After former died, Chets folks took Dillard in, but threw him out when the youth seemed unmanageable. This crucial info comes very late, in superficial form. Meanwhile, theres lots of hanging-out footage, notably in local clubs where D.s band plays. Sound recording isnt good enough to convey desired electricity of their live alternative-rock performances. In the end, Dillard screws up his chance for the Big Time, while Chet has settled into relationship with expectant Tanya. Character depths are nonexistent, story progress often stultifying. Humor rarely surfaces, save one funny sequence in which an incredulous junior high-schooler selling magazines door-to-door stumbles upon the bong-toking musicians. Sum effect soon grows ponderous, limning a partying scene no more elevated than the one definitively satirized in Dazed and Confused sans that pics ironic distance. Thirty-plus hours of footage shot evidently couldnt be edited into a sustainable narrative, with little aud interest to be won from either obnoxious Dillard or dullish Chet. Still, Sobel gets an A for filmic effort. Use of slo-mo, quick-cutting, dissolves, layered images, pans, etc., suggest pro aspirations, even if the grainy 16mm lensing undercuts his nods toward both 60s-style experimentalism and studio-aping gloss. Dialogue recording is variable, perfs ditto.

After former died, Chets folks took Dillard in, but threw him out when the youth seemed unmanageable. This crucial info comes very late, in superficial form. Meanwhile, theres lots of hanging-out footage, notably in local clubs where D.s band plays. Sound recording isnt good enough to convey desired electricity of their live alternative-rock performances. In the end, Dillard screws up his chance for the Big Time, while Chet has settled into relationship with expectant Tanya. Character depths are nonexistent, story progress often stultifying. Humor rarely surfaces, save one funny sequence in which an incredulous junior high-schooler selling magazines door-to-door stumbles upon the bong-toking musicians. Sum effect soon grows ponderous, limning a partying scene no more elevated than the one definitively satirized in Dazed and Confused sans that pics ironic distance. Thirty-plus hours of footage shot evidently couldnt be edited into a sustainable narrative, with little aud interest to be won from either obnoxious Dillard or dullish Chet. Still, Sobel gets an A for filmic effort. Use of slo-mo, quick-cutting, dissolves, layered images, pans, etc., suggest pro aspirations, even if the grainy 16mm lensing undercuts his nods toward both 60s-style experimentalism and studio-aping gloss. Dialogue recording is variable, perfs ditto.

Fall and Spring

Production

An Anytown, Anywhere Prods. presentation. Produced by Scott Sampila. Directed , written by Steven Sobel.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, 16mm), Brent Meeske; editor, Eric Archer; music, Brandon Beckner; production design, Michael Reinis; sound, Sobel, Beckner. Reviewed at Sequoia 1, Mill Valley, Oct. 13, 1996. (In Mill Valley Film Festival.) Running time: 96 MIN.

With

With: Jason Cottle, Michael Healey, Beth Kitchen, Nicole Von Reisen, Mark Theodorff, Andrew Pawlek, Roxy Morganstern, Dennis Manz. Amerindie Gen X drama Fall and Spring impresses most in its resourceful, if not ultimately successful, efforts to technically rise above low budget. What it lacks, however, is the one thing that neednt cost a cent: a story thats worth telling. Pic will serve best as calling card for young helmer Steven Sobel. Script was improvised during shoot, a risky move whose pitfalls are fully displayed onscreen. Present-day action reunites 20-ish Dillard Cadix (Jason Cottle) and Chet Blume (Michael Healey) in their smallish, generic hometown anytown. (Exteriors were shot in Oregon, other scenes in Sobels UC Santa Barbara base, using student talent.) Dillards rock band is on the verge of breaking. But hes combative, irrational and self-destructive in dealings with the L.A. recording industry scout (Mark Theodorff) who wants to assure their success. Collegian Chet is morose in wake of his parents recent death in an accident, though this last element is scarcely explained or developed. Neither are subsidiary characters, which include Dillards pregnant ex-g.f. Tanya (Nicole Von Reisen). Much time is eaten up by flashbacks to the protags childhood friendship: Reckless Dillard was raised by an alcoholic dad and abusive stepmom.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more