I stated in an earlier post that I felt the film had revealed itself to be a comedy. I was wrong at that time. This film, now having made it all the way through a first cut, distinctly rides a line right down the center between comedy and drama - there are funny bits and dialogue, but I wouldn't call any one scene particularly "funny" as a whole. The comedy kind of exists within the framework of some very serious themes, and I've become conscious of not letting that invert itself. At times in the earlier version of the film, we let certain scenes turn themselves inside out, but the alchemy didn't quite work that way - it undercut the drama on the whole. There are still a few scenes where we're trying to find that right balance, but I think we'll get there through screening the film for test audiences in the coming months.
I can now see a bunch of different influences in the film. I think the film plays to the kind of emotional pitch of comedy and drama inherent in something Alexander Payne would make, which I guess is fitting since that's who some of the industry types that read the script early on(back when I thought I could wait, schmooze, coast by on snappy dialogue, and try to make this movie for a lot more money than ended up happening) compared it to. Hell, I wouldn't mind at all if people called this film poor-man's Alexander Payne... because I am a poor man. Obviously, I learned everything I know stylistically from watching Judd Apatow's films a million times, which obviously means I have no handle of what style is or means - but it helps the performances, I swear! Of which, we've got some excellent ones... the trio of women, I think, feel alive. They bounce off each other and all over the place with unpredictability. They're funny at times, and almost always raw. Whether raw means sometimes uncomfortably mean-spirited or openly vulnerable will be up to the audience to decide, but they're definitely doing good work here.
I think something I'm most proud of, and something that will rouse absolutely no one other than me is this shot that references one of my favorite frames of all time from the great film (and not just guilty pleasure) Valley Girl.
Prior runtime w/credits: 104mins.