At any given moment, we're all terrible people doing selfish things, lacking any level of regard for the world around us.
But we can be redeemed.
After catching the shorts at the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival, as soon as intermission was announced, my wife and I ravenously burst out of the tiny theater and basically extreme shuffled our way to the concession stand. Yeah, some pretty crunchy dudes run the joint, so the popcorn is about as flavorful as a Ziploc full of gravel, but it's warm and salty so...yeah...we'll have a large. Or we would have, had that f--king stand not been boarded-the-Hell up. Turns out, not only was popcorn out of the question, but so were drinks, candy and other deliciously terrible thing you could think of. We weren't pissed...but, rather disappointed might be the best way to put it.
If you recall, I had just found out that my grandfather had finally passed. Yet here I was...
...mad about snacks.
In Happy Hunting, the feature that anchored our block of films, Warren is also a miserable bastard living his life painfully (blissfully?) unaware of what really matters. But instead of being a selfish prick like me, he's something way more honorable: a raging, knock-down drunk.
One day, Warren comes out of a stupor long enough to answer the phone, and it's mostly apparent that someone has died, and Warren needs to get his ass to Mexico to sort some shit out. That might be a tall order for any of us, an abrupt trip across the border, but Warren is a major f--k up, so this endeavor is bordering on Mission: Impossible. Good thing he's already got some crank cooking on the stove, and a pair of human shit-stains nearby willing to buy it. Um...kinda.
After the uh, transaction, Warren hauls ass down to Mexico, but ends up getting stuck in the little town of Bedford Flats (pop. 135), Texas, along the way. The townsfolk are little more than absolute f--king whack jobs, and it's all-too clear that Warren has stumbled into some impossibly weird shit. Unless you find an annual hunting and murdering of drifters not all that weird (honestly, at this point in America...it seems kind of...possible). So, not only is our main dude dealing with a bunch of blood-thirsty rednecks, but he's also dealing with the shakes, the sweats, blurry vision and maybe even hallucinations. Sounds fun, right?
Actually, it is, as Happy Hunting is easily the best independent feature I've ever seen at a film festival, and arguably better and more polished than a good number of studio pictures I've seen lately. Directors Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson have crafted a little horror/western flick that's not only a Hell of a good time but also a tasty allegory of 'Merica, too. But the real kicker? It's f--king gorgeous. I kid you not, toothless hillbillies have never looked better. And since I'm from Texas originally, I knows me some toothless hillbillies, y'all. I certainly does.
|Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn't going to end well.|
Speaking of overwhelming credibility hits, here are the Yays and Boos. We've actually been seeing all kinds of movies lately, it's just the writing about them part that we're not so good at anymore. Okay, fine, we were never really good at it, but you know what I mean, f--ker.
|Warren, right, is a bad ass motherf--ker.|
- Man, that's the way to open a movie. I was just settling into my not popcorn and BLAM! Man down!
- Oh, so that's how you determine whether the deadbeat jerk-off in your living room is selling you good crank or not. I've been doing it all wrong.
- I'm assuming all those overhead shots were taken by drone. I'm also assuming...I need a f--king drone, asap.
- Remember how Popeye used to put spinach in his pipe and kick all sorts of ass? Welp, that's Warren. Except instead of spinach, it's booze. And instead of his pipe, it's his face.
- Speaking of Warren, let me put my hands together for the performance of Martin Dingle Wall. Not sure how I feel about that middle name, but I'm damn sure I love this dude. Imagine if Tom Cruise existed solely by sniffing rubber cement and eating broken glass in the sun. Got that picture in your head? Cool. Now double it.
- Dude, it took me too late to see it coming, but holy shit when the kid gets it? Amazing!
- There's an awesome scene where Warren meets up with some Mexicans on their way in to America, as he's doing all he can to get out of it.
- Usually I don't Yay a bear trap. Usually.
- Bullet + Knife = ____ is a math problem you need to know the answer to. (seriously, how f--king cool was that shit????)
- And finally, Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema. I don't think any of these movies were even remotely her cup of tea, but she hung in for the whole shebang and managed to say that she liked them enough. A happy birthday it was.
|I feel like Jeff Bridges should basically be playing all of these shadows.|
- I thought AA sponsors were supposed to be, I don't know, not crazy motherf--kers.
- I've never had a beer, but I've been totally desperate for a caffeinated beverage. Uh, just not desperate that I'd totally chug mouthwash and chase it with someone else's prescription drugs. But I did once drink cream soda, so I guess I can kind of relate...
- Hahaha...f--king Cheryl. I'm pretty sure that's not the way she thought she'd go (but she deserved it...that crazy bitch!).
- I'm not sure what the f--k the old man, Don, was doing? Like, you pretty much had him, Don. And now you done f--ked up.
- Uh, we get a little surprise visitor in the tunnel that, even in the context of this movie, is a bit too f--king ridiculous, you know?
- And finally, the ending. Maybe I get it (I don't), sure, but it kind of negates everything that came before, doesn't it? I mean, our dude went through Hell and back...for that? What the f--k? Is that what alcoholism is like? Or is that representative of how the poor are treated in this country? Either way...no. I demand a new ending, dammit. Or a sequel. That ignores the original's ending.
Before we headed in to Happy Hunting, when we were (foolishly) standing at the vacated snack bar (and after politely whispering our disbelief about the thought of no popcorn), we were left to do the only other thing that civilized people could do in such a predicament: eavesdrop on the other patrons.
The lady behind me: I've been to a lot of festivals, you know. Usually, they group the films by some sort of theme. Clearly, this one is about alcoholism.
I didn't want to go all Woody Allen on her...but I couldn't believe this woman's pretentious bullshit.
Until I realized she was 100% correct.
I had gone from an unaware selfish a-hole...to a marginally less unaware selfish a-hole. Just like that.
I kind of like this redemption thing, you know? It feels good.