Writing and directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden stunned me with the left hook that was their 2006 film Half Nelson. That project was a Ryan Gosling-starring film about a drug-addicted teacher trying to touch the lives of inner city children. Then they knocked me on my ass with the quick uppercut that was their 2008 film Sugar, which was a look at the life of a man from the Dominican Republic who is recruited to come to the U.S. and play professional baseball, but who doesn’t quite find it to be the glamorous experience one might expect. After that, they made It’s Kind of a Funny Story in 2010, and that saw me regaining my wits and getting back to my feet, because it was kind of a crappy movie. So, here I am, standing here dazed, waiting for Fleck and Boden’s next punch, what’s it going to be?
According to Variety, it will be a drama called Hate Mail, which follows the intersecting lives of a series of Manhattanites who have all had relationship-ruining experiences regarding the receipt of hate mail. That’s about all of the information out there regarding this film so far, but it’s news to me just because of the filmmakers attached. I thought Half Nelson and Sugar put these two right up there with Ramin Bahrani when it comes to modern, minimalist filmmakers, so I’m hoping that It’s Kind of a Funny Story was just a momentary misstep. I guess Hate Mail will be the true test. I stand ready to take it on the chin.