Netflix Knows Best is a new installment of movies I will be watching based on Netflix’s best guess at 10 movies I would like. Unfortunately I’ve already seen a handful of them and considering for the most part I watch a lot of mediocre movies in the hopes of finding something amazing it would be reasonable to assume that some of these movies will be mediocre themselves. I’m not sure what that says about Netflix, but I can’t help carrying the burden around that it’s very likely that I watch bad movies.
New goal of the new year… watch amazing films so that my Top 10 Best Guesses by Netflix are all wonderful. I’ll probably also need to get my ratings up to 1000… but I digress. On to “Happy Birthday Harris Maldin”
It’s a testament to the film that when searching for the trailer I had already forgotten the film’s name. My only memory came from the fact that the baker misspelled his name “Hairlip” and they had to buy the cake anyway. But the real tension in this movie comes from a potentially comical coping mechanism… Harris Maldin draws an insane mustache on his face [to cover a burn scar].
I could tell from the beginning that this was a low budget film based on the limited sets and strong focus on characters and dialogue. What frustrates me about a lot of these independent films is their inability to sell a concept as a problem or joke. Instead, you’re left with a very odd unbelievable concept that provides minimal tension or interest in the film.
Take for example, “Lars and the Real Girl”. Strange concept with a beautiful execution that creates real tension and real problems in the film. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your queue. But “Happy Birthday Harris Maldin” fails to offer anything more than a common story and a frustrating female supporting actress.
About 30 minutes into the film, there was a moment of hope, where I thought for sure the only remaining path to take would have been severe confrontation and dealing with the challenges of covering your problems rather than working through them but instead the characters continued to bicker and hide adding little depth to the narrative as a whole.
BROAD vs. NICHE – I’d say it was a niche movie. The cover and title alone define it as something a little more independent [a lot like “Bart Got a Room” which offers about the same emotional experience]. The movie was ok at best, more of an inspiration film for filmmakers than something the family is going to care to sit down and enjoy. So I’d place this more on the niche side.
WATCHABILITY – A little dry in a lot of areas. As mentioned before, around minute 32 I thought the story was really going to kick into high gear, but the problem was never really defined in a way that demanded my attention.
WHEN TO WATCH – Watch this when you’re with all your film school buddies and you feel like dissecting a movie. It’s not bad, but not your typical entertainment experience.