A quick snippet about reRun theater…
reRun Theater, located in Dumbo Brooklyn, NY, shows independent films in a single theater that seats about 60. Said seats are reclaimed car seats…I hope you like upholstery. There is a bar in the theater. A bar! A bar that serves gastropub fare including popcorn sopped in all kinds of interesting fat. Amazing. Conceivably, one could check out an indie flick, grab a hot dog and some duckfat popcorn and get shlocked simultaneously. I kept myself in check because the night was still early and I was in a shirt and tie.
My girlfriend and I took the “dinner & a movie” idea and flipped it. She bought tickets for the 7 o’clock showing of The Dish & The Spoon and we had dinner reservations at the restaurant down the hall, reBar, at 8:45. After a 45-minute trek to Dumbo (it’s always annoying getting to Brooklyn), we found our seats and prepared ourselves to enjoy the show.
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I really wanted to like this movie. Why? 1) my ticket was one of my Valentine’s Day gifts from my girlfriend, and 2) the venue was awesome. Although the acting is good overall and there are a few scenes that were indeed charming (the “hangman” scene at the brewery), the movie tried my patience more than it engaged me. It failed my simple Watch Test: I can tell that I enjoyed a movie if I don’t look at my watch (or cell phone since my watch needs a new battery) for the duration of the movie. This movie was only 90 minutes long and it felt like it was over two hours. I thought we were going to miss our reservation…
The plot begins with a sobbing woman, Rose (Greta Gerwig), driving away from something. The something turns out to be her husband who she’s discovered has cheated on her. After stopping to pick up some beer (Dogfish Head to be specific…more on that later) and donuts, she parks herself at an abandoned lighthouse to get hammered and myunch. She finds our second main character, “boy” (Olly Alexander), shivering at the top of the lighthouse. She puts him in her car concerned for his health and from then on, the pair become the unlikely inseparables. Over a few days’ time, Rose coerces the boy into helping her seek revenge on the husband’s lover. Oh, and they sort of fall in love. Dramedy!
Above: Alexander creepily glaring at Gerwig.
My biggest problems with the movie were the characters and the script…two fundamental problems.
The two main characters were obviously supposed to be sympathetic, but I couldn’t get behind either one of them. Rose acts like a crazy bitch for 80 of the 90 minutes and the “boy” is a HOPELESS romantic. I’m fairly certain that Rose was to be liked for her “quirkyness” and the fact that she drinks Dogfish Head. The whole Dogfish Head brewery thing felt like a desperate attempt to get beer enthusiasts to fall in love with Rose. ”What’s she drinking now? Is that a 90-Minute?? She’s totally insane, but she’s cute and likes decent beer.” You can’t sympathize with the boy because he entertains and even drives her antics at times (I get it: she’s “the dish” and he stirs things up…). At the end of the movie you wish you could go back in time and tell the boy to get dropped off at the nearest bus station while he still can.
I got the sense that the Gerwig and Alexander were acting impromptu a lot of the time which could have been the result of a thin script. Some of Gerwig’s off-the-cuff rants gave way to over-acting which could have been reigned in with a better script and/or more direction. The script also meanders constantly. Have you ever taken a creative writing workshop and heard the term “babies” defined as those little images/scenes etc… that come to mind while working on a story that just don’t fit? File them away somewhere safe for use in a later project; don’t take a dozen of them and write a screenplay. Why am I watching Rose act out a male role-play with the boy dolled up in drag? More than a couple of the scenes let cohesion take a backseat to imagery.
After the movie there was a Q&A with the writer/director, Alison Bagnall, who also wrote the screenplay for Buffalo 66. I thought that it was a very unique opportunity to be able to interact with the director and was considering sticking around to ask about the significance (if any) of a visual “cube” motif that seemed to pop up again and again in the film, but we were already late for our reservation (I was starving) and I’m shy.
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The dinner at reBar afterwards was a pleasant experience. The beer selection was extensive as is to be expected at a gastropub. The dinner menu has everything from a simple burger to chateaubriand. We were both craving red meat and settled in the middle with filets. I am always pleased when I order a steak rare and it arrives that way. That combined with a decent atmosphere (dimmed lights versus pub blackout and not too loud) and good service (a waitress who kept her eye on my drink) had me leaving reBar fat and happy. Of course I was also in good company.