Wednesday, June 15, 2005

SIFF diary, part 9

Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody? and Lonesome Jim

“Are you the Favorite Person of Anybody?” is the question posed by John C. Reilly to the people he encounters on the street. Actually, he is conducting a simple survey asking first whether they are anybodies’ favorite person and then a few clarifying questions. This four minute short was very entertaining. Each person he encounters gives a different and sometimes surprising answer to his query. Not the best short or the most imaginative short that I saw this festival but good none the less.

The four minute short film, written by Miranda July (Center of the World) and preceded Lonesome Jim, the new feature directed by Steve Buscemi.

Lonesome Jim is a very understated and peculiar little film that caught me totally off guard by how much I enjoyed it. Jim (Casey Affleck) has moved back home to Goshen, Indiana defeated after a failing to make it in Yew York City. Jim is chronically depressed and has a habit of pointing out just how hopeless and pointless life can be while admiring his wall of photos of great writer’s who came to untimely ends, usually as a result of suicide.

Lonesome Jim has a very dry wit about life disappointments and about the small midwestern town life. I’m not finding the words to adequately describe the experience of watching this film, but there were a lot of laughs and I grinned throughout. And I am amused to report that Ricki’s I, II, and III are actual bars in Goshen and that one of them displays the scooter that Evil (Mark Boone Junior) rides through town. The only thing that would have made the small town Indiana town feel even more genuine would be if they had gotten the rights to some John Cougar’s music.

Lonesome Jim was not among the best films that I saw during the SIFF, but one of the films that I enjoyed the most. I have some complaints concerning the drab, grey look of the film and the quality of the digital video it was shot on (Buscemi needs to spend some time with Rodriguez because digital doesn’t have to look this crumby) and the performances were purposely understated and thus, un-remarkable. In general, Lonesome Jim worked and is a film that I look forward to watching again, especially on those days when the future looks as bleak and disappointing as Jim’s.

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