Teddy Bear (8/22/12)

Teddy BearMovie One Hundred Ninety Four

In Teddy Bear, a lonely Norwegian bodybuilder travels to Thailand in hopes of finding true love.

Dennis (Kim Kold) is a 38 year old bodybuilder living at home with his mother (Elsebeth Steentoft) near Copenhagen, Denmark. He has never had a girlfriend. On a date with a fellow gym member, he seems confused, disoriented, and disinterested. He orders a shrimp cocktail, doesn’t eat it because he’s allergic to shrimp and when asked why he ordered it, replies with “I didn’t think there would be shrimp in it.” One evening, his uncle returns home from Thailand with a beautiful bride. Dennis considers this to be true love, and decides to travel to Thailand himself to find his perfect mate. He also has to hide this from his mother, who disapproves of her son being with anyone but her.

I was not expecting much from Teddy Bear but I was genuinely taken in with the characters, especially Dennis, and the premise. Dennis is a huge guy but he is quite shy and meek. He doesn’t seem interested in much outside of bodybuilding, not even sex. Although his trip to Thailand is seen as sex tourism (something I honestly had no idea even existed and I can’t wait to see what weird Google hits I get from that typing that in this review) and he goes to a brothel, of sorts, he honestly seems to think he will find a woman that will love him. It is genuinely endearing and Kim Kold does a remarkable job for being a non-actor and real bodybuilder.

Teddy Bear is very much a “Sundance-y” film. It is minimalistic, low-key, few characters, and little dialogue but with genuine heart. I was actually reminded very much of Terri while watching Teddy Bear, but I thought Teddy Bear was far more interesting and entertaining. Since Teddy Bear was formed from a short film (linked below), there are times that it feels stretched for the sake of being a full-length, but I was never truly bothered by it.

While it may be hard to track down, Teddy Bear is worth watching if you get the chance. It’s charming and memorable and it may be one of the surprise indie films of the year.

I give it 4 YouTube videos of the short film, Dennis out of 5.

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Prairie Love (3/17/12) & Family Portrait (3/17/12)

Prairie LoveMovie Fifty Three

Prairie Love is a very odd, very subdued film. Though it takes place in North Dakota, it is nothing like Fargo.

The plot of Prairie Love is about a guy that seems to live in his car. We first see him pulling a frozen dead deer towards his car. As he’s driving he finds a guy that is practically frozen solid but apparently alive. He brings him into the car and thaws him out. While waiting for him to thaw, he goes through the frozen man’s belongings and finds love letters to a female prison inmate. The men are both obviously lonely in the frozen tundra of North Dakota, but the first man decides to do away with the now thawed frozen man and pretend to be him for the female inmate’s affections.

The entire film is extremely slow paced and there are long stretches of silence. There are lots of subtle funny moments and I did chuckle a few times, but the pacing is frustrating. I would either be laughing or falling asleep.

One thing I’d like to mention is Film Movement, where I got Prairie Love from. I found out about the site through Groupon, oddly enough, but the basic premise is they send these independent movies out before their actual release. It’s a neat way for me to stay on top of some movies that I would otherwise have no access to and I recommend checking it out.

I give it 3 awkward nude scenes (sfw) out of 5.

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Also included on the Prairie Love disc was a short animated film called A Family Portrait.

A Family Portrait is about a family getting their portrait taken but their expressions change based on the conflicts they are enduring. The animation reminded me very much of Ralph Steadman’s work. I quite admire short films since they have to tell an entire story in such a small space, but I enjoyed watching A Family Portrait.

I give it 3 ‘say tofu’s out of 5.

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