Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Movie with Abe: S#!&house

Directed by Cooper Raiff
Released October 16, 2020 (VOD and Theaters)

College presents a chance for many to reinvent themselves and forge a new identity free from high school cliques and remembered behavior from many years earlier. Popularity isn’t nearly as key since students come from different places and can share with others selected pieces of their histories and personalities. It is not, however, a universally positive experience, since some miss the comforts of being at home and with family, finding little company in a strange place and a lack of stable activity that require specific buy-in. For those people, college is still memorable, but it may be seen as more of a challenge than an opportunity.

Alex (Cooper Raiff) is a freshman who has very little in common with his roommate Sam (Logan Miller). Attending a party at the notorious Shithouse ends up making him feel even more isolated and alone. His perspective changes completely when he’s given the opportunity to spend time with Maggie (Dylan Gelula), his RA who is bored and just wants a companion for the night. The next morning, Alex has to confront the vast difference between his expectations for what that means for their day-to-day relationship and the reality of what Maggie wants.

This film is an entertaining presentation of the college experience, the one that pertains to those trying to fit in at the party rather than throw it. It’s not as if Alex puts in much effort, but his dejected attitude makes what he does do all the more refreshing and entertaining. His humorous response to Maggie’s less-than-subtle advances emphasizes the fact that things are indeed done differently in college, which gives him every right to call her out for not knowing his name as it gives her to choose to spend her time however she desires. It won’t be relatable for all, but there’s fantastic truth present in Alex as a typically awkward freshman desperate to find his place but not willing to do much to make it happen.

This film represents an astounding debut for Raiff both in front of and behind the camera. I had the chance to chat with Raiff about shooting the film that would then become this one with the help of Jay Duplass and why he had to go with this title. You can watch that conversation below. This film was supposed to premiere at SXSW back in March, and it managed to win a grand jury prize even after the festival was cancelled. Now, months later, premiering during quarantine may make its already appealing and clever plot feel even more entertaining and wonderful.


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