Writer/Director Ian McDonald has seen a lot of coming of age films, so when he decided to make his own, he had a few critiques and corrections. Some Freaks a story of changing relationships, the strain of feeling different from everyone around you, and ultimately doing what you need to grow. When Matt first meets Jill, he doesn’t make a great impression. He and his friend Elmo are playing video games and making bad jokes, as high school boys are wont to do. Jill overhears Matt make a fat joke, and it almost destroys any chance for them to be friends. But as they get to know each other, they become friends and begin a troubled romance.
This isn’t a John-Hughes-like celebration of the awkwardness of youth. These people can truly cut each other in ways that aren’t offset by their inherent naivete or charm. They are vulnerable, including and maybe especially Elmo, who is deep in the closet, and are willing to pick up the easy cudgel to teach each other not to get too close. When he has a choice between cute and real, McDonald most often chooses real.
I spoke with McDonald about Some Freaks, which is his debut film, and where some of those treasured teen comedies failed to resonate. It was also the first film for Lily Mae Harrington, who plays Jill and contributed a song to the soundtrack. The score was provided by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys.
At the end of the conversation, stick around for new comedy from Sean Sullivan’s new album Song & Dance Man, available October 13 on the Comedy Dynamics label. Sullivan is a brutally funny comic, the kind of guy who can fight his frustrations with a balance of nimble wit and the blunt force of sarcasm. Check out “Chicken or the Egg” on the podcast, and then pick up the new album.
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