FFF Sneak Preview “Punching The Clown”


The "Bagel Dilemma" was a Highlight of this Movie

Punching the Clown claims to be a fictional story yet has the feel of a movie based on the true life exploits of its star and co-writer, Henry Phillips.  Indeed, some of the shots are of Henry’s actual live performances.  The documentary style narrative chronicles Henry’s attempt to become a successful singer with his off-beat, satirical folk songs which his agent describes as akin to “James Taylor on smack.”  Henry finds this analogy confusing because, as he points out, James Taylor actually was on smack.

The backdrop of the movie is Henry being interviewed on a 3am radio talk show where he describes his life on the road and his crashing at his brother’s apartment as he seeks his fortune.  Several coincidental interchanges occur that could result in a lucrative deal with a record agent or a mob protest for an erroneous, defamatory magazine article.

The movie is peppered with creative and humorous original songs written by Henry Phillips and similar in style to Weird Al Yankovic.  As the story unfolds, the gentle, innocent songwriter finds himself buffeted by forces seemingly beyond his control.  In one particularly hilarious sequence, his modest compliment of a bagel spirals into an out-of-control scenario resulting in a near riot.

As I was watching the movie, I found myself being struck by the similarities between the way the film was made and the internal story line.  The story was about a young artist attempting to refine his craft and seek exposure.  The movie had the feel of a young moviemaker struggling with his first major work.  The acting was adequate, but occasionally inconsistent, the cinematography was sketchy, the lighting was horrible and the script needed some tightening.

Did the filmmaker intentionally create a movie that mirrored its subject or was this the work of a novice filmmaker about a novice musician?

The end result was a film with some really good laughs, some poignant and enjoyable moments but not enough depth to carry a full length feature.

Henry Phillips is obviously a very talented artist and, with time, perhaps some exceptionally good work will come from him.  I hope he keeps working at it.

Punching the Clown plays at the Winter Park Regal Theatre B on Monday, Apr 12 at 9pm and Thursday April 15 at 4:30pm.

One Response to “FFF Sneak Preview “Punching The Clown””

  1. Emily Says:

    I love Ambers pictures use one for your facebook page

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