A movie about slackers and fuckups, shot with usually-in-focus handheld with little dodges and zooms. The soundtrack is the most professional part – an Of Montreal song follows a Spoon song. The legacy is that this was a key mumblecore movie along with Mutual Appreciation – movies about difficult nobodies which are discussed more for their very low budgets than for any craft.

I didn’t hate the story, but started to hate codirector Mark as he finally loses his shit over the difficulties involved in buying and retrieving a puffy chair for his dad over the internet. Tagging along is his brother Rhett Wilkins, whose open and impulsive character nicely balances Mark’s. And Katie Aselton (recently of She Dies Tomorrow and Synchronic) as “the girl.” I dunno about mumblecore, but if She Dies Tomorrow was the end result then I’m happy to pay respects to its roots.

The movie ends up where all movies must: driving into Atlanta

Not the kind of movie I was looking for. It has realistic lighting instead of movie lighting, which makes all the difference. Also I’m not sure that it was a horror movie. Depends what happened, who any of these people were, and whether the one bloody action montage (preceded by a girl dancing topless in a wolf mask, but with poor lighting) was supposed to be actually happening, or was the movie they’re shooting, or something else.


Swanberg (his own lead actor, just like Polanski, except not at all like that) is casting a werewolf movie, frustrated with moviemaking, says it’s crap if it’s just filmed theater, that we need new forms (I suggest he watch some Guy Maddin). I think he’s casting a girl in his movie who makes his girlfriend uncomfortable. He goes on about how movies (making/watching them) doesn’t make him happy, and right now his movie isn’t making me happy, so I’m off to the IMDB. Interesting thing is this one stars two experienced actresses – Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) and Kate Lyn Sheil (all the Alex Ross Perry and Ti West and Adam Wingard movies) – plus at least three four film directors – Swanberg, Ti West, Larry Fessenden and Antonio Campos – but I’m not sure who anyone played or what was going on. Maybe I could’ve paid closer attention. Anyway, first movie I’ve seen by Swanberg (not counting a V/H/S episode) and I was hoping I’d love it since he has made a hundred more.

A werewolf with a gun is twice as deadly:

Oops, I thought this Bujalski dude was our indie cinema saviour or the new Wes Anderson or something. Nothing more than a grainy portrait of a few young white people in new york, one of ’em trying to be an indie rocker, and mutually attracted to his best bud’s girl [best bud is played by the director]. Manages not to be annoyingly quirky, situations seem pretty real and characters have a non-fakey awkwardness about them, but also not much to recommend the movie and doesn’t feel very memorable.

AV Club said it first: “All this intrigue sets up a romantic encounter between Rice and Clift, and a serious rupture in their relationship with Bujalski, but nothing in Mutual Appreciation goes according to the usual script. The scene in which Rice and Clift finally vocalize their feelings for each other is the perfect example of what Bujalski does so well: Any other romantic melodrama would have them bubbling over with passion, but these characters are painfully tentative and believably so, given that they’re both betraying someone they care about. What ends up happening between them is completely unexpected, yet entirely true to who they are and to how most caring people would act. But such things rarely happen onscreen, and Bujalski’s willingness to follow through makes him a singular talent.”

I guess after reading the AV Club bit and some Indiewire articles I can appreciate the thing more. Still don’t know whether it’s an authentic new york indie rock scene document, or a comedy/mockery of that scene. Given the levels of irony involved in the “scene”, is there a difference?