Sneak Peek: My Blind Brother
Bill (Nick Kroll) has always lived in the shadow of his brother Robbie (Adam Scott), a handsome athlete and local hero who happens to be blind. Their sibling rivalry reaches a fever pitch when both men fall for the same woman (Jenny Slate).
Adam Scott (The Overnight),
Nick Kroll (Adult Beginners)
Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)
Written & Directed by
Runtime: 85 minutes
***Official Selection SXSW Film Festival***
***Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival***
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Hey, everybody. We got a[n] interesting treat (laughing) for you today. (laughter) We caught a Sneak Peek of “My Blind Brother”!
The Critic: Oh!
Ref: [It’s] coming near you either via [a] theater or via television, On Demand. It’s opening this Friday, the 23rd, and it stars some people you know.
Ref: Jenny Slate, Zoe Kazan, Adam Scott, and Nick Kroll are the top-billed characters — actors in this. Sophie Goodhart directed and wrote it, as well. It was based off of her short film, and it is quite interesting, I have to say. So, let’s give our audience the plot, Critic.
Critic: Yeah, so what happens: It starts off with a marathon. We see Nick Kroll running. He seems to be keeping up just barely (laughs), and he’s attached to his blind brother, played by Adam Scott, who is running like — it looks like it’s the beginning of the race for him, but it’s the end. He comes to all of this fanfare, because he’s blind. So, the thing is: He likes to do things to bring attention to the blind community, to raise money —
Ref: And to himself! (laughs)
Critic: Yes, and then, that’s important, to himself. So, it’s this whole dynamic where Nick Kroll’s character is ignored, and Adam Scott’s character —
Ref: He’s blinded by his blind brother’s glow. (chuckles)
Critic: Exactly, and there’s a reason behind it: In their family, something happened when they both were young that led to Adam Scott’s character being blind, and it involves Nick Kroll. So, that’s there. Now, the other thing is [that] Nick Kroll meets a female. They have a romantic tryst —
Ref: She’s an interesting female, y’all. I mean, that girl —
Critic: She has some problems.
Ref: She has some skeletons.
Critic: Yes, something involving her ex-boyfriend, which keeps her from wanting to be in a relationship with Nick Kroll: She likes him, but she doesn’t want to get involved. So, what happens is: Later on, Adam Scott — the blind brother — meets her, doesn’t know she’s the one that his brother was with, and, basically, falls in love. OK? (laughs) And, he also gets her to help him, to assist him in all of his endeavors to bring attention to himself and to his community. So, she’s there with Nick Kroll, who’s also helping. They aren’t telling the blind brother what’s going on, and you can [predict] what goes on from there. So, what happens toward the end: He wants to be involved in a certain event — the blind brother. He is told not to; he does it anyway. And this leads to the unearthing of a lot of the problems in their relationships, not only between [him] and his brother but also involving Jenny Slate’s character —
Critic: Yes. OK, so that’s enough of the plot. Also, her roommate comes in, who’s (laughing) played by Zoe Kazan. So, yeah, we have that.
Ref: OK, yeah. You know what? Actually, you did a great job of that —
Critic: Oh! Thank you.
Ref: — because you did dance around some of the things that happened. Really, this is my take on it, and I’ll let you take it from there, Critic —
Ref: It’s one of the movies where I, honestly — the plot, as it unfolds, sometimes the audience can get a little bit ahead of [it] —
Ref: — because you kind of see the jokes being setup. There’s this one incident in the pool — I won’t say what happens, but you see the tragedy in the pool happen a mile away, and, sort of, this guy who’s really trying to get things going in his life and everything comes against him. And that happens throughout the entire movie until you get to some certain areas. So, for me, why would you watch this? I’m not sure if I would watch it in a theater, but I will say: If you’re going to rent it or if you’re going to watch it On Demand, really, just get some popcorn, get a whole bunch of people [together], and you can either follow along with what’s going on there — but, it can be sort of a party atmosphere. You don’t have to give all your attention to try to figure out what’s going on. There’s a lot of millennial slash [Generation] Xer references or, kind of, that whole lifestyle sort of thing. So, if you just kinda want a light evening with a little bit of white noise in the background — you’re checking in; there’s a couple funny moments here and there: You know what? You’re not gonna lose there. But, if you really want to sit down and intently watch something and really be moved by it or really have a hilarious laugh, this may not be the [movie] for you.
Critic: Yeah, I think that’s actually beautifully stated, Ref. [Thank you] for that recommendation, and this is what I was thinking of — because you said all of those wonderful points, and I don’t need to reiterate: When it comes to indie filmmaking, I was thinking of, Ref, when does it work? And, it’s not that this is bad, it’s certainly not —
Ref: No, it’s not bad.
Critic: Yeah, but when you’re going: It’s missing something.
Critic: And what I think happens is this: Everyone goes, “We’re making an indie.” OK? “We’re making an indie movie; it should be very natural. You know, we’re just enjoying each other. We don’t have a big budget. Let’s just make this natural and authentic and real and just enjoy ourselves doing that.” But what they forget is the stakes. You’ve got to have high stakes, because this is not just a comedy. There’s a lot of drama in this movie, and the problem for me was, when we got to those dramatic moments, there was nothing that was signaling it earlier on.
Critic: It didn’t seem serious to me until it was serious. They could’ve layered that from the beginning. When it comes to Jenny Slate’s character, the girlfriend who’s ex has this problem, I wasn’t taking it seriously until I was like, “Oh, maybe I should be.” It shouldn’t be a surprise: You’ve gotta ground that stuff; raise those stakes. If you think of great indie filmmaking, they do that along with the naturalism, along with being authentic: “Sideways,” OK? Come on, now.
Critic: [And], to me, if you want to be more than a comedy, then you’ve gotta earn those dramatic beats. So, that’s just the thing I was thinking about [while] watching this. Again, it’s not a bad film. It actually, like you said, has some funny moments and even some tender moments.
Ref: Mm-hm? Mm-hm?
Critic: But, I think they could’ve sold it a little more. And, for you to say, “OK, you should watch this”: It’s about the stakes, and that’s what’s missing.
Ref: Well, if you want to check out “My Blind Brother,” again, you can go to the theater or you can watch it On Demand this Friday, September 23. And, again, it is what it is. Don’t try to look heavily into it.
Ref: Just sit back and enjoy what you see and stuff some popcorn in your face.
Critic: Mm, I gonna get some right now.