AFI Fest 2007: Day 9

Tonight was the big tribute to Laura Linney followed by The Savages. This post would be 37% more interesting if I was there and had something to say about it, but I was napping. I’ll catch it Sunday afternoon minus the hubbub I think.

livingwake-250.jpgThe Living Wake
USA 2007

Mike O’Connell is a funny guy. He co-wrote, co-composed and stars in The Living Wake, a hard to categorize comedy about town drunk K. Roth Binew’s last day on earth before he dies of a “grave and vague” illness.

Pedaled around in a rickshaw by his chauffeur and manservant Mills, the doughy but well dressed Binew guzzles bourbon, visits a prostitute, harasses the local librarian and finalizes his plans for a living wake he intends to hold leading up to his moment of death. All the while he acts as though he’s a famous and successful renaissance man when in fact he’s been abandoned by his father, disowned by his family and he lives in a shabby men’s hotel in an unspecified, though vaguely northeastern town.

Undaunted by life’s blows, Binew swaggers about, speaking in a declamatory style and generally carrying on as though he’s a complete success, spouting lessons his father taught him such as “I drink to lower myself to the level of the common man. Since the common man also drinks, I must drink twice as much.”

It’s all pretty silly and it kind of wore out its welcome after a while, but it made me laugh and O’Connell is quite a talent. I could easily see it becoming a kind of cult movie. The movie also stars Jim Gaffigan as Binew’s father and Jesse Eisenberg as his chauffeur.

I have no idea if or when The Living Wake will get a theatrical release.

Tonight I plan to catch Margot at the Wedding and Greg Araki’s well regarded stoner comedy Smiley Facestarring Anna Faris. The new French animated film Persepolis that’s been getting some Oscar buzz will also play as part of a tribute to the great Catherine Deneuve. 


3 thoughts on “AFI Fest 2007: Day 9

  1. Hmmm, although it sounds like it’s thematically completely different this movie reminds me tonally of The Woman Chaser with Patrick Warbutton. It is one of those weird movies you appreciate for all the right reasons in spite of itself.

    Now I’m curious to check this one out.

  2. It’s similar in that it features a delusional character in an a strangely artificial world. Like Woman Chaser, it’s also only partly successful…but it’s often funny and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

  3. he visits a prostitute… i’m in.


    it’s funny this film is the living wake and you mention araki.and he had a film titled the living end. ha ha..

    ok i’ve seen neither of those. oh yeah… 🙂

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