To Live and Write in LA

Anthem Film Fest: A Dark Future, but with a Few Laughs

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org)

Two films at the Anthem Film Festival, a drama and a dramedy, forecast a bleak future for America. Collapse asks the academic economist question, “What happens if the currency collapses” and answers it with visceral reality. The Last Eagle Scout  wonders, “Just how far can this political correctness stuff go?” It goes till it gets funny.

Aaron and Kade

Aaron and Kade McCormick leaaving Seattle

Both films benefited and were harmed by the “everyone a volunteer” filmmaking philosophy. They benefited by keeping the costs down. They might not have been made otherwise. The downside was that some of the acting was flat. Additional funding might have helped, but as products of a libertarian guerrilla film movement in the mountains of the west, they’re worth seeing.

Collapse, written, produced and directed by Dave McCormick, uses a start-in-the-middle structure. The first part of the story is told in a flashback leading up to the present, then the remainder of the story is in real time. The film was shot in Nevada.

The story involves two boys living in Seattle, Washington, when the US currency collapses. People find out their money is worthless. They stop going to work. No food gets delivered. Utilities stop working. Not being able to feed or get inmates water, the state opens the doors to all of its prisons. Then the boys’ father disappears.

The boys decide to go to their uncle’s home in Arizona. The dangers and the people they encounter along the way provide a backdrop for telling the story of their relationship and revealing how people react during a societal Collapse.

posterThe Last Eagle Scout takes attempts by the left to socially ostracize the Boy Scouts and advances them to the next logical and sometimes funny steps. A Scout who is just about to earn Eagle rank is caught up in media outrage over such ”horrors” as Scouts learning to shoot and build fires. The film mocks PC reporters, politicians, and entertainers.

The film suffers somewhat from the topical nature of the humor which goes back several years. After the showing, the director explained one of the jokes and I thought, “Oh, yeah, now I remember that.”

The story of Boy Scout political persecution parallels the experiences of Orem, Utah, based producer/director Kels Goodman. Goodman, who is the creator and producer of one of the most successful Internet series of all time, Will It Blend, learned about being on the wrong side of political correctness first hand.

Goodman wrote The Last Eagle Scout while working on his master’s degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. “I saw the Boy Scouts booed at the Democratic convention and attacked by the ACLU,” he said. “So, I decided to do this film as my master’s thesis.”

Unfortunately for Goodman his classmates “were a bunch of leftist hacks.” He missed one meeting and they used that technicality to kick him out of the program.

Goodman’s next project will be to trace the craziness that can occur when overbearing nanny government reacts to a youngster setting up a lemonade stand.

Both Collapse and The Last Eagle Scout are available on DVD at their websites.

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