Fantasia International Film Festival Review: ‘Relaxer’ pulls you in with its beautifully weird premise.

Y2K is right around the corner, and Cam just gave his younger brother Abbie ( Joshua Burge) the dopest, most ultimate challenge, um, ever: to beat Billy Mitchell’s infamous Pac-Man high score (by going beyond level 256’s glitch, of course) without ever getting off the couch.

Emotionally abused Abbie has accepted this challenge to finally prove a point to his older brother. He is not a quitter. With the very real threat of Y2K looming on the horizon, Abbie is hell-bent on defeating his brother’s perception of him and earning a massive cash prize all at once. But literally not getting up has consequences for our leading man. Eventually, food and drink run out. The lengths to which he will go to survive on this couch are beyond ludicrous, some downright disgusting. But this is about principal dammit. Joshua Burge, once again, proves to be a master at tackling the oddball guy with an ease that is frightening. A longtime collaborator with writer/director/editor Joel Potrykus, the two have brought some of the boldest characters and stories to life over the past 6 years. Buzzard is still one of my top recommended films of all time. Potrykus pulls inspiration from his real-life experiences. Relaxer is set at a very specific moment in time and anyone who is of a certain age will feel bombarded (in a great way) with 90’s nostalgia. Fantasia International Film Festival is the perfect platform for this film to shine. The film has a genius undertone of supernatural and the final sequence is so satisfying, I cheered out loud.

Relaxer Director Joel Potrykus

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 12th- August 2nd. You can find out more about the full lineup and tickets at Fantasia.com 

What the hell is ‘BUZZARD’?! It’s only the best thing ever – Liz chats with Writer/Director Joel Potrykus

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I promised Joel I wouldn’t title this “The Buzz on Buzzard”, and I didn’t. I kept that promise (though, I guess I just wrote it… but I digress) Anyone that would degrade this film in using that title, just plain sucks at life. I know, my eloquence astounds you, but in all seriousness, BUZZARD is one of the weirdest, coolest, totally magical, and yet indescribable movies of the year. Yup. I said it, and I’m not even sorry. We’ve all had endless conversations, at this point, about our Top 10 Movies of 2014. And if you haven’t seen our posts yet, shame on your face. But, what most of you didn’t know is that I had a secret addendum to mine. BUZZARD was my special “I have to tell people about this movie” selection.

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So let me just launch into the premise. Marty works a crap temp job. Scamming the system is his game, and he’s pretty good at it. Until one truly face palm moment throws his existence into a series of even more terrible life choices and a downward spiral of paranoia. How long can Marty survive? It’s anyone’s guess. This film is an inspiration for everyone who has worked a mundane job just to live paycheck to paycheck. Marty is every man’s hero. He takes the “Damn The Man” attitude to the nth degree. He does all the things we think about doing, but he actually does them. Unapologetically and with much pride, Marty’s fearless audacity lies somewhere between genius and insanity. He is most definitely someone I would dub the “King of Mediocrity” or “Captain Bullshit”, both I mean in all due respect. He is kind of like a giant 14 year old in 1994, trapped in a 20-something year old’s body. Let’s be real, if you or I could get away with the shit this guy pulls, we would do it in a heartbeat.

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Joshua Burge plays Marty in such a effortless manner it’s frightening. One might almost think that this film were a documentary. This says a lot about both Josh’s acting ability and how sensational Joel’s script is. Fun fact I learned in watching the credits, Joel plays Derek, Marty’s best friend in the film. He is also downright hilarious in his honesty. He likes what he likes even if a tad socially inept. Playing by the rules is his safety net. He is the perfect foil for Marty, whose disdain for authority is incontrovertible.  BUZZARD is undeniably accessible. Everyone I’ve spoken with since I first saw this film at the New Directors/New Film Fest in 2014 love it. All ages, all backgrounds, not a single person has anything negative to say about this film. Clearly, I am on that ship. I cannot express how much fun this film is, so you know what that means, right? You now have to go see it and/or rent it on demand, and then you can come back and tell me how right I was. Good Talk.

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Speaking of good talks… I got to have a sweet one with Joel Potrykus about this awesomeness. Take a listen because we both know you’ll be better for it. *PS- a small office dog makes an appearance, you’ll hear the jingle of this little dude at moments. Try not to get confused. OK, now go! *

BUZZARD – TRAILER from Oscilloscope Laboratories on Vimeo.

Marty is a caustic, small-time con artist drifting from one scam to the next.  When his latest ruse goes awry, mounting paranoia forces him from his lousy small town temp job to the desolate streets of Detroit with nothing more than a pocket full of bogus checks, a dangerously altered Nintendo® Power Glove, and a bad temper.  Albert Camus meets Freddy Krueger in BUZZARD, a hellish and hilarious riff on the struggles of the American working class.

Oscilloscope Laboratories will release Joel PotrykusBUZZARD in U.S. theaters and digitally on March 6, 2015. Written and directed by Potrykus, the film stars Joshua Burge and was produced by Michael Saunders and Ashley Young. Associate Producers are Kevin Clancy and Tim Saunders.