Tribeca: Ordinary World

Note: when this film premiered at Tribeca, it was called Geezer.

Perry is the Geezer in question, a middle-aged suburban dad with edgy hair and a family he loves, but he’s just a little bit checked out of his ordinary life. As he turns 40 he’s stewing in what-ifs, foremost among them, what if I hadn’t left my punk rock band just as it was maybe about to take off?

He’s no semblance of a musician now. He works in a hardware store and only manages to sneak in a few chords around his kids’ morning routine. But on the occasion of this milestone birthday he decides to treat himself to the wildest party a has-been can muster before noon and he runs in to an old flame who reignites old dreams.

Geezer_filmIt’s not exactly ground-breaking material but here’s the gimmick that’ll put butts in theatres: it’s Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong playing Perry. And is it pretty effing cool to see him play the guy he might have been had his own post-punk outfit not taken off when it did? Yes, yes it is.

So then the question you’re next going to ask is: Holy shit, can Billie Joe act? And the answer is no, no he can’t. I mean, the director, Lee Kirk, told us he was a great actor, but the movie seemed to indicate that the Kirk’s pants were on fire. Sean thought he was okay – inoffensive, but he never forgot for a 720x405-Geezer_press_1moment that he was watching Billie Joe Armstrong. I, on the other hand, thought it was a scootch worse than that. Unnatural. Self-conscious. Very “you can tell I’m acting because my hand is over here on my hip, which means I’m going through some internal conflict I’m not subtle enough to convey any other way.” And yet I’m not going to condemn him because the movie really is a vehicle for him. He’s what makes it cool and relevant, makes the movie rise above the other mid-life-crisis\path-not-taken meditations. Plus, Kirk pads the cast with some better talent: Judy Greer as the old flame, Selma Blair as the current wife, Chris Messina as the scowling brother, Fred Armisen as an ex-bandmate.

The theme may be familiar, but I still admired the writing. Kirk tries to take a fresh perspective, never blaming the wife and kids for Perry’s lack of success. geezerThe regret without resentment shows maturity I’m surprised to see in a character like Perry. Billie Joe never quite transcends the role, but there is an honest vulnerability there that’s a little charming. And Billie Joe is not just a casting liability, he’s an asset to the soundtrack because he’s written some original music for it, and the movie is never more confidant than when Armstrong is performing. In this he excels. The songs he wrote are great and I imagine they’ll be invading your radio waves sometime soon, lending the movie some major credibility.

I can be certain about the music because we were treated to a concert immediately following the screening. Billie Joe had Green Day drummer Tré Cool backing him up and Jesse Malin on rhythm guitar. They launched into the film’s first song, Devil’s Kind, with Cg0_FVfWYAAgOcuan energy that defies the fact that Armstrong is in fact a middle-aged father of two. They played a couple of Green Day tunes as well, Scattered and then American Idiot, which morphed into Bad Reputation. Oh, did I not mention that Joan Jett was in the house? Yeah, she has a small cameo in the film but she got up on stage and showed the boys what a scene-stealing badass she still is. Her voice hasn’t aged a single minute and the woman’s still sporting leather pants. Armstrong closed the night with Ordinary World, the film’s acoustic ballad, and I couldn’t help but wonder at the twinkly goodness of my life. In the movie of my life, there is no path not taken.

 

Note: Geezer has since undergone  name change. Now known as Ordinary World, it will see a release October 14 2016 – on DVD\streaming and in select theatres.

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20 thoughts on “Tribeca: Ordinary World

  1. Divorce With Me

    You have the best job in the world!

    Movie sounds interesting based on concept and casting. I will watch it with the expectation that he can’t act but his background makes it somehow more authentic. 🙂 Can’t wait! Sounds fun!

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    1. Sean

      Jay’s right that it’s a well-written take on a midlife crisis, and while Billie Joe is not really an actor his casting is a definite plus for the movie overall. Because the songs are great and that adds a lot – you have no doubt this character could have made it big as a musician if things had been just a little bit different. That goes a long way to making the story feel real.

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    1. Jay Post author

      On that basis, yup, totally worth it. I don’t mean to warn people off. Just to remember that acting is not what he’s known for, and likely will never be.

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  2. Jay Post author

    And Billie Joe HAS acted before. I saw him on an episode of Nurse Jackie. He played a junkie, which I believe he also has experience with, so it may not have necessitated much acting. And he was on Broadway, in the Green Day musical American Idiot. Did anyone see him do that?

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  3. Judi Biesiada Jakubowski

    I was there as well and Billie Joe’s acting is not nearly as bad as they described. He is incredibly charming in the role and brought a spark to Perry that I’m not sure any one else could have. As the writer said, this film was nothing different than has been done in the past, but it was a fun film because of Billie Joe. Will he win any Oscars, hell no. But he was perfect for this film. The songs are great and he sounded amazing in the post-movie show. It makes me ever more anxious for their new album.

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