Wednesday, April 9, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Drinking Buddies

2013, Joe Swanberg (V/H/S) -- Netflix

I admit it, the reason this movie caught my attention was that it focused on people working at a craft brewery. I like craft beer, as anyone who knows me already knows. But it wasn't that. It was because this was a slice of life movie that I could possibly have some connection to, even if it was just the tenuous connection to enjoying a tasty beer. But is the movie really about beer? No, not really. Its about relationships, as I said, a slice of the life of a couple of people connected by where they work and what they enjoy.

Kate (Olivia Wilde; startlingly attractive in this jeans & tshirt role) and Luke (Jake Johnson; all 'hipster' beardy and not New Girl at all) are work friends who are obviously attracted to each other. But neither has said it out loud and both are already in relationships. He is on his way to being married to a girl (Anna Kendrick) he seems to be straining to be compatible with and she is dating a music producer (Ron Livingston), but it seems a placeholder relationship.  They (all four) make the mistake of spending a weekend at a cottage together and that only highlights exactly how compatible Kate and Luke are. It also just ends up straining the friendship(s) when it comes this close to being said out loud.

This is a throwback (not thursday) indie style movie I would have really really enjoyed in the 90s, when I was actually closer to their age. The locations are atypical, the people familiar (change a few lines and this is Toronto) and the dialogue is improvised -- the actors were allowed to build their characters out as they saw fit. The improvisation shows, sometimes annoyingly so, but most often it just works.  As for the beer, it played a part in all of their lives and probably contributed to the uninhibited emotional reactions that flared in key scenes. But considering that American movie & TV culture currently almost always has a character with a whisky or martini in their hands, it was nice to see it replaced with a pint of dark ale.

P.S. Despite the tag on the poster, not a comedy. And I am rather annoyed they shaved Jake Johnson so you would recognize him. It really changes the character's look.