As bumpy a ride through New Orleans as there is...
Griffin wrote, directed and co-starred in this roughly 25-minute short (which screened at the Sundance Film Festival) about a dysfunctional jazz group trying to leave New Orleans for a not-so-promising gig in Dallas. If it feels like you're watching one big inside joke, in many ways, you are. The story is loosely inspired by Griffin's association with the wacked out New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars (the characters in the film take their names from the real-life band's members), and some of the actors aren't really actors. Some are actually musicians. But Griffin's dialogue writing is so seamless, loose and natural that in very short order he establishes chemistry among the characters. So you're laughing even if the personal digs (and there are many) fly over your head. Character development flies at warp speed as well; one guy's a Sun Ra freak; his roommate's a freak, period, having just gotten out on parole in time to freak out band member Nicky Katt with a monologue about the "Zen" of picking up flyers on garbage detail. (Katt, it should be noted, appeared in the film "The Way of the Gun," in which Griffin and his gonzo red locks appear in the opening scene.) Griffin tells a New Orleans story about New Orleans musicians living a New Orleans life: smart asses too funny for their own good who may or may not really like each other, but EVERYONE has an opinion about their place in the band as well as everyone else's. Also worth mentioning is Francis James' (another promising New Orleans filmmaker) rich, surprisingly colorful cinematography considering the whole thing was shot at night and indoors.
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