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Donald Cried

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Donald Cried

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Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) managed to escape the smalltown Rhode Island life, and now mucks it up as a mover and shaker on Wall Street. When his grandmother dies, Peter has to return home for the first time in 15 years to tend to of her affairs. Arriving in the dead of winter, Peter knows he’s in for a bad day once he realizes he’s left his wallet on the bus, and, well, the rest just snowballs downhill from there. Broke and hopeless, Peter is forced to knock on the door of his childhood metalhead amigo, Donald Treebeck (writer-director Kris Avedisian, all oversized glasses and mullet), for help, only to discover that the somewhat slow and unpredictable Donald hasn’t changed an iota since high school time, a truly nightmarish scenario for anyone who’s tried to leave the past behind.

An expansion of Avedisian’s short of the same name from 2013, and partially based on the Rhode Islander Avedisian’s own guilt at the horrible way he treated his old friends, Donald Cried presents a game of shifting sympathies, obviously leaning at first to the more adjusted Peter, but the more information that is revealed about what their relationship really was like when they were kids, the more Donald comes across as sympathetic rather than merely pathetic. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the mad man with the mullet can’t go off the rails at any time; as a comic creation Donald has few forebears in recent American independent cinema. Wakeman and Avedisian are pitch perfect in what essentially amounts to a 24-hour two-hander, playing off each other as if they were actually old buddies, making Donald Cried much more than just another film about wounded, stunted masculinity.

Mark Peranson
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