This was almost an Under the Radar review, but I decided I liked what I saw here over what I saw with 'Good Time', so here we are. In case of curiosity, I'd give this one a 5/5 pretty damn easily.
Here we have a touching dramatic comedy directed by Dave McCary, a writer/director for SNL, and written by newcomer Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney, who come would also be familiar with from SNL. On top of that, we have a Lonely Island Production (among other studios) which is interesting in and of itself.
The film opens with a guy named James (Mooney), a man-child type, sitting in front an old TV, watching tapes of a show called 'Brigsby Bear'. We see that it's a bit of an obsession for him as he has a room loaded with merchandise from the show. Here, we also meet his two kind parents, Ted and April (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams, respectively). While his mother is a bit more strict about James' studies, his father is very good about encouraging his imagination. With his obsession with this old kid's show, James tries to think of a good way to make things end for the show, as it's left very much unfinished.
Before we know it, however, we discover that James was actually taken by Ted and April early in his life. They have kept him in a sort of cell out in the desert, claiming that the air is toxic outside in order to keep him close to home. James is returned to his real parents, Greg and Louise (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins respectively) and his sister, Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins). He then becomes a sort of fish out of water, having no real social skills and only the lessons Brigsby has taught him to get by.
Despite his lack of social skills, however, James manages to make several new friends who enjoy how real and down to earth he is. Eventually, James learns about movies, and considers it a great way to end the Brigsby series. Upon being told that "anyone can do it", he sets out to make it on his own. But the real question is, will people like it?
This is easily one of the best films I've seen this year. It has a lot of heart, great, light humor, and it even manages to make you tear up a tiny bit at times. You end up loving James' character as well, because he manages to make some of our most struggled with ideas so simple. He acts as a kid seeing the world for the first time. Think 'Elf' but far less eccentric.
In trying to compare it to titles in my head, I pretty much decided that it was the idea of 'Room' (not 'THE Room') if it met something like 'Be Kind Rewind' in that it captures the essence of imagination in such a big way. And that's something in movies I can always truly appreciate. Not just being imaginative, but the characters themselves showing that they are imaginative and creative. Especially if it's done in a way where the characters are able to say "No no, this is who I am, and screw you if you find it stupid".
It's a little hard to come across, but if you can find it it's well worth checking out if only to put a smile on your face after a shitty day. This is a new personal favorite, and is the first time this year I wondered about potential Oscar material. We shall see what happens!