"Douchebag the movie" was not made by Douchebags, obviously: a rare comedy gem!

That’s not a sentence I thought I’d ever say but it’s true. Douchebag is the brainchild/offshoot of the team of Andrew Dickler and Ben York Jones, and from what I understand it was purely inspired by Andrew’s weirdly cool and funny persona. Note this film was an official selection at Sundance 2010.

The idea of this story sounds simple and cliché: find your childhood sweetheart you have been thinking about your whole life, right when your brother is about to get married. If only life were that simple; but it’s not and there’s nothing cliché about this film. I’m glad I knew nothing ahead of seeing the movie as I will admit I hate movies about “marriage” or “getting married”. I get hives thinking about some of the puke-ridden romantic comedies out there.

As we all know in Rom Coms, boy meets girl ,boy gets girl, boy loses girl and then boy gets girl again. That’s the formula for every cheese-ball lousy flick from here to Bagdad. (Yeah I’m pretty sure Rom Coms in Iraq suck as much as ours, and since they are now liberated maybe they’ve learned the American art of product placement as well.) Douchebag is a totally original story, not a Rom Com either. It has some great ideas littered in it and the concept/theme is ambitiously sweet without extra sugar. The existential questions you will find you asking yourself I won’t repeat. No one likes a spoil sport. The story takes a lot of natural twists and turns, very much like the weird by-ways and highways the characters find themselves clinging to like so many dead bugs on the windshield.

The main idea I want to get across about this film is that it’s everything that a good independent film should be. It doesn’t pretend to be worth millions of dollars but was shot for nothing. It really was shot for nothing. You know what I mean, those ‘indie’ films that have huge actors in it and some veteran director behind it. Usually those films are considered ‘indie’. Well, not to me. I am old school in using the term indie. I mean Richard Linkletter, early Kevin Smith, or dare I say Jim Jarmusch in the tradition of indie films. This movie gets placed on the same ‘cool shelf’, or should I say Netflix Que.

Andrew Dickler, the main character, was originally a film editor who acts in this film for the first time, and he does a great job! Why or how can he do a great job? He is being honest in who he is, in every regard. His wife to be Marguerite Moreau also does a stellar job and isn’t cliché either. In this day and age who has time for fake or phony performances? Ben York Jones also delivers like a pro. He offers a vulnerable, damaged yet empowered sort of artist who’s at a crossroads with himself and his family.

If I were teaching a class in acting or comedy I would just screen this movie and let the students hack it out on who to play. Is this mumble core? Like the Duplass brothers (The brothers I wasn’t too into except for their last feature ’Cyrus’ which I thought was brilliant). Some say Douchebag the movie is mumble core but I don’t think so; this film is something more and very special in its simplicity. It’s also been compared to “Sideways” (in an abstract sense)by other critics, I will have to agree as well.

I will repeat myself by saying don’t get this flick twisted; it’s not an imitation of anything and its pure, original and organic. Most all of the scenes are taken from Improv between the two ‘brothers’, and you believe it. In nature vs. faketure (I just made that word up), nature wins every time.

The locations really helped the believability. I am a firm believer in not making movies in LA proper, and they really use the rest of Southern California to their advantage.

I will say lastly that the director Drake Doremus is very gifted and I expect to see many more great things coming out him.

This is where to find the film’s kickass, hipster, dope soundtrack by this guy:

The Damn Electric Company (band): The Goddam Electric Bill

Here is a link to the film:
Douchebag the movie website

It will be at the Nuart in West LA on October 8th! So get your tickets while you can! There are other dates and cities coming….so tune in.

Trailer:

DOUCHEBAG: Movie Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Marguerite Moreau, Andrew Dickler
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What’s so cool about ‘Greenberg’? Greenbergisms# (Spoiler Free)

“Life is often wasted on people.” Greenberg says. You’ll believe every word that comes out of Ben Stiller’s mentally unstable mouth. The trailer plays it up as too much of a comedy in my opinion. It’s more a drama film with lots of comedic moments. I’ll use my favorite term here and say it’s a ‘dramedy’ of epic and symbolic proportions by the always awesome auteur-Noah Baumbach.

So right before you sit down to see this film you are saying to yourself ‘another movie about a mid-life crisis’? Didn’t we get our fill with ‘American Beauty’ or a myriad of other flicks? No, it’s not really another generic mid-life freak-out film. Ben Stiller is incredible as Greenberg. He does not buy a Corvette or contemplate Kierkegaard-he actually does something totally new. He tries to just be. He’s freshly out of the mental hospital for ‘an undisclosed depression’ and it’s as believable and natural as can be. Ben Stiller’s last film of this nature (Dramatic and comical) was the under appreciated and brilliantly sad film “Permanent Midnight” (the story of author Jerry Stahl).

Greta Gerwig as the young confused LA hipster is beyond charming and talented on many levels. I think Gerwig is the next Kate Winslet. I have no doubts at her humble skills as an actress. Rhys Ifans fits the bill too and is totally sincere in his friendship with Greenberg as his old band mate who’s full of love and compassion.
The film itself is an ode to those LA stereotypes we all love and hate so much. Shot very naturally and captured as a style (to me anyways) of some really cool 1970s films. The editing also reminded me of the 70s too-edited by the talented Tim Streeto.

If you have lived in either NY or LA there are a few jokes that will have you bursting at your own seams (I won’t give them away I’m too nice for that). The most refreshing thing about Greenberg is there is no 3-D dream sequence nor do blue men jump at you. There are no magic moments of surreal lives realized. The special effects are humanity exposed for what it is….full of real people. They aren’t drawings of caricatures of people but real and often annoying types of folks. I for one am sick of 3-D movies and or overproduced overdone remakes. Simple films still make for the best type of films.

I will finally say that Greenberg also reminded me of the Old Italian film “Umberto D.”

It’s not the same story but it gave me a similar feeling inside. Both films have very charming dogs and troubled people in the storyline. Both I now consider to be classics.
Here’s a link to Umberto D.:
Umberto D.

If you want to see a nice old fashioned film about the simple complexities of life, then go get some Greenberg. You won’t be disappointed in him, but you might leave the theater thinking. “Why are we all here?” I think we all have a little Greenberg in all of us, myself included.

I’ll leave you all with this: What’s my own latest Greenberg moment?

I was biking through Echo Park and some asshole in a convertible Porsche tried to cut me off. I in turn cut him off (since I had the right of way) and gave him the finger. He was trapped too-so he couldn’t chase me down. He sure was mad-which made me a bit happier than normal.

We all deserve a little satisfaction and relief. Am I wrong?