‘Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best’ Movie Review – Bring Your Kazoo
I didn’t have high hopes going into Ryan O’Nan’s film, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, which he wrote, directed and starred in, but I found something to love in the 98 minutes of indy music that followed as soon as co-star Michael Weston came on the screen.
O’Nan plays Alex, a depressed guitarist who gets dumped by his girlfriend, abandoned by his music partner, fired from his job and banned from playing for handicapped kids after punching one of them in the face…all in the first ten minutes of the film. He’s not having the greatest life, so when Weston’s Jim comes along and gets right in his face about them joining forces for a cross-country tour, Alex really has nothing to lose.
It helps that Jim’s crazy idea about using children’s plastic play instruments in their music turns out to be a big draw with unwashed college kids. And when Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel) hijacks the tour as their promoter/manager/requisite pretty girl, Alex’s life finally seems to be going somewhere.
Of course, that doesn’t last long and the dark moment is pretty dark if you’re a free-spirited musician whose idea of hell is a suburban home, an SUV, Bible study on Wednesdays and a mortgage that needs to be paid on time. I think we’re really supposed to empathize with Alex because he’s pretty good looking and he’s had a hard life of…um…self-imposed poverty that’s apparently forced him to write maudlin songs that don’t even include werewolves. I’m not sure why I didn’t feel for him. Maybe it was because there was Jim.
Weston played Jim with such joy that the whole movie brightens when he’s on screen. He’s just as poor as Alex with a far more messed-up family, but he sees life as something to be lived and enjoyed and not just suffered through. He’s wacky and funny and maybe annoying at first, but ultimately memorable in an otherwise mediocre film.
At the end of the day, this is a buddy film and a road trip film and a soul’s journey film all rolled into one. It doesn’t completely satisfy on any of those fronts individually, but if you like this sort of music and you’re okay with watching almost two hours of a cute guy strumming his guitar while his friend plays a plastic keyboard, this is the film for you.
Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best is currently out in limited theaters.