Spencer Susser

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A while back, we promoted a contest from W Hotels, Intel and Roman Coppola that was looking for short scripts. The Four Stories competition resulted in some excellent short films, and Eugene may be the very best – a humorous jaunt involving a sheepish man (played to perfection by Michael Govier) who is gifted a laptop that grants him anything he wishes. Directed by Spencer Susser (Hesher), who’s appeared in this column before with I Love You Sarah Jane, every element is top notch on a technical level but it’s the non-obvious sense of humor found in Adam Blampied‘s script that makes this work stand out. Govier has proven why he should play Ignatius Reilly here, playing a sweet oaf who tries to warm his hands by a fake fire and dog-whistle at a fish. He’s awkward even when he’s alone, and there’s a grand innocence to him (illustrated especially by what he wishes for), but the story itself is happier to echo the unfair episodes of The Twilight Zone when it comes to the plot thickening. Stellar, quiet comedy with all sorts of unexpected directions, Blampied is a talent to watch, and whomever is trying to make A Confederacy of Dunces this time around should seriously give Govier a call. What will it cost you? Only 12 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Hesher (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a character that represents almost all different sides of life, and mainly, childhood. He’s reckless, narcissistic, always looking for fun, and you never know whether or not he’s your friend or your greatest enemy. Hesher is a cypher, someone that you can never truly understand or grasp. Many will love him and many will hate him. A character such as Hesher can’t be easy to write. If he becomes too extremist, he can lose any hints at humanity and could become a total cartoon. But director Spencer Susser and co-writer David Michôd (the director behind last year’s tremendous Animal Kingdom) managed to find an authentic grounding in this coming-of-age film that chronicles the extreme emotions of childhood. Hesher isn’t the star of the film, but he represents everything about childhood and what the lead, T.J., is going through. Here’s what Susser had to say about writing a jarring tone, the max levels Hesher goes to, and writing spontaneity:

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Single tear at the dinner table. Flaming front flip into the pool. Donuts in the parking lot. Walking away from an explosion without looking back. A lot of people have already had the chance to see Hesher, but I haven’t, and just from the trailer, it looks like a version of Garden State that grew a pair, set fire to The Shins’ “Chutes too Narrow,” and learned to blast Metallica while stripping down to its tightie-whities. More words would only sully it. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Why Watch? There is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting a flaming arrow at a zombie to blow it up. There’s also nothing wrong with Spencer Susser’s short film I Love Sarah Jane. Especially since there’s nothing wrong with Mia Wasikowska dropping F-bombs a lot. I mean, a lot. There are a lot of instances and colorful uses of the word Fuck here. The gore is particularly gruesome with some droolingly uneasy wounds and creeping zombie make-up as the bloody cherry on top. Thanks, Australia! What Will It Cost? Just 12 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out I Love Sarah Jane for yourself: I LOVE SARAH JANE (2008) Directed By: Spencer Susser Written By: Spencer Susser & David Michod Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Brad Ashby, Beau South, Vladimir Matovic, and Peter Yacoub Trust us. You have time for more short films.

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Sunday Shorts

Unspoken love is a tough thing to deal with, but throwing in a zombie apocalypse while secretly pining for a lovely lady has got to be double complicated. Should I do the yawn-arm-over-shoulder bit, or keep that hand free to grab a machete? Should I tell her how I feel, or concentrate on the itchy bite on my ankle? Decisions…

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A Love Story Short

Love, it’ll rip your heart out. Blue-Tongue Films has a habit of showcasing quirky, interesting, well shot short films. 2005′s A Love Story is no exception.

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I can hear the conversation in the pitch meeting now. “This is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film. But he isn’t going to be the charming, clean-cut, charismatic Joe that the world has seen. He’s going to be fucking crazy, man.”

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The short film is an art form that never seems to get its due. Currently their only public forums are film festivals where they play to tens of people, win prestigious awards, and then disappear into the ether. Until now… welcome to Wholphin!

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