When it comes to independent film, Joe and I are pretty much novices to the genre. Sure, we've seen a lot movies, most of them big budget pieces that lacks story, character, background, and even good acting. Those are "professional" pieces, with paid Hollywood actors that have years of training and experience in front of the camera.
Then you have the amateurs, the ones that are out there, busting their humps every day, doing everything on their own, without the help of anyone but themselves, their friends, and family providing support for these filmmakers. We, those of us that are "critics", often forget that this is where all filmmakers start off.
When the team for We Make Movies reached out to us to review the film (www.wmmfilm.com), we were genuinely excited. We've made it known, before, that we would love to review up and coming films from any amateur filmmaker because we like to help those guys, as much as we can, at least. Amateur filmmakers deserve to have their films seen, by the widest audience necessary and when other reviewers and "news" sites focus on the latest from the big studios, they are doing a disservice to those filmmakers that come from such humble beginnings.
We Make Movies, is a behind the scenes look at a bunch of college kids, taking their summer break and making a movie for the upcoming film festival. Stevphen (played by Matt Tory) is gathering his friends for one last hurrah, before college starts and everyone goes their separate ways. Stevphen and his associate producer/best friend Donny (Jordan Hopewell) have decided to start recruiting all of their friends to make this movie.
Local Boys And Girls Done Good.
Stevphen really wants to make the perfect move, mostly with him doing everything, but he realizes that he has to give up some things for this to happen, like being the lead actor. Garth (Jonathan Holmes) recommends that they get this guy, a "great actor" named Leonard (who pronounces his name LEO Nard, played by Zack Slort). In order for him to be in the movie LEO Nard requires a contract rider, including 3 bottles of fresh Fiji water, Dr. Pepper with ice (to better taste all 23 flavors) and a trailer to relax in between shots. The situation changes when Jessica (Anne Crockett), Donny's cousin, shows up to the production meeting to pick Donny up and she inadvertently becomes part of the movie A New Don (Part II), because they need a female lead.
Matt Tory is a filmmaker. If you have ever watched The Goldbergs TV show, those little personal films at the end where Adam is recreating movies and filming them at his house? That's also Matt. It's in his blood. During the credits, as we get to watch the home made movies of Matt and his friends (everyone in them, was also in We Make Movies), all we see is how passionate these guys are about making movies. It didn't matter if it was cheesy, the dialogue was not polished or the fact that the costumes weren't the best. What matters, is that they committed to the projects that they were doing and that they were having fun doing it.
That's what We Make Movies is about, the love of making movies. That is what it's all about for these guys and they do a great job. As I was watching the film, the very first thing that I thought was, this is Clerks meets Spinal Tap. The characters, the writing, the acting, is all reminiscent of Clerks, but the situation is so This Is Spinal Tap, that you can't help but feel for all those involved in the mockumentary.
There are some minor issues with the film, mostly sound issues, where the dialogue is hard to hear because the mic doesn't pick it up, some of the acting is a bit wooden and in some cases the actors are over acting, trying too hard in particular scenes, when less could have been more. Again, these are minor complaints, when a movie is this well done and the script is pretty solid.
Highlights include Donny learning how to ride a bike, the crew filming at Stevphen's Uncles Barn, not knowing that his Uncle has a restraining order against him (there are only four places on Earth that he has to avoid), "gorilla film making" and the three way love triangle. Even the cringe worthy moments where the actors have to deal with personal issues, Stevphen trying to date Jessica, LEO-nard just being a diva and Donny with his allergy to the sun to name a few, are well played. But those are just the minor-minor pieces in the bigger picture. It's the whole story, where Stevphen is a control freak and wants everything to go his way, or no way at all and all of the crew dealing with his unrealistic sense of self, until they reach their breaking point, which is the meat of the movie.
We Make Movies, is a fun film to watch. When a movie gets me to laugh early on and pulls me in, because of the characters, it's going to be a good film. Matt Tory and his friends and family (I refuse to call them a crew), have put their blood, sweat, and tears into making this film and it really shows. Their love of film comes across in each and every frame. Even the movie within the movie, is interesting and actually made me want to see what they could do with that premise.
It's not enough that I want to see more from Matt and his friends. This is the start of something, hopefully, big. Parts Sam Raimi, Parts Kevin Smith, this is a filmmaker to really keep an eye on as he continues his career. Cheers to the crew for making such a good mockumentary and cheers to the cast for being able to create believable characters.
We Make Movies (2016)
1h 51min | Comedy | 28 January 2016 (USA)
A heartfelt and hilarious comedy chronicling the ups and downs of a group of college students who spend their summer making a movie for their town's Film Festival.
Director: Matt Tory
Writer: Matt Tory
Stars: Jordan Hopewell, Matt Tory, Zack Slort
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