Student films are a very special thing, in good ways but also in very bad ways. The majority of the time you get something that looks like it was made by a bored ninth grader the day before his media project was due. The minority are the few times that you will get something that is actually well put together and relatable. Naked Cinema III: Shortfalls was, mostly, not part of that minority.
Shortfalls is composed of three short films that are all meant to encompass what it’s like to finish in second place. Not a bad premise, except only the first film really pushed that point. It told the tale of a young hockey player whose father is using every last opportunity to get him into the big leagues.
His sister, overlooked by the father, is academically gifted and looks to attending university in the United States. Two scenes later, her bags are packed and she’s heading to Stanford on a full ride, apparently. That was the problem with this film; it's trying to fit way too much into too little of a timeframe. Watching it was like watching a full two-hour movie while fast forwarding the whole way through.
Even with all of the events that were packed in, there were still too many plot holes, leaving the viewer more confused than anything at its conclusion. Also, where on earth did the idea of snorting Adderall, ecstasy, and cocaine then calling it the Bermuda Triangle come from?
The next film, entitled “Sisterqueens,” is about an unlikely pageant winner and how her friend finished second to her and feels incredibly jealous, resulting in a classic Brutus moment. While this short film was a step in the right direction, it still had its fair share of problems. For starters, it fails in the same place as the previous film, in that it's trying to fit way too much into such a short run-time. Considering the fact that this one has some darker undertones, going minimalistic with dialogue and scenes would have been perfect.
The ending is also confusing. The protagonist and antagonist suddenly disappear from the story completely and we’re left with two supporting actors closing off the film in an awkward, still blurry shot where you can barely make out what's happening.
Thankfully, the last movie was a pleasant surprise. Picture a version of Death at a Funeral but with two religious theology students, the fiancee of one of them who is also the brother of the other. And in addition to all of this, the guy getting married is secretly in love with his fiancee’s brother. Replace a naked dude high on what he thought was valium, with a scantily clad pansexual comedian who thought she was showing up to a hookup and add a little repressed sexual frustration and whole lot of booze and you’ve got yourself a gut wrenchingly funny movie.
Unlike the other films, this one just flowed. It had a lot of story content to put out but it kept only what was necessary and let the viewer make out the rest. There was also a good balance between humour and drama and no part of the story was left forgotten in confusion. The best part was how this film had an actually pleasing ending that the viewer could enjoy.
The cinematography was also well done, and the apartment used was perfect for the types of scenes in this movie. One thing I still don’t get is the whole connection to the overarching theme, but frankly I don’t give a damn because I laughed my ass off.
While only a third of Naked Cinema III was worth really watching, the last film almost made it worth the $10 that I spent to watch it. Almost.
Quote of the film: "I can't marry you if you wanna fuck my brother."