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Indie Memphis Review: Adventures of Power

October 11, 2008

A terrible photo I took of Ari and Ethan Gold performing at the Old Daisy on Beale Street during Indie Memphis on Friday night.


I find myself at a strange point. I fell in love with a movie that I was certain I would hate. So much for trusting my favorite film critics.

Adventures of Power is a delightful and yet touching story about a man that beats to his own drum, er well, air drum to be exact. I’m typically not one to argue against one of my favorite film critics, Scott Weinberg, but after his review from Sundance, I didn’t expect much from this film. But I wholeheartedly disagree with his critique for once in my life. And so did the audience as it won the Best Feature Audience Award.

Ari Gold (the real one, not the Entourage character) directed, wrote, and starred in this quirky comedy-drama about a man named Power who doesn’t quite fit in with his copper mining folk in a small town in New Mexico. His passion for life that he expresses through his air drumming leads to a strange tale of self discovery.

Maybe the critics who saw this just never had a dream to be something more and so the film doesn’t quite connect with him, but when I read Weinberg’s description of the film as “a waaaayyyy-too-late Napoleon Dynamite retread that would have been just as witless had it arrived two weeks after that overrated little hit,” I expected dry and boring humor that I couldn’t connect to, much like Dynamite.

Instead, and maybe because it was set in the west instead of mid-west, or maybe because the strike of the copper miners caught the attention of my little liberal heart, I found myself tapping my foot in time with this gem of a movie, partially great rock songs that I used to hear blaring out of my dad’s stereo, and partially from the score of Ari’s twin brother, Ethan Gold.

Now true, I could connect on the very simple level of this film, I always wanted to learn to drum and never did, so there is that. But the story is more than just one man’s dream to “air-drum”, it was a homage to all my favorite music and movies of my childhood, quirkily built into the framework of a story of class struggle in America that thesedays isn’t as present in our film as often as it was back in the day of Norma Rae, etc.

The film choreography of its characters during the “music” scenes is bizarre and reminiscent of Divo music videos and yet blends perfectly with the storyline. One of the earliest moments, when Power still works at the copper mine, the beat of the song hit perfectly with the pacing of the character’s movements. Delightful.

Once Power sets out on his journey, a blend of quick punch lines (like when Ari and several Mexicans cross the Mexican border and hides with a sheet as the guards look away knowingly), lighten the dramatic tension. Yet, Gold finds a way to never take anything happening in the film too seriously with overdramatizing scenes to the point where they are so saturated you can’t help but laugh like when Power meets his new love a deaf girl that asks him to show her music.

Once the love storyline began I wondered if Ari Gold has ever seen Crazy Moon with Kiefer Sutherland as the similarities between Brooks, Sutherland’s character, and Power, Gold’s character stuck in my head throughout the movie.

Power was also very similar to me to another loveable yet childlike character, Zoolander. Much like Zoolander, Adventures of Power will be another movie that I can watch over and over again anytime I need a giggle.

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