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This selection is a strong candidate to be DC Short’s most upsetting collection, and not just because most of the subject material is a downer. Beyond the bleakness, much of Showcase 5 comes off like an amateur hour with bad lighting and bruising sentimentality.
Educating Cooper: A bereaved Anthony Michael Hall-type and an Ally Sheedy-type fall for each other; their private high school’s headmaster is a Paul Gleason-type in a pantsuit.
Touch: Two women bond while waiting for a train, mostly because they’re the only two people riding the subway in Los Angeles.
The Queen: Although this romantic fantasy telegraphs all its plays, this tale of a quiet young man working in his parents’ dry-cleaning business on the eve of senior prom hits enough awkward notes to make the comedy pay off.
Bits and Pieces: Jordanians of various walks of life give their takes on Middle Eastern paradigms through toy blocks. The assembly of their diagrams is sped up so rapidly that after four minutes one might be too dizzy contemplate the problems facing the Arab world.
Corner Plot: An endearing remnant of the days when suburban Maryland was still farmland, 89-year-old Charles Koiner tends to his one-acre plot in the shadow of downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County’s last known farmland inside the Beltway—this one’s made for the locavore set.
Til My Voice Is Gone: Ed Asner moves into a rest home, becomes the resident handyman and flirts with Eileen Ryan in a music video for North Carolina orchestral power-pop group The Old Ceremony.
The Cross-Stitch: Each collection of short films is two hours long. Go to the bathroom during this one. Trust me, it’ll be far more interesting.
The Incident at Tower 37: This tale of environmental redemption finishes with a bleak twist, but some of the animation is quite beautiful, as the expansiveness of dry lakebeds and open desert border on the surreal.
Break a Leg: Over breakfast at a greasy spoon, an aging British hitman reflects on life and thuggery. While Guy Ritchie is nowhere to be found, a final sentimental twist disappoints as much as the work of the former Mr. Madonna.
Left Turn: In a world lit like late-1980s Canadian television, a GPS-like device that directs its’ users entire lives forces a single woman who could probably do better to proceed along the highlighted route and into the arms of a loser.
Manual Practico del Amigo Imaginario [Imaginary Friend Practical Manual]: Fernando, a 27-year-old translator, still lives with his imaginary friend Captain Kiloton, whose two decades of companionship has made him a Tony Robbins for the make-believe set, until, of course, until Fernando meets a real girl. At 19 minutes, “Manual Practico” is the longest of Showcase 5, but in all that time it fires all its jokes at adult comic book fans and fails to connect.
Friday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Navy Memorial
Friday, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. at E Street Cinema
Sunday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Navy Memorial
Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. at the E Street Cinema