You didn't ask for them, but I'm giving them to you anyway. Here's some of my thoughts on Return to Pepperland. As with the Dailies Fight Scene I can't touch on all the films, but here are the ones that I thought deserved some shoutouts. (Thanks to Brent Dey and Mary Kraft. Being the lazy ass I am, I didn't want to retype everything so thanks to the power of ctrl-C and ctrl-V I magically made my life easier and "borrowed" the synopsis they had provided.)
Fixing a Hole
Written and Produced by Adam Thompson
Starring Evan Casey and Christine Vozniak
Wally is having a hard time dealing with his breakup from his long time girlfriend. He can’t concentrate on his manuscript until he devises a way to fill the hole she’s left in his life.
I felt this was the first short to get it. Not that I had anything against the previous Return to Pepperland Dailies While the first shorts definitely had something to say, I just didn’t feel they captured the sly wisdom and simplicity of Lennon and McCartney’s lyrics.
The crappy thing about memory is how it can imprint itself on anything and everything. That’s the couch we watched hundreds of movies on, that’s the shirt she bought me, that’s the painting she’d straighten every morning, etc. etc. If a relationship goes long enough, you damn near have to “disinfect” everything in the house to get out the funk of relationship past.
Yet, there was one bit that holds this one back. There’s a moment when Wally goes a little too far. The short light skinned feminist in me felt extremely uncomfortable watching it happen. If it played as a figment of Wally’s imagination I would have been okay with it.
But, in some ways, considering what this short is about, it’s ironic. Because when it comes to guys we can be such sympathetic saps when we’re suffering from PBUS (Post Break Up Stress). Other dudes understand. Women feel our pain. The world is on our side. But, inevitably we always go too far and do something so dumb, so out of bounds that we lose any and all respect our friends and family had for us. So as distasteful as I found that one moment at the end, it has a ring of painful truth to it. She’s Leaving Home
Written by Mary Kraft, Keith Hooker and Mike Kane
Directed by Matt Ruggles
Starring Jessyca Holland, Michelle Keller, Josie Burgin Lawson, Emily Kisber
A “home” can be the most comforting place on earth, but it can also feel like a prison. Family or friends always have the best intentions, but can’t always give you what you need. Parents and caretakers have to constantly make decisions that they think are right for the people they are caring for. The consequences can sometimes leave doubt and sadness.
Children leave home, that’s inevitable. Half of all indie flicks are about someone who has to leave, who should have left, or is coming back after they did leave. Oprah does entire episodes on it. Even the Bible speaks on it and says there’s a time when we need to get to stepping.
Yet, we never talk about what happens when we’re older. Because, young or old, the reality is on some level we all have to leave home. And even when you’re standing still, there are those times when it feels like home is leaving you.
She’s Leaving Home does enough emotional heavy lifting for two or three films. Slipping in and out of the past, we’re shown how complex and ever evolving the relationship between a mother and daughter can be. In a very short span the title Leaving Home is framed and reframed, showing us exactly how emotionally loaded and multi-faceted that phrase can be.
After you see this one, please call someone you know and tell them how much you love them and tell them how much you care.
Within You, Without You
Howdy! Digital Pictures
Written, Produced and Directed by Brent Dey
Starring Bryan Brownlow. Narration by Evan Casey.
Wendy is a Large Frame Registered Black Angus who lives an idyllic Zen-like existence on a beautiful rolling acreage…until one day, when Farmer Lindsay packs her up and ships her to the meat processing plant. Through the events that follow, Wendy gets a very unique perspective on the cycle of life. In the end, she realizes we’re all one. Life flows on within you and without you.
“Flatulence is created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Brent Dey
Okay, Brent Dey really didn’t say that. But, after you’ve seen this one, tell me he wouldn’t say that sh*t.
Wacky, poignant and making me hungry for a good burger, With You is that witty film that makes me wish I had thought of it first. This is another one that got it. Of course, Dey should get it. Dailies is his baby. Seriously though, if Dey had the connections I could see Ringo starring (would that be a pun? I’m not sure. Holla at me if ya know.) in this one.
There’s not much more I can say about this one except it’s definitely in the top five for the best of the bunch. That and the flying cat bit was just showing off. Stupid genius moment that some other dude thought up and executed brilliantly!
Oh. If you didn’t get that Star Wars reference up above, then F U. (Yeah, I’m still bitter!)
When I’m 64
One More Time Productions
Written by Heather Murphy
Directed by Jackson Murphy
Starring Bob Souvorin
An older man sits drinking belly up at a local pub. As he gets up, we see a younger man sitting there beside him drinking the same drink. We follow the older man out of the pub and down the street. Stumbling out of the bar, he sees images of the life he could have led projected onto walls, buildings and streets. I don’t want to say much about this one, because I’m afraid that I’ll give way the simple, but brilliant conceit that lies at the center of this one. Of course, maybe the central conceit was more obvious that I’ve led myself to believe. Yet, even then, I’m sticking to my initial stance and say that knowing what is or not, this films message still works.
