Director: Zeke Zelker
Starring: Heather Matarazzo, John Robinson, Eric Roberts
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins
What It Is: When Casey (Robinson) inherits his late father’s unpopular alternative radio station, he feels obligated to save it by starting a fated billboard-sitting contest. But when he makes a slip up that causes the community to believe the prize money is much more than it actually is, Casey and his team work to increase the station’s retention in order to be able to fund its winners’ needs. Things subsequently go arwy and start to fall apart as competion between businesses grows hot and Casey’s lack of manegerial skills get the better of him.
What We Think: If Eric Roberts is in it, you know it’s gonna be good!
Boldly advertised as a ‘cine-experience,’ Billboard really doesn’t pioneer as much as it claims. Apparently paired with interactive social media accounts and a mini web series in order to attempt at a playful realism, this film falls short in everything that should make the marketing interesting in the first place. The story and writing is a flat, rather unremarkable, and cliche narrative about one man’s apparent lack of self-awareness. He’s some guy (a cartoonist) who has no experience in a field that he is obligated to but doesn’t even seem to want to be a part of. This character just could’ve gotten an advisor (someone business savvy), that would be that, things wouldn’t have been as dramatic. It’s an absurdly contrived plot. And it’s boring. Right off the bat, something doesn’t sit right with the confusing documentary look of the film, even through it has nothing to do with being a documentary whatsoever. Even as a mockumentary, it wouldn’t make sense the way it was shot and how very obviously staged everything was. The characters are forgettable, the acting over a bland script is stiff (sometimes cheesy), and the plot moves at the pace of an infomercial. For a film about radio, there was barely any score or soundtrack to back it up. There are a few scenes where I couldn’t tell if they were supposed to be like a flashback or foreshadowing (even though the film was edited in namely chronological order) but the characters were dressed the same all throughout. It was not very well indicated. That, or my brain shut off due to boredom.
Our Grade: F+, It’s just not interesting. I could feel the clock slow and the Earth rotating as the minutes crawled by. I can’t find anything namely redeemable about this viewing experience. But at least stuff was in focus, that’s all I can say.