2015 comedy

Rating: 16/20

Plot: A transgender prostitute, following a short prison sentence, enlists the help of her transgender friend to find her boyfriend/pimp who cheated on her in her absence.

"The world can be a pretty cruel place, destroying Barney dolls, giving you penises."

I'm actually convinced that the above line isn't even in the movie, that I dreamed it up. I'm leaving it there without doing a lick of research to verify that it's from the movie. If it's not in the movie, it should be.

This was recommended by my brother, anonymous. Continuity errors in an opening scene annoyed me, and I thought the characters, as un-PG as this is going to sound, would grate on my nerves. You will have to get used to hearing the word "bitch" a whole lot. I was intrigued that the Duplass brothers produced this and that the entire movie was filmed on four Iphones though, and a great windsock man dancing to a hip-hop beat hooked me. The characters, played by actual transgender actresses with no prior acting experience, really grew on me, and their friendship transcended movie friendship stuff to become something very real. The camera work, much better than anybody would likely suspect, and the way the relationships in this developed gave this the feel of a comedic 50s-60s New Wave film, like New New Wave.

This also might be one of my new go-to Christmas movies.

The performances were very good, both funny and sad so naturally. I found myself laughing at the antics of characters unique to movies, and then I found myself actually caring about them. The taxi driver, played by Karren Karagulian; Kitana Kiki Rodriguez's brash and unruly Sin-Dee, a character you know hasn't seen her last jail cell; Mya Taylor, the more level-headed friend, at times almost like a straight man to Sin-Dee's shenanigans (though her "big performance" of "Toyland" nearly steals the show; and eventually James Ransome playing what Vanilla Ice could have become if he didn't have that successful career as a white rapper and movie star. They made me chuckle multiple times, and I really did find their stories gripping.

I had never heard of a "bbbj" and for whatever reason, felt the need to Google it. Who says you can't learn things from movies?

One question: There are scenes where the actresses talk to extras. Like, "What the fuck are you looking at?" kind of talk. I assume the lines weren't improvised as I didn't see any of these extras looking at the cameras or anything, but it does make me wonder if any of those scenes were unscripted interactions with actual pedestrians.


Anonymous said...

i'm glad you liked this. i only gave it a 15. the "acting" at times was a little too enthusiastic. nice gritty day in the life of movie and i liked the way it was filmed, some of which was really beautiful considering most people have one of these "movie cameras" in their pockets right now. considering the budget it's an incredible movie. i heard about it on NPR. they did a nice interview with the writer and at least one of the stars(i forget). it might be worth looking up.

Shane said...

But did you know what a "bbbj" is?

"Acting" (with the quotes) seems about right. I imagine they were playing hammier versions of themselves, showboating for the camera. But I'll have to listen to the NPR thing to see.

cory said...

The low budget feel and amateur acting hurt the film, but you get the feeling that everyone was fully invested, which makes the viewer pull for the actors and the characters they are playing. The whole thing has a very modest scope and feels a little like a low budget Altman film, but it was more watchable than I expected, and thankfully not too long...like an Altman film. A 13?

Anonymous said...

"amateur acting" i dont know the characters names but one of the actresses won an award for her performance in this. not saying i dont agree with you cory just saying this movie was nominated and won awards. and no shane i didnt know what a bbbj was.