April 17th, 2006 by Potato

I went to see Sidekick this weekend. It’s an indie film done here in Toronto, and currently the only watchable film print is on tour around the country along with the filmmakers.

Briefly, I thought it was pretty good. Nobody’s going to win an award for acting, and the camera work looked like it was done by film students from York, but it was watchable (which is more than I can say for some big budget movies lately). The effects were of low-end TV quality, but the fact that a film on that budget has any effects at all is impressive. I wasn’t expecting it to be much more than a decent student feature, and I enjoyed it for that.

Some of the people I was with didn’t care for it though, which is a little odd. Before I get into it in more detail, let me put in a


There, you’ve been duly warned.

Now, the movie had what I consider to be a neat, unique story (at least, I haven’t heard the idea before): a guy is found to have super powers, and a comic book geek notices and trains him to focus and use his power effectively, hoping he’ll become a crime-fighting superhero right from the comics (taking the place of his sidekick during the training). Unfortunately, the power goes to his head, and instead he becomes a supervillain who must be stopped. I thought it was a pretty neat plot twist.

Some of the people I was with didn’t, and said it was “so predictable” or “lame”. I’ve got to wonder at that: I don’t recall seeing a story like this before (though the opposite happens in Unbreakable), so it’s not like it was a cliched ending. So was it just the fact that there was a ton of foreshadowing (sometimes rather heavy-handed) that made it so predictable? If so, then what’s wrong with foreshadowing?

Eh, I just have this to say: being able to turn your brain off is a huge advantage when watching movies. It’s really, really hard to have a movie that is 100% effective at drawing you in, so being able to suspend disbelief really helps me to enjoy movies more, and also ignoring a lot of foreshadowing makes plot twists more dramatic. It’s why I like the M. Night Shyamalan movies so much: 6th Sense’s twist caught me completely by surprise. I was ready for Unbreakable, but still found it really enjoyable (and since my brain was half-off, I didn’t see it until way after most other people did). The Village was a little easier to spot, but I liked the characters so much I didn’t care (and once again, I didn’t spot it until way after the others). And if you saw it coming sooner, then good for you, you picked up on the foreshadowing (or have a good mind for the plot). But did seeing it coming really ruin the movie for you?

It seems like sometimes people just want to be caught completely by surprise in a movie, no matter how much they try to outthink it. But I don’t think that’s a good way to go. For starters, if you were completely sideswiped then you’d think it was just a stupid plot mechanism (such as the one in Ocean’s 12 where they just simply didn’t show us anything until the revelation).

Anyhow, I’m rambling in a more incoherent way than usual. My point is that Sidekick was a Canadian movie shot on $36k, and it looks it. However, if you can get past that there’s a decent story hidden in there, and I think it was well worth my $5. If they ever get a DVD release deal, you might want to check it out.

Plus the popcorn was really good there.

3 Responses to “Sidekick”

  1. Netbug Says:

    Oh I very much enjoyed it. Just because I saw the twist coming, doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.

    I guess I’m just mad that they came up with a script and I still can’t. It also kind of bugs me that it cost $36k. I could do a lot more with $36k than they did.

    I tend to see twists coming long before anybody else does (ask Baum about watching Inside Man with me). That doesn’t mean I like them any less. Turning your brain off is not the right phrase though. Suspension of disbelief fits more.

    Turning off your brain is what youd o for Super Troopers. :)

    That said, it’s definatly prompted me to generate a few story ideas for our film and the fact that they sold the remake rights to Focus already, that makes me very hopeful.

    But, ours will look much better, and we’re gonna get better actors. :)

  2. Potato Says:

    It was Wayfare who made the gag motion when I asked her what she thought and who said it was so predictable.

  3. Wayfare Says:

    I thought it was predictable, the acting was ok, but the camera work made it hard for me to get into it enough to get a good belief suspension going. That said, I thought it was worth my $5.00. If I had paid full price my opinion may have been different.

    Potato asked me if I liked it right after the lights came on and I didn’t want to voice my honest opinion in a theater full of the people who made it. The subtle gag motion was the most discrete response I had at the time. :)