Harmony and Me (2009) Poster

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9/10
lo-fi and lovely
starkwellvirgil0119 June 2009
HARMONY AND ME plays like a scrapbook of found scenes; all somewhat centering around our main character trying to get over a breakup. Everything in the film is hilarious, because it's totally true. My friends and I got some pie after the screening, we were talking about how almost worse than going through an actual breakup is when all your friends tell you how you're supposed to get over the breakup. As we were eating, we kept recalling our favorite parts and lines - it's intensely quotable ("She's breaking my heart, she's like a bear with my heart in it's claws") but also so fast paced - most scenes are not even a minute long.

I saw it with quite possibly the best audience - we were all totally laughing the entire time. Come to think of it, many films like this; there's always a part near the end where it gets sentimental or real - this film goes SO FAR the other way. It's one of the funniest and most ridiculous endings I've seen in a feature film. They really went for it - and the crowd I saw it with at least, we were totally into it. And the film is never slow - I doubt it was longer than 90 minutes.

But it's funny; while the film is linear - it really does have this scrapbook feeling to it. In a weird way, the film has the feeling of "Harold and Maude" and "Nashville" but seen thru the lens of more modern indies like "Mutual Appreciation" (but this is just way funnier than that one).

I'm always looking thru my netflix cue to find new indie comedies to rent - I really wish there were more films like this one. Totally up my alley. Totally recommend it.
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9/10
Funny.
debbie_gonzales196811 February 2011
Funny, funny, funny . . .

Low-fi movie, that has a "homemade" feel to it . . . but it's FUNNY. And it's edited very well as far as pacing goes.

Want more from this filmmaker.

Why do I have to write ten lines to make a review.

That's really annoying.

I said what I wanted to say.

Good film. Worth watching. Oh my God! I have to write even more to submit this review! That's 3 times now. Maybe now this will be enough text or lines to submit my review.

One more line for good measure. Ugh.
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10/10
Hilarious, real, one-of-a-kind
annah-579-83690911 November 2009
Rarely have I had the pleasure of laughing as much as I did while watching this movie.

"Harmony and Me" may be the funniest film I've ever seen--it captures perfectly that all-too-human self-pitying pitiful state of rejection, lost relationship, heartbreak that we've all descended into at some point in our lives.

The movie offers that rare opportunity to laugh at our own despair. Watching Harmony chew on his misery mirrors the mental replay that you can't seem to escape when a relationship goes wrong. It's a timeless tale. Yet Byington uniquely spotlights the emotional obstacle course of relating. The tone is quirky, and the story rings all the more true for it. The characters feel very real.

Perfect comedic timing. Hilarious script. Excellent acting. Brilliant.
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8/10
"Harmony and Me" is brutal, moving and wryly funny
Shanstar2317 March 2010
On first glance, director Bob Byington's award-winning comedy is just another link in a long mumblecore chain. Upon closer inspection, this hilarious and brutally honest film couldn't be further from its supposed bedfellows.

Shot on HD DV hand-held, "Harmony and Me" awakes in the aftermath of the title character's break-up. The shakiness of the aesthetic, combined with the episodic division of the film, brilliantly mirrors the protagonist's emotional instability and fragmentation.

Throughout the first half of the film, Harmony wallows in his victimization and vies for sympathy from friends (Kevin Corrigan), family (Byington), and nemeses (Pat Healy). Eventually, when the pity of others can no longer quell Harmony's need for emotional validation, he turns to the therapy music, which invariably helps him move forward.

Within this theme, Byington finds a poignant honesty and brutal humor which has garnered the film accolades and awards.

Byington is currently gearing up to helm his next film "Seven Chinese Brothers", which stars Patton Oswalt, Tunde Adebimpe (TV On the Radio), and Pat Healy.
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5/10
It's like my little brother shot Rushmore...
casiocasanova26 October 2009
Not that this is anything like Rushmore. Just more as if Wes Anderson had a great script, a great cast, and then handed the camera to someone who had no idea what they're doing. I'll explain this later...

I'll premise this by saying that I'm a sucker for breakup movies. While most writers and creatives try to write something like "The Great American Novel", I've spent a great deal of time either looking for or writing the perfect breakup movie. Despite having lived a far from sheltered life, my love life has dealt me my most devastating blows, and thus, I'm always interested in giving and getting insight into that low, miserable window of breakup paralysis almost all of us experience in our lives. While the trailer for this didn't exactly promise any in-depth wisdom, it did seem to offer a good deal of dark-humor rooted in this type of misery and was instantly excited to see it. I was then thrilled to find the director was selling advanced copies through the website. It went straight from my mailbox to the DVD player where I soon discovered that whoever cut the trailer was far more talented than the guy who made this film.

As far as the good, Justin Rice is great as always. His acting style is casual, natural. Most of the supporting actors are above par for this budget as well. The script is rarely shy on wit and while, again, it never gets too in-depth or insightful, it's nonetheless entertaining.

Now the bad: It's not that I don't like the low-budget mumblecore scene -- i love it. I'm a proud participant in it with my own film-making. And while playing by the conventions and filming with professional gear is by no means the only way to make a good film--I'm as much of a student of Cassavettes or Godard as anyone and I love to see low budget filmmakers turnout out a great product. But this movie could have greatly benefited from at least a few technical basics. A single, hand-held HD cam captures the whole film. Most scenes seem to be shot in one continuous take from a single angle, often panning from one character to the other during dialogue and feeling all too often like a home movie rather than cinema. Multiple angles, some basic cinematography, and some swifter editing would have doubled its production value and made this film exponentially more enjoyable and easy to watch.

To sum it up, you've got a great idea with good source material executed with great actors delivered with the hand of an amateur. It just doesn't match up. There's great, innovative, low-budget movie-making, and then there's the home movie you shot yourself on a handicam. This, unfortunately is the latter.
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7/10
If Quirk Is Your Poison, Welcome to Paradise
brettster24 March 2010
Halfway through the film "Harmony and Me," the central character's ex-girlfriend sizes him up and declares, "You know how sometimes you're watching a movie, and halfway through, you realize that you don't care about these characters? That's what's wrong with you." The line simultaneously demolishes our suspension of disbelief and reminds us what's wrong with "Harmony and Me." Ultimately, it's a chore to care much about Harmony, a sad-sack amateur songwriter with a boring day job and a bevy of quirky co-workers, quirky friends, quirky family members and quirky neighbors, all of whom are immensely more watchable and fun to listen to than he is. Shot in three weeks, "Harmony and Me" is an indie comedy with a budget so low that the cameraman couldn't afford Windex to wipe off the perpetually dirty lens. The film is relentlessly quirky, with some inspiringly improvisational-type humor, and only loses its footing when it settles for being quirky for quirk's sake. As Harmony, glum Justin Rice whines to anybody who will listen that his ex won't stop breaking his heart, and you can't help wondering how Jessica (fresh-faced Kristen Tucker) put up with this whiner for ten minutes, let alone a full year, before dumping this loser. (Tucker's shtick about mourning the relationship several weeks before actually breaking up with him is the funniest thing in the film -- somebody needs to give this gifted actress her own comedy.) Viewers with a high tolerance for quirk are encouraged to give the movie a chance for the occasional moments of brilliance and for the excellent supporting players -- including a genius turn by director Bob Byington and "Modern Family" actress Suzy Nakamura, who has been cast as so many doctors that she deserves a medical diploma.
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