I am at my second Sundance Film Festival.
These are my reviews.
The D Train
DIRECTORS/SCREENWRITERS: Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel
PRINCIPAL CAST: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike White, Kyle Bornheimer
Plot (courtesy of Sundance): With his twentieth reunion looming, Dan can’t shake his high school insecurities. In a misguided mission to prove he’s changed, Dan rekindles a friendship with the popular guy from his class and is left scrambling to protect more than just his reputation when a wild night
takes an unexpected turn.
Review: I liked the pain. It’s like I finally understood the phrase, “misery loves company.” I’m the company. Black says the sad sack Dan. He isn’t liked by his peers on the 20-year reunion committee. On some levels, I identify with Dan. There is a moment when he is trying to record a TV commericial on his iPhone, and needs it to be perfect. He’s momentarily obsessed, can’t accept any mistakes, and doesn’t see how rude he is to others. That’s not the plot of the film, but it’s a key moment to understanding Dan the rest of the film. He’s convinced if he can just do ABC, then life will be perfect.
He creates a series of lies to get former Big Man on Campus, now commercial actor Oliver Lawless (Marsden) to come back and make the reunion a big event.
There is something easy for anyone to identity with in this film because both Dan and Oliver suffer from the grass being greener in their current situation. Plus, in high school Dan was invisible and Oliver was a god. Then there is a WOW moment that takes this bromance to a new level (in film). There’s a physical and emotional connection, specially for Dan, and he doesn’t know what to do with it.
You suddenly realize the series of lies and secrets are going to spiral out of control for Dan, and it will be incredibly painful to watch. You are nervous every step of the way. Normally, I can’t stand when you see a character making obvious bad choices that are going to backfire, but it is such an amazing performance by Black that I found myself able to enjoy the drama and comedy that unfolds.
Dan is a man who doesn’t know why he had a moment with Oliver and doesn’t know who to deal, compartmentalize, or move on. When we finally get to the reunion, I felt exhausted from teh pain in a good way.
The movie absolutely satisfies with humor and heart, the pain of high school, regrets, friendship and love … and one very awkward moment for the D Train.