The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 14 - 21, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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A Man is Mostly Water

The title refers to a melancholy blues tune sung at the end, and it's the best part of the movie. The blues aficionado is Roper (Fred Parnes, who also wrote and directed), and he has reason to be singing them. The movie about Mississippi Delta bluesmen he poured his soul into can't find a distributor; his ex-wife, a radio pop psychologist, freely refers to his limitations when counseling women on the air; and his latest girlfriend is a classical musician. For recreation, Roper teaches his son chords on the guitar, pins rejection letters to a wall, and chastises other drivers for their rudeness and incompetence. No wonder his wife left him.

Since Roper seems neither funny nor talented, it's hard to sympathize, and neither do the other characters with whom Parnes interweaves his hero's life have much appeal: Andy (Christopher Rydell), an idle pothead who takes his love affair with golf way too seriously, and Andy's friend Jeff, a black actor dithering his career away playing stereotypes in commercials. Sometimes this film rises to moments of genuine poignancy and rueful wit. And sometimes it just begs the question asked by Mark Rydell's unimpressed distributor: why should we care? Screens Thursday, September 14 at 7:15 and 10 p.m. and Friday, September 15 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Director Fred Parnes will appear at Thursday's 7:15 screening.

-- Peter Keough

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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