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Easier with Practice Reviews

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gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2011
Interesting counter point to 'Catfish', exploring similar territory about loneliness, identity and our need to connect. Builds in a similar way to the eventual meeting which wrongfooted me and then has the conviction to hold out for a truthful ending.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2010
Superb, slow burning true story told with humanity and poignancy. It's remarkable that would easily could have been an exploitative, overblown thriller is instead a deeply touching, profound and empathetic small scale drama. Acted and written with honesty, this is a largely undiscovered gem of a film.
Turfseer
March 28, 2010
Twist ending rescues slow-paced narrative

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's hard to classify 'Easier with Practice'. The film fits rather perfectly into the overall 'indie' category but beyond that, it's more an amalgam of genres. 'Practice' is a bit of a buddy picture as the two main characters are brothers who go on the road for over half of the film's screen time. But it's also a mystery, with a welcome 'twist' ending.

Davy Mitchell (Brian Geraghty) has gone on the road to publicize his unpublished collection of short stories at various bookstores and college campuses around the country. Accompanying him is his brother, Sean, who's chief goal during this trip is to pick up girls. One night at their motel room, while Sean is outside, Davy gets a random phone call from a woman with a sexy voice who identifies herself as 'Nicole'; they immediately start having phone sex together, with a long-winded scene of Davy masturbating as Nicole arouses him.

The phone sex continues throughout Davy's book tour but the aspiring writer begins having more extended conversations with Nicole and he soon finds himself falling in love with her. Nicole refuses, however, to give Davy her own number so he must always wait for her call. Meanwhile, Sean eventually finds out about the mysterious caller and mocks his brother for his obsession.

The two finally return home where we learn that Davy supports himself as a temp worker but right now can't find employment. Sean and his girlfriend invite Davy over to a party where he runs into Samantha, a woman who he had a brief fling with some time ago. Davy begins dating Samantha after Nicole stops calling him. Apparently, Nicole would not give in to Davy's demand to see him in person. After Davy doesn't hear from Nicole for weeks he becomes depressed and realizes that he has no desire to reciprocate Samantha's affection.

Finally, Nicole calls back and they agree to meet. Davy purchases a plane ticket and flies to the city where Nicole lives. She initially cancels a dinner date but then agrees to see Davy the next day at a chain restaurant in the afternoon. I won't give away the surprise ending but Nicole doesn't turn out to be who Davy thinks she is.

'Easier with Practice' is a very slow-paced film. The many scenes where Davy is on the phone with Nicole are static from a visual standpoint. Nonetheless, first time writer/director Kyle Patrick Alvarez manages to convey the loneliness of the depressed writer through a series of evocative visual images throughout the film.

Alvarez does a fine job in directing the actors who give, low-key understated performances. A little more could have been done with brother Sean as he seems a bit of a one-note character, mainly expressing contempt for his brother who has an inability to form decent relationships. I also wanted to know more about how Davy supported himself?how was he able to finance his 'book tour' and later pay for his plane ticket (did he have savings?).

Davy's internal character arc never develops much at all. At the film's denouement, there is a hint that he has grown from his experience but we're uncertain where he is headed in the future. Still, it's the mystery of the mystery caller's identity which we're curious about and the film pays off handsomely with a surprise, twist ending. If you're willing to put up with the slow-paced narrative, you will be rewarded with a neat surprise at the film's end.
KarenAlexa
February 27, 2010
Kyle Alverez deserves to win the Independent Spirt Award for both "Someone to Watch" and "Best First Feature"...
What a great movie!
newlan271
February 22, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie. It's rare to see a movie that is this inventive. The cinematography is a big draw to the film and I lends itself beautifully to the intimacy of the story being told. Brian Geraghty really shows his colors in this film in some really brave scenes. I think the story will surprise people. If you like movies that dig at something deeper than what most mainstream films have to offer than you will really like this film.
February 21, 2014
Easier with Practice (Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 2009)

There is a lot about Easier with Practice to like; it feels like (and, really, it is) the kind of story that a stranger sitting next to you in the bar, with whom you've struck up a conversation because there's nothing better to do and the TV is turned to baseball yet again, tells you out of the blue in order to get it off his chest. That feeling carries through into the film realm very well, at least it does in this picture. The problem is that, as the story goes on, you get a very distinct feeling that perhaps the nice guy sitting next to you is maybe not quite as nice as he may have at first seemed. Now, it's entirely possible to paint this in a good light-he's being as honest as he can be about his feelings and reactions to the situation in which he finds himself, and any therapist worth his or her salt will tell you that you can't effectively process this sort of stuff without being entirely honest with yourself. On the other hand, when you show it to outsiders, to people who weren't there, the urge to whitewash things, to make yourself look better, is sometimes best followed. (That it might well have changed the ending of the story here is irrelevant.)

