Tag Archives: Missi Pyle

Crooked Line

Glitter & Doom

by Rachel Willis

Being unfamiliar with all but one Indigo Girls song, I was still impressed with how well their music is worked into the romantic musical, Glitter & Doom.

Director Tom Gustafson weaves the tunes into the budding summer romance of Doom (Alan Cammish), an aspiring musician, and Glitter (Alex Diaz), a hopeful circus performer. These two are first drawn to one another while Glitter is filming an audition tape for clown school in Paris.

When the two meet again, the meet cute duet is a bit jarring at first, until we learn that our duo can sing. However, the scene is stolen by the choreography, which is a fun, entertaining highlight in what would otherwise be an underwhelming moment of connection.

There honestly isn’t much to this story, though. The characters seem made to encourage each other’s ambitions. And though they’re presented as opposites, their winning duets don’t help paint them as people with diametrically opposed life perspectives.

Sure, it’s hard not to notice Doom’s outlook matches his name. This is most obvious when he interacts with his mother (Missi Pyle). Glitter, on the other hand, radiates positivity, except when dealing with his loving but unsupportive mother (Ming-Na Wen, who has her own lovely singing voice). In fact, the mother-son relationships are the most interesting parts of the film—not exactly what you want when the focus of your story is a romance.

But when your two leads have the kind of chemistry that Cammish and Diaz have, it’s hard not to be pulled into their tale. Their ups aren’t very high, nor their lows very low, but it’s hard not to root for them – both as a couple, and as they pursue their dreams.

Not much really sets this movie apart except for the music, and each scene seems to drive you toward the next musical number. While it’s not entirely unappealing, it is a bit underwhelming.

Gator Bait


by Hope Madden

Two young Asian women are separated by 1400 miles but connected by their invisible daily struggle against countless racist, misogynistic slights. And also, this phone call, placed blindly by Emily (Midori Francis, The Good Boys, Oceans 8) to Sam (Jolene Purdy, Orange Is the New Black).

Emily stepped on her glasses in her hasty escape from ex, Charlie (Michael Patrick Lane). Her hands are zip-tied, she can’t see, she’s in the middle of the Michigan woods, but she has her cell phone. If she can get anyone on the line, maybe they can be her eyes and guide her to safety.

To a degree, this is a gimmick exploited in Randall Okita’s 2021 See for Me, but director Yoko Okumura makes it work somewhat organically when Emily reaches Sam, a misused Tallahassee convenience store cashier who’d recently misdialed looking for a pizza. 

Sam doesn’t believe the call is real, then doesn’t think she could possibly be the best person to help, but eventually relents. What follows is often tense, frequently poignant, sometimes a bit forced, but ultimately charming and satisfying. Even in moments where the contrivance is pulled a little thin, Gator Galore employee Sam anchors the antics emotionally and logically. While you are eager for Emily to survive, it’s Sam you’re rooting for.

Mainly (and wisely), writers Salvatore Cardoni and Brian Rawlins’s script puts the point of view someplace audiences can understand – a gas station convenience store. This simplifies things because it’s a very common, almost comforting location for a horror story. And, although we may or may not have been in the woods of Michigan running frantically and blindly from a maniacal ex, we’ve all been to a gas station convenience store.

Likewise, Purdy’s performance feels real, regardless of the absurdity of her situation.  Here is where the film struggles slightly, though. What goes on inside Gator Galore is a broad, garish, Gators n Guns adventure that crosses over to comedy, albeit incredibly tense and horrifically frustrating comedy. These scenes work, developing a hateful and sadly recognizable tension that launches the film’s anxiety toward its truly satisfying conclusion. It just sometimes feels like whiplash against the far more traditional wooded survival horror going on at the other end of the line.

Back in Tallahassee, Missi Pyle is, per usual, the ideal candidate to play entitled trash who truly believes that her slightest whim is of so much more value than any other possible situation that murder would be justifiable. I mean, is it even murder when you’re being so inconvenienced by a convenience store employee?!

Unseen is an angry film. Okumura’s is an angry voice, but it finds comfort and salvation in community. The film takes aim at casual racism, gaslighting and toxic white privilege but never lets anger overshadow her central relationship.