January 7, 2010

#052: Humpday

I love Netflix's watch instant service.  They make available lots of small films that I probably wouldn't see otherwise.   I had heard about Humpday, so it was already on my radar.  When I saw it was going to be available on watch instant I was excited.

Humpday is very much an indie film that has a very amateur feel.  It is the type of film that is supposed to feel "real".  A lot of these indie films fall short, but this one does a very admirable job at feeling genuine.  This is even more impressive considering the entire premise of the film.

Humpday centers around two close male friends that haven't seen one another for a long time.  They have obviously taken different paths in life, and are struggling to find that connection they used to have.  They both have something to prove.  After a completely believable series of events and conversations they somehow decide to film an amateur porn scene featuring the two of them having sex with one another.  The rest of the film explores their relationship, and how them get to a place where they can actually go through with it.  It seems like such a far fetched idea for film.  Yet the characters go through a logical procession where it kind of makes sense.

There is a lot going on in this film.  While I wouldn't consider making amateur gay porn, there are several other universal themes that I could easily connect with.  The conversations aren't like the ones I have with old friends, but the motivation behind them is something anybody around my age can relate to.  Whether we want to admit it or not, there is an undertone of competition when interacting with friends who embark on life at the same time as you.  This film explores that competition, and the lengths we might take to demonstrate our desired skill/personality trait/political stance/successfulness/etc...

The exploration of the dynamic between old friends is a story that has been told many times.  However, they usually don't agree to participate in gay porn within hours of seeing each other again.  That driving force behind the film is definitely unique, raising the stakes quite a bit.  The build up to the climax offers one of the most uncomfortable scenes I have ever witnessed in a movie.  It made me feel so embarrassed for the characters that I had to laugh to relieve the weirdness.   Any film that can create that much awkwardness between characters has to be doing something right.

Humpday isn't a perfect movie.  There were times when the situations didn't ring completely true. However, it is an entire cast of seemingly non-actors that do a great job of developing the characters and making them feel honest and genuine for the most part.  I enjoyed the film quite a bit, and found it to be a worthwhile viewing experience.  If you have a chance to see it you should definitely check it out.


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