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Short reviews of films from this year’s DC Shorts Film Festival
Cobra: Perhaps the first short film to feature Meatspin (don’t Google it) as a plot point. A father attends his estranged son’s funeral, and connects with son’s friends at a male burlesque. The funeral drags, but the nightclub scenes project an enjoyable mix of silliness and menace.
Double Or Nothing: Hey, it’s Seth from The O.C., a.k.a actor Adam Brody, playing a yuppie jerk whose racism would seem over-the-top at a klavern. Brody offers a homeless black man a choice: guess correctly where Brody’s hiding a dollar, and win it—or guess wrong, and get punched out. Watching Brody tell the man that he could afford some watermelon and fried chicken with his winnings is mesmerizing in its awfulness, but larger attempts to address racial and economic segregation sink under implausible twist and hammy lines.
Everything is Incredible: An impoverished Honduran man confined to a wheelchair spends 50 years trying to build a helicopter out of garbage. The doc leans toward Don Quijote-esque schmaltz, but doesn’t ignore its subject’s grim situation.
Florette: An anthropomorphized vegetable dance revolving around an eggplant-broccoli-potato love triangle comes under attack, in a stylish short that doesn’t overstay its gimmick’s welcome.
Harry Grows Up: Black-and-white romantic despair through the eyes of a toddler addicted to “the bottle.” Silly baby, you’re not really to be filled with existential dread!
McKenzie: The titular McKenzie has silkscreened T-shirts for 40 years, but he can’t silkscreen a reason that we should care. The short is nearly salvaged by McKenzie’s inexplicable surprise that people still wear T-shirts—what did he expect, tunics?
Teardrop: In a grim account whose glossy squalor and first-person viewpoint owes much to Prodigy‘s “Smack My Bitch Up” video, a young man is initiated into a rabble of drug addicts.
The Five Stages of Grief: A man work through his grief over his father’s death with the people who come to visit him—a kooky healer, a one-night stand, and a cat. Adorable, pukey cat is worth your time, the others, a little less so.
To Snowy Nowhere: Quarter-life crises all around, as a slacker hires a construction worker to abduct his sister and return her to college. Things could go terribly wrong, but they never do in this road-trip comedy.
Friday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial
Sunday, Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. at U.S. Navy Memorial
Friday, Sept. 14 at Angelika Film Center