Thousands descend upon beautiful Hollywood, California with the dream of becoming a star. “I have the what they’re looking.” “I’ve got talent.” “My talent will overshadow my look.” In a way, we talk ourselves into having “potential,” and we have friends that reaffirming our belief in that “potential.” Sure, I’m a little cynical, but truthfully, making a living in Hollywood is essentially winning the lottery.
Director Cindy Baer’s Odd Brodsky is a light comedy telling the tale of Audrey Brodsky (Tegan Ashton Cohan), a young woman who moves to Hollywood and pursues her dream of becoming an actress. As a small child, Audrey found the performance bug and thanks to a supportive mother (Jesse Merlwether), Audrey was given the opportunity to hone and train that talent.
Audrey’s talent to say the least is raw. Odd choices in song and dramatic monologues landed Audrey the nickname “Odd” from her friends. And as supportive parents do in film, Audrey’s mother dies in a car crash leaving the final plea to “follow your passion.”
“…mother dies in a car crash leaving the final plea to ‘follow your passion.'”
Odd Brodsky is about Audrey’s pursuit of fame. She first musters the courage to leave home on her own and gets an office job, where she excels but leave no time for her to go on auditions. She joins a women’s support group, where she meets best friend and playwright Sammy (Cindy Baer), who serves as the film’s narrator.
Audrey is confronted with various issues emerging actors face in Hollywood. Survival is one. Should Audrey pursue her passion fulltime or should she have a home and eat on a regular basis? We know the answer to this one. With no job, Audrey must become resourceful. She finds an apartment with new roommate Spuds (Scotty Dickert), a surfer production assistant. Audrey then begins to document her journey with the name of a new friend, Camera One (Matthew Kevin Anderson) and invests in branding herself by renting a billboard, airplane banner, and passing out headshots in front of movie studio guard gates.
“…hitting themes of childhood dreams and the harsh reality of surviving in Hollywood.”
Audrey’s story is written by Baer herself along with her husband/cinematographer Matthew Irving, and they bring a little subversive insight to Odd’s story. Rather than just lay out a wacky narrative full of weird characters and crazy situations, they are intentional in hitting themes of childhood dreams and the harsh reality of surviving in Hollywood. Baer and Irving bring a bright, playful tone in the way Odd Brodsky is presented. The soundtrack has an upbeat renaissance tone with close attention paid to production value in the sets established and shot composition. It gives a surreal sound to the legend that is Odd Brodsky. There is a mature Napoleon Dynamite feel to the final product.
Our culture today likes to tell our young folk to follow their passions—anything is possible. But do we do that to their detriment? Is it living the dream or nothing? Is there a little wiggle room for modifying that dream? Odd Brodsky is an insightful fable about pursuing the lottery that is Hollywood stardom.
Odd Brodsky (2018) Directed by Cindy Baer. Written by Cindy Baer and Matthew Irving. Starring Tegan Ashton Cohan, Matthew Kevin Anderson, Scotty Dickert, Cindy Baer.
6 out of 10 stars