INDIE REPORT – 6 MONTH RULE
6 Month Rule
Review by Justin Bowler
Recently, I was asked by TheMovieGuys.Net creator, Paul “Crack the Whip” Preston to start reviewing more indie films. When I asked “Why?”, Paul “Nurse Ratched” Preston waved me off and pointed toward the door. When I further questioned him, Paul “I need more content” Preston replied with “I need more content.” So, I asked for more clarification, and he told me to do it or hit the bricks. Well, since I work best when threatened, I went home and watched a fantastic “little” indie film called “6 Month Rule”, by Blayne Weaver. As I began watching the movie on Friday morning, I had a few thoughts…
1. The dialogue is exceptionally witty.
2. The main character is pretty charming.
3. I wonder if there is any nudity in this film (as a guy watching a movie in his boxers, I typically wonder that).
4. I hope the dialogue is witty enough to keep me awake, because I had this absurdly loud bird outside my window last night.
5. I don’t even know what kind of bird it was. (While I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no birdologist, I’ve never heard of a bird that makes noises in the middle of the night. Seriously, it was like four hours before dawn. Who does that?) (And by “who”, I mean “What kind of bird?”).
Now, I‘m not going to give you a synopsis of the film’s plot, because we all know that is just filler for lazy reviewer (and while I may be lazy (I’m watching a film in my boxers for crying out loud), I do not need filler). Frankly, I’m verbose enough. Plus, if you are reading this review, then you know how to use the internet and you can just IMDB it (yes, I just used “IMDB” as a verb). (In fact, you obvioulsy know how to use the internet, because CLEARLY this article won’t be in print anywhere.)
Writer, Blayne Weaver, has created an endearing script, that is charmingly portrayed by actor Blayne Weaver, and solidly executed by director Blayne Weaver (typically, if movies are not well received, these three positions blame each other for the faults of the film, but I hear they are currently on good terms and planning additional projects to collaborate on).
The opening scene between actor Blayne Weaver and Natalie Morales (no relation), sets the stage for the dynamic interplay these two characters will have throughout the film. Their dialogue is witty, but not quirky, and it never calls attention to itself (can you hear me Diablo Cody?). And the sparring between these two is incredibly likable (much like that “favorite couple” we all know, that everyone likes more than me and my other half, but less… arrogant). Their dialogue in the the opening scene is slightly reminiscient of John Travolta and Samuel “M.F.” Jackson, but if they had been in love with each other (I’m sure you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about NOW). I don’t know, just watch the movie and you’ll see what I’m trying to say (I’m not explaining it very well, because I’m tired because of that stupid bird) (Don’t birds sleep?!).
Anyway, actor Blayne Weaver is fantastic in this film. He is a cross between Steve Zahn and Sam Rockwell. More handsome than Zahn, but more goofy than Rockwell. He is extremely comfortable in this role and will surely see more leads of this nature in higher priced films (but, hopefully, after his rise in Hollywood, he will remember his roots and still work with director Blayne Weaver). Leading lady Natalie Morales holds her own against him, with arguably the harder part: less screen time to illustrate her arc, and more of a moral compass, so she has to portray an increasing struggle of desire versus what is “right.” I’m not super familiar with her work, I know she was on “Parks and Re”c, but I’ll do some research on her other roles. Anyway, overall, the chemistry between these two is outstanding.
Okay, I did a little research…
1. Natalie Morales is on HBO’s upcoming “The Newsroom.”
2. Birds do sleep.
3. I think the bird in question was a mockingbird.
4. Writer Blayne Weaver, actor Blayne Weaver, and director Blayne Weaver are apparently the same person (that guy must be really busy. I bet he has other good films. I bet he doesn’t get much sleep (and I bet, he doesn’t have a bird outside his window when he tries to sleep)) (I’m going to do some more research later).
Martin Starr, who plays the first supporting male character, Alan, is very likable as the put-upon nice guy that epitomizes “the meek will inherit the earth.” Vanessa Branch, who plays the first supporting female character, Wendy, has one of the most real and touching moments in the film. Not only is it profoundly portrayed, but also, heartfelt and emotional, AND it takes place while she is in her sexy underwear (I’ve always said, more films need their big emotional scenes to take place late at night while attractive female characters are in their lingerie) (Okay, I haven’t always said that) (But, I was thinking that at the time) (But, that might have just been my boxers talking).
