Dorman charms as struggling singer / songwriter in “Hard Luck Love Song” – Sightlines
Michael Dorman captures the downtrodden charm of a troubadour rocking the pool sideways in “Hard Luck Love Song,” opening October 15.
He plays the role of Jesse, who has returned to his hometown broke and seemingly out of luck. And it quickly becomes apparent that he earns his bad luck by making bad choices.
Writer / director Justin Corsbie, working with screenwriter Craig Ugoretz, takes inspiration from Todd Snider’s song “Just Like Old Times” and tells what they think is the backstory of the original story of a renewed romance.
Jesse’s romantic interest is Carla (Sophia Bush), who turns out to have an ad in the local weekly offering her services. His pimp, played by RZA, isn’t too amused when he finds out that his daughter is heading to a shady hotel to see Jesse.
Related: “Hard Luck Love Song” Creators Draw On Austin Musical Tradition
But that turns out to be the least of Jesse’s problems. His real problem lies in the various thugs he encounters in pool halls and nightclubs. He acts like a rube and agrees to make bets on a game of pool, then loses the first one, chaining them alone to double the money on the next. And then he runs the table, like Paul Newman’s Eddie Felson taking on Jackie Gleason’s Minnesota Fats.
There is, however, a big difference. In “Hard Luck Love Song” the billiard player who gets pushed around is called Rollo, played in ominous obscurity by Dermot Mulroney.
“I don’t like to be pushed around,” Rollo told Jesse. “And things I don’t like end up in a hole in this fucking desert.”
Despite Jesse’s poor choices, it’s clear he’s a good guy with a sense of humor. At first, he eats lunch in a restaurant and tells the waitress to “hold the chicken salad”, an obvious reference to the character of Jack Nicholson in “Five Easy Pieces”. But the waitress has no idea.
He also finds a $ 100 bill on the street and goes to a nearby liquor store to buy alcohol, but buys another bottle for a homeless man he saw a few minutes ago in going to the store.
Jesse’s relationship with Bush’s Carla also reveals a good heart – or at least the remnants of it. When a cop shows up to force Jesse and Carla to calm down due to noise complaints from guests in neighboring rooms, Jesse pulls out a photo of Carla when the two were in high school and explains that they are spending a night in the school. honor of the good old days. .
In short, Jesse is a charmer, so he’s easy to root for, even if he makes fun of the wrong people. And Dorman is just the guy to play it, having not only a good singing voice, but also sharp pool skills – and a somewhat hung, hound character.
The story of an oppressed troubadour is nothing new, especially in the realm of American music and films exploring these themes. But Corsbie is making the most of her rendition of Snider’s song. And Dorman helps make the film a winner.
“Hark Luck Love Song” opens in Austin at the Arbor, Barton Creek 14 and Hill Country Galleria 14. Corsbie and producer Allison R. Smith are scheduled to do a Q&A after the 6:50 pm screening at l’Arbor Friday, October 15.