Bill (Paul Gordon) starts a health-minded food stands at Auditorium Shores.
Austin City Council should buy copies of The Happy Poet and put it in tote bags for new Austinites. Our elected officials would kill two birds with one stone. They would be promoting independent films shot here by buying up copies of the DVD’s, and new residents to the ATX would get an accurate representation of their new home (complete with keywords to use when out-and-about).
According to his loan officer, Gordon has an “elitist attitude”. I don’t know if he does or doesn’t. I do know that he has absolutely zero business skills (which will be your entertainment from here on out). His free spirited, fly by the seat of your pants approach to his food stand is atypical of the Austin spirit. Gordon’s dry, emotionless delivery remains constant until his 4th quarter anger-induced soliloquy. It’s there you see his passion outweighs his financial stupidity. The entourage that forms around him is diverse and far more extroverted than he is. Donny (Jonny Mars) putting around on his scooter provides the conflict to the film that Gordon’s character is desperately seeking. Mars is perfect as the fraternity-minded opportunist. New age hippy Curtis (Chris Doubek) is just as lost in the wind as the rest of them, but doesn’t seem to care. His hanger-on’s are the best part of the movie. Then there is Gordon’s love interest, Agnes (Liz Fisher). As inept as he is in business, he is more inept in the game of love. If she was to put on the Sixpence None the Richer song “Kiss Me” he still wouldn’t have gotten the hint. Or was he just playing hard to get after a breakup?
The Happy Poet is a kind of no-brainer indie film. It is funny in these moments, more serious in those. It is fun to see all the different areas of town, and see Donny’s interactions while out promoting & delivering. The ending was a little over-the-top, but maybe it is what all the characters deserved. Yes, they deserved it. SPOILER ALERT: Bill is a terrible poet.
The Happy Poet - ★★★ (available on DVD, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Netflix and iTunes)