Saturday, 26 October 2013

Drinking Buddies - The Future Of The Rom-Com?

As I took myself enthusiastically along my ten minute walk to work a week or so ago I was indulging in my usual morning podcast binge and halfway through the hosts of the movie review show mentioned amongst their usual weekly movie news roundup that Quentin Tarantino had released his top 10 movies of 2013. This intrigued me for two reasons, firstly I am a great admirer of his movies (specifically Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction) and secondly, that despite all his film making genius QT seems unaware years have lasted twelve months since the inception of the Gregorian Calender in 1582.  The fact that Tarantino had released a list of favourite movies wasn’t much of a surprise because this is something he has done for a number of years but I always sit up and take notice when they are released. This year’s list includes the following movies:

  • ·        'Afternoon Delight' (Dir. Jill Soloway)
  • ·        'Before Midnight' (Richard Linklater)
  • ·        'Blue Jasmine' (Woody Allen)
  • ·        'The Conjuring' (James Wan)
  • ·        'Drinking Buddies' (Joe Swanberg)
  • ·        'Frances Ha' (Noah Baumbach)
  • ·        'Gravity' (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • ·        'Kick-Ass 2' (Jeff Wadlow)
  • ·        'The Lone Ranger' (Gore Verbinski)
  • ·        'This Is The End' (Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg).

Now in this list the majority of you will see a few movies that you already recognise such as Kick Ass 2, The Lone Ranger, This is the End, The Conjuring and the upcoming Gravity. Movies such as Blue Jasmine, Francis Ha and Before Midnight are perhaps on the radars of the more cine-literate amongst you but, two movies on this list  may be unfamiliar to the majority of you,  Afternoon Delight (which is still awaiting a release date in the UK) and Drinking Buddies (due for release November 1st). After doing some research (thank you it was the latter which sparked my interest and for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I had seen posters for the movie on the internet and knew the cast included actors who I have enjoyed watching previously such as Jake Johnson (from in-vogue sit-com The New Girl), Olivia Wilde (House M.D., who is also a producer of the movie), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Ron Livingston (Office Space) but secondly in a world where film spoilers are becoming increasingly difficult to avoid it was one I was able to approach without preconceived ideas.

The director, Joe Swanberg, doesn’t re-invent the wheel with his direction, which is solid but workman-like, however it is his script that is special being both engaging and heartfelt. The film is a mumblecore rom-com for the thirty-somethings of this current generation and as a man soon to turn 31 something I can really identify with. The film tells the story of Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson), two work colleagues at a Chicago brewery, and traces their relationships with each other and their respective partners. Kate is trying to play it cool with her music producer boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston) and Luke is in the midst of marriage discussions with his girlfriend of six years Jill (Anna Kendrick). To complicate matters both Kate and Luke are unsure quite how deep their feelings for each other run. The actors give performances that feel genuine, they make mistakes and this vulnerability makes the characters likeable and sympathetic.

I genuinely want people to watch this movie so I will not tell you how it ends but I will say that it is an interesting study of a friendship between a guy and a girl. Understand that I am not naive to the point where I think men and women can’t just be friends but I think many of us at some stage have had relationships where the line between friendship and romance blurs. A few months ago I wrote an article where I discussed the glossy or “Hollywood” rom-com and movies which bucked this clichéd trend, Drinking Buddies, is helping to redefine the rom-com for this generation….either that or the director read my article (  

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