By Don Simpson | January 31, 2012
Directors: Aaron Arendt (“May”), Todd Berger (“January”, “October”), Ian Eastin (“April”), Ben Grinnell (“April”), Doug Manley (“September”), Mary McIlwain (“June”), Bobby Miller (“March”), Daron Leah Nefcy (“March”), Bill Palmer (“February”), Andrew Putschoegl (“December”), Dee Austin Robertson (“August”), Michael Suter (“July”), Helena Wei (“November”)
Writers: Todd Berger (“January”, “October”), Ian Eastin (“April”), Ben Grinnell (“April”), Doug Manley (“September”), Mary McIlwain (“May”, “June”), Bobby Miller (“March”), Bill Palmer (“February”), Dee Austin Robertson (“August”), Michael Suter (“January”, “July”), Helena Wei (“November”), Tom Lenk (“December”), Blaise Miller (“August”), Marcus Jones (“August”), Daron Nefcy (“March”)
Starring: Meggan Amos, Jessica Antonucci, Lesley Bargar Suter, Todd Berger, Jessica Bianchi, Scott Bird, Abigail Blackmore, Kevin Brennan, Brandice Brenning, Bridgette Campbell, James Carpinello, Franco Castro-Marin, Tracy Chavis, Will Coleman, Mel Cowan, Russell Dykann, Ian Eastin, Jordan Ender, Jeff Grace, Alicia Hannah, Hilary Herbert, Darienne Hetherman, Michelle Johnson, James Jolly, Marcus Jones, Kevin Kuzma, Jennifer Lee, Tom Lenk, Shannon Joy Madden, Lorrena Magaña, Doug Manley, Rob McGillivray, Mary McIlwain, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tifanie McQueen, Blaise Miller, Bobby Miller, Nina Millin, Travis Nicholson, Kent Osborne, Alex Patino, Summer Perry, Paul Plunkett, Robert Poe, Angela Quintana, Sunny Rae, Dee Austin Robertson, Mark Roble, Zach Ross, Adriana Roze, Sebastian Felix Roze, Aubrie Shanelle Dean, Michael Suter, Zach Taylor, Jerry Trainor, Shaye Troha, Christina Ulloa, Blaine Vedros, Catherine Wadkins, Helena Wei, Shawn West, Hayley J Williams, Jose Zazueta
“I found out long ago, it’s a long way down the holiday road…” (Lindsey Buckingham, “Holiday Road”)
Named after Lindsey Buckingham’s song from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Holiday Road features 13 directors who assembled a 72-minute twistedly comedic anthology about twelve national holidays. In some ways, it seems like such a simple concept, to get a bunch of filmmakers together to shoot a collection of short films, each one focusing on a national holiday that corresponds with each month of the year. It seems so simple that I can only assume that it has been done before, but I can find no record of such a film… Well, other than Holiday Road, of course.
There were two rules for the Holiday Road filmmakers: they could not reuse any actors and each segment had to be between three and eight minutes in length. Writer/director/producer/actor Todd Berger was the only filmmaker to direct two months: “January” and “October.” Besides Berger (The Scenesters), I only recognize the names of two other directors — Andrew Putschoegl (Hello Caller) and Doug Manley (Modern Imbecile’s Planet World)…and, of course I know Holiday Road‘s producer-extraordinaire Kelly Williams.
I am not going to bother synopsizing any of the segments. I will just say that Holiday Road is not afraid to go to some very absurd and dark places, hence the non-synopsizing because I do not want to ruin the fun for y’all. What really surprises me about this collection of shorts is the consistency of the tone, especially in the writing and the performances. Call me naive but I honestly never would have guessed that the 13 shorts were written by 14 writers and directed by 13 directors. I can only surmise that they must have all partaken in the same purple Kool Aid — but, who am I to judge? Whatever they did, it bloody well works.
The only problem I have with Holiday Road is that it is like watching a countdown to the end credits — as the film progresses through each month of the year, we always know how much time is left until the end of the film. I kept getting distracted by my awareness of the time, but then a preponderance of really funny stuff distracted me from that distraction… So, it’s all good…