Being single in your thirties and male in the United States became a growing trend in the later part of the twentieth century. Remember that the last twenty-five years was full of birth control pills, women’s liberation, and school shootings. It’s no wonder men now, more than ever, are feeling a bit unwanted. Not only are we sometimes discouraged to marry or reproduce by feminists call to arms, or an ever exploding world population, but the last thing we want to do is bring another unfortunate soul into this cruel and chaotic world. Or, maybe we’re so self-centered that our own burgeoning desires have become foremost and other priorities such as relationships and family fall to second or third on a self serving agenda. Let’s face it, modern man has put himself on a narcissistic and undeserving pedestal…or maybe I’m just looking too deeply into S.H. Culpepper’s funny and touching film about “The Origin Of Man.”
The film is written, directed, and stars Stuart H. Culpepper as a struggling artist/painter named Nick. Nick’s world is momentarily turned upside down when he’s confronted by George (Gabe Anderson), a 12 year old boy who claims to be his son. Apparently, Nick’s drug hazed former self had his share of one-night stands. Nick worries about negatively influencing George’s future. He feels guilty about his absence, but most of all, he fears losing the life he’s become so accustomed to. The other people who inhabit Nick’s life are his two roommates, who can sometimes help feed his anxiety and fears about parenthood. Mitch (Lou Seitchk) is a New Age conspiracy theorist intellectual who’s taking his time writing the great American novel and Ed (Phil Beaumont)is a casanova, who still refuses to use condoms because they don’t feel right.
This is what “Friends” would be like if all the high gloss and airbrushed actors were removed. “The Origin Of Man” is a true original that stays true to life and never falters from its direction. The acting is natural and free-flowing. All the leads and supporting characters are developed and add to the atmosphere of the film. “The Origin Of Man” is one of those few films that inspire philosophic thoughts and conversations long after the end credits finish. It should be out on the festival circuit. Hopefully, though, this film will make it to a theater near you. Keep your eyes and ears open for “The Origin Of Man” and for future works by S.H. Culpepper.