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Friday, October 2, 2015

"Angelo's Mom: The Movie" Puts A Microscope On YouTube Laughs

"ANGELO'S MOM: THE MOVIE" (2015)
Genre: Documentary (Comedic)
Length- 26:51
Company:  N/A

Angelo Mike (played by himself) lives with his mother and creates humorous YouTube videos about their everyday lives.  He works as a security guard, and she does silly things and says silly things and does her best to avoid working out like she's supposed to.  He tries to help her keep an eye on her health.

It doesn't sound particularly funny, and yet the chemistry between the two just works.  "Angelo's Mom: The Movie" is a documentary about Angelo and its namesake, but it's also a documentary about reality TV and why we watch what we watch.

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

"Angelo's Mom: The Movie" is strangely fascinating: on the surface, it's like a million other YouTube videos: a guy does silly stuff, gently mocking his sweetly perplexed mother all the while.  It's laugh out loud funny, and yet his compassion for his mother is obvious, even when our voyeurism borders on the mean spirited.

And on that note: "Angelo's Mom: The Movie" is a more than enjoyable documentary / comedy because it is padded with self aware commentary.  In one particularly memorable scene in which Angelo's mockery has gone a few steps too far for her tolerance, his mother asks, "Why are you doing this?"  Angelo keeps rolling with his camera, but he considers her question.  He finally shrugs, and says, "It's hypnotizing."

The thing is, he's right.  It really is.  Both Angelo and his mother are likeable and easy to watch and root for.  

And yet there are no credits -- none in the beginning, none at the end.  I know it was edited by Jackie Calzada -- I'm assuming that job was simply cutting the footage together, because the film looks raw by even short film standards.

If you can ignore that, you'll find an interesting and yes, very funny short film to enjoy.

OVERALL SCORES:

* Documentaries -- in particular "reality TV"-style docs such as this one -- are tricky as far as "writing" because they're largely made in the editing room.  Because of this, I'm attributing the creative choices of the editing room to the "Writing" score for this review, and elements such as pacing, cutting and color correction in the "Editing" score.

Writing: 4 / 5.  Smart decisions were made, however, and in particular including the aforementioned scene where Angelo's mother questions his reasons for filming her.  It's fortuitous accidents like this that elevate this from being a YouTube video to a legitimate short film.  It's incredibly funny, too.
Directing: 2 / 5.  Basic documentary and reality TV style, handheld shots.  It captures the moments and lends a certain immediacy, but nothing more.
Editing: 2 / 5.  This short film's simply way too long, way too repetitive.  The lack of any credits is also strange for a short film that wants to be taken seriously.  There's no particular "beginning" or "ending" to the film.
Sound/Music: 2 / 5.  Spotty sound quality that varies wildly depending on the location of the speaker in relation to the camera.
Acting: N/A

Final Grade: 2.5.

Don't forget to check out "Angelo's Mom: The Movie" and follow the creators on YouTube!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!