The Movie Waffler First Look Review - MAYBE SOMEDAY | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - MAYBE SOMEDAY

A wastrel receives a visit from his time travelling future daughter.

Review by Benjamin Poole (@filmclubchs)

Directed by: Ryan Moulton

Starring: Michael McKiddy, Kim Matula, Saige Ryan Campbell, Alley Mills, Sam Anderson

"Imagine if John Connor came back from the future to help his mother grow and learn, and you’ve got the gist of Maybe Someday’s mumblecore concept. In terms of structure, acting, direction and the general business of being a film that tells a story in a lively, fun and engaging way, it does everything right."

As confirmed by the recent twitter fuelled enthusiasm for ‘Back to the Future Day’, time travel is the apposite millennial concept. For a generation utterly seeped in nostalgia, the neon tinted past is nirvana, and the suggestion of escape, however fantastical, is beguiling. Not that we’d really need to journey through space time to relive recent history; a cursory glance at millennial culture shows that the past never truly left us, living on in cinematic remakes/reboots, a musical culture that draws from the 1980s in terms of sound and image, and books like Ready Player One that exploit this weird yearning for 16 bit games and retro bricolage.  Films like Joseph Kahn’s (superb) Detention slyly play with the concept of nostalgia, but movies like Safety Not Guaranteed, and the Hot Tub Time Machines capitalise on another millennial trait; self-absorption, the idea that by changing the past, our personal present would work out so much more bounteous, a suggestion as passive as it is narcissistic. As Hal, lead slacker of Ryan Moulton’s funny time travel rom-com Maybe Someday, whines when another character’s decisions could ultimately affect his personal destiny; ‘the fate of the world depends upon this!’ #fml, yeah?
Imagine if John Connor came back from the future to help his mother grow and learn, and you’ve got the gist of Maybe Someday’s mumblecore concept. Hal (played by Michael McKiddy, who also scripts) is the archetypal millennial; in his beaten converse trainers, sipping branded beer (they cost ‘two dollars a bottle’), with his so-so boho girlfriend, he is ‘afraid of the future’. He’s got a job as some sort of teacher in a community college, but drinking, gambling and stealing other people’s wallets (!) are his pacifiers as he refuses to face up to his destiny: Hal is going nowhere. But one morning, a strange girl appears in his kitchen, who, after an initial meet cute, claims to be his daughter from the very future which Hal fears so! Can Abigail (Saige Ryan Campbell - great!) help her past/present pops get on the right track, and secure both their futures?
In terms of structure, acting, direction and the general business of being a film that tells a story in a lively, fun and engaging way, Maybe Someday does everything right. Both McKiddy and Campbell are good, and share a chemistry that sells the quantum physics based plot. McKiddy’s script is amusing, and has a way with funny lines and situations, and the whole thing is carried along by its gentle and winning charisma (hence my summative rating below). My problem is that Maybe Someday can’t seem to come down too hard on its protagonist, who is ostensibly presented as a wastrel, but whom the film nonetheless seems utterly smitten with. In the opening sequence we see Hal actually steal a watch off a sleeping geriatric, later he pours beer into a goldfish bowl; he’s established as a bit of a dick, but the film doesn’t bear this out. Hal is never punished for his transgressions, and simply seems to glide through life. For instance, when the inevitable question of Abigail’s maternity arises, Hal schmoozes two lovely women throughout the latter half of the film, ultimately deciding that neither are for him, which both women are entirely and conveniently accepting of. He drinks because he’s unhappy and he’s unhappy because he drinks; but it’s difficult to really see what his problem is (I know many people who would swap their hard going lives with Hal’s days in the sun playing Frisbee and eating Cap’n Crunch). There is a suggestion that Hal’s dipsomania comes from his parents, but Hal is twenty seven years old (27!), so come on; rather than question it, the film seems to cleave to Generation Y’s otiose submission to the past.
If Maybe Someday had gone that much further, building upon its ideas and given its protagonist a real journey of discovery wherein the film confronted Hal’s nostalgia (there are lots of references to pop culture), his self-pity, and portrayed his self-destruction in a realistic manner (for a binge drinker, Hal sure is trim and handsome), then it could have been a timely and acute satire. I get the feeling that the initial notion was to portray Hal as selfish and disdainful - why else picture him jacking a geezer’s watch? - and his lifestyle and self-pity as indulgent to the point of decadence, but this intriguing angle is never convincingly explored. As it is, this is a film not about millennials but yet another one that spends its time pandering to them.
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