Waydowntown

“Submit to Commitment”

The Scoop: 2000 R, directed by Gary Burns and starring Fab Filippo, Don McKellar, and Marya Delver

Tagline: No tagline

Summary Capsule: Four friends make a bet to see who can stay inside the longest. Fear the sun!

Justin’s Rating: Crustin’ I’m Justin!

Justin’s Review: Sometimes the ways I discover a film can actually be far more fascinating than the movie itself (fascinating to me, of course; you’re bored out of your skull). See, I’ve become a mild addict for browsing Wikipedia, that online encyclopedia which is written by normal people, and therefore might have only two lines on George Washington, but 50,000 words on Care Bears and their impact upon our society. I was doing some light reading on subways and underground living (again, interesting to me, maybe not to you), when I got linked to another article with an interesting fact about the city of Calgary in the fabled Canadas.

It turns out that Calgary has a unique system of elevated pedestrian skywalks called Plus 15 Skyway (15 feet above street level, which is odd considering that Canada uses the metric system) that links most of the buildings downtown, between shopping centers, apartment complexes and office buildings. Presumably they have this network in place so that people can keep on with their lives even when the annual ice age hits and wooly mammoths and feisty glaciers run rampant through the streets. It virtually becomes a city where you could live, eat, sleep, work, play and shop without ever having to go outside.

This is the hook for the off-kilter Waydowntown. Four friends make a bet, each putting a month’s salary on the line, to see who can remain inside the longest without venturing into the great outdoors. As the movie opens, it’s day 28, and cracks are starting to show in all of the players.

Tom, a photocopy of a photocopy of Orlando Bloom, is our main player, a philosophical nice guy with a penchant for doing the doobie. He’s annoyed by his surly, suicidal coworker Bradley (“Sadly I’m Bradley” is his nickname), keeps an ant farm, and is tasked with buying a birthday present for the company president. Sandra is the president’s caretaker, who is senile and a kleptomaniac (the president), and she starts feeling the stifling sensation of breathing recycled air a little too often. Randy is the third player, and least-referenced; he just has to face an office task that demands he goes outside. Finally, there’s Curt, an engaged jock who needs to get sex from any source other than his betrothed.

Now, this is a great set-up, and I had high hopes for it. But instead of being gutsy enough to play it full-out funny, or really dark, or really dramatic, the filmmakers waver between all three, which produced mild laughs and severe annoyance on my part. None of the characters become all that real or likable to you, especially Tom, who is a lesser Dante from Clerks. They had so many opportunities to go for really bold humor, and as many indie flicks are wont to do, they pulled back in some sort of vain effort to retain their edgy cred. No dice. I’d also would’ve appreciated more of an investigation into the Plus 15 system, and all of the details of living a life completely inside.

I don’t buy this as a good movie, interesting hook or not. Thank you for playing, please try again.

Men, we have now solved the mystery of what females do in the bathroom

Intermission!

  • The majority of the film was shot in TD Square, the Calgary Eaton Centre, and Bankers Hall. The company’s offices are situated in the TD Canada Trust Tower. The low-budget film was shot on digital and later transferred to 35 mm.
  • Okay, you know a movie is some piddly little indie production whenever it has the words “A [director’s name] Film” after it, and you’ve never heard of the director. Hubris!
  • The Radio Station CJAY 92 that plays “Start A Rumor Day” throughout the film is a real rock station in Calgary, and those are the stations actual DJs talking, and the phone number that is mentioned (249-CJ92) is the station’s phone number.

Groovy Quotes

Tom Bennett: Listen, Curt, I’m not saying competition is a bad thing, OK. I mean, certainly it’s got its good points. I mean you don’t want to turn out like ‘Sadly I’m Bradley’ or anything.
Brad: Sadly, I’m Bradley.
Tom Bennett: Yeah, it’s pretty funny, huh?
Brad: Sadly, I *am* Bradley.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Office Space
  • The Office (TV)
  • Clerks
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