Tribeca Film Fest Report #4

Road movies are a classic American genre, and one represented well at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. Which is kinda ironic, cuz owning a car in New York City is really stupid, and driving one in the city is even dumber.

Blue State

He'll be gone in four years! / And then we'll have to get ready for Jeb!

Finally, a romantic comedy for those of us who live in, as we crazy left-wing nutjobs like to say, the reality-based community. After the 2004 election, despondent Kerry campaign worker John (Breckin Meyer) is about to make good on his promise to move to Canada if Bush won re-election. The good folks up North who run invite John to come visit Winnipeg, maybe find himself a wife among the friendly gals ready to help a nice young American get his citizenship. Ah, but a complication rears its pretty head in Chloe (Anna Paquin, who also served as an executive producer on the film), a stranger along to share the driving from San Francisco and up over the border. The tropes of romantic comedies are never far from writer-director Marshall Lewy's charming film, but what makes it really special is how grounded it is in the real world, in real people of the here and now, which lends it a bit more gravitas than you'd expect. John's genuine passion for politics clashes with Chloe's secret silence -- and they both clash with the Canadians' condescension -- till facades are stripped away and raw emotion is all that's left. [visit the film's official site]

Chasing 3000

No matter how bad things got, I always had Roger and the game.

The year is 1972, and teenage baseball nut Mickey (Trevor Morgan) decides to travel from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh to see Pirates superstar Roberto Clemente make his legendary 3000th hit. Just for fun, he'll take along his little brother, Roger (Rory Culkin), who suffers from muscular distrophy and can't get around without leg braces and crutches or, preferably, a wheelchair. Ho boy: it's not like anything can go wrong with this plan! A paean to baseball, to Clemente in particular, and to brotherly love, this entertaining flick may be a tad naive. The film isn't surrealistic enough to eliminate the vulnerability of two boys traveling alone, yet that factor is all but ignored -- and a tad preposterous: one fellow traveler they meet when they hop a freight train looks like a fashion model done up in runaway-grunge chic. But Morgan and Culkin are highly likable, and it's impossible to avoid lump-in-throat syndrome at the end. (Screening as part of the Tribeca Family Festival, though it's appropriate really only for kids ages 10 or so and up.) [visit the film's IMDB page]


MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

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