Friday, we caught the 9:15 pm show of Mutual Appreciation at the Bloor Cinema.
Shot in grainy black and white, we follow the story of Alan, a musician who’s just relocated to New York from Boston. He’s finding his way in a new city with the help of his old friend Lawrence and Lawrence’s girlfriend Ellie. Alan’s band has broken up, he’s got a gig to play, and he needs to find a drummer.
It’s part Godard’s Breathless and part Wes Anderson or Richard Linklater — but lacking the pretension of either example. Instead, the film has a comfortable, natural awkwardness — full of “umm”s, long pauses, and conversations that aimlessly drift along. Sure, this has the potential to bore, and some plot threads do remain unresolved, but as a character piece, it’s superb. The characters feel incredibly familiar, as if they’re your own long-lost pals and you’re all just hanging out in your living room. The character of Alan is splendidly played by novice actor Justin Rice.
This is director Andrew Bujalski’s second film. His first effort, “Funny Ha Ha,” was an almost straight-to-DVD affair that still made the The New York Times’ list of Top 10 Films of 2005. In other words, his films won’t be playing at your local multiplex, but they’re definitely worth watching. Still unconvinced? View the trailer.
There are just a handful of showings this weekend, all of them at the Bloor. Go see Mutual Appreciation on Saturday at 1:45 and 6:30, Sunday at 9:20, and Monday at 7:00.
As a small segue, actor Justin Rice is also lead singer for Brooklyn indie band Bishop Allen. The songs he plays in the film can be found on their excellent, independently-released record, Charm School. The music brings to mind a catchier, poppier, Velvet Underground. Download their song Things Are What You Make of Them (MP3).
For the duration of 2006, Bishop Allen are releasing one new four-song EP for every month. Details here. Torontoist recommends you collect them all.