Donald Cried (2017) The Orchard/Comedy-Drama RT: 85 minutes No MPAA rating (language, sexual references, drug use, thematic material) Director: Kristopher Avedisian Screenplay: Kristopher Avedisian Music: Annie Pearlman (supervisor) Cinematography: Sam Fleischner Release date: March 10, 2017 (US) Cast: Jesse Wakeman, Kristopher Avedisian, Louise Krause, Ted Arcidi, Shawn Contois, Kate Fitzgerald.
I’d cry too if I had to spend any time with the pathetic loser that gives this insufferable movie its title. Let’s put it this way. If Donald Cried was a major studio comedy, Donald would be played by Zach Galifianakis. Of course, I use the term “comedy” in the loosest sense of the word. It’s supposed to be funny and I’m sure there are those who might find it amusing. I am not among them. I think it’s the most annoying movie I’ve had to endure in a while. It’s one of those micro-budgeted indie movies- aka “mumblecore”- that wants you to make you laugh at a character who you’d go out of your way to avoid in real life. I don’t mean that in a good way either. This guy Donald is a total loser. Then again, Donald Cried is populated almost entirely by unlikable characters. In fact, I can’t think of a single character I liked or cared about even remotely.
It all starts when Peter (Wakeman) returns to his hometown in Rhode Island to see to his recently deceased grandmother’s affairs. Peter is a condescending, arrogant jerk who just wants to take care of business and get out of there. The problem is that he lost his wallet and has no money or ID. He calls a friend to wire him money but the friend says he’s too busy. Ultimately and against his better judgment, he knocks on the door of his former best friend Donald (Avedisian). Donald is a man-child who still lives at home with his mom and stepdad. He’s socially inept and doesn’t understand or recognize boundaries. He still wears a greasy mullet and talks excitedly about the misadventures of their teen years. He really hasn’t changed that much since Peter last saw him about 15-20 years ago.
All Peter wants from his old friend is a ride to the funeral home to pick up his grandmother’s ashes and to borrow some money. Donald is eager to help because it means he’ll get to hang out with his best friend from high school again. An unwitting and unwilling Peter is forced to spend the day with this idiot. He gets to see him abused and debased by his boss at the local bowling alley where he works part-time. He gets dragged to an old acquaintance’s house who makes no bones about his dislike for Peter. They go out to breakfast where Donald proceeds to embarrass them both in front of a girl they both knew in high school. Donald even manages to cock-block Peter when he hooks up with the real estate agent (Krause, Martha Marcy May Marlene) handling the sale of his grandmother’s house. It’s just one awkward situation after another.
I honestly don’t see what’s funny about Donald Cried. If anything, it’s depressing. It’s set over the course of a single winter day. It’s one of those bleak, gray winter days where everybody is in a bad mood and you wouldn’t even get a half-smile from the cashier at Chick-Fil-A. I’ll give the movie credit for setting the right mood for the story (such as it is). Donald Cried is very low-key. The main characters’ shenanigans are neither funny nor interesting. Their conversations range from uncomfortable to idiotic. The only interesting thing about Donald Cried is the movie posters he has hanging on his bedroom walls- the 1979 horror movie Prophecy and the largely forgotten martial arts flick Force: Five (1981). Other than that, there’s really nothing to see.
Donald Cried is unpleasant, unfunny and uncomfortable. The two main characters are so annoying you just want to knock their heads together and call it a day. One guy is a conceited a-hole who thinks everything and everybody in his hometown is beneath him. He works in finance which means he sports a short haircut and wears a tan pea-coat and scarf. The other guy is simply pathetic. There are just some people who should remain in the past; Donald is a textbook example. I didn’t identify with either character. As for the movie, it’s no different from any other man-child comedy. It tries to make Donald sympathetic by showing his home life and how poorly he’s treated by his stepdad who sees him for the lazy, immature screw-up he is. Yes, by the end of Donald Cried, truths are revealed and revelations are made that supposedly change Peter for the better. I didn’t buy it, not for a second. The end of the movie is more anticlimactic than anything else. Nothing really gets resolved. It’s just a bad movie. It’s one of those movies that will make you cringe or look away. I was relieved when it was finally over. Hopefully, it will fade from memory quickly.