One Movie Review

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The story of two friends drifting apart in a world of increasingly conflicting interests, One is the directorial debut of former fashion photographer's assistant and college ballplayer Tony Barbieri.

Meet Nick Razca (Kane Picoy), a twenty-something San Francisco trash collector who coulda been a contender in Major League Baseball if he hadn't started his career by socking his coach in the face. Now meet Charlie O'Connell, fresh out of the Big House after apparently assisting in his grandfather's suicide. Nick and Charlie are lifelong friends.

Now that Charlie's out of prison, Nick and his family (he still lives with his parents) have opened their doors to him indefinitely. Soon Charlie will be working the trash truck with Nick, but first he has some community service to do, under the management of a moderately plausible love interest named Sarah (Autumn Macintosh). Meanwhile, some bad guys are out to kill poor Charlie because he pissed some people off in prison.

Due to its horrendously amateurish scripting and direction, it took yours truly about 60 of this film's 88 minutes to learn all the background presented above; converting what seems at face value like an interesting story into little more than a tangle of bad editing and ambient noise.

And let's talk about the noise for a moment. While it's perfectly understandable that filmmakers on a budget might not produce the best possible audio tracks, Barbieri's insistence on having his actors talk with their mouths full for two-thirds of the movie is absolutely senseless. Coupled with the slow, pathetic dialogue, conversation between the characters serves little purpose beyond breaking up long periods of slurping spaghetti and shuffling feet.

So, based on observations from this film's failures, here are a few tips for you budding filmmakers out there: 1) When characters are speaking, it's a good idea to show them on camera -- at least some of the time. About a third of Macintosh's lines are spoken off-camera, sometimes showing just her hands so we know she's still there. It's a real tension killer. 2) Lay out your story up front. There's nothing wrong with plot twists and surprises, but it's a good idea to let your audience know right from the beginning that your movie is actually about something. 3) Keep it moving. Long, pointless silences may be common in real-life conversations, but should be kept to a minimum in movie-life, unless they convey some kind of meaning, which wasn't the case in any of One's innumerable long, pointless silences.

On the bright side, actors Jason Cairns and Autumn Macintosh show a lot of potential, and they might even have saved the film had Barbieri's direction not bungled the job so completely. Sadly. Kane Picoy's portrayal of Nick is one-dimensional and bland, but the highlight of the cast is Paul Herman as Nick's hot-headed father, Ted.

In the end, this flick has all the trimmings of a fourth-year film school final project and just isn't ready for the big screen. Barbieri's One probably could have pulled a B+ at UCLA, but at filmcritic.com it gets a D-.

One of a kind.

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One Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: NR, 1998

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