DID YOU READ

“Bellflower,” Reviewed

“Bellflower,” Reviewed (photo)

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A broken heart feels like the end of the world. That’s the essential truth and the ingenious premise behind “Bellflower” an apocalyptic love story by Evan Glodell, a mad scientist of a filmmaker. Glodell wrote, directed, and starred in the film. He also custom built the camera he used to shoot the movie along with many of the film’s weird gadgets and weapons. Like any mad scientist worth his salt, Glodell occasionally loses control of his creation. But that’s what we like to see mad scientists do: invent something truly crazy and brilliant and watch it crash and burn, in this case, by a flamethrowing muscle car called The Medusa. Glodell built that thing too. Then he drove it from California to Austin for South by Southwest.

There’s a long drive to Texas in the movie too. It’s undertaken by Woodrow (Glodell) and Milly (Jessie Wiseman) on their first date. The night before, they’d met at a bar during a bug eating contest; it’s love at first bite of cricket. Woodrow and his best bud Aiden (Tyler Dawson) spend all their days tinkering with gadgets and weapons they’re stockpiling in case the apocalypse ever comes to pass. “Mad Max” fans since they were kids in Wisconsin, they dream of the end of days, when they’ll rule the world with shotguns and flamethrowers and Medusa. They’re not necessarily violent guys; they dig destruction in the abstract. But when his relationship with Milly starts to fall apart, Woodrow finds something else to do with all those toys.

That’s the rough outlines of the narrative but a description doesn’t do the film justice, which is a good deal more than the sum of its plot threads. Synopses can’t convey the beauty of the film’s off-kilter cinematography, the uncanny naturalism of its dialogue and performances, or the complexity of the film’s editing and sound design, which took two years for Glodell and three other editors to refine. I suspect some audiences will be turned off by a few of “Bellflower”‘s bat-shit crazy plot twists, and by the clash between the good vibrations of its first half and the ’til I die mega-bummer of its second. But the narrative’s rough-hewn quality fits the film. Apocalypses are supposed to be messy.

“Bellflower” bears obvious stylistic inspirations, but it’s a totally original and incredibly personal film; the emotions spewing out of Woodrow and Milly’s dissolution like propane from a flame thrower are so blue-hot intense, they’re borderline uncomfortable. Medusa’s a cool car, but it’s also one big honking metaphor (literally!) for a young man’s impulse to create something great and his self-destructive need to burn it all down. That’s another sign of a good mad scientist: all they leave in their wake is fire, ash, and memories seared into your brain forever.

The Medusa, after last night’s screening of “Bellflower.” Glodell and Dawson put on a demonstration of the car’s flame-throwing and smoke-screening capabilities. Then they drove off into the cool Texas night.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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