I got a chance to see Stuck Between Stations in Los Angeles, while it’s playing at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. If you’re considering the remaining Monday or Thursday night showings, here’s a sense of what kind of movie it is.
Becky (Zoe Lister-Jones) reunites with Casper (Sam Rosen) one night when they’re both at a crossroads. Becky has been caught having an affair with her college advisor, and Casper is in town for his father’s funeral. They spend the night together reminiscing about their school days, visiting random late night establishments and getting really deep into each other’s problems.
Before Sunrise is an obvious comparison. They’re not strangers and it’s not lighthearted, but it’s a night of bonding. It feels like a very personal statement with some interesting faces performing it, albeit with all the typical first time filmmaker syndromes. Somber keyboard music, film school tricks and an emphasis on the “real” over the dramatic give director Brady Kiernan away.
The nature of the story is that small talk gives way to more revealing conversation. At first, Casper references a lot of movies (from Dances with Wolves to Lady and the Tramp) while Becky makes sure to announce that this is not a date. Those are both very real character types, so real that you want to tell them, “Just enjoy the moment and stop trying to control it.”
Some bigger names pop in to add a bit of street cred. Paddy (Josh Hartnett) shows up to challenge Casper’s politics, and take them to one of the more visually interesting stops of the night, a circus party. David (Michael Imperioli) is Becky’s advisor who illustrates what kind of company she foolishly keeps. They even end up at a public access TV studio and break into David’s house to give them things to do late at night.
The film has a point of view. Casper has a different take on the war. Becky mopes a lot but he calls her out on it. It builds the most raw and painful stories each character will share. That makes up for the script’s excessive use of profanity.
Stuck Between Stations moved well enough that I wanted to stay with it. It definitely gets to a point where it says something unique, but I can’t say the entire movie does. Most of it was just small talk until Becky and Casper got comfortable enough to reveal why they’re so defensive.