L.A. Story

The Goodtimeskid Is Simply Too Cool For School

Not much happens in the stripped-down, near-silent The GoodTimesKid, the second feature by indie filmmaker Azazel Jacobs. But that's kinda the point. Taking place over a 24-hour stretch in a ramshackle area of Los Angeles, this slight, minimalist film focuses on three too-cool-for-school characters, two of whom share first and last names.

Rodolfo Cano (played by the director and co-writer) wakes up next to his girlfriend Diaz (Sara Diaz), silently spurns her affection and leaves her to one of the several mood swings she'll go through in the next 75 minutes. Meanwhile, another Rodolfo Cano (Gerardo Naranjo, also an indie filmmaker) wakes up on his rundown boat, silently contemplates his hangover and heads to an Army recruiting office, which has erroneously signed him up for service. The two Rodolfos bump into each other there. The first Rodolfo enlists, leaving the second Rodolfo baffled (Naranjo pretty much wears the same bemused-confused expression throughout the movie), curious and a borderline stalker, as he follows his namesake home.

The remainder of The GoodTimesKid chronicles the second Rodolfo's night on the town with Diaz, the first Rodolfo's night on the town getting his ass kicked in a bar and the trio's coming together for resolution the next morning. It all ends while Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods" plays over an extended, almost motionless scene. It's a fitting conclusion, since everyone here - including party guests and a girl the first Rodolfo picks up at the bar - seems broken.

And everybody tries way too hard to be downtown hip. They all sport similar appearances: disheveled, floppy, thrift-store chic. Jacobs comes off like one of the Strokes with his skinny frame, ceiling-scraping hair and surly attitude; Naranjo's bushy mop, European mustache and natty suit are straight out of a '70s porn movie. Diaz, wearing Converse high-tops and a short dress, does a goofy little dance at one point that practically begs for iconic eminence. But it all amounts to little more than a trivial portrait of three intersecting characters you wouldn't want to hang out with - even if you were cool enough to join their group.

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