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Hannah's Boring Life

by Toot Toot

Hannah is watching Shortland Street.


You know how I have fairly regularly commented about not liking narration too much in 48Hours? Well Toot Toot sent me spinning back to my cave with a delirious meta take that flipped the script on the required elements of this competition without actually breaking the fourth wall. Props also for the burns on Shortland Street and the banality of TV addiction.

The opening shot was just genius. Literally as I'm about to jod down tedious long shot not developing the plot or character, I had it done for me to my wide eyed surprise. From there, things got weird in the best possible way with a script that kept one step ahead of any competition jaded viewers at all times.

Ever fed up with an omnipotent narrator? Well Hannah does her best to do something about it and prove that her so called boring life is not so boring after all.

Lead actress = outstanding. Script fantastic. Lighting excellent. My biggest concern is actually if this fit the box for the genre. I absolutely loved all of the subvervise and meta elements in general, but I felt like the riddle with the clock ticking was arguably throway for a joke rather than central to the plot in terms of Hannah's race against time.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Toot Toot strikes again! I can’t get over how on top of 48Hours meta humour you guys are. My only concern was that the riddle at the end didn’t actually make sense? Or at least I just didn’t understand how either of them was a reluctant hero. I thought the answer to the riddle was going to be Jesus. It just being the narrator perhaps felt a little too easy, but I do really like the twist at the end! (And he’s right, Shortland Street isn’t that bad)

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There is no more "48hours" 48hours team than Toot Toot. They manage every year to find a new, creative, clever, hilarious way to poke fun at the competition, creating complex, bizarre and meta jokes that would feel like nonsense to anyone outside the competition. They obliterate the key judging criterion of "how well would this play outside 48hours"...and yet, they're SO clever and SO funny that they will always make the finals, which is their target audience anyway.

Hannah's Boring Life is a departure from previous Toots in that there are no strange visual effects sequences, no incongruous cutaway jokes, and surprisingly little direct fourth-wall breaking. Instead, it's a minimalist journey into the head and heart of an omniscient narrator stuck narrating the titular boring life, driven almost entirely by its script and two lead actors.

It's almost beside the point to talk about story here, but it's a pretty good one - an existential crisis for a character obsessed with TV, which I'm sure we can all relate to. The back-and-forth between Hannah and her narrator is clever, funny, and well-delivered, and though a lot of it doesn't make logical sense, it sort of sweeps you up in its theoretical babble to the point that it doesn't matter - you still get what's broadly going on (similar to Pie Face's "Time Saver," but with a totally different vibe). Great ending, too; a perfect inversion of its opening. Visually, as I say, it's minimalist, so there's not a lot to talk about, but the triumphant moment of element-fulfilling violence towards the end is pretty sweet. Days after seeing it though, I think the boom mic is the only bit of fourth-wall breaking that doesn't fit - a production-centric joke clangs ever so slightly coming at the end of a film so tightly focused on the actors and narration.

Will definitely make finals, will definitely get some award nominations, and could be a potential dark-horse candidate for a top-three placement if the judges warm to the story. Overall score: -995.5 points, after being docked a thousand for dissing the era of Shortland Street during which I was writing it.

Toot Toot's style is always a joy to witness year after year. Brutally fisting the elements into your narrative is an art they've managed to master, and every year we give them a pass on it because it's just so goddamn funny.

The riddle was one hell of a stretch to make sense but by golly if I wasn't choking from fits of laughter when I heard that the first time.

Literally beating the heart was so genius and staring all of us in the face but nobody else thought to present it that way other then the one team that we all expected to do so.

The resolution at the end still baffles me, I still don't get it, but who cares, like seriously who cares. It was so good, you guys are so good.

I reckon the day you hold the Ape trophy will be the day you can hit that sweet spot of your nutty format up against some really nice cinematography and a really satisfying punchy ending, which I believe is completely in your skill set!

I want you to keep competing until you win this whole goddamn thing and then I want to you compete some more.

I love Toot Toot.

While I think you'll probably never top THE WISH, at least in my eyes - I was delighted to see a somewhat different approach taken this year with HANNAH'S BORING LIFE.

In a weird/absurd/contextual way, this almost Toot's most mature film to date, or at least one which felt a little more concerned with its story and its characters than the expendable joke vessels from your previous films. I liked this, having a main character I could get behind in a film still as silly as it is, and Kathleen's performance is unmatched (or at least it would be if this year's Best Performer category wasn't so goddamn stacked, Jesus I'm only realizing now how conflicted I am on who deserved to take it home).

I once again appreciated the lampshade hanging on the use of elements, and while everything was ticked off, heartbeat was the stand out and sadly the only one we nominated. Ya'll basically have at least one of the element awards locked every year now, and while heartbeat is maybe your most obvious, your previous wins for best use of wind and best use of door slam give me the confidence that you'll continue to up the stakes here - if you were a lesser team I'd say something like "maybe the bubble is about to burst" here or "you can't keep doing the same schtick each year" but you're always so goddamn inventive with it that I don't mind.

Things you got right: A delightfully on brand film which embraces story and character in a way you haven't before.

Things to work on for next time: uhhh get even crazier? Idk

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