Recently, it’s been hard to tell what a geek or nerd really is. In the 80’s, it was pretty easy. They had pocket protectors, and high pants, and suspenders. They liked math, were socially awkward, and couldn’t get girls unless they made them in their computer. It wasn’t like watching The Big Bang Theory, where a bunch of nerds drink alcohol and get attractive girlfriends. Or watching the new Amazing Spider-Man, where the “nerd” is an attractive kid who is actually kinda edgy and cool.
Zero Charisma is one of the only pieces of pop culture that shows us what a NERD really is. Enter Scott (Sam Eidson). He’s a burly man who loves Fantasy Metal music and Table Top Roleplaying Games. He’s the dungeon master for a group of friends of his who meet every week, and have been for the past 3 years. When one of their friends has to drop out of the game, they recruit another guy, Miles (Garrett Graham); who ultimately turns out to be the nemesis of Scott.
What makes Zero Charisma stand out from other films depicting geek/nerd culture is that it feels REAL. You never doubt any of the characters, especially Eidson’s depiction of Scott. He is extremely passionate about what he believes in and loves, and it ultimately is what becomes his downfall. He doesn’t have a problem distinguishing fantasy from reality, it’s something that’s been done so many times before; filmmakers, Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews made sure not to do what other movies have done before. The reason the movie works on so many levels is that you have either been, or know someone who IS Scott.
Scott is an OK friend. He thinks he’s better than others, only because he’s been the dungeon master for so long and it’s what he alone controls. When Miles enters the picture and is cooler than Scott and his friends look up to him, it’s the complete unraveling of Scott. He’s already on the edge of having low self esteem and a bad home life, Miles’s opposite of Scott is all that’s needed to dishevel him.
By the end of the whole adventure, you don’t get a traditional happy ending to Scott. It’s not a sad ending, but it’s real. You know that the characters will keep going like they did before the movie started and that being a geek isn’t always about getting the girl; sometimes, it’s just about being more honest to yourself.
Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews have managed to create a low budget masterpiece. It is a testament that good filmmaking doesn’t come from huge set pieces and special effects; but just having great writing, and amazing actors to pull it off. Below, we have the Q&A panel that followed the film. Check out Graham and Matthews and star, Sam Eidson, talk about the film.
Zero Charisma is being put out from Tribeca Films and Nerdist Industries. The movie is written and directed by Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews. The movies stars: Sam Eidson, Anne Gee Byrd, Brock England, Garrett Graham, Cyndi Williams, Katie Folger, and Vincent James Prendergast.
Check it out on Itunes and VOD. You can also check it this weekend at Cinema Village.
Easter Eggs that I noticed
– You can see Matthews in the scene where Scott storms out of the Greg Goran panel
– also at the Goran panel, there’s a person wearing a Rhapsody t-shirt. Much of the film has fantasy metal in it as well
– One of the raids takes place in Drakkar Noir, which is also a cologne
– The film is produced by Chris Hardwicke
– Graham and Matthews have previously worked on Best Worst Movie, a documentary about Troll 2. Which, both movies are amazing if you haven’t seen them, check them out!