Arc (2004)

It’s movies like these that still make me hopeful that are still at least some good filmmakers out there, and Steve Gelder has a lot of potential to become one of the best, if only Hollywood could pull their heads out their ass. “Arc” for what was obviously filmed on a low budget has a lot of fine production qualities that manages to enhance a fine production. What “Arc” essentially becomes is a truly bittersweet but inspiring slice of life which Gelder really achieves. Mind you, I’m always weary about independents because they’ll either make my job a lot harder, or a lot easier.

Suffice it to say “Arc” made my job much easier and the thirty minutes went by too fast in the end. The tagline reads “Like Sideways with beer!” Ain’t it the truth? Writer and Director Gelder really manages to put the life on screen and composes his own simple version of “Sideways” and still manages to keep the heart. The film excels at being so mundane yet I was engrossed from beginning to end with these two men, Steve and Dean who buy a six pack and sit on a bench in the middle of a sidewalk every morning to watch “The Crazy” come back at 9:21 on the dot to call them “Ass Monkeys”. While waiting, they converse and we’re given some great dialogue that’s refreshing. Most of it is lively dialogue about life, love, the mundane and existentialism in terms of the mundane. Gelder’s screenplay shockingly has a sentimentality of Kevin Smith and mysteriously feels like a Smith flick, yet in a sense its an interpretation of “Waiting for Godot”. They’re not really looking for The Crazy, they’re just looking for a purpose and dependability in life, and when that one dependability disappears they must go looking for it.

The title “Arc” is symbolic for the movie, they’re waiting for life to begin, they’re not willing to start one of their own, but they inadvertently end up making something happen in attempt to seek their entertainment in this nut. “The Crazy” is their last thread of a reliable element in their lives and they seek to keep it or else face the real world. Instead of “Waiting for Godot” this really becomes “Waiting for Godot and when he doesn’t show, they go looking for him”. Corny, ain’t I? As for the two leads, Gelder and Evans have great chemistry with one another and the dialogue only manages to increase their chemistry on-screen as they play off each other and shoot the dialogue at a rapid fire pace. Very few films have the balls to consist of two people sitting down and talking, and Gelder and Evans manage to become two really human characters we can relate to.

“Arc” also manages to become a very amusing comedy with a lot of quirky dialogue, amusing characters, and, my favorite, an utterly hilarious running gag with the grocery store owner and his tag of “Joyce” in which the character Steve persists in teasing him on. Gelder’s own take on life and love ends up becoming a truly satisfying dramedy I really enjoyed in the end. I wanted more, damn you, the plot was just about getting good before it had to up and end. As for the film itself, what it carries is basically iffy acting that never really registered with me. While the two leads really did click with me and each other, the rest of the supporting cast doesn’t commit to their roles so I never felt the environment was actually authentic when it applied to what was going on with “The Crazy”. Though the acting is very iffy, I really liked “Arc”, it’s a truly heartfelt, often very funny, very bittersweet slice of life that examines the mundane while painting a portrait of truly human characters. Those thirty minutes just zoomed by.