The Blindest Spot
A story of triumph over adversity, dreams over tragedy and eggs over easy. Set in a futuristic Brooklin after the letter Y has been outlawed, the film tells the story of Branflake Dodson (Anson “Potsie” Williams in a stunning and unnecessary comeback), a humble custodian at a two-bit wax museum who works the night shift polishing the Kardashians (brilliantly portrayed by one-and-a-half Olsen twins and a CGI rutabaga).
Branflake’s dream is to become a cab driver. In a touching moment of inspiration over ignorance, numerators over denominators and somewhere over the rainbow, Branflake tells his best friend, the fortune-telling, transgendered, paraplegic former NFL player known as The Magnificent Pam (Taylor Swift in a game-changing tour-de-force), “People gots ta move. They gots ta move places, all da time, all da time. That’s where dey’s goin’. An’ I wanna git them there. Tha’ be somethin’… Now, quit breathin’ that ol’ garlic breath on me, you damn Pam!”
Unfortunately, Branflake suffers from distationmentia, a congenital inability to parallel park. He is also racially discriminated against for going around talking like an old black man.
When a mishap at the wax museum involving a model train and a car battery causes the Mariah Carey to blister, Branflake loses his job. Then, because he has spent his savings on taking the cab driver’s test over and over (a series of vignettes, mostly involving car collisions, set to the Guess Who’s “Follow Your Daughter Home”), Branflake is evicted from his apartment and forced to take a room at the _MCA.
But among the cars Branflake backs into is one driven by Garnetta McFloyd (Jennifer “Of Course” Lawrence), a jaded reporter with SkyCloud Network, the world’s sole remaining news outlet. Outrage softens to intrigue which mellows to fascination before finally leaking onto the floor as friendship as Garnetta learns Branflake’s story and decides to pull one last heist before retiring for good. Then she remembers she isn’t an international jewel thief and opts instead to tell Branflake’s story to the world.
In the end, Garnetta learns a simple truth about simple people: they are simple. Because of her story, an inventor (Tim Curry in his final role) remembers that this is the future and invents a hover-cab that can simply lower itself into parking places. The entire borough of Brooklin comes out to cheer Branflake as he drives his first cab. “Hip-hip-hoora!” they cry.
Settling the cab down as the triumphant music swells, Branflake turns to the camera and says with a wink, “I guess dese be my ‘Happy Days.’” But because he used the letter Y, he is arrested and thrown into a federal penal colony (Sir Elton John).
Pants Me to the End of Love
Set during the brief but revealing upheaval of Hungary’s Pantsing Movement of 1893, this historical de-costume drama is a labour of love for writer-director Watta Gabor, whose ancestors were among both the pantsers and the pantsed.
The movement had its origins as a revolt against repressive social convention and elastic waistbands but soon became politicized under the leadership of Olav Myloff, the late century’s most persuasive and prolific pantser, portrayed with poise and panache by Zach Galifianakis in his first serious but not really very serious role.
Pants Me follows Myloff from his humble beginnings as a self-taught autodidact to his days in Budapest preaching the virtues of allowing “pants to succumb to gravity as God intended.”
“They may bring us to our knees, but our britches will be pooled around them!” shouts Myloff, attracting the attention of the authorities and some sleeping neighbours.
Through moments of doubt and long periods of goosebumps, Myloff is spurred on by his wife, Trilitta Tendrenas (Jennifer “Again?” Lawrence), who as a child was forbidden to even gaze upon pants, and who, through love, has overcome her fear of watch fobs.
But soon, the movement, like Myloff’s pants, becomes bigger than him. All of Hungary (except the northeast tippy-tip for reasons the film glosses over) is overwhelmed by people in the streets protesting with their pants down. However, by the time of the Million Man Waddle, there are those who feel that pantsing is a matter of choice, while a more fanatical fringe believes that the public should be forcibly pantsed. In short, there’s a split in the Pants Movement.
In the end, once the cold weather sets in, the Pants Movement shrivels. But, as the film makes clear, today we honour those who pantsed before us by pantsing those in front of us.
Also nominated for Best Original Song: “Pants of Fire” by Bruce Springsteen.