7/11/10

RVOD120 Things Are Different Now

(1978, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

I just feel like you’re a little divorced from reality.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


Joey’s having a hard time coping with his parents’ divorce.

Summary:

With Dad gone, mom's under Joey's thumb now.Joey hasn’t been himself lately. His voice cracks during choir rehearsal at his grandpa’s church. He’s rude to his best friend, eventually picking a fight. He’s barely civil to his mother and refuses to call his father, or speak to him when he calls.

Father doesn’t live with them anymore, which is the root of the trouble. Joey struggles to assume the role of Head of Household, taking on extra chores, getting a part-time job, flipping out whenever he sees his mom with another man, etc. Eventually his best friend comes back to finish the fight Joey started. They wrestle and smear each other with mud, and the friend eventually tells him how he felt when his own parents divorced. They have a long talk during a bike ride, and by the end Joey finally feels calm enough to go visit his dad.

Thoughts:

Here’s one film, at least, where the Seventies-style refusal to spell anything out for the audience pays off. The drama gets slightly cheesy in spots, but most of it is surprisingly poignant. Despite the riffing, despite the Seventies, I felt bad for Joey, and was happy for him when he finally started to deal with his feelings about the situation.

The goofy bits lend themselves to riffing, though, and the short’s topic of emotional pain never seemed too much at odds with the added joviality. A few favorite comments: Upon seeing him for the first time, Bill describes the best friend as, “A young It’s Pat.” When another child stands behind Joey in the choir to provide us with a bit too much view, Mike begs him, “At long last, zip up your pants.” When Joey catches his mom with another man, Kevin introduces him as, “Alterna-Dad.” I managed to laugh at the jokes while being touched by the short, which must have been a tricky balance to pull off.