Drop Box (2006) – By Duane L. Martin

 It happens all the time. People rent a video and then accidentally return the wrong tape (or DVD, but in the case of this film it was a tape.) Sometimes it’s a tape of your kids’ birthday party or a funny clip of the day grandma got her new set of dentures. Unfortunately for a spoiled rotten pop princess named Mindy however, the mistake was a little more serious. Seems she got drunk and high and had a threesome with her boyfriend and her best girlfriend and her and ger girlfriend had a really hot lesbian go around which was all caught on tape. Unfortunately, she was so high apparently that she rented the movie Glitter. You’d have to be high to rent that anyway, but in her rush to get it back to the video store before her latest video shoot, she grabbed the wrong tape and stuck it in the Glitter case. The rest of the movie involves her trying to get the tape back from a video store clerk who doesn’t appreciate her bad attitude and basically tortures her through most of the film, setting conditions for how she can get it back.

So that’s the story, and with that said, I’ll just start off by saying that is was very literally one of the best written, best acted, best produced and most enjoyable films I’ve seen in a really long time. I had a smile on my face from start to finish and there were plenty of laughs to be had throughout the film.

I think what I liked the most about this film was the quality of the actors. With only a few exceptions, they actually took the parts and became those people. It’s kind of hard to explain, but basically when you watch a movie you generally feel like you’re watching people who are acting in a movie. When you watch this film however, you feel like you’re watching real people for the most part. Naturally the situations are a little goofy and many of the characters have funny eccentricities, but nearly all of them had a depth and a realness to them that you don’t find in most films.

Tom (David Cormican), the video store clerk who’s holding the tape is a pretty complex character. He’s basically a dick, but at the same time he’s a really good and decent guy as well. See, much like me, he gives crap to people who deserve it and is nice to those who don’t. The spoiled pop princess, Mindy (Rachel Sehl), starts off as a total bitch, but over the course of the film, develops a good relationship with Tom, actually leading them to becoming friends and possibly even more at the end of the film. Her change came about because she was used to being rude and getting her way all the time, and Tom showed her what it was like to be on the receiving end of that type of treatment. She found out how unpleasant it was and also got to do some introspection about how she had become a slave to her career, and to her handlers. She was more worried about what would happen to her career if the tape ever got out than she was about the embarrassment it would cause to her and her family. It was a good life lesson for her, and at the end of the film, she was a better person for the experience. An eccentric and fun group of side characters including Paul (Neil Whitely) the money grubbing video store owner, Frank (Bob Ormerod) the dirty old man and war veteran, as well as several of the more interesting customers really rounded out the film and turned it into an experience rather than just another movie.

On a technical level, everything about this film was outstanding as well. The shots were all set up nicely and well thought out, the lightning was perfect, the sound was great and really well recorded and the editing moved the film along at a perfect pace for the story. I never once got bored or felt like anything was dragging. Aside from replacing a few of the minor side characters with better actors, I really don’t know what they could have done to make this film better.

One other thing I’d like to note as well is that there was some pimping of at least one if not more indie films in this movie. Obviously I don’t know about all the indie films out there, so there may have been more than just this one, but several times in this film the "Pizza The Movie" DVD box was shown on the shelves in the video store. I reviewed that film and interviewed it’s director Donald Gregory in past issues of Rogue Cinema, so I spotted that right away. It was pretty cool that they threw that in there and it’d be nice to see more people doing little things like that to give a little nod to others in the indie community.

The long and the short of it is that this is just an all around excellent movie. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet as they’re currently looking for a distribution deal. Hopefully they’ll get one soon, and as soon as they do, you all need to grab yourselves a copy. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.dropboxthemovie.com.