The Happy Poet
Director: Paul Gordon
Bill, an out-of-work poet, puts his heart, soul, and last few dollars into starting an all-organic, mostly-vegetarian food stand. New friend Donnie promotes the business and helps Bill pursue Agnes, a poetry-lover who frequents the stand. Curtis, an enigmatic life-philosopher, buoys Bill’s spirits with his positive attitude and love of vegetarian food. Complications with the business jeopardize these budding friendships and threaten Bill’s dreams for a hot dog-free future.
Paul’s debut feature film, MOTORCYCLE, made in three parts during film school, premiered in competition at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival, and went on to play at film festivals around the world, including Thessaloniki, SXSW, and Rooftop Films.
In addition to writing, directing and starring in THE HAPPY POET, Paul also acted in GRETCHEN, and MARS, which is also premiering at SXSW 2010.
WHO’S IT FOR? Like rooting for the awkward underdog? Then this is for you. It’s a small film, with dry humor, and it has the chance of making you happy.
Paul Gordon is incredibly dry. It’s actually to the point where you don’t know if he knows he’s funny. Somehow, this works for him. Gordon plays Bill, who’s broke and wants a food cart. That’s almost all you need to know in this simple tale. The score is just simple piano notes accompanying Bill on his adventure. Bill creates a vegan, organic food cart that takes a little while to get off the ground. His buddy comes along to held Bill deliver orders, but really he’s got his own drug-involved plans. It’s hard to describe how and why The Happy Poet is so effective, because when I tell you Bill drops lines likes, “I hope they don’t step in dog sh*t.” It doesn’t sound memorable. But that’s how this character thinks when he seems women walk his way. By the way, Bill doesn’t smile. So his happy name isn’t as straight-forward as you would think. But you’ll want to join him on this journey of finding love and success.
By the way, food carts are huge in both Austin and Portland, and for those who care … Portland is better. It’s official … in my opinion. If only there was a great taco in Portland.
Any time I attend a film festival, I hope for that tiny little gem that I can be a cheerleader for. This year it’s Happy Poet, mainly because I think Hood to Coast will be able to find an audience.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10