This is maybe more what I wanted out of Computer Chess – Bujalski takes his talent at creating interesting complex characters and getting actors to play them well and places them in more traditional settings. It ends up being his best film yet. You have all of the trappings of a indie rom-com, but these people are so much messier than anything those movies usually allow. Even better is that some of the tropes that he plays with – like the progress montage – are relevant to the themes of the film and don’t feel like pandering.
I have liked all of his previous films, but this time I’m not sure why Bujalski thought this was worth my time.
Maybe I was too excited, maybe I wanted it to be something else. I was hoping for his “Cold Weather” where he would use more conventional tropes to ground his character work. Nope. If anything the opposite.
Perhaps it was the shingles, I can’t believe I found this movie as grating as I did.