The Florida Project, wish he was my relative; Sean Baker

Sean Baker has done it again, floored me with a film of beauty and poignancy….I’d like to call him my brother from another mother, read on….

I dated a brilliant, handsome and funny man for five years of Saturday nights before I moved to Florida, and before you think it was some string of boozy weekend affairs, please continue. We had busy week day lives (me: running, teaching and exhausted; he: tough mudder training, IT at community college and exhausted) so we’d get together Saturday evenings for movies, drinks, snacks and well, you get it. Those were good times that sadly ended when I moved south.
HOWEVER, our best night maybe ever, was the night we rented Tangerine off Netflix written and directed by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch. I think we had more surprised belly laughs than any other night, which added to the glow of our camaraderie.

The Florida Project did not elicit belly laughs, HOWEVER, it is my favorite movie of this year this far. It will be the movie I scream at the tv about if Oscars are not presented. The Florida Project was real, haunting, and to steal a word from Willem Dafoe (star of the film) on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, “noble”.

The Florida Project is an ode to children and should be required viewing for any parent who gets involved with DSS. It would be the perfect scared straight film for those not already permanently lost.

The movie made me think of my cousin JJ, who depending on the real truth, either suffered from lack of guidance and parenting, fetal alcohol syndrome, an individual chemical imbalance, brain injury or a combination of any of the aforementioned. Whatever the cause, his life has been very sad, even from a distance.

Fortunately for the viewers, The Florida Project doesn’t follow the children into adulthood to see possible the jail time or ruin carried over into their adult lives. Seeing the neglect in their formative years is impactful enough. And if any complaint is to be made, is that many children who grow up in an undernourished and chaotic setting are not as cute or manageable as the gorgeous children in The Florida Project, but very few people, unfortunately, would seek out that film.

As with Tangerine, when I researched the actors, there was little known about them. Sean Baker likes to choose unknowns who add to the verisimilitude (a motive of which I’m guessing). Huge praise needs to be heaped on the kids in the film, notably Brooklynn Prince, the main child and daughter to Bria Vinaite, who also is simply amazingly believable.

The beginning of the film and end are bookended by beautiful music; Kool and the Gang‘s Celebrate and, and, swing and a miss! No soundtrack on Itunes or elsewhere. Their offical movie website says touch to continue, but my touch not working tonight. Take my word for it, it was an orchestral arrangement of a popular song. Any one who sees the film, hang out, watch the credits and let me know what the end song was, please, because the film doesn’t even have its own website.

GO SEE THIS, it’s y number one as we head into the big competition.

A Rare Hamletesque Command: Get Thee to a ‘Tangerine’ry

Tangerine

Ok, forgive the bad analogy, but since my commandments are rare outside of my workplace (evidence based essays), I had to make that announcement. Forget the nunnery baby, the world is wide wide open with Tangerine on the screen.

With Tangerine, think “Clerks” run by the Santa Monica transgendered. Think “Dope” with an equally great soundtrack’s portrayal of debauched cab drivers and sincere donut shop owners.

All shot on an I-phone, no less. I’m not related to director Sean Baker, but I wish I was. He’s a genius. A millennials’ P.T. Anderson.

I’m writing in monosyllabic, mainly because I’m kicking myself for sending the dvd back to Netflix before watching it again. And there, I’ve revealed my true techno-backwood roots in preferring hard copies to streaming. Perhaps I belong in the Hamlet era sorely in need of Horatio surrounded by Rosencrantzes and Gildensterns.