Short of the Day
From the team that brought you Thunder Road.
It is a tricky thing balancing humor with heart, and even trickier if tragedy is thrown into the mix. Us Funny, a short film collaboration between writer-director-actor Julia Bales and director-actor Jim Cummings, not only achieves this balance, it does so in a way that feels natural and familiar, giving the film an almost-documentary-like quality and causing it to resonate deeper with its audience.
Bales and Cummings play Julia and Jim, a young couple in the nascent stages of a relationship spending a day together in Los Angeles. But as we learn from the film’s first scene, this day is being told in flashbacks and in the present, which doesn’t seem too far removed from the day in question, Jim is attending Julia’s funeral. Her death is the undercurrent along which the rest of the narrative flows, adding extra weight to the variety of interactions the couple has on their date, from playful to meaningful to impactful.
Cummings you might remember from the short film Thunder Road, which was pretty much universally considered the best of last year, and like that film Us Funny uses humor in a painfully-real context to both lighten the subject and drive home its significance. The result is a powerful, poignant, and utterly-engaging piece that will linger with you long after the screen goes dark. This isn’t just the Short of the Day, as far as I’m concerned (and it’s my column, so…) it’s the Short of the Month, and an early contender for Year’s Best. You need to watch this movie, and you need to watch it with someone you love.