America's Game is a little easier on the eyes
Minor Prophets movies, but what really sets
this one apart is the score by Steve Portland. It's absolutely dripping
with fake ultra-patriotism - think of John Williams' score for
Saving Private Ryan but
pumped up on steroids - and it perfectly captures the comedic tone the
Prophets are going for here.
An extremely proud American (Gil Damon)
suffering from osteoporosis goes out to the local ballpark to watch some
kids play a game of baseball. He just about weeps at the apple-pie
wholesomeness of it all as he recounts how baseball is the only original
American sport. He notes that Lacrosse was stolen from "the Injuns" and
football is "just a gay version of rugby." His sentimental views come up
against some harsh realities when he gets beaned in the head by a
baseball and robbed.
The man is under the
mistaken belief that Abner Doubleday invented the game. This myth has
been debunked by many sports historians, but of course the
Minor Prophets know that. That's why they make
Damon provides a
hilarious voiceover that sounds like those old Pepperidge Farm
commercials. You'll fall out of your chair laughing when he talks about
savoring "the smell of the hot nuts and the rosin bags." Director Derek
Frey cleverly splices in such symbols of American freedom as the bald
eagle and Hulk Hogan.
America's Game is a hysterically funny tribute
to faux Americana.
4th and 99
"Kind of like Broken Lizard's Club, except
When your dad's the ref, it's always 4th & 99.
When your dad's the ref, it's always
4th & 99. (Less
4th and 99 is the
funniest thing to come out of Pennsylvania since M. Night Shyamalan. The
difference here is that the filmmakers, a comedy troupe known as The
Minor Prophets, are intentionally trying to make us laugh. Kind of like
Broken Lizard's Club, except funny.
As played by TMP regular David Amadio,
football player Bobby Makefield is somewhere between 12 and 35 years
old. Bobby is at loggerheads with his dad (Gil Damon). That's because
Mr. Makefield botched a call while officiating one of Bobby's games,
thus preventing his son from scoring the winning touchdown. He
instigates a confrontation between Bobby and another player, Tommy
Johnson (Steve Kuzmick), and the "boys" face off in an epic one-on-one
match on the field.
The hostile parenting on
display here is simply hysterical; wait until you see Mr. Makefield do a
belly-flop victory dance after Tommy scores a touchdown. TMP movies
always have an element that's a little... well, insane. Here, it's Brian
Gillin as "Favre." I have no idea why he's named Favre. He wears the
former Green Bay god's jersey, and he has a picture of the quarterback
strapped to his wrist. The first time we see him, he's walking out of a
women's restroom. This is the stuff of bizarro, unexplained comedy, like
when Ron Burgundy and his friends got into an all-out brawl in
4th and 99 is
better filmed and better edited than other TMP movies I've seen. The
action on the field is excitingly choreographed and easy to follow. The
actors and filmmakers find just the right note of comic cruelty - they
tickle our funny bone, but they do it with a jagged edged sword. Long
THE DAY the DOLLS STRUCK BACK!
Festival Winner - Best
THE DAY THE DOLLS
"Right out of the gate, this one had the audience roaring with laughter.
It was a trailer for a movie series that doesn't exist, treated as part
of an ongoing saga (the first 3 parts were supposedly made in the 60s,
70s, and 80s, respectively). The premise is just what it sounds
like...plastic baby dolls wreak havoc on the world! This was some
hilarious shit, let me tell you. The sets, effects, costumes, editing,
all excellent quality. Total b-movie homage all the way, served with
tongue firmly in cheek. Experimental genetically-altered spiders crawl
into the dolls and turn them alive! How cool is that? The highlight for
me was the reel from the 80s w/ the breakdancing doll."
Festival Winner - Best
CHICAGO HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
The Upper Hand
Festival Winner - Most Original Film
Nominated for Best Director
and Best Picture
SEX IS EASIER
The Burbank Chronicles
VERGE OF DARKNESS