Adventures of Power is one of the best movies I have seen in quite awhile. I have to be honest, the picture on the cover made me think of Napoleon Dynamite, a film I did not care for all that much. But when I saw that comedy legends Michael McKean and Jane Lynch were in the cast, as well as the lovely Shoshannah Stern, I opted to give it a chance. I am so glad that I did.
The movie revolves around a young man named Power (Ari Gold, who also wrote and directed the film), who loves to play air drums. He lives with his aunt (Lynch), and works with his father (McKean), who is less than approving of the hobby. Actually, no one in his small town, whose lifeblood relies on a copper mining operation, approves much of Power, especially when he starts drumming on the job, at the mine. Facing tough times brought on by a greedy mine owner, Dick Houston (Richard Fancy), Power’s father leads a strike. Despite disliking Power and his strange behavior, the air drummer inspires downtrodden workers to strike not only in his home town, but across the country, and to stand up to ‘peace keepers’, who put Power’s father in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Power heads first to Mexico, and then to Newark, to discover his niche. In Newark, Power meets and falls in love with Annie (Stern), a deaf girl with a mother who hates rock and roll. He is taken in by Chinese restaurant owner Michael Fong (Chi Ling Chiu), and enrolls under the tutelage of drumming legend Carlos (Steven Williams), who has had both of his hands replaced with hooks. Carlos’s class competes in a televised air drumming contest, and their biggest competitor is Power’s foil, the son of Dick Houston, famous drumming sensation Dallas Houston (Adrian Grenier).
It’s truly an inspiring story. It has cheese, but it never goes to obnoxious territory, and manages to be emotionally moving, even in the least believable bits. The soundtrack, a mix of beloved classics and original songs by Ethan Gold, beautifully accentuates the plot, and is one of the best elements. There are so many layers to the story, from a father / son relationship, to how the deaf can appreciate music, to believing in yourself. Lynch has precious little to do, sadly, but McKean delivers a pitch-perfect performance. Grenier also shines, leaving little doubt that he can break his typecast from Entourage, and is actually a very good actor.
The movie has won a number of film awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the San Antonio Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Vail Film Festival and the Indie Memphis Film Festival, and Best Feature Film at Trimedia Colorado Festival. It deserves every one of them. It’s a comedy, sure, but it has so much authentic heart in it, it could move almost any viewer. It certainly got to me.
The DVD is loaded with tons of special features. There are trailers, deleted and extended scenes, shorts featuring Power, short films by Gold, an interview with drummer Neil Peart (who appears in the movie as himself), outtakes from Nick Kroll’s character, and music videos. It’s the most special features I’ve seen on a single disc release in a long time. I think my favorite bit was the trippy music video “Some of Them Are Nice Days”, sung by five psychiatrists, including Grenier, who also played a patient in the video, sometimes on screen as two characters at the same time.
Phase 4 Films will release Adventures of Power on DVD on January 25th. I highly recommend you check it out.