I Watched Indie Film "On the Rocks" and was Pleasantly Surprised
On the Rocks is a comedic ode to the misery of adulthood created by the writer-director duo of Alex Kavutskiy and Ariel Gardner. After a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles, I was able to get a hold of a screener to the not-yet-rated movie, which runs about an hour and a half, and features a cast of stage ready actors, stand-up comedians, and improvisers. I settled in to watch this movie, which I assumed would be more of a passion project than anything, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
This slice of life film centers around a classic yes man named Dallas (Chase Fein), a mechanic and former alcoholic, as he goes through the trials and tribulations of a losing a parent, a dead end job, and a whole army of, let's just say special, characters. His wife Karen, a "nursing student," played beautifully by Nichole Bagby, is the personification of the emotional trainwreck that is his life. ("You have to be sweet with me. I'm sensitive and emotional. I'm a Pisces.")
He can not seem to get a break or a moment to himself throughout the entire movie. He is faced with his quick to pounce sister-in-law (Kate Freund), her less than reliable investor of a husband (Curt Neill), Karen's teenage sister (Audrey Whitby), and her lovable boyfriend Darryl (Aaron Kee). The trouble doesn't stop there. Dallas is also forced to deal with an excess of household problems, a strict boss (Demorge Brown), a new friend (Anna Seregina), and a doctor (Graham Clarke) who seems to be more interested in pushing prescriptions than making him feel better.
I found myself laughing out loud multiple times throughout my viewing experience. The interactions between the characters felt realistic. They talked to each other just like every day people. They overreacted. They changed their minds. They made mistakes. They tried again. There were parts of the film that felt somewhat unfocused, but it didn't bother me necessarily. Dallas, just like everyone else in the world, gets lost, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out what path you are supposed to take. The writing was witty and organic. The acting didn't feel coached or forced to me. (I was particularly keen on Fein, Kee, and Seregina.)
The soundtrack was comprised of constantly crescendoing jazz which mirrored the stress of our main character, and goddamn am I a sucker for some good jazz.
Overall, I enjoyed watching this film. I can't wait to see what Kavutskiy and Gardner pull out of their magic hat next.