Sacramento gets in on the bro cinema movement
Crest Theatre1013 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
What is it with teams of moviemaking brothers? It’s a thing, isn’t it?
Probably it started with the Warner brothers, but in recent years has seemed to leak all over the collective consciousness. Just think of all the Coens, Quays, Shaws, Scotts, Pangs, Hugheses, Duplasses, Wachowskis, Spierigs. And of the many others I’m surely neglecting, including myself and my brother Mark, who made a short film together once when I was in college.
Nowadays, for reasons unknown, the whole moviemaking-brothers thing seems particularly concentrated in Northern California. Here, we have our Oscar-nominated Belic brothers, who made the documentary Genghis Blues. We have Sacramento’s own Polish brothers, most recently of The Astronaut Farmer. And we have the Butcher brothers, who are not actually brothers, or butchers, but are in fact two fraternally good friends making horror movies together, including, most recently, The Violent Kind.
Also, we seem to have a weird confluence of sibling cinema making the rounds on local (or at least regional) screens over the course of the next few weeks.
First: San Francisco writer-director Peter Bratt’s La Mission, starring his brother Benjamin (yes, that Benjamin Bratt) as an abusively macho Mission District-dwelling bus driver and low-rider enthusiast who can’t deal with his only son being gay.
Then, just wrapping up a West Coast premiere at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and now available for pre-order on DVD: It Came From Kuchar, Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about the legendary Mission District-dwelling underground filmmaking twins George and Mike Kuchar.
And finally: writer-director-producer-stars Logan and Noah Miller’s Touching Home, an autobiographical tale of 20-something twins who do not dwell in the Mission District, but do try to keep alive both their shared dream of playing pro baseball and their homeless alcoholic father (played by Ed Harris, who quite conveniently resembles them).
These three should make for an illuminating triple bill. Watch them all in a row and you may notice that in addition to the whole moviemaking-brothers thing, they have some other elements in common also. Like: gumption, dad issues, tear-jerking sincerity, good-looking dudes occasionally going shirtless, sensational photography of familiar NorCal locations (from the streets of San Francisco to the inlets of the American River), compassion, self-empowerment, and particularly in the Millers’ case, a heartwarming making-of back story. (Just how did they manage to ambush Harris in that alley behind San Francisco’s Castro Theatre and convince him to be in their very first movie? Well, read their best-selling memoir, Either You’re in or You’re in the Way, and find out.)
Are the films any good? Well, that is a question. I’ve gone this long without describing them in very much detail, so what does that tell you?
Look, let’s just say their kindred spiritualism runs deep. The Bratts’ movie feels more like a mural than a film, and the Millers clearly are a couple of rookies, just as the Kuchars are kooks. (“Good,” in a good way, just isn’t the Kuchar MO.) But don’t think these debatable limitations will stop them. Probably nothing will, at least not as long as they’ve got each other. That’s just how it is with brothers sometimes. It’s totally a thing. And it begs the question: Doesn’t this mean we’re a little overdue for a sister act?