Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Puffy Chair|
Actors: Juliet Fischer, Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton, Rhett Wilkins, Bari Hyman
Director: Jay Duplass
Genres: Comedy, Drama
PUFFY CHAIR - DVD Movie
Two brothers, a couple of women, a big chair, on the road to
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 12/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Puffy Chair is a fine addition to a growing body of films that abandon the polish of big studio productions, but replace it with a raw honesty that is rarely seen in the cinema. Sometimes called "mumblecore" films, the most distinctive feature of the movement is the emphasis on realistic dialogue with all its awkward pauses and absurd moments. The silly things lovers say to each other to be endearing, that are almost embarrassing to observe as an outsider, are on full display here. The kind of unfiltered revelations that are often employed by documentarians to give an outsider look on a peculiar way of life, are depicted here as not at all peculiar but as characteristic of how most of us do in fact for the most part interact with one another, especially when stress levels rise. This is combined with a documentary style of videography -- that in this film amounts to a frequent use of zooming and autofocus, that could seem amateurish but is so consistent it begins to resemble a deliberate style and, for me, made the intimacy of the film more plausible. The general approach is similar to that taken in the sitcom "The Office," which can be a bit frustrating at first but adds to the distinctive feel of the show that makes its style of humor possible. It is similar in The Puffy Chair: after a while it really comes to feel like this is not a film but a document -- one that the characters would be embarrassed to show, but still a document.
Josh finds and purchases a recliner online, just like the one his father loved in their childhood home. His plan is to make a road trip home, and pick it up on the way in time to deliver it for his father's birthday. He is reluctant to bring along his girlfriend Emily, though his reasons for this are not immediately apparent. Eventually, he relents, and along the way they pick up an estranged brother, Rhett, who picks up on a local when they get stuck waiting for the chair to be repaired. The film can be quite funny, but the prevailing mood is one of awkwardness -- the kind of awkwardness that comes from not knowing what to say to someone who is supposed to be close, because the romantic notions that underlie most films and stories don't really sustain or hold water. That, in the end, is really what the film is about: the search for something stable, the search for something that can sustain a belief in the possibility of friendship and love being more than just what we do to avoid the awkwardness of separation. Josh hopes to find something like this at home, to learn something from his parents, to find some of the old connection to his brother, to see whether there is something that he can be for Emily that matches her dreams of having babies and growing old together. At the backdrop of Josh's worries, apart from his general anxiety about being "locked down" -- and this is part of what makes the film as insightful a depiction of contemporary romance -- is his own insecurity about a future, about his own goals and plans, and about his own financial security. When Josh asks his father how he knew it was right with his mother, the answer is revealing. They went to a wedding between two people who had no future, who had no clear vision, and, the subtext is clear, who lacked the ambition to secure a financial future for themselves, and, his father and mother thought: we're more put together than they are, we ought to get married. Nothing magical, really, is behind the dream to live happily ever after behind a picket fence except the commitment to make it work and the financial wherewithal to make it happen.
This is a promising first film, by a team of brothers (Jay and Mark Duplass) who have a bright future. Their follow-up film -- Baghead -- was also a lot of fun, a mumblecore horror that is very funny and even has a few scary moments."