The teenagers who grew up watching John Hughes’ films are middle-aged now and must content themselves with high-school-reunion films gone awry. The Simple Minds song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” used to sound like a plea in those 1980s flicks. Now, it sounds like a threat. In films like The D Train and Young Adult, nostalgia for a lost adolescence stamps out all common sense. Grownups in these narratives have abandoned their younger, imaginative selves, having settled into a spiritual entropy and the vacuous conformity of suburbia.
Kris Avedisian’s Donald Cried fits snugly inside this genre. Avedisian wrote, directed, and stars in it as Donald, a Rabelaisian figure and cousin to Jon Heder’s Napoleon Dynamite and Juston Street’s Jay in Everybody Wants Some!!. When Peter, a friend from high school, knocks on his door some 20 years after graduation, Donald’s thrill is palpable. His skinny frame is just barely stitched together by a false bravado and a neediness that instantly repels, and fascinates, Peter. Fans of Mike White’s work will recognize some of Chuck & Buck’s relationship here. One man seems to hold all the power, until the chemistry in their dynamic begins to change. Donald Cried is more than a bromance though because Avedisian hypnotizes the audience with a persistent, unyielding thought: Nothing feels like it did in high school.
Opens Friday at Opera Plaza Cinema.