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Laramie Movie Scope:
Nowhere People

A musical movie about people's relationships

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 16, 2014 -- I saw this 2012 University of Wyoming student film yesterday at the Laramie Film Festival, with about 20 other people. I guess people would rather sit through a bunch of short films than a few feature length ones, but not me.

I was surprised at the quality of this film. Even though it is a low-budget student film, it was better than some “for your consideration” studio screeners I get every year around this time. Like the films “Once” and “Begin Again,” this film is organized around songs, all written by the film's writer and director, Jaime Cruz, a Wyoming playwright and video artist. This guy's got talent.

The film is organized around these songs, the titles of which are shown on screen on a cassette tape, like chapters: 1, Sleep, 2, Percocet, 3, Susanna, 4, Atrophy, 5, Cultured Animals, 6, Glass Of Water, 7, Baggage Claim, 8, NP Theme, 9, Under and 10, Pebble. The setting is a makeshift music studio and the story is about a man trying to bring his old band back together to play a gig the next weekend.

The band members are all carrying emotional baggage and they all have their reasons for quitting the band. This not like putting the Blues Brothers band back together, it is more like Sisyphus pushing that big rock up the hill. It is an attempt to recapture very elusive past events and emotions.

Seth (Mark Mieden) and Jeremy (Sam West) show up for rehearsal, but old emotional pains surface and get in the way of getting the band back together. The drummer, Taylor (Dan Cole) is a typical wild man drumming enthusiast, but with no drums (he sold them because of financial problems) he goes berserk when he hears his dog is injured. Another band member shows up, but just to reclaim some shoes that Taylor stole from him. He has his own reasons for not wanting to rejoin the band.

Another subplot has Michelle (Kristal Burk) and Ray (Cameron Rush), who are about to be married, but seem to be having a problem more typical of an older married couple. Michelle is mysteriously distant and distracted, and seems very unsure about her upcoming wedding. Michelle is connected to the band by the lyrics she wrote for music composed by one of the band members.

Maybe it is true that you can't go home again, but we'd all like to think we can. The desire for old lost loves that got away is a desire that never really leaves us. That is on display in this film. The desire to recapture past feelings runs up against harsh reality. The raw emotions in this film are such that I was half expecting a suicide. There is a some reconciliation, adaptation and moving beyond the past, however, and no suicides, thank God. I have seen more than my share of those in films. This film rates a B.

Nowhere People is freely available to watch on the internet at this web site (http://www.jaimecruz.net/#!nowherepeople/cukn) courtesy of the the director, Jaime Cruz.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)