Skip to main content

Heartland Film Festival review: Second Hand Wedding

I kicked off the Heartland Film Festival with one of the first films of the year, Second Hand Wedding, New Zealand filmmaker's Paul Murphy first full-length feature.

I was dazzled by the views of New Zealand's Kapiti Coast and gorgeous shots of the coastline. I've never been to the land of the Kiwis, but an ex-pat American tells me it's the most beautiful place on earth. After seeing the shots by the film's second unit (Murphy was the second unit cameraman too), I can believe it. Northern California is a Superfund site compared to New Zealand.

Garage sale junkie, Jill (played by my new favorite Kiwi actressGeraldine Brophy), and her friend, Muffy, spend weekend after weekend visiting rummage sales, buying anything and everything they can find. In one of my favorite scenes, Muffy and Jill are sitting on the couch, when Muffy notices a chip in a teapot lid, obviously bringing the value down of the whole purchase.

"Wait a minute," says Jill, and she gets up. She returns a few seconds later with an identical, chip-free lid. "I knew I kept this for a reason."

"Good," says Muffy. "Now you can throw the old one away."

Jill rescues the damaged lid from her wasteful friend. "Oh no. You never know."

Meanwhile, Cheryl, Jill's daughter, is getting married in two months. She is freaking out that her mother is going to junk up the wedding with her garage sale finds. To make matters worse, Cheryl and her fiancé, Stu, are stuck with an $18,000 bill for the reception hall, and no way to pay for it. They'll lose their slot, but still have to cough up the cash.

Jill learns that her hoarding and bargain hunting are creating family problems she was never aware of. In one of those moments we all dread, Jill has a flash of self-awareness that her hoarding is an embarrassment to her family. To overcome the problem, she holds the Kapiti Coast's biggest garage sale, sells her years' of garage sale finds and comes up with more than enough money to save the day.

Murphy's attention to detail captured some of the psychological differences between Cheryl Rose and mother Jill. Jill's house is cluttered beyond belief: three toasters, two stovetop espresso makers, and enough small cups and vases to warrant a retail cabinet. But Jill and Stu's apartment is bare, have almost nothing on display.

While Jill's avarice was funny in many ways, part of me kept thinking how glad I was that we didn't live this way. My family and I recently eliminated most of the junk and detritus from our own lives, and Second Hand Wedding reminded me of the lifestyle we finally escaped. I watched the movie with a sense of relief and smug self-satisfaction that we weren't "like that."

The evening finally topped off with director Paul Murphy taking questions at the end of the show. He described how they didn't have any money to make the film, and relied on several different funding sources to complete it.

"We nearly considered a garage sale," he told the capacity crowd.

"This showing," said Murphy, referring to the very theatre and showing I was sitting in. "This showing is the North American premiere of 'Second Hand Wedding.'" Wow, I was somehow just a part of New Zealand film history, and I swelled with Hoosier pride.

So suck on that, Toronto!


Interesting facts about Second Hand Wedding
- Paul Murphy was the Key Grip on Peter Jackson's King Kong.
- Geraldine Brophy and Jed Brophy both appeared in King Kong as well.
- Jown Rowles, Jill's favorite singer, was "nearly world famous," said Murphy.
- As the crew was running out of money, the New Zealand Film Commission came through with some money to help them complete the film.

Like this column? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…