IFFBoston: Stingray Sam

29 April 2009, 6:40 am

Cory McAbee

Stingray Sam is the new space-western/musical from Cory McAbee of The American Astronaut fame. It compromises 6 10-minute episodes. Each mixes John Borruso’s surreal and colorful collages and expository narration by David Hyde Pierce with live-action black & white footage of Stingray Sam (McAbee), his partner The Quasar Kid (Crugie) and their friends and enemies. Each episode also includes a song by McAbee’s band (née Billy Nayer Show, rechristened American Astronaut).

McAbee might not find this a flattering comparison, but in addition to the obvious references (Flash Gordon serials, et al) Stingray Sam reminded me of Tim Heidecker and Eric Warehim’s Tom Goes to the Mayor. It’s not nearly as gross as the Adult Swim offering, but both are so over-the-top silly upfront that you could almost miss the underlying social criticism. And both deftly use awkward pauses as a comedic tool, as when bystanders react to Stingray Sam and the Quasar Kid’s hyper-elaborate secret handshake.

I though it was nifty keen, although the theme song is now stuck in my head (after hearing it six times) in a not-entirely-pleasant way. But really, how could I fail to like a movie in which someone chugs green olives beer-bong style?

* * *

Stingray Sam was the last of the half dozen Independent Film Festival Boston 2009 screenings I was able to catch. The 6 I saw made me wish I’d been able to see more; it seemed like a very strong set of offerings.

2009 is the first year I saw this many films at IFFBoston (maybe it’s taken me a while to transfer my loyalty from Filmfest DC?) and I think it was the friendliest film festival I’ve ever attended. I enjoyed several substantive conversations with total strangers comparing notes on what we had seen, and my list of films to keep an eye out for has only grown as a result.

One comment on “IFFBoston: Stingray Sam”

  1. Terri

    Sounds like a good one!!


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