Starring: Geoffrey Arend, Vincent Kartheiser, Anette O’Toole, Richard Schiff, Nick Westrate, Alison Jaye Horowitz
Directed by: Sean Hartofilis
Synopsis: Once-promising writer Morgan Midwood works at his father’s furniture store to save up enough money to buy an engagement ring for his high school sweetheart. However, when he discovers she’s been making a cuckold of him, he enters a tailspin-getting arrested, evicted, and fired in short order-and seems content to move home with his parents and embrace a life of anonymity and failed promise. At the same time, Morgan’s carefree, underachieving best friend Nick, who has arguably exacerbated Morgan’s troubles, finally decides to take some stock in his own life, championing a revolutionary piece of furnishing for sale in Morgan’s father’s store.
Every so often you stumble across a little gem of a movie, maybe due to fate, or word of mouth or just pure luck. In the case of Beach Pillows I guess it was a bit of each. Due to various mutual interests (mainly the band Deer Tick) the paths of the director Sean Hartofilis and myself collided on Twitter. I quickly found out about the film and Sean kindly agreed to an interview. The fact he did so doesn’t shape my thoughts or feelings about the film though. I genuinely did find it brilliant.
Geoffrey Arend plays Morgan, a downbeat, cynical and world weary writer who has taken the easy way out and works for his Dad (Richard Schiff) at his furniture store. His friend Nick (Vincent Kartheiser) is recently released from prison and has plenty of energy to burn. Morgan wants a simple if unsatisfying life, where as Nick has big ideas. The problem? Trouble kind of follows Nick around, meaning Morgan ends up being in the eye of the storm too. Friends huh? Who needs them.
For any fans of Mad Men out there, of which there are many, you will be happy to see Vincent ‘Pete Campbell’ Kartheiser in a role very different to what you would expect to see him in. He is, despite the characters many flaws, so endearing, charming and watchable, you can’t help fall in love with Nick. Out of the two, he is the guy we all want to be, instead of Morgan who most of us actually are. Arend, who you will have seen as JGL’s mate in (500) Days of Summer and in Super Troopers has a great face for comedy. He is expressive whilst looking bored and pained, kind of like Bill Murray in his later film roles. He is perfectly cast as Morgan. Then you have great, experienced supporting actors such as Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and Anette O’Toole (Smallville) to flesh out the cast.
Beach Pillows shares similarities with plenty of modern day indie cinema gems, including the likes of Garden State and Bottle Rocket, as well as classics like Withnail and I and even The Odd Couple to a degree. It is the story of two disfunctional friends who despite their love for each other, are still hanging out more out of a sense of loyalty than actually liking each other. At least from Morgan’s point of view. The film is about friendship and family, growing up, unfulfilled hopes, dreams and potential. It’s a buddy movie at it’s core, and it’s a damned fine one.
I loved this movie from start to finish, it is exactly the kind of movie I love. A film that has some fantastic characters you root for, has some laugh out loud moments and some gentle contemplative moments. It has a killer soundtrack, some awesome fashions and Vincent Kartheiser’s moustache!
I can wholeheartedly recommend Beach Pillows to anyone no matter what your film preferences are. It’s funny, it’s heart warming, thoughtful, emotional and I urge anyone who reads this to get on iTunes, Amazon or On Demand straight away and purchase or rent it.
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You can check out my interview with Beach Pillows director Sean Hartofilis here and see the trailer below.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/85742484″>Beach Pillows – Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/gravitasventures”>Gravitas Ventures</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>