(but so very unlike most of what’s out there in viral video garage band land)
In 2001 BMW set the bar for short indie film work on the internet with the magnificent series “The Hire.” And then they came back and hit it high again with the 2002 edition really setting us up for a big fall. How exciting was that? It seemed like a promise of great things to come but instead it’s mostly been Jackass style hi-jinx, family pet, and frat boy part-tee videos, or uploads of that guy doing his jig or the Complaint Chorus since then. Some things better than others, but still basically nothing more than visual garage band land - “uh-huh, that’s great, good for you, yeah and oh hey, are you gonna finish those fries” stuff. Nothing nowhere near what “The Hire” was about – which is inspired short feature filmmaking.1
Probably there’s been some good video work out there on the so called “viral video” scene that is trying to break away, but I’m not finding it. Luckily IFC has also been on the lookout for good work for their website programming and they found something: “Like So Many Things…,” a new online video series by This Thing Films. “Like So Many Things…” is smart and funny, beautifully shot and edited, well acted and well directed with good writing - seven “webisodes” that are spot on and spot on for the internet.
The series follows Lucy and Karl, two lonely, but young and game, hearts who meet at a bar on a Friday night. We meet them when Karl (played by Greg Keller) runs out of the bar looking for Lucy (played by Marin Gazzaniga) with an offer to walk her home.
Okay, they just left a bar; they’d been drinking; figure reason and sound judgment, or at least common sense standards, have dropped far out of sight. That leaves them thinking they maybe got something here and neither wants to let go of the possibility of a possibility so they’re off and running, or rather lurching and stumbling about, in pursuit of the connection. The filmmakers run that thread through the seven episodes of timed and chanced meetings of this idiotic, pathetic, funny, charming and dear duo with great success. Episode 2, Future Days, Future Nights, begins on a wonderfully comical moment as Lucy and Karl run into each other on the street and stand on opposite sidewalks shouting their conversation over and through the traffic. It’s as hilarious as it is touching and sad and you find yourself shaking your head wondering what’s wrong with these two while hoping like mad that they can get it right. You recognize them; they’re familiar in fact that could be you out there – or me. Could be, that is, if our lives are so much more together.
As the story takes turns, leaps here or bounds there, and suggests, hides, or reveals itself the filmmakers are right on it, with nary a misstep, and like good short film making the pieces have the tease that slips in from nowhere lands a punch, or a slap, a soft caress or a kiss, and then just as just when you thought you were getting on to it; it slyly slides out of your life.
(1 The Complaints Chorus is good, but it’s the choral work that inspired, not the filmmaking, and this is true of most of the good video work on the internet - the good part isn’t related to video/filmmaking, and that’s what we’re talking about here; that’s what we’re wanting.)