Score One for the Underdog
Nic: A few months back we came across the Safety Not Guaranteed trailer and I gotta be honest, I was intrigued. The story line of this movie is awesome by itself. I mean, it starts with a want ad that reads – *Wanted* Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before. — How can you go wrong with a movie like that? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can’t.
Rocked the Rave 18 movie theater for this one, mostly because there was an Islands restaurant nearby and their Islands IPA beer is worth the trip alone. So, we headed south and started the adventure. This was my second trip to the Rave 18 theater, but the first time I went I didn’t get snacks, so this time I did. Did you know that Pibb Xtra Cherry was a real thing, because I didn’t? Adrenaline sets in, part sugar high, part knowing I’m about to have my mind blown…we take our seats. (Which are basically personal recliners in front of a giant screen.)
Some new guy named Derek Connolly wrote this movie, and I’m interested to see what kind of career sparks from this. From start to end I was trying to guess what was going to happen next and I like those kind of movies. Another great thing about this movie were the actors attached. A lot of new-er-ish faces where in this one including, Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Rec), Jake M. Johnson (New Girl) and Mark Duplass (The League). These are some of my favorite shows on TV so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Not to sound too TBS-y, but very funny people.
Mark Duplass plays the part of the ‘time traveler,’ who, respectfully, is a few clicks off; BUT at the same time might be some kind of genius. Plaza and Johnson are a part of a Seattle based magazine and start investigating Duplass’ means behind his trip. After Johnson fails to connect with Duplass’ character, Plaza takes a stab at it and lands the co-pilot role. Throughout the movie there are hints that Duplass might actually be telling the truth about being able to time travel, but at the same time, his craziness is revealed more and more, creating all sorts of problems as the movie progresses. I won’t spoil the ending for you guys, but let’s just say that it is worth the price of admission and hour and a half of your life to check out.
I’d suggest seeing this movie if you can find it in a theater near you. (Definitely an Indie, so this one might be hard to find, but worth a look.)
Nic D. Movie Scale – 4/5
Zac: Just over a year ago, there was an article in GQ called “The Day the Movies Died”. The article attacked the major movie studios for having become entirely risk-averse, and killing any ideas that didn’t come with a built in audience or pre-sold franchise that could “guarantee” a successful box office run. It argued that while Hollywood was doing its best to ignore the success of the “original idea” film Inception, the true proof would come in the summer of 2012, when all of the other “original idea” movies that should have been greenlit in the aftermath of Inception would have had time to make it to the screen.
Well, summer of 2012 has arrived.
Why do I bring that up? To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Safety Not Guaranteed is a direct result of Inception (although who knows, maybe it is?). However I do think it might offer another side to the argument. Maybe some original ideas are better off not being made by big studios.
This movie almost certainly would not have been made as-is by a major studio. There aren’t any big name stars, there isn’t an academy-award nominated director, and there aren’t any huge, spectacular, IMAX worthy action scenes. Would the movie had been better with those things? Maybe. But maybe not…
One of the biggest advantages an indie movie has is creative freedom. There aren’t studio execs hovering on set and in screenings trying to push through the ideas that they think will sell best, and forcing it to pick a lane (comedy, drama, sci-fi) for the marketing campaign. A movie like Safety Not Guaranteed benefits immeasurably from this freedom, because it’s not easily categorized.
The best thing about Safety Not Guaranteed was what it didn’t do. It didn’t try too hard to be a comedy, it didn’t go super deep and attempt to find the meaning of the universe, and it didn’t try to create a sci-fi blockbuster on 1% of the budget. It just focused on being entertaining, and I think it succeeded.
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