20 September 2006 | larry-411
Destined to be a cult classic
I saw "The Good Humor Man" at Methodfest awhile back and then I heard it was going to be on TV. I watched it again and remembered just how good it was.
The overall feeling I had is that I was watching a film that had been lost in the 70's, gathering dust on a shelf in the back of an office, and someone found it and said, "maybe folks could relate to this today." It seems more as if it was made in that period rather than trying to evoke it. The production values definitely said "indie" to me (in a good way). I loved the transition from the well-lit, perfectly blocked and shot interiors to the grainy, almost home movie look of the exteriors. A less experienced director would have used a lot more hand-held and faster cuts. That would have been the easy way out. But Tenney Fairchild let the story dictate the shots and not the other way around. The script was brilliant, and I can see it becoming an instant "cult classic" in the most complimentary sense of the term. So many great lines -- I kept thinking, "I've got to remember that line," then there'd be another, and another...
Of course, the music had me from the word go, but I knew that it would going in. How can you go wrong with a score by Robin Trower? Everything about the look, of course -- the hair, clothes, cars, appliances, Pop-Tarts...
The juxtaposition of the raw, almost jarring language of the stoners (I didn't know there were that many slang terms for sex acts and body parts -- I should count next time -- actually, I'll bet someone has) with the tender, innocent, almost childlike relationship between the lovers was what made it like a perverse Afterschool Special. At its heart, it's really an old-fashioned romance.
I was rolling on the floor more than once -- at some point I started thinking, "man I wish I made this." I found myself wanting to rush things along at the start -- it felt a bit slow. By the end, I was looking at the clock thinking, "damn, that's it?" I didn't want it to end. I could stay with those kids another couple of hours.
The kids were great. It didn't feel scripted, for the most part. To me a great director doesn't "direct" so much as let the actors do what they do best. That's what I felt from opening to closing credits.