March 22 only
Director Tom E. Brown, local actor Jerry McDaniel & moderator Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury IN PERSON!
In what may be a comedy first, San Francisco writer-director Tom E. Brown shakes together some unlikely ingredients—healthcare bureaucracy, a gentrifying city, and the tribulations of being a longtime HIV survivor—and serves up an effervescent, quirky cocktail of pathos and black humor in his delightful feature debut.
At the center of the outstanding ensemble cast is James Roday (TV’s Psych) as HIV-positive writer and bouncer Dan Schauble. When a bureaucratic snafu makes it impossible for him to get his prescriptions refilled, he quietly panics that even a short disruption of his pharmaceutical regimen could have disastrous consequences. But as he navigates a comically Kafkaesque insurance labyrinth, this cockeyed optimist is just as concerned about the emotional wellbeing of his lonely roommate, Paula (Robin Weigert), and of his recently separated boss, Bob (Danny Glover). Dan also finds welcome distraction in Mike (Tom Riley), a cute British painter. Brown (whose comic short Tradesman’s Exit was a Frameline39 hit) makes acute observations about a healthcare system that puts lives at risk with arbitrary rules, but his film is deceptively light, leavened not just by its often absurd humor but also by its strong relationships and its authentic local feel.
Pushing Dead is in some ways a valentine to San Francisco’s traditional, all-inclusive nature, which welcomes artists and dreamers like Dan and allows them to flourish in makeshift families such as the one he’s created with Paula, Bob, and Bob’s wife, Dot (Khandi Alexander). The entire ensemble is terrific, led by Roday’s amiable performance as the generous, gentle soul at the heart of a film that is as warm as it is funny.
Directed by Tom E. Brown. 108 min. USA. 2016.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS!
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