Film Reviews Cat

Proper Binge (2017)


“Proper Binge” is a story about a young man who deals with alcoholism, and a group of friends that support each other in good and bad times. 

This movie seems to be inspired by the television series “Trailer Park Boys”, but has a higher amount of drama, and a lower amount of comedy. An Alaskan version of “Trailer Park Boys” is a great concept, but only if you can make the comedy really work. Sadly, there is not enough comedy and way too much drama going on which makes it very difficult to watch.

However, that might not be the main problem of this film because the main issue is that almost all of the actors either deliver a flat, or melodramatic performance. The latter is problematic when you try to cover serious topics such as alcoholism because it comes across as a parody. And there is nothing wrong with using Alcoholism in a parody but it feels not balanced here as there is too much serious drama going on. The other issue is that I have no clue why this movie is in black and white while the last five minutes are in color. Normally it would be obvious to me why such a decision was made, but I can’t think of one here.

A major positive aspect of this film is that the camera shots were good, and that certain scenes were kind of funny. However, “Proper Binge” could have been a much better film if everything was shot in a short film format (40 min max). The reason behind this is that it would feel significantly less like a student project and more of a story with a lot more focus. Certain characters are totally irrelevant in my opinion, and many locations were used to get the story, or lack thereof, going. I think that everything could have been shot in five locations if there was a clear focus. Either you focus on the drama aspect, or you focus more on comedy. Film locations should add something significant to the overall story. The moment you start to use setting, and set for its own sake is the moment that you lose the story. There are some exceptions, but that is not relevant in this case because this movie wants to be a story driven movie.

“Trailer Park Boys” is a very specific kind of comedy that is very difficult to recreate, and I am not even sure if that was the goal here because the opening seems very meta. With the latter I mean that it does seem that the events are based on reality. It does say so in the beginning, but I am not sure if this is true or not. Moreover, the dialogue is very quirky and simple, but then again this probably is the intention of the writer. And this is the entire problem. I am not sure what this movie is trying to do, or trying to be. 

Maybe I should be more forgiving towards this film and accept that this movie was made with a low budget and in the Alaska film scene/community. I can imagine that it is very difficult to find new decent actors in a place that is not like LA where you can find at least one good actor in any given coffee place. So I understand that it must be very difficult in such an environment. However, I think that the term “less is more” is very applicable here because it would force the story to develop more. I really wish that the conversations were deeper if this was a serious drama. I also wish that the comedy was properly developed if this was a comedy. Right now it is neither of them.

Directors: Michael Burns, Dean Q. Mitchell. Writers: Michael Burns, Dean Q. Mitchell

Bradford James JacksonBurgess ‘Buzz’ Zwink (as Bradford Jackson)
Jeremy BlakeSteve Plummer
Berick CookJason Hamlin
Cassandre LeighBrianna Larson
Thomas G. JacobsHenrik Munson (as Thomas Jacobs)
D’Artagnon MooninAlex Gubser
Cheyenne BuchananCliff Zwink
Ron HolmstromFrank Larson
Lois SimensonMother Zwink
Jefferey BarronBig Bartender Bob
Arthur MooninUncle Harvey
Rod MehrtensFreddie
Levi A. TaylorBig Back-Up Bartender
Michael B. DillonRoy
Bianca PurcellLady Cop

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