AFF Review: Simmons on Vinyl

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Simmons on Vinyl

If the screenwriters for Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle hadn't had studio backing for their comedy, and ended up shooting the movie in their hometown with a cast of acquaintances and a budget of maybe $300, the resulting film might have ended up a lot like Simmons on Vinyl. Both movies hang a lot of comedy on the premise of a crazy night in pursuit of something that sounds very silly when first mentioned, but has value to the characters involved.

Director/co-writer Mark Potts plays Zeek, a college kid who is dying to go out on a date with the lovely Holly. We can tell Holly's not interested, but Zeek is so much in denial that he agrees to run an errand for her -- to go to her boss's house and pick up a record she needs for a party, even though she isn't inviting Zeek to the party. Zeek's friends Dwayne (William Brand Rackley) and Dwight (co-writer Cole Selix) agree that Zeek's just being used by Holly, but agree to help him out. However, it's not as simple as merely picking up the vinyl from one house. The errand balloons into an all-night adventure.

The plot stretches a little thin even for a 75-minute feature, but Simmons on Vinyl is consistently funny. The dialogue is remarkably snappy at times for a low-budget film -- these guys may not have a lot of money but they can write memorable lines and scenes. One scene with Zeek and Dwayne in a bathroom, as Dwayne prepares for a date, is a great visual joke. A scene where Dwight is forced to paint at gunpoint seems a little too unbelievable, but the payoff made me laugh enough that it didn't matter. And then there's the Dance Battle scene ... and the cat ... and the kidnapping ... and the moment where you find out just what album Zeek's looking for.

Simmons on Vinyl was obviously shot on a very limited budget, and some of the acting is a little flat. But again, Potts and Selix are very funny writers who are obviously having a good time making movies. I hope someone gives them some more money and/or a chance to show their film to a wider audience. The first screening of Simmons on Vinyl at AFF sold out the small Ritz theater on a Friday at 3:30 pm. If you missed the film, it's playing tonight at The Hideout at 6:30 pm.