I almost skipped out on Celluloid Sunday today. Been feeling fairly craptacular this week and today certainly hasn't been any better (physically). Though it was a good day for many other reasons, including the discovery of the beautiful brand new Bulk Barn currently under construction over by the Confed Walmart Supercenter! I cannot wait for opening day, sweet bulky goodness; how I've missed you! Then the man-thing and I went all in and made our own gnocchi for dinner. . . completely by hand. . . from the potato up! We kind of ended up with mixed results there, but it was more than edible, and definitely something we'll be revisiting in the future. In the end I decided it would be fairly defeatist of me to allow my second posting of my only 'recurrent' feature to flail and die before it had even begun. So while this post might be slightly lackluster, I find it totally in keeping with this week's offering; The Puffy Chair.
Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass shot this film back in 2005, with a budget somewhere around 15K, (it's probably safe to assume they had to beg, borrow, and steal every penny of it just to get the movie made) and it definitely looks it too. I'd liken it to a very high quality home movie stock, but that never prevents me from viewing a film, and sometimes even lends itself to a higher degree of realism. The premise here is an atypical road trip movie focused on the main character Josh's relationships with his long term girlfriend Emily, and brother Rhett.
This film suffers from a very slow start, and never fully recovers; making it a bit of a hard sell to those who aren't comfortable with the nuances of indie films. The Puffy Chair has the distinction of being one of the first films branded under the then newly coined terminology 'mumblecore' that I referred to last week. Even though some of the scenes feel a little stilted and the acting occasionally leaves something to be desired. . . Mark Duplass' writing is what propelled the film to win an Audience Award at the 2005 SXSW Film Festival. It was a fresh look at topics that have become the mainstay of mumblecore in the intervening years.
Duplass's own relationship with co-star Katie Aselton served as the catalyst here, giving their character exchanges that necessary sense of authenticity which carried the film. Without giving anything away here, again you get the abrupt ending with far less of a sense of closure than even The Vicious Kind affords the viewer. It's almost as if you've finally arrived at the central conflict of the plot, only to be told the ending was never written. Nevertheless The Puffy Chair leaves you wanting more from Duplass; which he subsequently delivers with films like The Intervention, Baghead, and most recently; Cyrus (a film I'm dying to see) .