This weekend, the Portland Film Festival is in full force and I wish I were there.
In addition to the festival programming the show has both Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) and William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run) in attendance as well as screenings of such beloved films as Aliens, Blue Velvet , The Fly, The Man Who Fell To Earth, My Own Private Idaho , Stand By Me and Short Circuit.
Here are the 10 films that I wouldn’t miss.
1. The Middle Man
Director: Ned Crowley
Cast: Jim O’Heir (Parks & Rec), Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead)
Lenny Freeman’s dream of being a famous comedian is about to become a nightmare. Not only is he stuck in a dead end accounting job, Lenny has a bigger problem — Lenny is not funny. When his mother suddenly dies, he quits his job and heads to Vegas in search of fame. But along the way, a mysterious hitchhiker lures him into a desert-town killing spree with dark and twisted result – as the bodies pile up, Lenny actually becomes funnier and funnier.
2. Wizard Mode
Directors: Nathan Drillot & Jeff Lee Petry
In the game of pinball, there is no bigger accomplishment than flipping your machine into ‘wizard mode’. And of all the pinball players in the world, there’s nobody more dedicated to unlocking ‘wizard mode’ than Robert Emilio Gagno, who also happens to be an autistic savant whose parents just want him to get a job.
3. Neil Stryker & the Tyrant of Time
Director: Rob Taylor
Cast: David Ogden Stiers, Rob Taylor, Nic Costa
The greatest secret agent must race through time to rescue his son from the clutches of his infamous former mentor.
4. 6 Love Stories
Director: Michael Dunaway
Cast: Ashley Williams, Ross Patridge, Carrie Preston, Matthew Lillard, Stephen Tobolowsky
Six locations. Six couples. Six conversations. This ensemble drama explores the many facets of love from six unique perspectives, sometimes finding laughter, sometimes finding tears, but always finding truth.
Director: Mark Potts
Cast: Ben Crutcher, Winston Carter, Brand Rackley
After gaining powers from radioactive spaghetti, Clark Kant learns that with great power comes great opportunity.
6. Girl Flu
Director: Dorie Barton
Cast: Jade Pettyjohn, Katee Sackhoff, Heather Matarazzo, Jeremy Sisto
Bird, 12, has to become a woman whether she wants to or not when – in the worst week of her life – she gets her first period, is ditched by her impulsive, free spirited mom, and learns that you can never really go back to The Valley.
7. Dark Harvest
Director: James Hutson
Cast: James Hutson, Cheech Marin, A.C. Peterson
A successful grow operation plans to transition to legalized marijuana sales but tripped up by a murder and a shady narcotics officer.
8. Hunter Gatherer
Director: Joshua Locy
Cast: Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson
Ashley Douglas gets out of prison and goes to great lengths to get his ex-girlfriend back.
9. Some Freaks
Director: Ian MacAllister McDonald
Cast: Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, Ely Henry, Marin Ireland
When Matt meets Jill, they both are forced to confront who they were, who they are and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be.
10. Those Left Behind
Director: Maria Finitzo
Cast: Daphne Zuniga, Jack Griffo, Debra Mooney, Jack Hogan
25 years after her brother’s suicide, a women returns to her childhood home with her 16-year-old son to help her mother recover from surgery, opening up new wounds.