How I Got Lost Reviews
(2009) How I Got Lost
Written and directed by Joe Leonard directing the movie "How I Got Lost", which I have to say I got lost just by watching this, since the film can't really decide which person the film is really about. At the beginning, the movie focuses on Andrew (Aaron Stanford), as we see him get out of jail for doing something- I suspect for disorderly conduct. And it just happens that his best friend Jake(Jacob Fishel) paid for his bail. They're both a couple of New Yorkers, and are somehow been affected by the events of 9/11, since Andrew who's involved in stock trading but he often drinks a lot, while Jake whose a sports writer is trying to have a serious relationship with a girl he had met after the attacks, her name is Katie played by Jill Frutkin. Once Andrew get a call informing him that his dad had just died, he then drags his best friend Jake to come along with him instead of telling him the reason why they're going on a road trip, to a small town in Ohio. Once Andrew gets their for his dad's memorial service, he then throws a fit complaining about how they should've called him to inform him that his dad is dying, even though he initially said that he doesn't get along with his dad in the first place. Like does this make any sense, like if someone really cared, wouldn't the son himself call up his dad himself. Why make this burden as someone else's responsibility.
Jake on the other hand, meets up with a single mom Leslie (Rosemarie DeWitt) who works at the town's diner, raising her own child who looks no more than a few months old, all by herself with no sight of the father whatsoever. Leslie eventually hooks up with Jake for a one-nighter even though he's committed to Katie back at New York and still gets angry after he finds out that she cheated on him with his best friend. God...this whole movie is baffling. It's like watching the worst drama variation of a Matt Damon and Ben Affleck relationship unfolding before your very eyes, since the movie has 'zero' clarification on the characters actions. Although, theirs many scenes of subtleness, it can only carry the movie for so much.
1 star out of 4
That said, How I Got Lost is not a very good movie. A post-9/11 version of Garden State (though how the 9/11 reference fits in exactly is beyond me), the movie tells the story of a man who forces his friend to accompany him on a states-wide journey to attend his father's funeral. I guess he's real distraught about his father's death, or maybe it's 9/11 that he's distraught about and is using his father's death as a metaphor for the feeling that New Yorkers felt in the aftermath of the attacks, or... I don't know.
It's hard not to hear the script being written with every line that is spoken. The movie opens with a painful narration sequence that is supposed to sound artistic and thoughtful, but instead comes off as merely pretentious. We meet our two main characters, described as "the talented kids" who grew up and become disillusioned with their upper-middle class life. There's a Ben Affleck lookalike and a Sam Rockwell lookalike, the latter of which smokes cigarettes nearly constantly. I think it was intended to be, again, artistic - what's more beautiful than people speaking thoughtfully while smoking cigarettes? - but it's ridiculous in the mouth of a man who looks like a kid, a man who wears business attire that looks like it belonged to his father. The basketball scene is the most amazing use of a cigarette, as Rockwell dribbles down the court while puffing at the cigarette that he refuses to remove from his lips. It's almost cartoon-ish.
The movie becomes a road trip/buddy comedy where the two guys get into scrapes with demented characters along the way. These are all very ho-hum; they are forgotten easily. The reason I sought out How I Got Lost in the first place was in order to see my friend Lily Holleman's brief appearance in the film. She shows up as a backwoods gas station attendant who helps the boys when their car runs out of gas. They marvel at the fact that she knows how to start a truck (a girl who knows about vehicles?? CRAZY!!), and that's pretty much the entirety of her scene. Actually, I take that back. Before she exits the movie, she gets a chance to massage the ego of the boys (and by extension, writer/director Joe Leonard) by pretending that something they said was clever or insightful. Now that is good acting!
They get to the funeral and, surprise surprise, Rockwell acts like a petulant child - he literally throws a tantrum in front of all of the funeral guests. I suppose we're supposed to see it as an emotional breakdown. It really just comes off as a selfish, whiny child making a scene. I hate to say it at the man's funeral, but is that how he raised his children to behave? Et cetera and so on. I don't know whether I was falling asleep near the end or if it bored me so much that I've blocked it out, but the short version is this: nothing extraordinary or interesting happens, the movie ends.
I know that it's possible to make engaging, fantastic movies on a limited budget. I'm thinking of Shotgun Stories since I watched it recently, but Clerks obviously springs to mind too. I don't think that one has to grade on a curve when it comes to independent fare. If a movie is good, it ought to be able to rise above its shortcomings. But this movie, I mean, there's a scene where a car is driving over a bridge and the actors' voices (recorded at a different time) are played over the action - it goes on way too long, the lines become blatantly improvised with an attempt at being humorous. It doesn't work; it's really bad.
There are moments where the film hits its mark, mostly in quieter scenes wherein the cinematography can be the real focus instead of the ditzy characters. Those moments are rare. So How I Got Lost is, well, it could use some improvement - let's put it like that.