Friday, April 16, 2010
I made another trek to the Florida Film Festival to see the rather offbeat New Low. I was curious to see it for three reasons: 1) it takes place in Gainesville 2) I love offbeat comedies 3) I heard it was in the Sundance Festival. I have to say, I definitely not disappointed. The movie was written, directed and starred Adam Bowers, a former UCF student and UF graduate.
The movie centers around Wendell (Bowers), a neurotic slacker with no real ambition other than working at his current job as a video store clerk. He meets bartender Vicky, another slacker whose view of life is pretty similar to Wendell's. Their tumultuous relationship eventually leads to a break-up, and Wendell starts dating Joanna, a socially responsible social worker and artist. Wendell feels he should want to be with someone as giving as Joanna but finds himself drawn back to Vicky. An unusual love triangle is formed.
The movie is full of great one liners and had the audience laughing out loud. My favorite scene was when Joanna drags Wendell to a meeting of Food Not Bombs. Wendell is asked to introduce himself and says: "Hi, my name is Wendell. I don't know that much about Food Not Bombs but I know I would much rather go to Fuddrucker's than get blown up." Bowers is a master of deadpan humor.
I always enjoy movies and books with a strong sense of place, where the city or town almost becomes another character in the story. Landmarks and places in Gainesville are mentioned throughout the movie. Bowers' Gainesville is an indie city of hipsters, artists, and comedians. Bowers gave a Q&A after where he said he felt Gainesville's artist community was on par with places like Austin or Portland, OR. While I have been to Gainesville several times and definitely seen aspects of that life there, I never really thought of it from that perspective. Very interesting. 5 stars.
The movie will play again at FFF on Saturday 4/17 at 4pm.