Cinema Review: Hits | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Studio: Honora
Directed by David Cross

Feb 12, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Hits is probably not what you’re expecting it to be, and that’s a good thing. Judging by its cast and creator, it seemed like it was going to be an hilarious rail against talentless viral fame—you know, like something Hits director and writer David Cross might turn into a whole bit on one of his stand-up records. The movie is far more sympathetic to its subject, small-town-bored, fame-starved (and, yes, talentless) Katelyn (Meredith Hagner) than its theme suggests and ultimately doesn’t judge her desire or (minor spoiler) path to the million-hits spotlight. And what emerges is a fantastic, even touching movie that ultimately examines the nature of attention, perception, and—ahem—love in the 21st century in an utterly novel way.

What Cross does so well in this movie is reflect that stuck feeling of a small town. It’s that complete lack of cultural context that makes people starve for the scraps of celebrity. That it’s an unfair and even downright shameful route to the only kind of fame she’s capable of—exploitation—comes as a surprise to only Katelyn. Her desire of a dignified route to fame is precisely what keeps her from it. Yet what the movie is sympathetic towards is the fact that the line where self-confidence crosses over into delusion is not only fine, it’s a border whose location is in constant flux. She’s dogged in a way that’s convincing and even laudable. Persistence, opportunity, and audacity do play into success alongside talent—and they can often create something resembling fame without it.

But all that aside, Hits is pretty funny, too. Though comic leading man Matt Walsh is too busy carrying major league pathos as Katelyn’s semi-shut-in dad, David, who becomes the center of his own misguided viral phenomenon, David Koechner as shit-kicking redneck, Rich, and Wyatt Cenac as fey urban hipster Babatunde are quite funny in their own respective scenes (though poignantly awkward when they inevitably clash). And when the latter gets into an argument with Donovan (James Adomian perhaps making the screen debut of the archetype, Greenpoint Etsy-dealer spouse) inside a Prius along with their friend Larson (Derek Waters), it’s a Mr. Show-worthy moment in the most well-played way possible.

Hits is a terrific film whose (apparently) controversial conclusion is earned. It’s a deeply entertaining, compassionate, awkward, and funny film and an excellent feature debut by Cross. Here’s hoping he gets behind a camera sooner than later.

Author rating: 8.5/10

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