Written/Directed by: Matt Tory
Cast: Matt Tory, Jordan Hopewell, Zack Slort, Jonathon Holmes, Anne Crockett
Swift shot: Ever thought about making a movie? I imagine if you are reading this review, you probably have. But, it’s not as easy as you might think, and director Matt Tory takes on a bizarre adventure as he portrays wannabe aspiring “Director” Stevphen Bixby. Stevphen tries to bring together an odd menagerie of characters in the hopes of entering his masterpiece into the Boehring Film Fest. With the help of his weird lackey Donny (Hopewell) and let’s call it no budget, Stevphen is going to make the best film this festival has ever seen . . . at least, that’s the idea.
Stevphen, who spells his name that way because he got tired of people asking him if that was with a V or a PH, envisions himself as the next Spielberg. He’s determined to make the best film he can, so naturally he decides to rip-off every exceptional movie title he can think of. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to incorporate all the terrific characters and lines from the greats. Over the course of a summer break, he is rushing to make his masterpiece, A New Don: The Inspiring Story of How the President’s Nephew Fell in Love, Saved a Nation, and Found His Way Home. He’ll need a fully staffed film crew, so naturally, he gives all of these duties to one guy, the awkward aforementioned Donny.
He’s also enlisted a film crew to document his film making exploits. Bad idea, because they capture all the drama which anyone in the industry who has ever worked on a real set knows is all too real . . . and is hilarious to watch from the other side of the process as a mere spectator. There’s quarrels about artistic method, the creative process, romantic intrigue, and even crime. When you think about all that poor Stevphen has to overcome, it’s a miracle he gets anything done at all. But, he muddles through with his group of buffoons, his willing slaves to the show and that ridiculous notion of fame.
We Make Movies starts off as a team building story, with Matt gathering up his cast and crew with promises of exposure . . . as in they’ll work for free. There’s a lot of that in the biz, so I am told. He enlists the help of his friend Garth (Holmes) who typically plays bit parts in his films. But he wants a real actor, so he recruits a “stalwart” in the industry, Leonard (Slort). Leonard is quite the character, he tells people he’s a method actor, which in the context of A New Don is simply impossible. Leonard is convinced he’s a serious actor and should be treated as such, he demands a trailer and all the other accouterments entitled to someone of his acting caliber. You’ll have to see the film to see how Stevphen handles his many requests.
No good story exists without a female, and Stevphen manages to somehow convince Jessica (Crockett), who is in town over the summer, to play the “strong” female lead for his magnum opus that is A New Don. Now Stevphen’s got everything he needs, in theory. As the film itself unravels due to struggles on set, the actors decide they’ve had it working on this film, and Stevphen has to come to terms with the harshest lesson in the industry . . . you can’t do it all yourself! But, clearly, Stevphen would love to do just that.
As an indie film, We Make Movies is not too shabby, the acting is feeble in some places, but the meta nature I think was confusing to the talent. They are playing “normal people” who are wannabe actors in a shoddy film that is being captured by a documentary film crew. So, were they trying to be bad actors at times, or were they actually bad actors? The whole thing gives me a headache when I think about it, it’s like the non-ending of Inception . . . best not to dwell. So, let’s just give the actors all a B- with the exception of Matt. He played his role perfectly, I legitimately thought he was this poor sad sap, Stevphen Bixby earnestly trying to make a grand impact on a tiny scale at the Boring Film Fest, I mean Boehring Film Fest.
I think anyone considering making a movie should watch We Make Movies as a guide for what not to do. It’s funny, and better yet, it never takes itself too seriously, unlike Stevphen. If you are ever on set and find yourself with a Stevphen for a director or a Leonard pouting in his trailer, it’s time to fire your manager. And then? RUN FORREST RUUUUN far away!