I Am Not A Hipster

The title sounds self-indulgent, satirical, and possibly comedic. Destin Daniel Cretton’s film I Am Not A Hipster (2012) deviates from expectations, however, and places him firmly on my list of ‘Directors To Watch’.

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I Am Not A Hipster, starring Dominic Bogart, highlights the San Diego indie music scene, while portraying phony friends, loss, and the power of art and music. It’s not really a ‘light’ watch – ‘brooding’ and ‘dramatic’ seem more fitting adjectives. But for a keen ear there are plenty of laughs, particularly during an early party scene where the technique to taking slightly askew, ‘completely accidental’ photos with ‘plenty of negative space’ is discussed and ‘special bee, trappist yeast’ Belgian pale ale is exalted.

“What do you think of all this trivial shit?” leading man Brook (Bogart) asks a dog as he smokes outside the party. His friend Clark, played by Alvaro Orlando, is a bright light in the film, with winning positivity and hair.

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The film deals with death, family, and social obligation (and the tension that oft accompanies it) with an even pace, and while it isn’t an uplifting film to watch, it is certainly easy to enjoy.

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Its moments of sorrow, joy, and beautiful mediocrity are punctuated with a fantastic acoustic soundtrack. Bogart is truly talented, as are the other actor/singers who brilliantly combine their talents without forcing emotion. Admittedly, a few of the ‘sister scenes’ felt staged, but in way that is forgivable in the context of the film.

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Watch it. Watch Short Term 12. And keep a close watch on Destin Daniel Cretton. His first two feature films have hit the mark (and the right notes), and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next!

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