According to Wikipedia, which is always right, "Mumblecore is an independent filmmaking movement in the United States characterized by ultra-low budget production, focus on personal relationships between twenty-somethings, improvised scripts, and non-professional actors.... It has also been called 'bedhead cinema' and 'Slackavettes,' a reference to independent film director John Cassavetes."
This movement is getting press all of a sudden because the Independent Film Channel Center currently has an exhibition of Mumblecore films called "The New Talkies: Generation D. I. Y." Critics are creaming their pants over this and especially about Hannah Takes the Stairs, which premiered at the exhibit. (Not coincidentally, IFC Films is releasing the movie.) I'm rather dubious of "indie comedies," especially when they garner a lot of buzz before their release. You can interpret that statement as you will, but I'll tell you now that since I think most people are kind of dumb, most of the movies that they like are kind of dumb, as well. (See: Garden State, et al.) And now that this movie has launched "Mumblecore" into any sort of national dialogue, I am immediately turned-off, and that was before I even saw the trailer for it, which I will share with you now.
Also, um, I don't, like, um, really like it when people, um, talk like they can't, um, finish a sentence in real life, and I don't really, like, like it when, um, people do it on celluloid, either. Emily at Gawker, who I kind of want to marry, put it best: "There's nothing worse than when actresses try to convey 'quirky and neurotic' by basically acting drunk or stoned all the time and trying to convey 'incredibly naturalistic' by just taking forever to spit out a sentence." (See: Garden State, et al.)
I'll break here and admit that I did enjoy one Mumblecore film, Mutual Appreciation, which falls into all of these categories and, really, is about nothing. But I liked it, maybe because the dude from Bishop Allen is in it and it's essentially about him. But anyway, here's the trailer for that one:
That movie at least has the music aspect to keep me distracted from a dude wandering around and whining about random make-outs. Do people actually complain about making-out? I don't; I think it's terrific. Way to not be the voice of my generation, Andrew Bujalski.
My major problem with movies like these, however, is that the lack of a really interested story is lauded with praise, as if it's so goddamn difficult to write a script for an improvised film where the characters don't really change or progress in any way. Sure, it's "true to life," et shitera, et shitera, but doesn't anyone remember the line from Adaptation?
"Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it. I don't have any bloody use for it."
I'm not saying I'm an expert at screen writing or anything, but I was three semester hours away from a minor in Film Studies, so I think I know what I'm talking about, K?
No, Megahyped Indie Hannah Takes The Stairs Is Not Good [Gawker]
In Which Mumblecore Mania Compels Us To Attend The Sort Of Premiere of Hannah Takes The Stairs [This Recording]