Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
DWF ’14: Stomping Ground
or seven years ago, the Discovery Channel aired a special arguing we should not
completely dismiss the existence of Sasquatch from a scientific perspective.
Take that city slickers. Nevertheless, a Chicago smart aleck assumes his girl
friend’s Bigfoot expedition is just a big snipe hunt, until things get
surprisingly intense in Dan Riessner’s Stomping
screens during the seventeenth Dances With Films in Hollywood, California.
considers it a big step in their relationship when he spends Thanksgiving with Annie
at her North Carolina home. It is pretty obvious he is not from around these
parts, but he tries to be a good sport. That becomes rather difficult when her
ex-boyfriend Paul tries to latch onto her again. Knowing Annie’s Bigfoot
obsession, Paul suggests a Sasquatch scouting trip with their old buddy Jed,
who is still a very gung ho amateur cryptozoologist.
long, Paul is openly baiting Ben, while Annie tries her best not to notice.
With all the bickering, they do not notice an ominous third party is watching
them. Is it Sasquatch or the creepy hunters they ran into? To put it in
different terms, will the film payoff on its implied ‘Quatch promise or give us
some Deliverance bait-and-switch?
you have to respect any film giving a shoot out to its banjo arranger in the
opening credits (that would be Ben Riesser, for the record). In fact, Stomping is surprising respectful in its
portrayal of the American south. Likable Jed often skewers Ben’s inbred cannibal
hillbilly stereotypes, at least when he is not worried they might be true in
this case. Likewise, Annie is a reasonably level headed native Southerner, who
is naturally comfortable around guns.
Riesser and co-writer Andrew Genser seem to understand one of life’s profound
truths. When things go down, even if it be in the woods, you want to stand next
to a city guy, because we have the best developed survival instincts. Most New
York and LA readers will therefore be able to relate to “Big City” Ben (played
by John Bobeck, nicely balancing snark and earnest doofus-ness), because he is
If the Discovery Channel did not convince
Sasquatch is out there, Stomping probably
will not either, but it is a scrappy little indie comedy-drama with a fair degree
of genre appeal. Riesser & Genser’s dialogue has a good snap to it and—not to
beat a dead Sasquatch—the banjo and string band music is definitely cool. The absence
of cheap shots is also a plus. Recommended for fans of relationship comedies
with substantial cryptozoological interest, Stomping
Ground screens this Sunday (6/8) as part of this year’s Dances With Films.
Labels: Bigfoot, DWF '14