The tagline for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival suggests that film festivals are the original binge-watching experience. In that spirit, enjoy these suggestions for the perfect double-features at the Tribeca Film Festival, complete with suggested accompanying snacks. In this edition, we're looking at About Alex and The Bachelor Weekend.
A group of old college friends reunite for a weekend after one of their own Alex (Jason Ritter) survives a suicide attempt. Siri (Maggie Grace) and Ben (Nate Parker) are trying to decide the next step in their relationship when Siri gets a fellowship across the country. Isaac (Max Minghella) has brought his new girlfriend Kate (Jane Levy), much to the annoyance of Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) who still has feelings for Isaac. Josh (Max Greenfield), channeling Jaques of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, is the resident grump who seemingly hates everything, backing up his ideology and blunt honesty with pseudo-science and half-remembered college philosophy classes. The more time they spend together, however, the more of their conflicts and infatuations from years ago come to the surface, threatening to destroy their friendships irrevocably.
The Bachelor Weekend
Davin (Andrew Scott) is planning a stag weekend for his best friend Fionnan (Hugh O’Conor), a groom who is more comfortable talking wedding colors than camping. His tight-knit group of friends, who tend towards more feminine pursuits, take a step out of their comfort zone and leave the city for a weekend of roughing it, but their plans are complicated when Fionnan’s brutish soon-to-be brother-in-law “The Machine” (Peter McDonald) joins them unexpectedly.
Why They Belong Together
The central conflicts of both About Alex and The Bachelor Weekend stem from people who have been friends for a long time, and for some, the relationships have become deeply dysfunctional. There are buried resentments, unrequited love, and other unresolved problems that they would rather ignore than address. Davin in The Bachelor Weekend does not want to tell Fionnan why he is angry with him because then he couldn’t subject Fionnan to his passive-aggressive belittling. Similarly, Josh in About Alex doesn’t want to talk about his jealousy of Ben because he likes having an excuse to continue treating Sarah terribly. In both films, it takes an outsider like Kate in About Alex and The Machine in The Bachelor Weekend to identify their problems and call them out.
Besides the overall themes of friendship and avoiding conflict, both films have strong ensemble casts and a nice balance of comedy and interpersonal drama. These characters will fight and pull apart, but ultimately, they will find their way back to each other and find their happy ending. Back to back, About Alex and The Bachelor Weekend make for a good pairing, taking the audience through the ups and downs of these friends while still ending on a warm, fuzzy note.
After watching About Alex, anything other than Sarah’s seafood risotto will be a severe letdown. Smoking anything in a movie theater is generally frowned upon and poor manners, so in lieu of a blunt, I recommend paying tribute to The Machine by capping off the marathon with shots and a fine stout.
Fans of BBC’s Sherlock will appreciate Andrew Scott, who is best known for playing Jim Moriarty in the series, singing the melancholy Irish ballad “On Raglan Road” around the campfire.