Title: Millenium Bugs
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Alejandro Montoya Marin
Starring: Katy Erin, Michael Lovato, Daniel Cruz
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins
What It Is: Y2K is right around the corner in December 1999. People are bugging out, buying groceries in mass quantities, convinced the “end is nigh,” or celebrating for what will either be the end of the world or New Years’ Eve. Kelly is a troubled and indignant young woman living off of her parents’ trust fund only to find herself alone in the situation when the money runs out and she has to consider giving up their house. Miguel is a post-college, aspiring stand-up comedian who works in a video store and lives with his parents. The two, long-time best friends since childhood, struggle to see the other side of things amongst a paranoid society as they wreak some havoc and drink plenty of alcohol.
What We Think: There are a few influences I could certainly read in this film, one major one being Edgar Wright in its tendency to push expressive sound effects, music cues, and fast editing, though to the point of their usage they seem to be quite sporadic, even random at times as the image does not always correlate with the audio expectation. To that point as well, I was surprised at how flat the cinematography had continued throughout the film; while the narrative and tone tried maintaining that Wrightian energy through the editing, the visual style consisted a lot of shot-reverse shots, two shots, and then some, match cuts–nothing quite as creative that jumps past being technically sound. Other than those queries, it was quite well set up with some lovely grading, lighting, and most importantly a bomb-ass soundtrack featuring a few indie bands meant specifically to convey that nostalgic 90s flavor (which it absolutely does). I honestly would love to go through the soundtrack and maybe add some of those songs to my playlist. The performances overall were solid, the majority of chuckle-worthy moments (as there were a few) owed themselves to acute delivery, though on the other hand, the writing had a little bit of trouble in keeping the characters not only relatable but dimensional. This is a tricky business, the believability of the characters, but in the end, much of the dialogue between the leads felt too formulaic and rehearsed; it reminded me of video-game dialogue, much like Life-Is-Strange where the character’s defining trait is all they express themselves around. If anyone was that character, it was certainly the unlikable character of Kelly, a deeply immature, inconsiderate, 90s tryhard edgelord. Her absurdity works, though it doesn’t leave much room for us to really enjoy her time onscreen as much (as one of the protagonists).
Our Grade: C-, There were some nice moments to behold, either sweet or funny. The movie overall didn’t look bad, the cast was professional, and the soundtrack is bangin’. The story itself, while a fantastic set up as the Y2K era is frighteningly reflective of what is going on today, was overall something very nonchalant and namely made home in the characters’ relationship as they find a conclusion to the phases of their own lives but could very well be a tad forgettable. It struck me as very Reality Bites-esque, which is good because it proves how much it evokes the time it’s set in, but much like in RB, the characters and story lack some depth needed to stand out. Overall, not a bad film, perhaps something to pass the time; I would very much love to see all these elements improved upon the filmmakers’ next works as I believe there is a lot of talent to behold here still.