What To Watch (August 2014)

An exciting new film from Melbourne that merges the music and filmmaking worlds made its debut at Splendour in the Grass’ Twilight Film Festival in July.  How to Lose Jobs and Alienate Girlfriends is a must watch for anyone who has ever struggled with the creative process or considered using friends and family as subjects for their art.   Regardless, you can just enjoy watching Thomas Meadmore make a right royal mess of everything, because if you are going to stuff something up, then you may as well stuff it up properly and then turn it into a great movie.  Or so they say.

Meadmore dreams of making a film as powerful as Pulp Fiction, but works long hours as a film editor at Lonely Planet.  His girlfriend Amanda Medica is a waitress who dreams of being a full time musician and his boss, Tony Jackson (TV director at Lonely Planet) wants his band Speed Orange to be played on the radio.  Meadmore and his boss work out a deal where Meadmore makes a movie about Speed Orange in exchange for mentoring from Jackson.  Somehow Medica ends up in the film too and it begins by being about following your dreams.  Except no one in the film can really define what their dreams are.  And Meadmore has an opinion on their dreams, which makes things a bit awkward to say the least.

It turns out that Speed Orange are actually a pretty good band, much to Meadmore’s delight/surprise.  (He has to ask Tim Rogers and Monique Brumby for their thoughts on Speed Orange in the film because he is convinced they suck – they give the thumbs up.)  It is exactly this kind of self-effacing storytelling that makes this film so fun and relatable.  And it also makes us really glad that the friendship between Jackson and Meadmore survived this potential car crash.  Speed Orange have been played on high rotation on 3RRR and also just played at Splendour in the Grass alongside the screening of this film.  You get the feeling that Meadmore thought Medica more exciting musically than Speed Orange, but I suspect that Rogers and Brumby would politely disagree.  Medica’s involvement in the film, however, gives it a gritty edge when their relationship ends and Meadmore overcomes his heartbreak to complete his film.  This film proves that with commitment levels that border on insanity you can actually achieve your dreams, minus the Hollywood happy ending.

If you didn’t make it to Splendour this year, look out for the national release date for How to Lose Jobs and Alienate Girlfriends.

Penny Ivison writes monthly for PEARL on film & TV. If there’s anything you’d like to let Penny know about that’s happening in the Bayside or Peninsula area in 2014, you can find her on twitter on @pipsicedtea.