Saturday, November 13, 2021

Living in Oblivion

Movie Name:
Living in Oblivion
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Tom DiCillo
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney, James Le Gros, Danielle von Zerneck, Peter Dinklage, Kevin Corrigan, Robert Wightman, Hilary Gilford, Rica Martens
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After making his feature directorial debut with "Johnny Suede", Tom DiCillo further cemented his name in the Indie movie making world of the 90s with "Living in Oblivion", which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival of 1995, where it eventually won the screenwriting award. The film focuses on the story of Nick Reve, a film maker who is desperately trying to get his film shot. He has been shooting his low budget feature fast and furiously, but for a series of reasons, he simply can't get this scene between his leading lady, Nicole, and the actress playing her mother, to actually work. We come to realize that was one of his nightmares. As Nick continues to try to get his film done, his lead actor, who is a narcissistic, and a questionably talented individual, keeps making his life difficult, all the while making matters complicated with Nicole as well, whom he had a tryst with. As Nick continues to attempt to finalize his shoot, all sorts of challenges present themselves, including his mom who unexpectedly shows up.
"Living in Oblivion" is one of those films that simultaneously feels very time capsuled to the 90s, and specifically tied to the independent films from that decade, and yet, it also feels very universal in the sense that it also captures the irreverent energy that exists in low budget shoots and the personalities that sometimes coexist in it. It's a clever satire, one that mines the world of independent films for all the clichés that it has, exposing the egos, creative impasses that occur, and just how desperate everyone is to make it big (or at least desperately trying to avoid having to work in yet another restaurant). The film pokes fun at just how simultaneously pretentious and silly some situations are, and how all these people on a film crew, particularly a low budget one, seem to be on a verge of a nervous breakdown. While the characters aren't very detailed, they do stand on their own for the hilarious embodiments of these Indie Hollywood clichés that they are. The cast is uniformly great, with Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener and James Le Gros all crafting indelible performances. The production team is equally solid, including Frank Prinzi's grainy cinematography, and Jim Farmer's score. An entertaining film worth watching.