Film Review – Drinking Buddies

IMDB Score – 6.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 82%

Directed By – Joe Swanberg
Starring – Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston

Luke and Kate are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They’re perfect for each other, except that they’re both in relationships.

First let me start off saying that I don’t understand this poster. It’s the only poster I’ve seen for this movie and Jake Johnson doesn’t have a beard, which he does for the entire movie. Odd. I guess that really doesn’t matter.

So I’ve been actively trying to see more films that delve into the “romance” genre. I’m still not going to watching any Nicholas Sparks adaptions but a balanced film resume is important because people won’t take you seriously otherwise. Some of my favorite films dive into this category (Lost in Translation, Away We Go, Slumdog Millionaire) and while Drinking Buddies isn’t going to reach that kind of pantheon, I will say I quite enjoyed it.

You’re not going to a classic story of love in this and I think that’s why I liked it so much. It felt more real than most films and there’s a very good reason for that. The film is entirely improvised. Swanberg did a very interesting thing and just let the film play out in however direction it went. The film had a basics story structure but the acting was completely improvised by the cast as there was no script. Besides Wilde, whom I’ve never really seen act besides seeing her in House and a horrible Ryan Reynolds movie I’m still binge drinking to forget, I’m a fan of the major players. Jake Johnson needs to be in more things. He and Wilde were excellent together and really seemed to make the other shine. I honestly didn’t think Olivia Wilde was going to be a good actress but she was fantastic. Her role was a little bit like Greta Gerwig’s character in Frances Ha minus the incredible amount of quirk. Livingston and Kendrick, while not in the film as much as the other two, were both very good and played their characters well considering none of them had a script to work with. What I’m trying to say is that the acting was really good on all accounts here.

Swanberg has some serious talent. I almost decided to skip this because Swanberg was a director on the awful V/H/S but if he sticks with his passion projects, which this seemed to me to be, then I think he has a bright future ahead of him. Some may think that this film is a hipsters dream. The characters work at a brewery. Some have beards and ride bikes to and from their studio apartments and the bar they hang out at has a couch in it but I just found it to be a very well made film that was highlighted by fantastic improvised performances.

4/5



Film Review: Frances Ha (2013)

That trailer is bad. It makes it seem like this film is a quirky romantic comedy when in reality it’s a quirky look on how hipsters live in New York City. Seriously, next time you’re in a Starbucks in NYC and there are a bunch of 27 year olds with fedoras, really long tank tops, and Buddy Holly glasses on, just listen to what they’re talking about. If they’re talking about movies, they’ll be talking about this. And you know what? I didn’t dislike the movie. I thought it was a modern day Woody Allen classic that isn’t going to turn into a classic. It’s official, Greta Gerwig is the new indie queen. I’m calling it right now. She’s going to be in every little indie movie from now until she fades away. She was actually pretty great in this. At least she can act. The film was directed by Noah Baumbach and succeeded in getting me not to hate it. I hated his first two films. Greenberg was just flat out annoying but it had a lot to do with Ben Stiller’s infuriating character that he does which I call “whiney jewish guy”. The Squid and the Whale was just awkward. I mean there’s a scene where a ten year old smears semen on a bookshelf in school. Strange shit. No thank you. I saw the film at the IFC Center in New York City with three other 50 year old dudes. One left in the middle, one had headphones in blasting Italian opera the whole time, and one was actually watching the movie. It was a weird little experience but the IFC Center was awesome so I can’t complain. By all means if you like Woody Allen which I do then check out this film sometime. Baumbach even filmed it in black and white. Totally old school. 3/5