Thursday, January 18, 2007

From Salon

"The GoodTimes Kid": The ultra-indie '80s spirit lives on!
Just a footnote to New Yorkers, urging you to catch Azazel Jacobs' second feature, "The GoodTimes Kid," during its brief run this week. A zero-budget L.A. filmmaker somewhat in the vein of Jacques Rivette or the early Godard or the early Jarmusch (OK, a lot in the vein of the early Jarmusch), Jacobs is building a small but growing cult following, and is about as close to being an underground hero as you can get in the 21st century.

Jacobs himself plays a slacker idiot named Rodolfo, who abandons his wry, cute, long-legged girlfriend (Sara Diaz) to a near-silent sailor who has exactly the same name as him, and who has crossed his path at an Army induction ceremony. (Don't ask, because I can't really explain it.) Rodolfo No. 2 (Gerardo Naranjo) moves through the film in a nearly silent state of rumpled, Chaplinesque dignity, even as Diaz's character dubs him "Depresso," performs a beautiful Converse-sneaker soft-shoe routine for him, and then beats him up for following her.

Those two take a bus ride and spend the night on a boat, where Rodolfo No. 2's psycho girlfriend shows up, the one who has spray-painted "FUCK YOU I HATE YOU CALL ME" across his door. Then they go back home, where Diaz (character and actress have the same name) smashes Rodolfo No. 1's favorite punk albums and draws a mustache on the sleeping girl he's brought home. That's really about it; it's plenty. "The GoodTimes Kid" has a whimsy, a passion, a sophistication and, above all, a vigor that's mostly drained out of Amerindie cinema over the last decade or so. (It plays at Anthology with "Two Wrenching Departures," an experimental feature by avant-garde film pioneer Ken Jacobs, who is Azazel's father.)

"The GoodTimes Kid" is now playing at Anthology Film Archives in New York. Other engagements may follow.

-- By Andrew O'Hehir

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