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By Don R. Lewis | February 23, 2012

JT (John Shepard) is an a*****e. Not only that but he’s an insecure, pompous bully who treats everyone poorly. As friends gather on a sunny day to play a game of ultimate Frisbee, all of the worst aspects of JT come out in Chris Shimojima’s gorgeously shot but ultimately lacking short-film “JT vs. the Good Guys.”

In the film we see petty and spoiled JT slapping around those he calls friends while plotting ways to embarrass or harm other people who talk to girls he might like or attempt to snub him before he can snub them. This guy is a creep and as a viewer, I wanted nothing more for him to get what was coming to him. But this was the big issue I had with the film; why in the hell would anyone continue to hang out with this creep or invite him anywhere?

Shimojima does a nice job imbuing JT with some shortcomings to his character that make him slightly more likeable. While the guy is pretty well built physically, he breaks into a nasty fit of sneezing frequently due to allergies. It’s a fairly clever touch that adds to the character in a slight way that I liked. We also sense through great shots and well placed music that JT, like many bullies, is acting out physically because he isn’t man enough to be in touch with his feelings. But again, he treats everyone so shabbily, I simply could not believe he hasn’t been beaten down or simply crossed off everyone’s list of who to invite for a fun time.

By no means is “JT vs. the Good Guys” a bad film, and I’ll even go so far as to say much of this film is pretty amazing. Shimojima shows a good eye for shots both compositionally and through his use of natural light. The film reminded me a bit of the slower Gus Van Sant fare of late or early David Gordon Green. But the lack of a character arc and a sensible plot line combined with characters whose actions don’t make much sense made me frustrated by a film that was clearly made by a director with a great eye and solid chops.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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