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DEAD DAD plays in the 21st annual Florida Film Festival tomorrow (4/16) at 9.15 pm at Enzian and again on Thursday at Regal Winter Park Village (Details)
After their father suddenly passes away, three siblings get together to figure out what to do with his remains, and in so doing, try to reconcile their (largely negative) feelings about the old man. The contrast between the three siblings - unemployed drummer Russell, successful business guy Alex, and flighty sister Chainsaw - is well played, and there's clearly more subtext to their reunion than just the immediate issue at hand. Should they do something special and kind to honour their dad, or just throw away the ashes because he wasn't particularly nice to them? Nobody wants to keep them, but nobody is comfortable with the idea of just discarding them, and this makes for some funny scenes when one sibling at a time decides to take the lead. When things come to a head at a birthday party, there's finally the release of pent-up feelings that all the characters - and the audience - had been waiting for.
Everyone responds to tragedy differently, and everyone needs their own catharsis, and that's something that director Ken Adachi and co-writer Kyle Arrington observe very well. There are moments of quiet humour in there, and a scene at an abandoned dinosaur-themed mini-golf course, which is basically the location of my dreams. There's never any shortage of "young people going through existential crises" movies at Festivals, but 'Dead Dad' manages to be more palatable and affecting than most.