After-School Special

Sad sacks and victims dominate DC Shorts’ Showcase 1. I’d advise you to bring your tissues, but none of these films are strong enough to warrant tears.

Long Story Short: A little person falls for his tall improv partner; the awkwardness is palpable, their connection is not.

The Man in 813: This three-minute film about 24 hours in an apartment building swiftly shows how fucked up some people are.

After-School Special: Written by Neil LaBute, this is the best of Showcase 1 if only for its shocking conclusion, which might be called Shyamalan-ian if that meant anything anymore.

The Scarecrow Girl: A rural girl whose parents believe that school is only for boys teaches herself to read, which is about as gripping as it sounds.

Spiral Transition: A documentary about a 27-year-old undergoing gender transitioning is more about his mother than him, leaving you wishing it went a little deeper.

Lighthearted Boy: An amusement-park ride is an unlikely source of salvation in this mediocre story about a suicidal grandfather.

She Was the One: Pairing real audio with animation, this is no TV Funhouse but an interview with someone who lost his love on Sept. 11, 2001. It may be one of thousands of stories, but that doesn’t diminish its poignancy.

Frienemies: A mini-melodrama about BFFs and a high-school sexting scandal that deserves rotten tomatoes for occasionally stiff acting and making me write “sexting.”

The Line: This slight comedy about three Mexican men crossing the border in the trunk of a car is less puzzling for its lack of humor than for wrapping things up with “Danke Schoen.”

Thurs., Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at E Street Cinema
Sun., Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. at Artisphere
Tues., Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. at E Street Cinema