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Weekend Pass: Happy Tears and The Good Guy

If you haven’t recovered from the frothiness of the past holiday weekend, then two indie films can help clean your movie-going palate this weekend.  Happy Tears [HPYTR] and The Good Guy [GDGUY] are both released by Roadside Attractions but each offers a slice of human drama for different age groups. 

Happy Tears is a family drama starring Demi Moore [DMOOR] and Parker Posey [PPOSE] as a pair of bickering sisters.  When their 72-year-old father falls ill in their native Pittsburgh, Laura and Jayne must interrupt their San Francisco life to go care for him.  While both are dutiful, elder sister Laura (Moore) is the responsible one while younger sister Jayne tends to get lost in a fantasy life in order to cope with reality.  As their dad, played by a grisly Rip Torn [RTORN], slowly loses his mental faculty to senility, the two sisters deal with their past as well as present responsibilities.  They must also decode their father’s seedy lady friend Shelly, played by Ellen Barkin [EBARK], who serves as a personal nurse among other things. 

The film delivers very real moments about dealing with a sick loved one, but also highlights with humor the responsibilities that come when a parent gets old.  Director Mitchell Lichtenstein is also the man behind the 2007 cult favorite Teeth.  His competent writing features two quirky, yet strong female characters trying to rise above circumstances.  Like his heroine from Teeth, Laura and Jayne take control of their lives without giving into the emotional weight.  Happy Tears deals with a potentially heavy subject in a touching way while staying free of formulaic devices.  

Roadside Attraction’s other indie film The Good Guy starring Alexis Bledel [ABLED] and Scott Porter [SCPOR] is aimed a younger audience. The Good Guy centers on Bledel’s Beth, a young New Yorker building her life.  Beth wants it all, a good job, a life in the city and the perfect man.  As an added dimension, Beth is a conservationist who wants a moral life.  Beth’s boyfriend Tommy is a young Wall Street broker who wants a life of prosperity.  As they get closer, Beth realizes her boyfriend might not be the upstanding citizen she is looking to spend her life with and she falls for Tommy’s mentee a sensitive and hapless co-worker Daniel. A love triangle ensues.

While run of the mill as far as love triangle’s go, the film presents an interesting layer with Beth’s search for a moral life in an immoral city.  As she begins to realize that goodness isn’t black or white, she is forced to contend with her own motives for wanting it all.

Set before the economic collapse and Wall Street scandals, the film examines the moral price you pay for the good life.  It highlights how young people who want the good life change their moral compass when accompanying their prosperity.  The Good Guy begins to make an attempt to unravel this modern conundrum.


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By HSXniknak on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 @ 05:30 PM 2741 views

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