Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: ‘Almosting It’ is a sincere local effort

Boise’s William von Tagen’s “Almosting It” is the first locally shot feature to snag a run at The Flicks without a distribution deal. It’s a notable achievement because this is von Tagen’s first feature film.

“Almosting It” will play June 26-30. It also will play at the Parma Motor-Vu June 26-28 and July 2-5. Von Tagen also is working to get the film into more venues in Idaho and the Northwest.

Von Tagen wrote, directed and starred in this film that was shot in the Treasure Valley last summer under the working title “The Other Side of September.” It features veteran Hollywood actors Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”), Terry Kiser (“Weekend at Bernie’s”) and Boise’s Jane Merrow (“The Lion in Winter”), along with a host of local actors, some making their film debuts.

Von Tagen connected with “Simpsons” producer Richard Sakai, who mentored von Tagen on this project. The result is that the film’s production values score higher than most local fare. Boise’s beauty takes a lead role in its settings — from Zoo Boise to 10th Street Station to the Lowell Pool. The movie also features a strong soundtrack by Boise band Edmond Dantes.

The term “almosting it” comes from James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” referring to the idea of someone almost making it. In that vein, the central character, Ralph (von Tagen), has been only “phoning it in.” Now, this late twentysomething writer has decided to get his life on track — or at least moving in the right direction.

He works at a retirement community, rooms with his co-worker and bestie Maggie (Cassandra Lewis) and works on a science-fiction story that in his mind features his ex, Lorane (Annie Bulow), as the futuristic antagonist.

Then he runs into a beautiful caterer, Quinn (Ballet Idaho dancer Jessica Sulikowski). Encouraged by suave retiree Chet (Majors) and his buddy Mort (Kiser), Ralph decides to go for it. He will try to become the man Quinn wants him to be.

The idea is good fodder for this little indie rom-com, but there is a lack of on-screen chemistry between von Tagen and his would-be lovers (Sulikowski and Lewis; there’s a bit more connection with Bulow),and that stops the film’s spark. When Ralph and Quinn go off on their romantic adventure, there’s little sizzle. Later, though, there is an amusing moment where Ralph tries yoga but can’t stand on his head. It’s a cute metaphor for him trying to change, but he keeps falling back as he tries to keep up with Quinn. He will find the right girl, but only after he finds himself.

The more interesting relationships are between Ralph and his buddies Chet and Mort. It would have been fun to watch that element develop further to more fully capitalize on Majors’ and Kiser’s talent.

Still, “Almosting It” is endearing — especially for a hometown audience.