By Dirk Sonniksen | May 27, 2013
Director(s): John Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker
Writer: John Mitchell
Starring: Nils d’Aulaire, Jay Klaitz, Julie Ann Emery, Dee Snider, Onata Aprile, April L. Hernandez
Bill (Nils d’Aulaire) is a musician who plays solo gigs dressed as an alien from the planet Hondo. That aside, Bill’s life appears pretty standard (a wife, a kid, a job) until Kevin (Jay Klaitz) crash-lands in his spaceship…from the planet Hondo. Kevin has been sent to Earth to locate General Trius, who is actually Bill, because Bill is really from the planet Hondo too. Bill was initially sent to exterminate Earth’s inhabitants because Hondo and its people are on a collision course with a comet and need a new home. But here on Earth, Bill has discovered music, an art form that does not exist on Hondo; Bill spared the earthlings and is living happily among them, but Kevin is determined to follow through with the plan. And so it continues with lots of alien tomfoolery, good guys, bad guys, and some really great music from our Hondonians, Bill and Kevin.
I’ve never been a big fan of the banjo, but I must say that The History of Future Folk has led to at least a partial conversion with Nils d’Aulaire’s character laying down some tasty banjo licks interlaced with tales of wormholes and other oddities of his Hondo homeland. The music only gets better after Bill and Kevin meet, with Kevin learning a bit of guitar himself and joining Bill on his gigs and the two becoming the house band of sorts at Larry’s club. Larry (Dee Snider) takes a shine to our two musicians/space travelers as do Larry’s patrons, with the duo creating a sensation at the small neighborhood club. With so many caught up in the awesomeness of Future Folk, stardom is just around the corner. But wait! There’s a planet to save!
The History of Future Folk is the first large-scale directing project for John Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker, and while Walker has worked on some big films, namely serving as executive producer on It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Mitchell has kept, until now, to short films like Super Powers and Goodnight Bill. If The History of Future Folk is any indication of further endeavors from these guys, I’m excited, as the two co-directors successfully brought back a comedic vibe that reminds me a lot of films I watched growing up in the 80s, like The Goonies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and Back to the Future.
And speaking of newcomers, Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz are perfect as our two Hondonians, guys whose acting skills are paled only by their musical abilities (the soundtrack should be included in the DVD set). Rounding out the cast are Julie Ann Emery as Bill’s wife Holly, and Onata Aprile as Wren, Bill and Holly’s ridiculously cute daughter. April L. Hernandez does excellent work as Carmen, the tough cop who softens to Kevin’s musical advances, and Dee Snider, another memory from the 80s, is quite the competent actor as Larry, the guy who gives Bill and Kevin a place to jam…and crash.
With it’s quirky, endearing premise, funny characters, and great music, The History of Future Folk is a comedy that has a cult classic feel with a timelessness that lies in its ability to be quite funny while appealing to a wide audience; from Kevin’s discovery of music, the band’s onstage antics, Kevin’s hilarious serenade to his love, and even Kevin’s first kiss, it’s content that is pretty much family-appropriate across the board. To be honest, there aren’t many funny films I’m able to watch with my kids without having to cover their eyes and ears at various points, but The History of Future Folk is one I’m looking forward to sharing with the boys, and others—like you. Hondo!
The History of Future Folk is available via VOD and iTunes on June 4.