The rest of the film is also peppered with Hollywood supporting regulars. First, Dave Foley as a loveable kindhearted boss of Natalie Morales. Then, John Michael Higgins as the funny, fast-talking agent to the main character. And finally, Jaime Pressly as the extraordinarily bitchy ex-fiance of Alan, our hero’s best friend. While this may sound like typecasting for Pressly, she plays it remarkably subtle compared to “My Name is Earl” and it really made me think two things. First, I thought she should do more indies and play against type (wouldn’t it be great to see her as an unlucky-in-love high-powered attorney (the kind of role Debra Messing would play)?). Has she played that before? Second, I thought, I hope she gets naked in this film like she did in “Poison Ivy 3” (for those of you that haven’t seen it, you should check it out, because she is all kinds of nekkid). And has she been naked in other films? Third, I thought, I wonder if Jaime would do a Debra Messing-type of role where she was charming, subtle AND has lots of sex (but, would I notice her acting if she was naked?). I thought all of these were great questions. I’d have to do more research.
The script has exceptonally witty dialogue that is charming and well crafted. Plus, it has lovely full characters. Supporting characters aren’t typically given the fullness of the leads, yet, writer Blayne Weaver fully fleshes these characters out. Furthermore, this is a dramady in the best possible sense. Part of the genius of Weaver’s script is that he literally “throws” in humor at moments of strong dramatic tension. Like in real life, certain types of people use comedy to deflate conflictive situations. Weaver, is brilliant at this. And it intrigued me to seek out more of his work, which I did. And I found out a few things.
1. According to IMDB, Blayne Weaver once played a character called “Smart Ass 2nd Year.”
2. Jaime Pressly has never played a lawyer.
3. She has been naked in a lot more than just “Poison Ivy 3”.
4. There appearently isn’t ANY WAY to get rid of an effing mockingbird. Outside of killing it, I’m screwed. That is very dissapointing. I’d be really mad right now if it weren’t for the great news about the other Jaime Pressly nude scenes.
Rather than compare “6 Month Rule” to honest-to-God indies, it seems more comparable to “Hollywood” indies like “Good Will Hunting” or “Lars and the Real Girl” (indies tend to find themselves appealing to indie audiences, but this is more of an indie for the massses). It’s production value alone is a step up. Plus, the film looks great, is well lit, has colors that pop, and the soundtrack is straight out of “Good Will Hunting” (except that was by Elliott Smith and he is dead) (That’s not a joke, it was very sad) (I know, “Way to kill the mood Bowler”). But, other than that, the soundtrack is very Hollywood indie (and great by the way!). Basically, whatever the cost of this film was, it looks like it was fairly expensive except for the lack of extras (just a few scenes seem to be relatively quiet or without bodies for no particular reason). I’ll do some research and find out why.
Okay, I did some research and didn’t find out anything except that “The Avengers” is already available for pre-order on Blu-Ray (I think that’s pretty cool).
On a side note… The tagline for the film (and the log line for that matter) doesn’t seem to match the film for me. Obvioulsy, a great writer, director, and actor can’t be expected to also be a great marketing guy. But, as clever as the film was, I didn’t feel the same thought was put into the marketing materials (I will be interested to see how the tagline changes once this film is picked up by Miramax) (and I realize that was not really a review of the film, just an observation I came across).
I did feel like the film ran a little long. At 1:38, it should be right in line with other films in this genre, but, for some reason I felt like the pacing 2/3 of the way through was a little slow, or not quite as efficient as the rest of the script. But, should that keep you away from this film? Not at all. This is a very nice indie film that will make you laugh out loud at times, smile at others, and just quietly enjoy the rest. I highly recommend it to indie audiences and Hollywood audiences alike. In addition, I would also like to add:
1. Some people have played owl sounds on a speaker outside to drive a pesky mockingbird away.
2. If I am kept up late again, at least I have some new Jaime Pressly movies to watch.
3. I really liked “The Avengers”.
I give it four stars for indie audiences and 3.5 stars for Hollywood audiences. Check it out. It’s pretty great.
Justin T. Bowler