Eve Annenberg takes an all-night bus trek in a wedding dress in Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs’ shifting-ensemble hangout.
A homely, middle-aged woman in an unconventional wedding dress boards a late-evening bus in Los Angeles, mascara streaking down her face. She doesn’t quite have the full fare, and isn’t inclined to talk about how she got in this mess. For the rest of her all-night odyssey through the region’s bus lines, she’ll be far from the weirdest character we meet in From Hollywood to Rose, a semi-comic debut by writer-directors Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs. A self-referential “quest film” that could easily be a play in one of LA’s black-box theaters, the picture has a hard time getting beyond its ostentatious quirks and getting to the point; for some viewers who catch what will likely be a very short run, though, that aimlessness will be its main virtue.
Eve Annenberg plays “Woman in Wedding Dress,” leading an ever-changing ensemble whose characters rarely get proper names. She sits wide-eyed as two cross-dressing men bicker drunkenly or a tightly-wound young lady has an obnoxiously loud fight on the phone. The straightest looking person she sees is soon telling her how he communicates with the dragons at the center of the earth.
She engages with no one until two chubby fanboys (Maxx Maulion and Brad Herman) hit on a subject she likes. Just as the viewer might start to whine, Do I really have to listen to this bellowed, pissy spat over the merits of Christopher Nolan’s Batman versus Tim Burton’s?, the talk turns to sci-fi and Woman pipes up: “I love Blade Runner.”
The dudes befriend the clearly vulnerable woman, trying to step delicately around the question of her garb, and through one fluke and another they wind up spending much of the night with her on multiple bus rides and at various purveyors of junk food. Turns out she was the jilter, not the jiltee, and enough of her story is told to sorta-kinda justify the need she now feels to get from the Walk of Fame out to Venice Beach.
Along the way there are more characters, some who call back to other stories in unlikely but not annoyingly contrived ways. More importantly, Woman comes to life just a bit, taking some initiative and acting less like a droopy object of pity. That’s a pretty low bar for a heroic journey — the dorks’ extended discussion of ’80s quest movies invites us to see this trip in that light — but for the LA Metro, it’ll have to do.
Cast: Eve Annenberg, Maxx Maulion, Brad Herman, Chia Chien, David Wilder
Directors: Liz Graham, Matt Jacobs
Screenwriter: Matt Jacobs
Producers: Eve Annenberg, Liz Graham, Matthew Jacobs, Jon Schweigart
Directors of photography: James Carman, Jon Schweigart
Editors: Jack Haigis, Christine Kelley
Composer: Joel Diamond