Quick Movie Review: The Puffy Chair (2005)

After watching and really enjoying Mark Duplass in The League, I did a little reading here and there online and decided to give some of the movies he’s made with his brother Jay a look. I’d heard of the Duplass Brothers and the movies that they made together, most of which have been added to the mumblecore sub sub subgenre of film which, as far as I can tell, describes inexpensively made films starring dudes in their 20s trying to deal with life as an adult.

And, as you might expect, that’s what The Puffy Chair is about. Mark plays Josh who’s been dating Emily (Katie Aselton, who is also on The League) for a while. He has plans to pick up a chair much like the one his dad used to have as a birthday gift, but a buddy cancels, so Emily goes with him. They also wind up picking up Josh’s hippy dippy brother Rhett who goes along on the trip. But, the movie’s not really about that, the trip and the chair are really just opportunities that lead the characters to question the status quo of their lives.

The heart of the story really revolves around Josh’s inability to grow up and become a mature guy. It’s the kind of thing that a lot of low budget movies like this deal with because it’s the kind of things people who would write and make movies tend to devote mountains of thought to. At one point while watching the movie I thought, “I’ve seen this movie before, why am I watching it again?” But then I realized that it’s more about the creator’s personal spin on that story that interests me. I can’t say that about every kind of movie (I’m not really into boxing or shark movies after seeing Rocky and Jaws), but this is a kind of film I can get behind.

There’s one moment that really spoke to me and is probably the most revealing scene in the film for the characters. Rhett has met a girl and they want to get married, so Josh performs an impromptu ceremony at the woman’s house that night. The vows he makes up are incredibly telling. One set of vows involves not judging the guy or asking him to change with the ones for the woman ask her not to freak out too much when things eventually fall apart. But, in my experience, life is all about changing and growing. Too many people think they’re perfect just the way they are and have no room for improvement, but we all do. There are plenty of things we all need to work on to help ourselves grow and develop over our lifetimes. It’s never too late. I’m not sure if that message is really relayed in the rest of the film–I’m leaning towards yes–but that was what I got out of that scene and the whole flick overall.

I’m definitely intrigued by the Duplass Brothers’ filmography now, most of which I believe is on Netflix Instant. I very much like the idea of a pair of guys just getting their shit together and making a movie. It’s not the most spectacular looking film of all time, but it exists. That’s more than I can say. This makes me want to write more!

Just Finished The League Seasons 1 & 2

Here’s how I started watching FX’s The League, don’t worry it’s not a long story, but I think it’s interesting how we come to certain blocks of entertainment. I had heard that show about a group of friends in a fantasy football league existed, but didn’t know anything about it aside from the fact that Paul Scheer was in it. Then I started hearing the hilarious Nick Kroll on various episodes of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (here’s my previous post about the podcast, and here’s the official site). After that I watched and loved the first season of Louis CK’s Louie on FX. Then I finished watching Party Down and Xbox Instant recommended The League. With the combination of FX’s new-found in my headspace, a desire to see Kroll in action and the desire to simply watch another fun comedy, I was in. Boy, I’m glad I did because this show is fantastically funny, honest and often terrible all in wonderful ways.

Like I said, the idea is that these five high school friends (well four high school friends and a brother of one of the guys) are in a league. Much of the humor comes from the ins and outs of their relationship and the pressure that get to fantasy fans, but there’s also a lot of relationship stuff going on that is right on the money. Kroll plays a lawyer whose married to the maid from My Name Is Earl and has a young son. He’s kind of a jerk and overly intense about things he shouldn’t be (like fantasy football of course). Scheer is rich, but super gullible and mostly terrible in the league while Mark Duplass is the lovably ass-ish Pete. Then you’ve got Kevin who’s married to Jenny who actually runs his team. They have about the cutest little girl on TV and she is utilized perfectly from the episodes I’ve seen. Finally, you’ve got Kevin’s stoner brother Taco who is incredibly stupid, but also comes up with some great songs throughout the series.

Personally, I’m not a fantasy footballer. I tend to like doing, watching or experiencing things without feeling the need to get much deeper than that. With comics, I just read comics and now write about them on here, I don’t need to go all over the internet telling everyone what I think and why they’re dumb. When it comes to football, I just want to watch games, get into them and then move on to other stuff. I don’t mean to disparage people who do like fantasy leagues, it’s just not my thing. However, I get the intensity that comes with being a big fan of something and I’ve been watching a lot of Mike & Mike on ESPN 2 in the mornings, so I’ve got enough knowledge to laugh when they’re talking about playing or benching certain players even if I’m not really sure what half of the fantasy league jargon even means. Not a big deal.

Like the other shows on FX that I’ve liked, like Louie or It’s Always Sunny which I’m way behind on, The League revolves around realistic characters who maybe don’t have to deal with the consequences of some of their jerkier actions which makes it a great kind of release for regular people. Pete might be the biggest jerk on television, but he’s got that boyish charm that you just can’t stay mad at.

I don’t know if I’d want to be friends with guys like these because of the huge amount of ball busting going on at all times, but I love watching them in their natural habitat. I don’t think I’ve laughed louder or harder at a comedy in quite a while and the best part is that there is a whole third season not yet on Netflix Instant that I can look forward to watching.