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Garage Days
Writing: Dave Warner, Michael Udesky, Alex Proyas
Directing: Alex Proyas
Staring: Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Brett Stiller, Chris Sadrinna

Wanna Be A Rockstar?

If I said Garage Days is a feel-good, darkly comic movie would that incite a lynch mob of some sort? I mean, I don't know about you but the words 'feel-good' sure get me a little hot under the collar. So do the words 'hot under the collar' for that matter. But honestly, it's hard to list the reasons why Garage Days is as good as it is. It's got some great wit to it, in both the writing and the directing, but that's not all of what make this movie so much fun. The subject matter is what's so feel-good, maybe that's the thing I'm liking. In a season of super-hero blockbusters it's really refreshing to see a movie that's about non-super people trying to struggle against an ethereal, but formidable monolith like the music industry. There's no villain to this movie, no super weapon that, if in the wrong hands, means the end of the world. It's just a band that desperately wants to get a gig at a club. They're not even looking for a record contract mind you, just a place to play in front of people. Kind of cool, eh?

Free Williamsburg
Film Archive

2003

Garage Days
Dirty Pretty Things
Buffalo Soldiers
The Sea Is Watching
Garmento
Capturing the Friedmans
The Eye
28 Days Later
Spellbound
Cowboy Bebop

Washington Heights
Better Luck Tomorrow
Confidence
View From the Top

Laurel Canyon

Spider
Spun
Ordinary Sinner
Dark Blue
Chaos
The Quiet American
XX/YY

2002

Intacto
Empire
Max
Hell House
Good Housekeeping
Roger Dodger
Spirited Away
Punch-Drunk Love
Bowling For Columbine
Scarlet Diva
Full Frontal
Sex and Lucia
The Powerpuff Girls Movie
Read My Lips (Sur Mes Levres)
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Barleby
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Human Nature
Shot in the Heart
Jim Brown: All American
Stolen Summer
Curve
Ram Dass: Fierce Grace
Storytelling


Add to that a myriad of love triangles and you basically have the movie wrapped up in a cute little nutshell. The lead singer (Gurry) is sleeping with the bassist (Miranda), but is actually in love with the bands only fan (Stange) who is getting it on with the guitarist (Stiller) who is sneaking nookie with a creepy goth chick in the cemetery. The drummer (Sadrinna) who, while straight manages to look gayer than Lance Gayington, lord of Fruiton manor, isn't sleeping with anyone, but likes running around naked (or at least shirtless) anyway. The characters might be what drive this movie to excellence; while Gurry narrates the plot, the story is truly an ensemble effort following all five complex and interesting characters with equal temper.

Some of the sets are almost as stylized as Moulin Rouge, but the atmosphere of the movie never takes that blind leap off the edge of reason - thankfully. Michael Phillip's designs make being a starving artist in Sydney look sexy and fun. The cinematography by Simon Duggan likewise walks the border between over-chic and indie-grit perfectly. Flashy camera tricks and an abundance of special effects (some good, some terrible) prevent Garage Days from fitting nicely into any particular niche. It's all at once a romantic comedy, a coming of age story, a trippy youthful drug movie, and any number of other genres. And even though Proyas is only heretofore know as a gothic director - The Crow, Dark City, get out those pale faces and metal ankh's boys! - Garage Days is actually light and irreverent for most of the film, even the dark moments are funny.

The acting is good, not amazing, but good. One notable exception is Brett Stiller as Joe, who plays the broody guitarist; the character is quite complex and Stiller (no relation to Ben or Jerry) pulls the role off almost perfectly. Another exception is Kick Gurry as lead singer Freddy who is as bland as an unfrosted pop-tart in his best of scenes. It sucks that the movie revolves around such an uninspired performance; it's not terrible, but it is quite lacking. Gurry delivers almost every line as though he is hung-over and reading off an illegible cue card… hmmm… well, he is Australian.

The other major issue I had with Garage Days is the plot. While the style of the movie, and the characters and the sets and almost everything else are original and flashy and cool and fun, the plot is such a dusty cliché that at every twist to the love triangles it all grinds to a halt. And with every Three's Company style misunderstanding, there is an audible cringe throughout the theatre.

But somehow, it works. And not just a little bit, it works brilliantly. Despite the story's predictability and the barely above par acting and everything that makes Garage Days sound absolutely lame, it's simply not. This is more fun than Charlie's Angels, darker and more convoluted than The Matrix and basically kicks the ass of almost every movie out there right now. It won't make you think a whole hell of a lot, and there aren't any stirring moments of dialogue, or men bearing their souls or anything that screams 'independent film today!' It's just a movie that is perfect for the summer.


Four New Balance Sneakers -- Stylish but almost un-cool


Overly MTV-ish camera tricks, painfully hip clothes, segments titled "Fun With Drugs" 1 and 2. I know it all sounds so lame. But really it's not. You're just gonna have to trust me on this one. It's like when you wear four kinds of plaid and somehow still get laid.


Three Boys of Summer

Sometimes you can just tell when a casting agent is rooting for your team. It's when the boys in a movie perfectly represent all of your tastes. Lucy as the perfectly smooth, bleach-blonde raver who's got his shirt off just a little too much; Freddy as the gritty indie rocker with impeccable hipster style and gouge-them-out-with-a-spoon-they're-so-pretty eyes; and Joe as the broody but loving wounded bird with child-like naiveté and maniacal intensity. It's the sweetest potpourri of boys. Diverse but sexy all. Not to mention that Tanya and Kate are both the perfect fruit flies: stylish, cute, demanding, awesome, I'd go shopping with them any day.

Three Indie-Rockin' Hipsters

Maybe I just woke up on the right side of the bed before I saw Garage Days. I have no idea why I liked it this much. Normally if the plot is as lacking as this one, I tune the movie out and write it off. But this is really so much fun, that you can pretty much forgive anything.

--B.C. Edwards
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[email protected] | July 2003 | Issue 40
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