**Update: This film is no longer available. Thanks for watching. If you missed it, check out the teaser trailer above and stay tuned for future availability. *Note: This film is only available through Monday, Jan 12th, 2014*** Capturing an unhinged, drug-and-booze-fueled artistic youth, Merely Players is a strangely riveting tale of two friends battling through egos and life phases. At the top, the friends are finishing up college, Adam works in a chemistry lab and does video blogs on the side, and Brian makes music and is a lunatic on the side.
After a couple years not seeing one another, they move in to a house in the hopes of spurring an artistic partnership they’ve always coveted but haven’t fulfilled. Both invite their on-shaky-ground girlfriends, inevitably complicating their art vacation. Just a few weeks earlier, Brian was raving about his girl Kristen being indefinably authentic, christening her “the one,” were he the marriage type, but only a few weeks later everything has changed (see: the loathing stare across the room while he calls her calculating). Such is the constantly shifting California ground, and mere relationship problems are nothing compared to the mental break-down Brian has after his new album is leaked to terrible reviews.
As an unwieldy but oftentimes incisive glimpse at identity and expression, the film gets at the feverish desperation of being a young artist setting out to make good on one’s own ideas of grandeur. The long-haired Brian is the one with all the ambition, the type who has his whole career mapped out before he ever starts — more delusional than pragmatic, but still — and the problem is that he forces his ideas onto everyone else, particularly his best friend of 8 years, Adam, and even more so when he starts seeing early success with his music.
Both lead performances are spot-on, and Adam Leotta’s Adam is one of the most honest and vulnerable of the year, never a false note. Working in the early Cassevettes mold of cultivating dynamic performances and paying attention to little else, director Brian Follmer has put together a striking film. 80 minutes. Directed by Brian Follmer. Starring Adam Leotta and Brian Follmer.