“We Make Movies” shines where it counts
Matt Tory plays with expectations in his first feature length film. | twitter.com
Matt Tory directs and stars in “We Make Movies,” a story about Stevphen, an out-of-touch director trying to make a movie in time to enter a film festival. He has grown tired of putting up with people asking how he spells his name so he combines the two letters. He finds it sophisticated — like everything he does — and constantly overcompensates by asking people if they want to know more about how his name is spelled. Only his friends who help him make his movie out of pity stick around long enough to hear him explain its genius.
Original Slapstick Moments
Stevphen shows the audience what it would look like if Michael Scott directed a film — which he technically has with “Threat Level Midnight.” Although it takes many of its cues from “The Office,” original slapstick moments and great dialogue keep the film standing on its own two feet. Much of the humor comes from characters mentioning something that may have no relation to the story until later on when the stakes seem much higher.
One example comes from Stevphen musing about how much he wants to date an “exotic” woman. The audience has no idea what that means — and Stevphen probably does not either — until a character named Jessica, played by Anne Crockett, walks onto his set and mentions her plans to study abroad in Thailand. Stevphen instantly finds the “exotic” woman worthy of his affection, and recruits her for the lead female role.
Loss of Control
However, two other men fall for Jessica: an equally unaware character named Leonard, played by Zack Slort, and Garth, a likeable guy played by Jonathan Holmes. This love triangle — or rather, love square — adds some hilarious moments as all of them try to woo her in the confined space of a movie set. Garth ends up winning Jessica’s affections — not much of a contest — but both Leonard and Stevphen are too at ease with their unrequited love, and the conflict instantly evaporates in a way uncharacteristic of such self-absorbed characters.
Still, this theme of giving up control manifests well in the rest of the film. Stevphen’s single-minded purpose of creating a winning film causes him to become extremely unaware of how others perceive him. Entirely convinced he is the only one that can get it done, Stevphen neglects the people who are helping him achieve his dream. Eventually Stevphen realizes giving up control for the sake of not alienating his friends is more important than making a killer movie.
“We Make Movies” wraps up nicely, but even at the end the audience sees Stevphen still requires a lot of growth, which adds to the realism of his character. Stevphen still spouts his typical, self-promoting comments and continues wrestling with the idea that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot force people to see what he wants them to see.