An excellent companion piece to She’s Leaving, seeing life in its entirety isn’t something we often do. It’s easy to live one day at a time. Yet, what if you lived one life at a time? What kind of decisions would you make then? Lovely Rita
Evil Edison Productions
Written, Produced and Directed by Sean Bates
Starring Jeff Pack and Angie Fox
We start with Jim, an average guy racing down the sidewalk trying to get to his parked car. As he reaches it he is mortified to find Rita, a meter maid giving him a ticket. He is about to pitch a fit, but suddenly realizes....she is a very lovely meter maid. He’s intrigued, but is it Rita or her uniform he’s the most fascinated with? Call me Mr. Slap Happy and smack my black ass. Okay, if you’re still with me after that then good. This one has it all kinky meter maids, humans that speak Duck--See Lucas, it isn’t hard to make up a language. Yeah, I’m still bitter! F U-- flashbacks, statues that make the perfect extras and more.
Whenever you see The Beatles in their heyday, they’re always smiling. It’s like they were tapped into some strange cosmic signal that was constantly letting them in on a joke only they were allowed to hear. I believe Sean Bates secretly tapped into whatever wavelength that cosmic signal was on and siphoned some of that strangeness.
I loved Lovely Rita. Of course, besides being well written and directed, it helps that Jeff Pack is one funny mofo who looks good in tightie-whities and Angie Fox is not only hot and funny, but she speaks in an accent. Yes, gentleman. She speaks in an accent. And we all know that women who speak in an accent are insanely freaky. Or, at least that’s what I’ve been told. Did I also mention that she’s in a uniform? I thought that might get your attention.
If it wasn’t for A Day in the Life I’d easily say this was the best of the lot. Good Morning, Good Morning
Fake Wood Wallpaper
Written, Produced and Directed by Alex Orr
A family has gathered for the holidays. There’s plenty to talk about, but nothing to say.
Hmmm. I wasn’t too sure about this one. Then I reread the lyrics to Good Morning, Good Morning and I’d have to say this one easily ties A Day in the Life for taking what’s the core of Lennon and McCartney’s lyrics and making some insanely insightful observations.
Does every relationship need to be super deep and meaningful? More specifically, do our family relationships need to be super deep and meaningful?
The family Thanksgiving film/short story/TV episode/Novel always revolves around shocking revelations and long time in coming heart felt reconciliations. Yet, I’ve never attended a Thanksgiving dinner in which my Uncle suddenly revealed he was gay and he was running off to Aruba. Nor did my Aunt and my mom suddenly end some long running feud.
However, I think most families at Thanksgiving time are pretty much the way Alex Orr portrays them. They fill the air with endless conversation and if you’re the poor sap who’s a little too aware, you instantly recognize how empty most of that conversation is. Yet, do you lump these people you love and care for into the useless pile? Hell no. They’re your family. Looney as they maybe, you still love them regardless.
This a film that slyly gives the illusion it has “nothing to say.” But, sometimes you’re so busy looking for meaning or for a purpose you miss what’s right in front of you.
Everywhere I go Fake Wood Wallpaper gets mad love and there’s good reason for that.
A Day in the Life
Psycopia Films and Itaki Design Studio
Written and Directed by Dan Bush and Michael McReynolds
Starring Conal Byrne and Alexis Belcher
A young man is confronting the childhood loss of a father who died in battle. Going through the motions at his soul-crushing job, he is confronted with a cutting irony that contrasts his father’s brave sacrifice with the mundane, meaningless, corporate way in which his own life has been lived. Is this what his father died for? Damn. A Day in the Life is impressive all the way around. Every element from the editing to the sound to the costuming has been intricately designed to f*ck with your head. A somber meditation on corporate culture, family and values, A Day instantly reminded me of Gregory Peck’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. And considering the time when Sgt. Pepper was released, that isn’t much of a leap.
After WWII, Britain was hurting. Mines were struggling, factory jobs were never secure, the future was uncertain for everybody. Although the British were still respected for their financial wizardry and they’re place in history, the United States had surpassed them as the new economic and military juggernaut.
The Beatles came from a working class British background and being the socially enlightened lads they were they were definitely aware of what was unfolding around them.
After fighting one of the nastiest wars ever in European history, people were searching for meaning. They needed something they could believe in. Otherwise, wouldn’t the fight for freedom and to protect one’s family and country been hypocritical?
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit contemplates some of those same questions and ideas. Did Peck’s Tom Rath really fight to simply come home and to go through the motions of playing family? Or, is his family his reason for being? Even if it’s ultimately to give keep his family financially secure and to protect them, how far is he willing to go ethically and morally to succeed in the corporate world?
A Day travels a serpentine path through time and space to delve into these same questions. It’s a reminder that we must be constantly reevaluating what we stand and fight for. Whether it be WWII, Vietnam or Operation Iraqi Freedom, the one constant will be our values. Choose carefully and wisely and they’ll guide us through the roughest of times. Take them for granted and we risk losing our souls and our humanity.
This was easily the best that Return to Pepperland had to offer.
So is Pepperland worth it? Hell yes. Go. Enjoy the films. Feed off the vibe.
There are two more chances to catch this. Tonite Saturday 11/19 and tomorrow Sunday 11/20.
Tickets are $12. Doors open at 7, films roll at 8. For more info go to: