Film Geek (2005)
★★★ / ★★★★
Written and directed by James Westby, Melik Malkasian stars as a video store clerk who lived and breathed films to the point where it was all he could talk about with other people, which he thought was not a problem up until he met a girl (Tyler Gannon) who was somewhat of a rebel and who happened to be in an on-and-off relationship with another guy. I enjoyed this little independent movie because I could relate with the guy: he ran a website (that no one visited) and he loved everything cinema. His ability to spew out random movies, directors, actors, composers impressed me despite the fact that he did so in such a robotic tone. (Maybe that part was supposed to be funny but I found it irksome.) Even though Westby made the lead character somewhat more of a caricature than a real person, I thought it worked because his extremes were supposed to annoy others to the point where they would tell him that he was a weirdo or a freak, which in turn made him feel isolated and he would retreat to watching movies as an escape. It then became an unhealthy cycle and it made him even more socially inept so he didn’t exactly have any friends. I didn’t care much about the romance between Malkasian and Gannon because I thought Gannon’s character was a bit of a snob, but I thought their interactions were funny in an awkward or forced kind of way. I also enjoyed the scenes in the video store such as when the lead character would try to explain the difference between a full screen and a wide screen. (Not to mention the fun of eavesdropping on people’s opinions of certain movies and the frustration of DVDs placed under wrong genres.) I found that scene to be particularly enjoyable because I’ve been in that situation where I would try my absolute hardest to explain the difference between the two but to no avail. However, I thought the picture could have been much better if it had been longer. The important life-changing events that transpired toward the end of it felt kind of rushed. I wish the movie would have milked the scenes when certain people that were mean to the lead character before had sudden change of hearts. That is, to expose the hypocrisy and insecurity of others who treated him like he was unimportant nobody. An extra fifteen minutes or so could have added a much needed dimension to the movie. Nevertheless, I had fun watching “Film Geek” because it didn’t try to be anything it wasn’t. Watching the lead character working in the video store made me feel nostalgic because I recently found out that the video stores I used to go to when I was in high school when I started to really get into films have gone out of business.