Quit your job...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of the special features on the DVD for You Are Here* (2000) is something called a Director's Statement, or, as listed on the DVD case, a Director's Introduction...an introduction? Well, seems to me that's something I should watch before starting the film, so I did...it featured director Jeff Winner offering views on his film, almost like he was trying to justify why he made it, also, telling us if we don't like it, and we see him on the street, that we shouldn't bother telling him so...this didn't instill a sense of urgency for my seeing the film. Essentially what I got from the introduction was, `Hey, you may not like this film, and I'm sick of hearing people telling me so, but your dislike probably stems from your lacking the inspiration and vision to fully comprehend my labor of love.' That's not actually what he said, but that's the way it came across...and it's funny, as with that brief piece, he severely lowered my expectations of the film, but it wasn't actually that bad...not great, by any means, but not all bad. As I mentioned, You Are Here* (2000) was written and directed by someone named Jeff Winner, whose only other directing credit is for a film called Satellite (2004), which I've never heard of...starring in this film is Todd Peters (who shares in the writing credits), Randall Jaynes (Satellite), Caroline Hall (Standard Time), and Ajay Naidu, whom many may remember as the frantic office employee Samir Nagheenanajar in the Mike Judge film Office Space (1999).
The film is about four twenty-something characters and is centered on Moe (Peters), as he's basically the linking element. Moe is an artist, but he makes his living at a menial job, working along side Sanjay (Naidu). The other two characters come in the form of Moe's friend Sallie (Hall), whom I gather Moe met while they were both attending art school way back when (Sallie makes several references as such), and finally Jason (Jaynes), Moe's eccentric roommate. Anyway, the day Moe plans to quit his job and pursue his dream of being a fulltime artist, he's offered a promotion at work ("It's a whole two dollars and hour more!") based solely on the fact that a co-worker who held the job met with an untimely demise. Moe's resolve to terminate his employment fizzles, but not so much for the extra money, but because he appears hesitant to commit to such a radical change, and the promotion offers and excuse enabling him to avoid the issue for a while longer...which seems to be the running theme with the other three as well...Sanjay has an advanced degree in some field, political science I believe, but continues to work in an even more menial job than Moe because `he doesn't have all the pieces' to turn his education into a career...and Sallie, well, she just quit her job for reasons I never fully understood, but I think it had something to do with the fact that she slept with one or two of her co-workers, including the manager...and then there's Jason, the oddest of an odd bunch, who actually gets an opportunity that may lead to a well paying career, but, upon learning how well the interview went and the strong possibility he may get the position, sabotages his own chances, and then blames it on the interviewer...as the story progresses, the three offer Moe encouragement, in their own, unique ways, to find it within himself to release himself of the shackles of drab conformity and focus on his true calling, that of an artist....which he does in an unusual way after a night involving much consumption of fermented beverages...
I wanted to like this film, but it seemed to offer so little to like. The actors were decent, but the characters, as they were written, tended to boring and without substance. Honestly, it got to the point where I didn't care whether or not Moe followed his calling or not, as his timid, wishy-washy nature got a little annoying. I could relate at some level as probably many could, as there does come a point in your life where you have to decide on a direction, unless you're one of those individuals that knows from an early age what you want to do with your life, and even then things don't always work out the way they are planned. The character of Jason was interesting (but shallow), and he sort of reminded me of the character of Kramer, from the sitcom Seinfeld, only not as funny. The two most interesting characters, Sanjay and Sallie, were relegated to relative inconsequentiality. I would have liked to have seen more of Sallie, but I think this may have been a case of male writers not knowing how to write for a female character. I think the film would have been best served making Naidu's character of Sanjay the main character, replacing Moe, as he was much more interesting, and the potential for exploration was there, but never realized. Plus, I think Ajay Naidu is very underrated...his role in Office Space was the highlight of a rather bland film. The movie is shot entirely on location, within some seedy area of New York, and features some very good music by many artists I've never heard of, and one I have in Rocket from the Crypt (too bad the plot wasn't as lively as the music).
The widescreen picture looks pretty crummy, as I think the film was shot on digital video. This has the effect of presenting a drab and lifeless picture. I know digital video is cheap, but come on...if filmmaking is your passion, find a way to use real film. The audio is passable, but sometimes hard to discern. Special features include a trailer, a photo gallery, the above-mentioned introduction, ten deleted scenes, and an enjoyable director's commentary. A decent effort that didn't quite make it, for me at least...
It's like hanging out with your frineds.
eclecticmind13 | Pa. | 01/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this film in the video store and rented it without knowing anything about it. It ended up being one of the most entertaining films I've seen in a while. At first you might think the film is slow and not that entertaining, but that's because the film is about real life and real life just isn't always interesting. The movie just progressively gets better and better and you can't help but laugh and compare the characters to your own friends.At the very least I recommend you rent the film, but I say help support independent filmmakers and pick this movie up. It's better than anything you'll find in the theaters. This is the way movies should be done."
Ajay Naidu offers another wonderful, natural performance.
James McDonald | Southern California | 01/17/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"My only reason for wanting to see this film is because Ajay Naidu is in it. Mr. Naidu offers another wonderful performance. He plays a character that would be a best friend to any good man. He plays "Sanjay" who works in a stuffing envelopes business until one day he is fired for making too many mistakes. He is single and lives with his mom. This character much unlike Ajay Naidu himself has played such a wide range of characters in many films already, why he is not getting bigger lead roles in major motion pictures is beyond me. This character Mr. Naidu plays in You Are Here* as an easygoing man is a natural for him. The DVD version contains ten deleted scenes available in the "special features" category. The Director's Audio Commentary is good for new film makers to hear."
A true surprise, totally original!
James McDonald | 05/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Usually movies about Gen-Xers usually put me off - what else needs to be said? But my roomate and I rented this one on a whim and we were drawn in immediately by it's refreshing characters. It's a fresh, funny, but often somber take on all of our struggle's between the life we have and creating the life we want. The acting is really terrific from this group of unknowns. It was neat to see the Indian guy from Office Space in a similar role. The characters are a bit off, but real in way that you don't see in movies often. They're not archetypes. They're just people. What I found fascinating is that they never talk about what they're going through. They don't complain about the standard injustices that we all deal with and in a weird way, they take more responsibility for themselves then characters in these movies usually do. I found the movie really funny throughout and sad. On the second viewing, my roommate and I couldn't stop laughing. It's actually funnier and there were a lot of subtle details that we missed on the first viewing. And a tons of quotable lines. The DVD has some cool features. The picture library is worth a viewing."