Gen Art gets it right on Opening Night: “Patrol” & “happythankyoumoreplease”
Gen Art Film Festival got it right. In its 15th year, the festival opened with two very good films – the short “Patrol” written and directed by AFI graduate John Patton Ford and the feature “happythankyoumoreplease” written and directed by Josh Radnor.
In “Patrol,” a divorced father goes to great lengths to impress his young son (approx age 5) by pretending to be a police officer when in reality he is a recently hired parking garage attendant (with a gun). His initial attempts to impress his son are mere child’s play (e.g. paying a restaurant patron to participate in criminal-police officer role play). But things eventually do take a turn for the worse; Dad gets arrested for aiming a gun at kids who refuse to vacate the rooftop of the garage he patrols. The result — the ex-wife can’t forgive him for his deceit but his kid is far more forgiving. It is this lack of judgment (from his kid) that makes “Patrol” an emotionally-charged short.
Equally as emotionally-charged is the comedy “happythankyoumoreplease,” Josh Radnor’s (who also writes/directs) Sam is a NYC-based struggling writer whose life changes when he illegally takes in a foster kid when he finds out the child does not want to return to the system. While his best friends – Annie (played by Malin Akerman) and Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and his new girlfriend Mississippi (played by Kate Mara) question his life choices, they are not really in a position to judge. Annie has a tendency to pick boyfriends who are bad for her (self-esteem issues abound) and Mary Catherine hesitates telling her committed boyfriend that she is pregnant in fear that he won’t pursue his dreams in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Mississippi is in a “fragile state” and “a mess” (whatever that means). So yes, the film doesn’t cover much new ground in this genre but the performances are solid with great chemistry amongst the actors, the writing is fantastic (and surprisingly funny) and the themes are identifiable. Everyone deserves to love and be loved. Even those who struggle to become adults.