Monday, April 16, 2012


Directed by: Ryan O'Nan
Written by: Ryan O'Nan
Starring: Ryan O'Nan, Michael Weston, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Ritter
Synopsis: A broken-hearted singer-songwriter goes on a cross country trip to a battle of the bands competition after being dumped by his girlfriend and his band. 

THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST is a fun, heart-warming journey about not giving up on your passion and becoming comfortable with who you are. Ryan O' Nan's directorial debut not only has well-written dialogue, but amazingly well-written music. Broken-hearted singer/songwriter, Alex (Ryan O'Nan), gets fired from his job and gets kicked out of his two piece band with a guy who only writes songs about monsters, all after he was dumped by his ex-girlfriend. At his lowest point, Jim (Michael Weston) enters his life, by punching and kidnapping him, and proposing they start their own band and do a cross-country tour, ending up on the west coast at a Battle of the Bands show. The tour begins and they learn a lot about each other, themselves, and what friendship, family, and love means to them.

The music of The Brooklyn Brothers, the band that is formed in the film, sticks with you. The music, mostly written by O'Nan as well, is as a character in the film described it, "The Shins meets Sesame Street". The band consists of Alex on his acoustic guitar singing, and Jim creating beats with Fisher Price toys. The lyrics to the music, which Alex all writes in the film, are inspired by his recent break-up and pessimistic view of the world, so they are not exactly the most upbeat lyrics, but mixed with Jim's music all made with toys, the music starts to have a sweet quality about it. In the Q&A after the film, O'Nan revealed that one of his primary focuses on the shooting of the film was that he insisted all the music be recorded live. Which, when you see the film, you really appreciate the effort that must have gone into actually recording all the music live, and not just looped in.

As The Brooklyn Brothers begin their tour, they meet Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel), who decides she is going to spontaneously leave her life and go on tour with them as their tour manager. Cassidy is really my only complaint about the movie. I felt like of all the characters written in the film, hers was the least well-written and just did not seem as genuine as everything else in the film.

The film really deals with emotions well. It touches on a lot of ideals that a lot of lost twenty-somethings want to be able to deal with such as the battle between settling down and living a corporate life unhappily or being broke and following your true passions in life, but I think the idea that the film nails, almost perfectly, is the idea of finally realizing that is okay to not fit in to a perfect niche in society. Alex's only family in the film is his older brother who raised him, who is a conservative Christian to the core, and Alex explains in the film, that he just never felt like he fit in at home, or anywhere in life. The journey that Alex and Jim go through in the film really starts off with the two misfits who struggle to find somewhere to fit in, and end up finally realizing that where they fit is with the people who don't fit in.

THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST had me leaving the theater happy. It was hilarious, heart-warming, and left me wanting more of their music. It was easy to identify with this movie and its easily accessible characters. It's a great entry into the self-realization-journey film catalog. If you don't get a chance to see it at the festival, it will be getting a limited release in September, as well as the band from the film, The Brooklyn Brothers, will also be releasing an album around that time.

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