I have no idea what I expected from local musician-turned-filmmaker Hank Bones’ The Quitters, but whatever it was, it wasn’t the film I saw. Let me be quite clear about this, as a film in its own right, The Quitters is never going to be called good. I wasn’t surprised to learn after seeing it that Bones had no previous experience with filmmaking. I knew from the evidence onscreen that this was either the work of an amateur, or an avant gardist hung up Godard’s use of jump cuts — and I suspected the former. The Quitters was a stage musical Bones had written, but had not been able to get produced. His decision turn the material into a film — with local talent, some friends and $9,000 — was as much to help promote the possibility of mounting the play as it was to actually make a movie. That’s not to say that he didn’t give it his all as a movie. This is no simple photographed play, but an expansion of the play in something like cinematic terms. The results are mixed at best, but they do serve to give the show a nice showcase. The material is good and sometimes better than that. The songs are clever and catchy. The performances range from good to admirably game.
The concept of The Quitters is a pointed, but rather gentle (there are no bad guys really) satire on the topic of same sex marriage. It works on the premise that a New Jersey town has ruled it legal, but the mayor (Tracey Johnston-Crum) is four-square against it (for reasons that aren’t terribly clear), which puts her in the position of candidate for vice-presidential running mate for a GOP politician (Art Booth). Problem is her minister husband (Peter Millis) not only doesn’t agree with her, but he’s planning — against the dictates of his church — on performing the wedding of his daughter (from a previous marriage) and her girlfriend. And this is only the beginning of the trouble, since nearly everyone in the cast has some kind of secret — often not very well concealed. Even Jehovah (Russ Wilson) makes an appearance in this story that is nothing if not unusual. Is it a great show? Well, I don’t know, but it’s certainly an agreeable one.
Wedge Brewery will show The Quitters on Sat., July 26. Films start 15 minutes after sundown. They are shown outside. We’ve got a limited number of chairs, so it’s a good idea to pack a folding chair or a blanket, and maybe a jacket because it does get chilly when the sun goes down. El Kimchi has great Mexican/Korean street food for purchase, but no popcorn! So, if popcorn is part of someone’s movie experience, they’ll need to pack that, too.