Greetings again from the darkness. Noble Jones worked as the second unit director on David Fincher’s award-winning film THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), and he has made quite a name for himself in music videos and commercials. This is his first feature film as director and he also wrote this interesting and original script. On top of that, he cast two premier veteran actors to bring the story to life: John Lithgow and Blythe Danner. At times it feels like we are watching a masterclass in acting and many of their scenes together have a live theatre feel.
Ed (Lithgow) and Ronnie (Danner) cross paths at the local grocery store where they each shop at an alarmingly frequent rate. It turns out Ed is preparing for doomsday and Ronnie is hoarder. As they spend time together, their fondness for each other grows, but we are never really sure if it’s loneliness or connection that inspires the relationship between these two oddballs.
Despite both having a very serious approach to life, there are many moments of levity and sweetness, but also doses of reality that keep us off-balanced – just as life tends to. Ed proclaims the world would be such a disaster with ball bearings … of course his view is a bit skewed since he spent 17 years on the business. Ronnie is brave enough to attend Thanksgiving dinner with Ed at his son’s house, and the explosive family dynamics drive home the challenges of co-existing with others at any age. Many of us have family members that comfortably fit into either Camp Ed or Camp Ronnie.
Ed tells the new checkout clerk that it’s “good to know your neighbor. You never know when you’ll need them.” His preparations for doom and gloom … or as he calls it, SHTF … are offset by Ronnie’s sweetness, and a yard sale leads to the surprise ending. I originally saw this at the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival, and it’s always a pleasure to welcome a new talented story teller to the cinematic world. Additionally, watching two talented actors play off each other is usually worth the price of a ticket, and as an added bonus, filmmaker Noble has finally found a good use for the song “Muskrat Love”.