As we open, Davy Mitchell (ATM's Brian Geraghty), a budding novelist, is on media's most depressing book tour with his brother Sean (Pulse's Kel O'Neill). They've financed the entire thing themselves, they're halfway across the country, they're near-broke, and they're not selling anything out of that trunkful of books. (As a side note, the movie is based on a GQ article by Davy Rothbart, who had a version of this story actually happen to him while he was touring Found exactly like this. I found that bit the most believable part of the story, for those of you reading this somewhere where the book title is a link to my review of Found.) One night, in a generic, nameless motel, he gets a call from breathy-voiced Nicole (Black Rock's Katie Aselton). They have phone sex, which eventually develops into a relationship. Nicole refuses to meet Davy in the flesh, which leads to the question-can you have a relationship with someone you have never seen?

One of the movie's problems is that that question has been a kind of ridiculous one since, oh, two or three years after the world wide web went global (for those of you too young to remember, that happened in 1993). Which is not to say it can't still be asked-there is a movie that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar this very morning that deals with the exact same question (Jan. 16, 2014, and Her, for the record). And maybe Alvarez, turning in his first feature, thought the story resonated more because it asks the same question with older tech (the relationship is carried on entirely by phone). That is important given an hour and a half long movie based on a four-page magazine article, because you've got to have something to fill up all that time before you get to the Big Twist(TM). Once you get past the gimmick and just see it as a relationship drama, things start cruising pretty smoothly again, but...then there's that Big Twist(TM). And when you put something like that out there, whether you filmed the truth or not, you're making a fictional piece based on a true story, and when you are doing that, it's worth considering that perhaps the true ending wasn't the right one. Your mileage may certainly vary, but to me, it wasn't, especially with the way Alvarez lensed that whole sequence-it's obvious to me that even he wanted the ending we didn't get. Did he feel constrained by the subject matter? That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Balancing this out are some very good performances. Geraghty reminds us why we like him in military-movie roles, if you soured on him after watching ATM. O'Neill makes a good comic foil, and even the minor parts are generally well-cast. If only Alvarez had had someone to slap some sense into him about that last sequence... ** 1/2
August 11, 2013
Nu reuseste sa rezolve situatia creata
December 26, 2011
The unexpected ending just threw me off. If you loved Catfish, you'd love this.
Zachary A.
December 11, 2011
Brilliant. You know from the beginning that the reveal is going to be rough, but how the character handles it makes him a hero. Great surprise.
June 29, 2011
Great little independent film..this is a film that has gotten some great reviews but few have seen it.. the final scene has some of the best acting i've seen in quite a few years...
May 14, 2011
With no idea what to expect, or even what it was really about, I found this movie drawing me in. It's honest, poignant, and lovely.
March 13, 2011
This movie is based on a men's mag (2006 GQ) article. "It is a slow-burner: a study in loneliness and alienation, whose unexpected ending and ambiguous aftermath require us to reassess all that has gone before."- Guardian. sum it all.
January 26, 2011
What could have been a film that exploits a potentially salacious premise for artificially comedic or edgy effect, feels instead like an honest and truthful dissection of the sometimes-strange way modern relationships can work.
January 23, 2011
Where Catfish fell into themes of giving up aspects of your life, Easier With Practice boasts a fine cast and an impelling story about sexual attraction and romantic isolation.
January 19, 2011
really good film, rough and tender at the same time. It's so insightful into our vulnerability even in this digital times ...
caperucita r.
January 10, 2011
A little slow to get going but it gets better and better until a brilliant finale. A highly underrated film where the whole team have done a superb job!
January 7, 2011
The characters in this movie are never explained. The reasons for the way they are and how they behave are not given. Accordingly, one has little empathy for their troubles. This movie is full of concepts: alienation, virtual relationships, in-communication. The problem is that without real characters these ideas end up being a bit of an intelectual gimmick.
November 29, 2010
Amazing indie film that'll most likely get over-looked this year. Dealt with the issues of extreme social awkwardness and loneliness very well whilst also being very well shot and acted. Soundtrack kicked ass too (Broken Social Scene *and* Grizzly Bear? Fuck yeah!).
Kyle W.
September 10, 2010
Author Davy is an awkward soul with little social capacities, yet what the viewer walks away with is his utter humanity and his ability to understand and cope with someone who has wronged him. The film is slowly paced but this allows the audience to fully grasp Davy's shyness and lack of social graces. After watching the film, I think we could all aspire to share Davy's compassionate inclinations.
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