I owe Filmspotting my discovery of the Duplass goodness
I have the Filmspotting podcast to thank for a lot of things. Not only did it inspire me to start blogging about movies and introduce me to a great community of people who hang in their discussion forum. Since I started to listen to the show, they’ve also introduced me to a lot of filmmakers I never would have heard of otherwise. This is the case with the Duplass brothers, who are frequently mentioned on the show.
I don’t think I would have picked up Cyrus at my library if I hadn’t recognized the names on the cover. It turned out to be a wonderful little surprise, a sweet and funny film with a huge heart and a low budget, which often is a very good combination.
Equally I’ve got Filmspotting to thank for my discovery of Humpday, directed by Lynn Shelton, with Mark Duplass in one of the leading roles. The director was different, but the style was similar and I learned that there even was a name for it: “mumblecore”. Apparently I was a mumblecore fan. When another Lynn Shelton movie came out this year, Your Sister’s Sister, once again with Mark Duplass in one of the leads, I didn’t even need the nod from Filmspotting to go and see it. It turned out to be just as fun and delightful as I had hoped for.
There is something about all of those films that just clicks so well with me: the understated humour, the naturalistic feeling brought by a lot of improvisation, the smallness and the simplicity. After watching them I feel as if I’ve had a delicious but yet healthy little snack meal. It tastes lovely without wearing me down like some three hour suicidal drama or without making me feel sick from getting an overdose of sugar and fat like a block buster. It’s a small but yet well balanced meal leaves me in a state of mind where I’m ready to move forward after being properly entertained. It’s a little bit lightweight in the sense that you’re not left with a ton of emotions and thoughts to wrestle with afterwards. But sometimes that’s exactly the kind of movie you look for.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is another film in this genre, and it’s every bit as delightful as its predecessors.
A huggable geek
Like the name implies, this is a film about Jeff, a guy in his 30s who embodies the myth of the geek who lives in his mother’s basement. One day he receives a phone call from someone who has called the wrong number, asking for Kevin. Jeff, who has watched the movie “Signs”, heads out in the world looking, following the name “Kevin”, which he thinks has a meaning. We get to see what happens during what turns out to be a very eventful day to Jeff. There’s also a parallel story about Jeff’s lonely single mother who experiences an unexpected flirt at the office and a story about Jeff’s brother, who goes through a major crisis in his marriage after he has bought a Porsche without consulting his wife about it. The stories go in and out of each other and are nicely tied together in a satisfying end.
The 80 minutes the movie lasted went very quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in company with Jeff and his family. I think the casting of Jason Segel is perfect. He’s got the geeky and yet huggable appearance that the role requires. You can sense that he as well as the filmmakers has a lot of love for the character. It’s one of those films where you laugh with the geek, not at the expense of him, which is exactly how I want it.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Jay & Mark Duplass, US 2012) My rating: 4/5