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Indie Films

July 2, 2014

Simply Indie: Pizza Shop: The Movie

 Pizza Shop: The Movie – Homage

Unlike most films, I’ve always believed that comedy is the hardest genre to make work for an audience. Comedy is extremely subjective and what one person might find funny another person will not find funny at all, kind of how I feel about “Workaholics,” I love it but my wife will merely tolerate it. That’s why I commend anyone who, first if all, creates something, and I’ll give them double commendation when they create a comedy. “Pizza Shop: The Movie” is a nice homage to comedy of the 80s and even some more modern comedy with it’s tongue planted firmly in its cheek.

“Pizza,” directed by George O’Barts, is centered around a pizza shop and it’s colorful staff. Told through what seems to be a series of montages including training the shop’s new delivery boy, going the extra mile for that tip, creating new and exciting tomato sauce recipes, and pulling off the perfect prank on a co-worker. The main story revolves around Pete, the shop’s pride and joy, and his co-worker Jason, who wants to see nothing more than Pete fall from grace. As things heat up and Pete is finally sent over the edge, a battle of wills between Pete and Jason threaten to tear Pizza Shop apart and could land them all behind bars.
I’ll put this out there right away, if you’re easily offended or gross-out comedy really isn’t your slice of pizza, you might be a little shocked. O’Barts pushes the limits in some scenes and it’s fun to see someone taking a risk in their comedy. “Pizza” reminds me a lot of “….Waiting,” a touch of “Poultygiest” with it’s wacky cast of characters and even a little bit of “Clerks.” I love all three of those films and to see some influences from those films makes me appreciate “Pizza” even more.
You can see the comparison to “Clerks” in the way that film cuts from scene to scene, jumping from story to story. While there is a complete narrative, O’Bart is still able to break the film up into different sections that each tell a different story about an individual character, or group of characters.
All in all, “Pizza” is indeed the raunchy off-color comedy it claims to be, and it does it quite well. The production design is strong, the camera work is actually quite good for a small budget indie, and the story is fun and reminiscent of gross-out comedies of the past. They say “imitation is he best form of flattery” and “Pizza” is able to pull enough from the past while still being it’s own film.
You can find more information about “Pizza Shop: The Movie” right HERE. I’d like to thank George O’Bart with furnishing me with a copy of his film to review.
February 18, 2014

Simply Indie: Wild Girl Waltz


Wild Girl Waltz – Simpler

There is an alarming trend in films recently; the lack of comedies with characters hanging out and getting into trouble.  From “Smokey and the Bandit” to “Road Trip” the concept of driving around and getting into mischief has been an American film motif for decades and has always been one of my favorite comedy sub-genres.  The great thing about “road comedies” is that it also offers a young director or writer the chance to showcase interesting characters and integrate witty dialogue into a film that can be filmed on a modest budget.  I mean, most of our best ideas and conversations happen in a car as well.  With “Wild Girl Waltz” a full length indie film from writer-director Mark Lewis, Lewis is able to emulate a beloved genre with funny and thoughtful performances that anyone can relate to.

“Waltz” is a simple tale about friends and drugs.  When Angie and Tara take some “goofy pills” to escape for the day, it’s up to Brian, Tara’s boyfriend, to babysit the two while they both come off of their high.  Along the way Angie, Brian, and Tara find a turtle, roll down some hills, remember the good old days, and genuinely enjoy each others company.  It’s a simple story that we can all relate at one time of another during our youth.

A few things stood out to me in “Waltz.”  The character of Angie played by Christina Shipp, is a highlight of the film.  She has great screen presence, nails all of her dialogue, and has great comedic timing.  Her chemistry with Tara, played by Samantha Steinmetz, is also a lot of fun.  You genuinely feel like they have known each other for years, and they play off of each other well.  Brian, played by Jared Stern, is forced to played the straight man most of the film, but he’s still able to come up with a few comic gems.

While “Waltz” is played mainly for laughs, there are still undercurrents of drama here and there, mainly with the part of Brian.  During the course of the film we discover that Brian can be a bit of a pushover, with both his friends and his girlfriend Tara.  While he tries to play the tough guy a few times, he ends up backing down.  During the course of the day we see layers of Brian unravel as he goes from bitter to accepting, to loving come the end of the film.  If Angie is the heart, Brian is the soul of “Waltz.”

The one gripe I might have with “Waltz” are the long montage shots of Angie, Brian, and Tara.  I know it fits well within the film, but they slow down the pace where you want more dialogue or hijinks from the girls.  I wanted to see what they were going to do next and not have to sit through a scene with music playing and the characters walking through a forest.  For me it added nothing to the film but extra minutes to the run time, which still clocks in at a tidy 85 minutes.

Overall, “Wild Girl Waltz” is a lot of fun, with spirited performances from the three leads who all have their moments to shine during the film.  It’s a simple idea that you can take for what it is, a fun road film, or you can look at it from a deeper perspective that deals with relationships, growing up, or dealing a mundane existence in a small town.

If you want more information on “Wild Girl Waltz,” check out their site HERE.  I’d like to thank Mark Lewis for reaching out to Simplistic Reviews and giving us a chance to review his film as well.

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