One week to go and you can finally own Mystery Team. Since seeing the film at Sundance last year (that’s last year, as in 2009), I’ve been a staunch supporter of both the film and the folks involved. It take a lot to turn me evangelist like that. In fact, I take pride in my own minimalist stumping tendencies, as it allows me to focus on films that matter. Films that represent something larger than simple entertainment. Films that show the promise of a storyteller — or in this case, storytellers. And the feature film debut from Derrick Comedy is just that. A film that not only entertains, but shows the promise of some incredibly talented kids who are about to make their mark on the world of comedy.
The most exciting thing about all of this is that Mystery Team is finally coming to DVD. That’s why we’re here right now, talking about it. Next Tuesday, May 25, Mystery Team will be available for purchase online and in stores. So for the next seven days, we’re going to bring you a countdown in the form of articles that will inform, enlighten and perhaps entertain. It’s all just a ploy to get you to go out and buy the DVD next Tuesday. You should know that up front.
But first, let me answer some of your burning questions, as I know you’re bound to have a few.
What is Mystery Team?
Mystery Team is the debut film of Derrick Comedy, a comedy group that formed during their time at NYU. The group includes some faces that you have seen on television — Donald Glover has appeared on 30 Rock and has a lead role on NBC’s hit show Community — and some that you’ve seen as part of their presence online, including D.C. Pierson, Dominic Dierkes, director Dan Eckman and producer Meggie McFadden (though if you were really paying attention, you’ll have seen all of them on Community at one point during this season). What’s most impressive about Mystery Team is the versatility displayed by all of the members of Derrick. Everyone contributed to writing the film, while Don Glover also composer the score. Having spent time talking to them about their experience making the film, I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I was with the highly collaborative way that Derrick works. This film is a product of an incredible comedic hive mind — and one hell of a product, at that.
Yeah, but what’s it about?
It’s the story of you, of me, and everyone else. Or something like that. In fact, it’s an Encyclopedia Brown-esque detective story that centers on three friends, Jason (Don Glover), Duncan (D.C. Pierson) and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes). Since they were young, these three young men have comprised the Mystery Team, a neighborhood squad of sleuths ready to tackle any mystery for the low-low price of a nickel. And even though they’re now in their final year of high school, the three (for lack of a better word) boys are still chasing down playground bullies and quick-handed pie thieves. That is, until a real case ends up on their doorstep: a murder. Hell bent on proving that they’re real detectives, they take on the case, leading them down a dark path toward untold danger and an unpredictable end. It’s pretty fucking epic, if you think about it.
Why the hell are you so supportive of it?
Why be supportive of anything? Because it’s something we believe in. On one level, Mystery Team is simply a darkly funny film filled with pitch-perfect irony that plays well with both its geekiness and its intelligence. That’s what matters most — the movie is really good. On another level, Mystery Team the project represents the independent spirit that we always talk about, but get to see come this far. It’s that spirit of going out and making a movie because you believe you have something to say, not for purely commercial reasons. Sure, the kids at Derrick Comedy probably like being able to afford food just as much as you or I do, but there’s a quality to this film that suggests they are in it because they truly enjoy making each other (and everyone else) laugh. It’s a natural disposition that so few filmmakers, let alone filmmaking teams, have these days. And we here at Film School Rejects feel as if that should be celebrated. And it helps that, as I mentioned, the film is really good.
We’d like a sense of tone, please…
Seeing as my explanation of the Derrick Comedy style and the atmosphere won’t be good enough to get you interested, I’ve included the following clip. It includes poop. I’m told that’s a good way to grab the attention of today’s generation.
Mystery Team on DVD, Digital Download, On Demand and Video Game Consoles May 25th.