Seth McFarland‘s latest raunchy comedy pop culture fest opens this weekend. I’m sure people will go see it – I am not one of those people. Ted wasn’t awful, but this looks much worse. Instead of sitting through live-action Family Guy with cowboys, I spent this past Tuesday at an event with people who actually have something new to bring to the big screen.
Adapted from the successful play currently making the rounds at various gaming and geek-centric conventions, Of Dice and Men (ofdiceandmenthemovie.com) is “a geek movie without the self-loathing.” Centered around a group of role-playing friends, the film takes a look at what happens when some serious real world events affect them and how gaming fits in with real life.
Of Dice and Men is a true independent effort, filmed locally in the DC area over a ten day period with a $30k budget partially raised through an Indiegogo campaign. Premiering at the always classy AFI Silver Cinema for cast, crew, and supporters, the film showed to a sold out crowd of people either passionate about the project or extremely curious. It was evident that everyone was excited to be there – even when storm induced technical difficulties delayed the start of the film, people were joking around and having a good time in the dark while the film’s director (Kelley Slagle) did her best to keep everyone distracted while the system was rebooted. The crowd was obviously all one community – either literally or in the sense that it was almost entirely made up of geeks, gamers, and nerds of the best variety. Certainly a fun energy going on at this premiere.
I’ve only covered one other film premiere so far, which was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum – The Hunger Games in LA – but this one was just about as much fun, for different reasons. Despite being a low-key event, everyone involved was excited and having fun, posing for pictures on the red carpet, prop weapons in hand, and enjoying a night all about the culminations of their valid efforts. And I got a pretty sweet shirt out of the deal.
How was the film itself? Quite enjoyable in fact. Obviously you should know what you’re in for before watching it – a lot of talent and hard work clearly went into it, but it’s not going to compare to the latest hundred million dollar spectacle cranked out from Hollywood. That’s okay though, as long as you’re not expecting The Hobbit. Actually, this has a lot more actual heart than the latest Peter Jackson travesty. As long as there is a good story to be told, and it’s told well, that’s what matters.
Narrated by John Francis (Evan Casey who bares a striking resemblance to Kevin Bacon), the story introduces us to a colorful collection of characters, all linked together by friendship and D&D. While the role-playing game is the vehicle through which this story is told, it’s really about understanding one’s role in life, albeit in a geek friendly way. Do you have to be a gamer to understand and enjoy this movie? No, but I wouldn’t recommend being completely clueless on the subject either as the film assumes the audience at least has a vague idea of what a dungeon master does.
The film is currently unrated (contains a large amount of realistic/strong language) and seeking distribution. If you want to see the film, right now your best bet is to find someone who supported the crowd-funding campaign and received a promotional copy, or attend one of the upcoming convention screenings. You can find out about coming events on the official facebook page.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“I’m not a gamer, but I really enjoyed this film. See it if you can, even if you don’t know anything about dice games.”
My rating: Three out of five hats
Of Dice and Men is currently not available in theaters.