Tater Tot & Patton
- 1h 31min
A wayward millennial escapes to a South Dakota ranch, unhinging her Uncle's placid alcoholic life.A wayward millennial escapes to a South Dakota ranch, unhinging her Uncle's placid alcoholic life.A wayward millennial escapes to a South Dakota ranch, unhinging her Uncle's placid alcoholic life.
Erwin (Bates Wilder) lives on a South Dakota ranch. He wakes up, pees, drinks a raw egg and beer, does some work, drinks more beer, does more work, drinks even more beer and passes out only to relive it all the next day, that is, until his teenage niece from Los Angeles comes to stay with him. Andie (Jessica Rothe) is the quintessential popular millennial girl - entitled, dependent on technology, raging with attitude. She's there on an ultimatum from her mother, rehab or the ranch. Of course, this leads to personality conflicts with hilarious results, though even more interesting is their journey from coming to a mutual understanding to being best friends that reveal their darkest secrets and help each other work through them. It may sound like just another odd couple scenario, but there's so much more going on here.
Director Andrew Kightlinger somehow delivers heart without being corny, a feat revealing the true depth of his talent. His realistic visual style beautifully blends the composition of early Steven Spielberg with George Romero's quick-edit cover-your-ass style of filmmaking. He also plays with focus effectively, adding a touch of dreaming psychedelia to his vision.
The performances are completely stunning as well. A man of few words, Erwin speaks through his actions and expressions and Wilder consistently nails it without a single misstep. Rothe plays an annoying millennial teenage girl just enough that you don't turn against her right away, instead winning you over with an understanding of why she is the way she is. Even Forest Weber gives his all in his supporting role of Richie the ranch hand turned love interest.
With so much focus on A list actors and blockbuster shenanigans, it's nice to see a simple film grounded in the emotions we experience every day. We know these things because we feel these things from the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep. It's everything a film should be, and done on a shoestring budget to boot. The next time somebody says, "They don't make movies like that anymore," put on Tater Tot and Patton to prove them wrong.
- Sep 22, 2018