The latest issue of Rogue Cinema is here and you KNOW you’re dying to read it…so what are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?? Sorry, I don’t have any of those. I can give you a preview of the issue though! Inside this month, you’ll find great articles on awesome films like these (and TONS more)!
This is a film I recently reviewed for Rogue and I loved it so very much that I’m doing the rare non-horror, non-B and below movie review here as well!
I recently had the great pleasure of attending the New Jersey Film Fest at Rutgers University where the film STARTING FROM SCRATCH was playing. I also had the great pleasure of meeting the writer/director, James Huang, who I kid you not might just be the nicest guy on the face of the planet. Seriously, dude was very cool. I also briefly met his wife, Elizabeth Sandy, who co-stars in this film with him.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH is a romantic comedy with a bit of twist – mostly because while it technically is a rom-com, it’s about breaking up, not getting together and there’s the added bonus of there being an IRS audit thrown in. Jake and Ally are both actors who keep repeatedly running into each other at auditions and castings. Before long they’ve fallen in love and have gotten married. Fast track to a year later, where they’re sitting on a therapist’s couch in the midst of a divorce all while being audited by the IRS over a movie they made together that was as Jake puts it “misunderstood”. What follows is an exploration of what happens when financial stress helps to ruin a marriage and what happens in the aftermath of falling out of love.
The film is brilliantly hysterical. I laughed, the whole audience at the film fest was laughing, the entire way through. My personal favorite lines? As Jake is taking out the recycling, a man walks up to him and hands him an envelope and says, “You’ve been served.” to which Jake replies, “Um…so do you like kill me now or do we start break dancing?”. *giggles* As a fan of all dance movies ever made, that was the best thing ever in my book. But the rest of the movie is just as quotable and completely randomly hilarious at times. Jake’s best friend, played by Charles Kim, is a standout – there is nothing his character says that didn’t make me giggle. And Billy Beck as True, the yoga teacher? Yeah…I totally dated that guy in college – one scene in particular was so entirely like a real life moment when I was 18 that I almost completely lost it with the giggling. And that’s the thing, y’all, every character in this film is relatable. You know them and that’s what makes this film so great.
The other thing that makes it’s so great is it’s honesty. It covers all the steps after a breakup from the anger to the denial to the “we’ll get back together, I just know it” to the awkward attempts at rebound sex to the acceptance that it didn’t work. After the film played, there was a Q&A and an audience member asked James and Elizabeth if they had thought about having a different ending than they did. Their reply was that they wanted the movie to be able to say that it’s okay when things don’t always work out.
I’m not a fan of romantic comedies ever. I avoid them like the plague but this is one of the best rom-coms I’ve ever seen and so far this year, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best movies of the year. I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about and why you should be watching this movie NOW, head on over to the STARTING FROM SCRATCH website to find out where it’s playing next!
Major props to Mike over at Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts for doing a review of this gem and turning me on to it. (And if you click that link, it’ll take you to his review!) I am in love. There are a lot of things I love in this world: rainbows, kittens, blowing bubbles, unicorns, NYC, books…I love it all really. But this movie?? This movie was obviously made with me specifically in mind because it had all my favoritest movie things in one giant spectacular extravaganza.
Cute little furry animals? Check.
Mad scientist with a penguin sidekick? Check.
Puppet sex? Check.
Douchebag guy with a fake English accent? Check.
A girl not afraid to tell her boyfriend/non-boyfriend that he’s a pussy? Check.
Blood and guts? Check.
Foul mouthed grandpa? Check.
I really don’t even know where to start with this. Do you need a plot summary with a title like that? I sure as hell didn’t. But if you are interested, Charlie is the pussy that lives with his foul mouthed Gramps and is in love with Gwen. They both get mysterious letters inviting them to come spend the night at some house on a hill where if they survive the night they’ll get a million dollars (sound familiar?). So who exactly invited them there? Oh, just mad scientist out for revenge, Wolfgang Wagner with his penguin sidekick and his new pet monster. Then we’ve got Raimi Campbell (hahahhaaaa!! Love it!), the lispy nerd who is trying to get laid; Iggy, the punk ass fake English douche who apparently can’t fuck for more than a minute and a half and Mona, who likes to show her boobs.
The cinematography was kind of effing fantastic for a puppet movie, the script was deliciously quotable (“Why do you smell like carrots?” …..”I am going to head butt the shit out of you!”) and Raimi was hilarious. Sure it’s nothing that’s never been done before but it throws together so many elements and nods to cinema history and all in puppet form that it totally rocked my socks. There’s stop animation (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what I saw) that reminded me of Svankmajer, obvious nods to horror movies of past (Evil Dead and House on Haunted Hill for two), there’s a cartoon portion, there’s patriotic symbolism and did I mention the puppets having sex? And the penguin?
If I haven’t convinced you by now, I’m sure nothing will but check out the trailer below.