2020 Milwaukee Film Festival: “DINNER IN AMERICA”
DINNER IN AMERICA was destined for the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Cinema Hooligante program the moment it was made. It’s a punk rock love story with a bit of REPO MAN in its dna.
DINNER IN AMERICA finds punk rocker Simon (Kyle Gallner) on the run from the cops, at odds with his bandmates, and out of cash. He falls in with Patty (Emily Skeggs), who’s so drugged out on prescription medications that she kind of goes through life in a walking daze. A surprisingly sweet love story ensues.
The first 15 minutes or so of DINNER IN AMERICA had me concerned that I wasn’t going to make it through. It’s aggressively in your face in the editing and the unlikable reactions of its protagonist. When when of the first actions from your protagonist is vomiting on screen you know that it’s not going to be pleasant.
But, DINNER IN AMERICA has more than aggression on its mind. Between Simon’s punk aggression and Patty’s drugged out stupor is something approaching balance. Hijinks ensue, including a very funny revenge against a pair of bullies, but Kyle Gallner and Emily Skeggs have an undeniable chemistry that makes them something akin to soul mates. And director Adam Rehmeier leans into that chemistry for all its worth. When it’s just the two of them on screen, the film absolutely works and there’s more of just the two as the film goes on. Plus it culminates in a real banger of a song.
DINNER IN AMERICA is an unexpected surprise of a movie. The aggression was expected as you get the punk rock energy simply from the promo photo. But, having one of the best love stories of the year in this package is a total surprise and entirely worth seeing the film for
DINNER IN AMERICA is streaming throughout the 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival which runs from October 15 to 29, 2020. Tickets to individual films and passes to the festival as a whole can be purchased via Milwaukee Film.