Overall the movie was really good. Emily Cline was positively delicious as the lead character, Bettina, leader of a Just-About-To-Make-The-Big-Time band, passing through her hometown of Minneapolis when… things go wrong.
Plenty of conflict, drama, and Ms. Cline played it all very well. Great acting. Very expressive. Maybe Eric Tretbar (Writer/Producer/Director) could give Peter Jackson some tips on how to edit the leading lady’s close-ups..
Scott Foster plays Billy, a slacker drummer from Seattle, and love interest to Bettina. Billy seemed to suffer from some kind of multiple personality syndrome. In one scene, he is quiet/shy. The next scene he is loving/caring. The next he is a wise philosopher. Awkward lines were given to him that even the best actor would have a hard time with, (the dressing room scene with Linda comes to mind.) I couldn’t tell if the problem was the writing or the performance, although treating each scene individually, Scott Foster did a fine job, but overall the character came off as disjointed.
Lines of dialog throughout the movie were contrived, and several of the conversations would have made more sense if you cut the last sentence off. You’ll have to see the movie to understand, but several times when characters were walking away from each other and one would say something, I was left there wondering what the hell the person was talking about. “You didn’t even try!” was one I recall. “Try what?” I replied to myself.
The plot was unique and interesting, involving Rock and Roll, and the sacrifices people are willing to make for it.
There was one serious twist in the plot which threw my suspension of disbelief straight off the tour bus. It was an occurrence of something I have coined ‘The English Patient Effect’. This is when two people argue/fight/scream at each other, typically culminating in one person hitting the other or pushing them down…
…and then they have sex.
Um. Yeah. Right.
This doesn’t work. Don’t go down to Martini Blu and try it to find out for yourself. Don’t ask me why it doesn’t work. It didn’t work in The English Patient, and it didn’t work in The Horrible Flowers either. Instead, I wondered if the projectionist got the reels mixed up.
The musical score (by writer/director Eric Tretbar) was good. The songs the bands were performing on stage sounded like uninspired standards, but that was OK. They were not in the big leagues yet, they were not superstars, so that made sense. The background music was much better: simple, emotional guitar/drum/tambourine. Another critic compared the guitar work to Neil Young’s score for “Dead Man” and I completely agree.
More than anything, the movie has a high ‘coolness’ factor. Lots of local Minneapolis places that musicians and music lovers will recognize. The characters are believable, they have the right ‘attitude’. All in all, a great local indie film, in which the plot, acting and Minneapolisism outweighed the drawbacks.