Cultural glue for those wanting to find themselves at odds with someone they just met, movies are a wonderful talking point. I Like Movies gets to grips with this idea of discussion and friendship immediately, the two pistons of social interaction firing away in a Blockbuster-like video store. Director Chandler Levack strives to understand the social relationships which come through employment rather than choice. Who we work with and how often we interact with them is dependent on proximity and need. Homemade movie magic is where it is at, and the very wholesome appeal of living life with friends and being creative is shown in these opening moments.
The magic is waiting to happen, as Matt Macarchuck (Percy Hynes White) notes, and Lawrence Kweller (Isaiah Lehtinen) presents an incredible, self-centred reaction to the influences which guide filmmakers. Not always picked up, sometimes fumbled, but with creation comes intent and with the intent comes a feeling of sacrifice for the betterment of art. Creative process this, embarrassment that, Kweller is insufferable in the right way. Inspiration or time-wasting? The line is blurred and I Like Movies is the finest form of coming-of-age available. Nothing is sunshine and roses, the average individual is horrible and seeing glimmers of yourself in the smaller moments of movie love are fascinating. I Like Movies is, of course, a massively overblown experience which provides a lot of out-there horror shows, but there is a sense of delightful mockery in all of this.
With Kweller, there is an honest-to-God disconnect which seems relevant in internet culture more than anywhere else. White is accompanying this but the fractured relationship begins to show. Krista Bridges as the long-suffering but stuck with love mother Terri Kweller (Krista Bridges) and the initial shellshocked appearance of Alana (Romina D’Ugo) is brought out as a way of grounding Lawrence. Eventually, D’Ugo’s explosion toward the end is an incredible full-circle moment which attempts to figure out the structure of entitlement. Whether Lawrence deserves the inevitable success and due processes which come through this perception of entitlement is up to a viewer to decide. Bleeding all the right details into I Love Movies, which is less about the big screen and more about parasocial and complex relationships between self-centred masses, is brought out in a series of frustrated scenes.
Levack shows off the animosity and easily detestable lead with a convincingly slow burn toward wising up and growing as a person. Rejection is part of life and to not accept it is a building block for personalities which, as evidenced by Lawrence, are seemingly indestructible. It all comes crashing in for Lawrence, and even with the coldness which rushes through the point of no return, it is hard to feel anything but pity for him. He realises too late the outcome of introverted actions with no regard for others. Equally, though, and this is all credit to Levack’s framing and the drab Americana colouring which comes through and the exceptional performances from Lehtinen, Bridges and D’Ugo, there is no feeling of harshness toward a character who spends most of the movie doing what he wants because he has no experience of anything else. I Like Movies is all about perspective, conversation and understanding. Three principles Lawrence shows no interest in until an inevitable, well-directed comeuppance hits through.