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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Monday, February 23, 2009

    As I watched the Oscars last night I thought back to a film I saw several months ago at an independent film festival. I meant to blog on it but somehow never got around to it. Independent films are a bit of a crapshoot; they can be either very good or very bad. You never quite know what you've let yourself in for, but I was eager to see this particular movie due to its star Gregory Itzin - you may know him better as President Logan from 24. The movie is called Float and is centered around the owner and employees of a Glendale ice cream parlor.

    As it turned out, Float was a very pleasant surprise. I'm a sucker for anything with multiple plotlines, and this is an ensemble film where each of the actors gets their own story, so I sat back happily and watched. Two of the actors (not Itzin) co-wrote the script. One is Filipino, the other Armenian, and one of the pleasures of the film is the glimpse it gives the audience of the Armenian community in Glendale.

    The plot is set in motion when Itzin's wife leaves him. He's playing Ray, a hardworking small business owner who clearly hasn't thought about anything but his job for years. When she leaves he's thrown for a loop and can't stand the thought of staying in his house alone. He camps out at the ice cream parlor but is discovered by his assistant manager, Gevorg. Gevorg is a fast-talking playboy type who's always running some sort of side business out of the ice cream parlor, but he's also kindhearted and takes Ray in to stay with him. Complicating matters is Ramon, a former employee who's been fired by Ray and is also staying with Gevorg.

    Gevorg is somewhat estranged from his traditional Armenian family, particularly his father, who's running for city council. He meets and falls for Ray's daughter Emily, who works for an environmental organization and is somewhat estranged from her father as well. Meanwhile, Ramon has fallen for Gevorg's cousin, who wants to stay in the U.S. and is looking to marry an American citizen... you get the idea. Lots of stuff happens.

    The film concludes with happy, or at least hopeful, endings all around. Greg Itzin does a very good job as Ray, the owner who rediscovers that there's more to life than work. He gets a tattoo, meets a nice woman and starts a new relationship.

    Sadly, due to the competitive nature of independent films, it does not look as though Float is coming to a theater near you anytime soon. The last I checked the director was trying to get a deal for distribution of the film. Should that happen or if it makes its way onto DVD, I'd recommend it. The screenplay is witty, the acting is good and the relationships among the characters make for entertaining viewing.




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