By Don Simpson | June 16, 2013
Director: George Griffith
Writer: George Griffith
Starring: George Griffith, Matthew Lillard, Jeffrey Doornbos, Samantha Lemole, Ahna O’Reilly, Jon Polito, James Urbaniak, Nathan Anderson, Giuseppe Andrews, Jay Giannone, Nick Jameson, Jack Conley, Joe Hursley, Amy Sloan, Nathan Wetherington, Edward Carnevale, Adam Harrington, Dalton Grant, Joe Holt, Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Liana Mendoza, Terence J. Rotolo, Clint Culp, Micah Cohen, John Posey
Plenty of films take place inside dark and sexy strip clubs, but George Griffith’s From the Head is probably the only one to bet set entirely under the harsh florescent glow of the men’s bathroom of one. You see, Shoes (George Griffith) is celebrating his third anniversary as the bathroom attendant, but no one seems to understand how a seemingly nice and normal guy like Shoes can work in such a thankless position for so long. The thing is, Shoes is really great at what he does. Shoes hovers over the sink, prepared for when the seedy customers of the nightclub need to wash their hands. Shoes turns on the water, squirts soap on their hands and provides the customer with a paper towel. He even holds the trash bin open for them. Some guys like Shoes’ jokes, while others utilize Shoes as a therapist or confessor; either way, Shoes has one goal, to milk the customers for as large of a tip as possible. There are, of course, the patrons who opt to forgo hand-washing altogether in order to avoid having to give Shoes a tip.
Strip clubs are often presented as the slimy underbelly of society, but Griffith’s film chooses to examine that myth a little more intimately. An endless stream of intoxicated men pass in front of Shoes, as From the Head examines the many kinds of people who frequent strip clubs. They each have their their own unique motivations and purposes for being there, including Shoes. George Griffith is a veteran strip club bathroom attendant who secretly recorded hours of conversations with customers, which explains the absurd authenticity of the characters. Adding to the realism, Griffith presents the narrative solely from Shoes’ perspective, in near real time; and since Shoes must remain in the bathroom to dote on his customers, so must the viewer. We experience everything just how Shoes does — well, except for the smells.