Sunday, June 18, 2006

Got Milk? Check the Expiration Date

In planning my attendance at this year's Seattle International Film Festival, I chose, as always, to include several independent films among the movies I scheduled to attend. Film festivals such as SIFF are to a great degree about independent film, and many indies would never find an audience without the fests. I chose to screen a few indies based on how well they had been received at other festivals. I based my decision to see one indie purely on its premise, which I found both peculiar and amusing.

Shot on location in Seattle, Expiration Date is the story of Charlie Silvercloud. As he approaches his 25th birthday, he is burdened by the fact that all of the other men in his family died on their 25th birthdays, each punching out in a comically tragic incident involving a milk truck. But it is on the verge of his demise, as Charlie prepares for his own funeral, that he learns what it means to truly live.

Executing such a premise can be a dangerous thing for a filmmaker. But director Rick Stevenson fashions the nutty concept into a black comedy that is both funny and tender, a thing that works thanks in no small part to excellent casting. Robert A. Guthrie delivers a restrained comic performance as Silvercloud, and Dee Wallace Stone adds both heart and comedy as Silvercloud's mother, who desperately wants a grandchild before her son's fatal appointment with a milk truck.

Milkmen from Smith Brother's Farms provided milk to the entire audience at our June 17th screening. I had chocolate, which was cold, smooth, creamy and delicious! Expiration Date may very well be the most memorable experience for me at this year's Seattle Film Festival, and ranks as one of the few films I saw at the festival this year that I would be eager to soon see again.

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