It’s the four year anniversary of PogieJoe’s YouTube channel, but PogieJoe (Joe Kowalski) is conflicted. Life seems to be pushing him to focus on becoming a more responsible adult, someone with a job who can pay their own bills instead of making YouTube videos, but PogieJoe’s more starving artist sensibilities aren’t necessarily ready for that change. After a day of adventures, it all comes to a head at the big PogieJoe anniversary party.
Joe Kowalski’s One Day: A Musical is precisely that, a musical taking place on that fateful anniversary. Internal conflicts and narrative developments are revealed via song and dance, and the film does its best to make a fun time of it.
Which is an ambitious challenge, because the film is clearly low budget and low resources. Still, the filmmakers do what they can and succeed in creating a passable musical. I say “passable” because the songs aren’t awful, but they also don’t stick with you after the film is over. I didn’t mind them, but I never felt that move to sing along either.
What I did mind, however, is the running time. Just over fifty minutes is too long for this film, because the basic conflict, PogieJoe’s artistic sensibilities at war with practical realities and responsibilities, is really the only conflict there is. At a certain point, you’ve heard the argument enough times and don’t need to hear it again. I understand running the film out to fit more songs in, but back to my earlier point, considering how forgettable many a song is, you wouldn’t be losing THAT much if you crafted a strong ten to twenty minute experience instead.
Then again, that’s something you would take into consideration if you were concerned with the film’s distribution or festival prospects; if you’re just going to put the film online, and you have an audience that you’re already catering to and who likes what you do anyway, giving them more of what they like isn’t terrible. It just doesn’t have much crossover potential, however, as is.
In the end, I liked the resolution the film found for its protagonist’s art vs. commerce dilemma, and I appreciated the ambitious attempt at a musical. It has a lo-fi charm to it, and the fun in the filmmaking can be infectious. I think it’s asking too much from an unfamiliar audience in its current state, but if PogieJoe has a following, then I imagine this is right up their alley.
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