Guest post by Melanie Woods
Bio: Comm/marketing pro. Indy-ophile. Colts junkie. Art addict. Movie collection ranges from Harry Potter to City of God.
It takes all of five minutes of knowing me to figure out that I love Indianapolis. By extension, I love Indiana, though not all aspects of it admittedly. So I am naturally inclined to love any film that is made by a Hoosier, stars Hoosiers and features Hoosier staples such as the Dunes, Monument Circle and Hot Box Pizza’s “boner-inducing” breadsticks and cheese.
Casting aside my bias, “Billi & Theodore” is really good. I was hooked from the opening scene, which may involve sock puppets and sex. It’s about as weird as it sounds. Billi is an aspiring puppeteer who dreams of being the next Jim Henson. She’s also gay, which is a nonissue until later in the film when it becomes an issue at a small town bar. Theodore just left his abusive girlfriend and drove straight to Billi’s, despite the fact that they haven’t spoken in three years.
The pair used to be best friends but life drove them apart, as it sometimes does. The opening scenes of the film are very true to reality. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to watch them figure out how to be around each other again. As with most true friendships, however, it doesn’t take them long to get over it and soon Billi is agreeing to drive up to Michigan City with Theodore to get his stuff out of his ex-girlfriend’s house.
For the remainder of the film, we follow Billi and Theodore on a road trip that should have taken hours but ends up taking days. Along the way, they encounter a carjacker, homophobes, random hookups, lot lizards, pizza grams, shrooms, pentagrams and a Wiccan, among other things. And of course as they take a literal trip north through the state, they also undergo a metaphorical journey of rediscovering their friendship and figuring out what’s next in their lives.
What I loved most about this film is how real and natural the friendship felt. A movie based on this scenario has to have strong, believable leads and Jordan McRae (Billi) and Travis Emery (Theodore) do not disappoint. Backed by a solid script with dialog that doesn’t feel forced, this film simply takes you along for the ride. You peek in on these moments of their lives and become more at home with the characters with each passing minute of the movie.
On top of all that, “Billi & Theodore” has a great soundtrack. I particularly enjoyed “We Let Our Grades Slip” by Yearbook Committee. And I definitely recommend sticking around during the credits for a bonus musical performance featuring Jordan McRae.
You won’t want to miss “Billi & Theodore” so be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, July 21, and Thursday, July 26, when the film screens during the festival.
Billi & Theodore
Ronald Short 2011
Categories: Featured, Hoosier Lens Features
View the trailer:
The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!