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HITS is a dark comedy exploring the nature of fame in 21st Century YouTube America. The film takes place in a small town in upstate New York populated by people who trade in unrealistic expectations. Its a story in which fame, delusion, earnestness, and recklessness meet, shake hands, and disrupt the lives around them.Written by
Hits is as much about how the media today is out of control and the type of people and society it is creating - a funny ride definitely worth catching if you can.
Sundance London gets underway this weekend with a neat selection of American independent narrative and documentary films that premiered at the US Sundance in Utah. One film we would like to recommend is Hits, the directorial debut of writer, comedian and actor David Cross. Many will best know Cross as the character Tobias Fünke in the American sitcom Arrested Development.
Hits provides an amusing vehicle to satirise a number of aspects in modern US society from celebrity wannabe culture to the YouTube generation.
The movie is set in a small town in upstate New York where we find Katelyn (Meredith Hagner) a young woman, who spends a lot of time pretending that she is being interviewed by chat show host Ellen. Katelyn, who is obsessed with celebrity and fame spurred on by reading "real life" magazines and watching reality TV, is confident that she has the talent to be a famous pop singer. Katelyn has been offered the chance of having a demo made of her singing if she can find the money and sees this as a guaranteed way to getting on the singing show The Voice.
Then there is Katelyn's dad Dave whose main purpose in life outside his normal day job is to attend public council hearings arguing about poor public services and upkeep, potholes and his rights as a citizen under the Constitution. Although Dave is obviously somewhat unhinged he ridiculously becomes part of a huge media circus after a YouTube video is produced portraying him as a notable and worthy small town activist taking on the system.
Bewildered by her dad becoming the focus of national media interest Katelyn becomes even more determined to get her demo made giving in to the demands of a stoner guy who has his own studio.
It's pretty fun stuff as the laughable hipster activist crew headed by Donovan turn up to help Dave's quest for justice only to find a rival hipster activist 'think tank', news teams and others muscling in with the same idea.
Given the easy and seemingly numerous targets for critique in our internet, celebrity obsessed culture there is obviously a lot for the taking and which Cross does manage to nail. How anything stupid can become a YouTube hit, how having no talent of any kind may not be a hindrance in becoming famous, the kind of people who use social media to bluster or do "projects", without much initial fact checking or preliminary research, or undiscerning ranting citizen's who listen to or read too much extremist or hyperbolic media.
Along with the obvious targets Cross also manages to weave in little insights of dark and sad nuances of our modern world but always with a touch of humour for good measure. Like hipster Donovan's wife Maddy who seems to be more in love with a kind of consumer's passion for all things cute as much as she is about actually having a kid. There is a funny scene where Donovan and Maddy get supremely weird talking with their young weed dealer-cum-possible surrogate son, a cameo role played by Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Development, Superbad). There is also a sweet but sad moment when Katelyn muses about how great her dad is but at the same time seemingly aware of how self centered she may be in the relationship. You get the feeling that mass media has made her that way and that the media has a lot to do with stoking the dark underlying views of her father who on the flip side does indeed seem like a stand up dad.
So all in all Hits is as much about how the media today is out of control and the type of people and society it is creating – a funny ride definitely worth catching if you can.
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