| by Allan Stackhouse |
The Blue Tooth Virgin is a wonderful gem of an indie film released to DVD earlier this year. Director and writer Russell Brown with two handfuls of a production crew created a great character-driven story about what can happen when you criticize a friend's work. Anyone who is in a creative field will enjoy or at least be able to appreciate the screenwriting storyline. Stars Austin Peck and Bryce Johnson truly shine in this charming film.
Russell teamed with the amazing, oft teamed with Gus Van Sant, editor Curtiss Clayton (To Die For, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Drugstore Cowboy). At first, I couldn't figure out what made this film so good. Luckily, there is a featurette included on the DVD that explained some of Curtiss Clayton's editing process. To make these dialogue-heavy, non-moving scenes more interesting, Curtiss would limit the focus on each character, not to the point where it would be just a bunch of back and forth boring cutting. The edits were made with regard to the emotion and tone the director was going for.
The characters in this film are so strong and defined in The Blue Tooth Virgin. Sam, played by former Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns actor Austin Peck, is a struggling writer who once saw success and is thirsty for success again. His friend David, played by familiar TV face Bryce Johnson, has always had it easy and lives a cushy life as a writer for a magazine. The conflict that develops between these two characters begins with Sam's request for David to read his recently finished screenplay titled The Blue Tooth Virgin. David HATES Sam's script and, just from the dialogue in the film surrounding it, it sounds horrible. David experiences a desire to be completely honest with Sam and then changes his mind, which of course Sam takes offense to and gets particularly nasty about it. The script proves to be an interesting test of their friendship.
The poor quality of Sam's script leads to even more hilarious characters. There are two confidants, one for David and one for Sam. Sam turns to expensive script doctor Zena, played wonderfully and eccentrically by Karen Black. Their dialogue is actually kind of off-putting at first but through the course of this initial uncomfortableness, it turns out to be all part of the process, a great reveal for both Sam and the audience. David's confidant is Dr. Christopher, played by Roma Mafia, who's just as no nonsense as David if not more. She is inclined to believe what David is telling her and sympathizes with what he is going through. Both of these characters added humor to the film but also an opportunity for David and Sam to develop outside of their conversations with each other.
I'm absolutely thrilled that E1 decided to distribute this, despite its release from 2008, because the film serves as an example of the fruit of independent filmmaking. A small cast of professionals, actors, and locations made a funny, engaging, and emotionally honest film that I am very happy to have come across.