Jeff Witzke

reitman in god we trust

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. It is perhaps a bit odd to celebrate the early work of Jason Reitman on the opening weekend of his first critical failure. Labor Day is not only the Canadian director’s first “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s also his first feature to even drop below 80%. Frankly, given the way the film has been kicked about the calendar since its Toronto International Film Festival debut, it seems as if the various people involved would prefer that we not talk about it at all. And so we won’t! (I haven’t seen it yet, anyway.) Instead let’s take a look back at Reitman’s early shorts and program a half-hour film festival brimming with nostalgia for the early 2000s. He directed six of these before his first feature, 2005’s Thank You for Smoking. Half of that number are available to watch on Vimeo, thanks to character actor and Reitman regular Jeff Witzke. They’re all fast-paced experiments in screenwriting and editing, clever and really quite delightful.

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Why Watch? Good old Jason Reitman has another movie coming out this week, and it just so happens that I stumbled upon one of his early short films – one I fell in love with years ago and only recently realized the name behind it. This dry, hilarious movie delivers the standard (often wordless) negotiation that happens whenever two people get back to the bedroom after a great first date. It just delivers it in a bizarre, strangely sensible way. Go grab a Notary, and don’t even think about Article 20. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Consent for yourself:

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