Pity the poor filmmaker who must screen their film in a theater with no air conditioning for a crowd already grumpy about the heat. That’s what happened at the third and final screening of Mike Ott’s Analog Days yesterday. Watching this film in a stuffy theater with no air conditioning was super awesome, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Ott presented a sincere first effort about frustrated youth in a stubbornly ignorant and racist small-ish town in California. Here you’ll find the usual suspects: The painfully shy near-mute with a heartbreaking crush on a confused (and apparently kind of easy) girl who’s friends with another girl who is disillusioned with her community college film department (complete with irritatingly pretentious classmates). There’s the vigilante vandal, specializing in defacing the property of local racists, the sweaty, fast-talking, exaggerating lug and the one guy who got away from all of this. The actors are young and largely unknown and each was completely believeable. There was a very natural feel to their conversations, something that seems to elude many films about people of this generation.
Their story is not a new one, and that is fine. Ott even takes a stab at creating a little more depth, but seems to abandon that idea two thirds of the way into the film. Confusing editing decisions, grainy image quality and sound problems (of which there were many) aside, this is not a bad film. Had I seen it a couple years ago when I was living it, I’m sure I would have loved it. But as it was yesterday (and this may be due to the muggy theater), the thing I found myself appreciating the most was the music. Elliott Smith, Interpol, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and one of my all time favorites, Joy Division, this was a shoegazer’s soundtrack.
(That said, I’d like to mention that since I saw it yesterday, it has stuck with me enough to make me wonder if my first reactions were too harsh, and I plan on seeing it again someday. I also look forward to whatever Ott comes out with next, as first features can be something of a learning experience.)
Oh, and after the film, a suprise – one of the most unique and fitting hand outs: our very own mixtape of songs off the soundtrack. (Thank you VW for still making stereos with a tape deck! Otherwise I’d never get any use out of the cassette.)