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Dick, Actually

by South Jersey Ghost Research


Some great funny moments throughout. Loved the gag with the pizza, although I was expecting Dick would reveal that he put the pineapple on there! And a sad but funny ending too!

A story of things that our narrator did for love, that being of course the lovelife of his close friend Sam who he has always seen as perfect, making it tough for any man to meet his required standards.

This played out as a classic fabrication of subjective reality and jealousy, with one person's view of a suitable partner being an impossibly high pedastal, and leading to some fun comic moments of sabotage.

I did feel that some of the humour (messing with washing, toilet seat up) was lacking in punch, and presented our dogooder as simply an annoyance rather than funny man, but the culmination with the pizza was admittedly worth the price of admission.

Strong performances by the leads with our narrator in particular carrying the film nicely, and the actress who played Sam also did well with the material she was provided.

Proper conclusion very satisfying also. The thing for me dragging my marks down a little bit is me finding the humour personally not so great until the final third, and being on the fence about the use of narration at all, but I think I give it a pass due to it being an unreliable narrator which was needed for the story arc.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Unfortunately, this genre lends itself to a safe, vanilla path if you want to achieve a level of success. So, you tick the genre boxes and hit the beats. SJGR are great at doing just this, in this short of requited love where the jilted does his upmost to disrupt the perfect relationship of his flat-mate. Well-written, acted (of course) and everything looks pretty nice.

Not a lot really happens though. The pranks are kind of bland (and surely defendable as not reality) and there are no meaningful stakes for us to get behind our anti-hero, and rally behind his actions. He doesn't change at all by the end of the film and so overall he is just a dick. That's the point, I suppose.

Another rewarding effort though from a very consistent CHCH team.

DICK, ACTUALLY has got a lot of soul at its center and another slam dunk from the ghost researchers!

By soul I mean there are some best-in-show elements at play here, most notably a fantastic lead performance from Scott Koorey, an actor so good he should be more famous. It's great watching Scott perform a role like this and seeing his subtle reactions and nuanced expressions, and just knowing any other actor would have overplayed these moments. The film in general, I think is completely held up by Scott's performance here, as well as the award winning VFX which give the film its own identity - as with the Scottish vibes of LAST LORD OF SCOTLAND, this ia another example of a motif most 48Hours teams wouldn't think to include.

All of this being said, I'm not particularly enamored with the story - it's one of those maybe-too-simple plots which is held together mostly through the second act being a montage of funny sketches, and the rest feels very paint-by-numbers - I love the ending, but again, that mostly comes down to the performance of Scott and the reactions from the two kids.

I think SJGR's magnum opus is still their debut film CUSHY: A PULL STORY, which was a genuinely very inventive 48Hour film which would have probably done a lot better in the comp had it come out ten years earlier. The subsequent films have been great, but I feel like CUSHY is still unmatched, and I'd love to see the team tap back into whatever exactly made that film so special. Part of that was maybe that the team's serviceable but minimal technical side and production design served that story, whereas your last two films, I think, could have benefitted from flashier cinematography or a more experimental location than just a suburban house.

Things you got right: A commanding lead performance which IMO probably should have won, as well as awesome VFX which did win!

Things to work on for next time: I think ya'll are at the stage now where you need a challenge, and I think that challenge should maybe be in the aforementioned location of your next film. I don't wanna see another home base double as main location, what does a SJGR film look like set in the woods, or in an abandoned ware house, or in outer space?

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