Could be Worse!
The family that sings together. The Stratis family celebrates Mom & Dad's 50th anniversary in style.
SHADOWS MUST SEE MUST-SEE

dir Zack Stratis
scr Zack Stratis, Vilma Gregoropoulos
with Zack Stratis, Gus Stratis, Olivia Stratis, Evmorphia Stratis, Tedi Stratis, Stathi Stratis
release US 12.Feb.01; UK Apr.01 llgff
00/US 1h30
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

London L&G Film Fest This wacky hybrid film, shot on digital video, is so fiendishly goodhearted and energetic that you can't help but fall instantly in love with everyone in it ... kind of like American Movie, another terrific semi-documentary comedy. Zack is making a movie about his Greek-American family in Boston on the eve of his parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. The youngest of four siblings, Zack wants to examine the dynamic that holds the family together, and he wants to confront his family's thoughts and feelings about his own homosexuality, which he feels everyone is just ignoring. This wouldn't bother him, but he can't help but wonder if he would ever get a 50th anniversary party someday. So rather than just make a straight doc, he wants to keep things upbeat by making a bright and breezy musical comedy doc.

Yes, the sublimely untalented Stratis family break into song and dance numbers at the drop of a hat, and it's absolutely wonderful--lame songs, dodgy vocals and choreography and over-the-top hair and clothes styling. But it's also so endearing that you love every minute of it. These are real people, and amid the hilarity they are expressing their feelings about a variety of issues that range from family strains and embarrassments to ethnic issues, male-female roles and of course sexuality. All of this comes through in such an honest, natural way that we absorb it almost subliminally amid the inspired comedy sequences. Zack takes no prisoners in his approach, which is razor sharp but continually undercuts pretensions with a hilarious self-deprecating streak. It's very cheesy--low budget and full of outrageous dialog--but every single shot is here to make a point in a gentle way. No, these people cannot sing or dance but, hey, it could be worse!
themes, language 8.Apr.01 llgff

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"I loved this film! We saw it in a film preview class. I don't know if it did get distributed. It was so genuine as far as the protagonist and his family are concerned. There was humor and it was touching. I'd love to recommend it. I would love to have it get some recognition." --Linda Boginsky, Livingston NJ 9.Jul.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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