The husband, now miserable again, arrives home to an empty house and learns that, in fact, his wife is now on death row. It is now his turn to buy a gun and murder the first person he sees. Unbeknownst to him, his wife has convinced a doctor that she is crazy and is carted off to an insane asylum. This chain continues back and forth for another extremely inventive 10 minutes. Definitely the best short in Utah.
Director Kripke just sealed a two-picture deal with DreamWorks, so this just goes to show that shorts can help launch a career.
[ URBANA ] ^ (Directed by Brian Burroughs) ^ A film that makes no sense. I have no idea what this film is about, nor do I care. I have never liked “experimental” films (exactly what is the experiment?) and this film definitely falls under that catagory. 9 out of 10 experimantal films are only experimental because the director could not write a cohesive story. “I’ve got it, I have no talent, but I want to make movies … I will make an experimental film!!!” Sorry, but this is not a good film. At 7 minutes, it’s about 8 minutes too long.
[ A BANANA ] ^ (Directed by Chris Roy) ^ With a length of 14 minutes, you might find yourself thinking about… well anything but the film that you are watching. A confusing film that really is not worth the time it takes to give the audience its one pathetic joke. This film suffers from the one thing that almost every “short” suffers from… it’s too damn long.
[ IDLING BRANDO ] ^ (Directed by Angelo Guglielmo) ^ A film that would have absolutely no interest to any person outside of the LA borders. It’s about wannabe actor Dennis Woodruff, who takes the term “self-promotion” to lengths even Howard Stern could appreciate, such as painting his car with his name and phone number for potential producers. The film was made to get people to take Mr. Woodruff more seriously as an actor, instead this point is completely lost. When we see Woodruff portrayed as a caricature of himself, he comes off as completely insane. Instead of laughing with Mr. Woodruff we are made to laugh AT him. I cannot imagine any producer who, after watching this film, would even consider casting this pathetic guy.
[ CALL ME FISHMAEL ] ^ (Directed by Steven Dovas) ^ An animated film about a fish pitching his story about … you guessed it, a big fish. It is hard to knock a film that is just over two minutes long, so I won’t. The film has a laugh or two and with such a short running time what else can you ask for? Keep up the short lengths.
[ LOVERBOY ] ^ (Directed by Matthew Reichman) ^ Not a very compelling film that seems to be weird just to get a reaction from the audience. It involves a man with no legs and one arm, a bunch of dirty, evil children and a group of women that enjoy watching these children … well, act evil. At 11 minutes long it will definitely mame you look at your watch at least once. “Loverboy” won the award for best Black and White cinematography. It’s beautiful for sure, but a more cohesive story always helps.
[ HEADLESS AT THE FAIR ] ^ (Directed by David Blood) ^ A genuinely enjoyable film with bright, cartoon-like sets and strange cartoon-like people to match. Any film with an ending that features a nude genuine headless actress (great effect!) is definitely worth the 10 minute running time. Look for this at festivals throughout the country. It should play well to audiences that are in the mood for a quick “comic-book-esque” movie.




Posted on February 16, 1998 in Festivals by
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