“That Feeling”, by Paul Inman. A.K.A “Hey there, Mary, what is the story? Save my ass from purgatory”

Aaaaand once again a Dollar Baby that you can watch it on-line, but this time for a limited time.

Have you ever had that feeling in which we can only say the name in French? That one, you know which one, the one that happens when you step in a place that you have never been before, but you could swear that it is not the first time you have been there. Or something you experience for the first time, but it seems so familiar. The French call it déjà-vu. Neo says that it happens when the Matrix is altered. Stephen King says that it might mean that you are in Hell. I think Paul Inman might agrees with Mr. King, because Inman adapted in such a beautiful way a Stephen King’s short tale called  “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French”. “That Feeling” is an almost perfect Stephen King short movie!

My story with this short movie began in 2021, at the second “Stephen King Rules” an on-line Dollar Baby Film Fest. This was the third time I had the chance to watch a Dollar Baby Film Fest and the first time I had the chance to watch this beautiful short movie. But I have a confession to make : I did not watch it live streaming, I recorded it. Please don’t judge (yet), I am a huge fan of Stephen King and I was dying to watch some movies at this film fest, but I had to stay with my daughter that weekend and I had to be a father during some movies I was looking forward to watching. So I did this for some movies on my phone so I could watch it later. “That feeling” was one of these movies. I remember I was at a McDonald’s drive-thru buying a Happy Meal for the kid when “That Feeling” was streaming. Sometimes I did look at the screen and I remember thinking “man, that looks good. Is it really an independent movie?

What beautiful cinematography!”. And I almost hit the car by doing this. I did not hit the car, but I did run to get the kid at home so she could eat the damned Happy Meal and I could watch some Dollar Babies that I recorded. And “That Feeling” was one of the best movies of that night!

But my story with this Dollar Baby did not end that night.

I was about to have my own Dollar Baby film fest here in Brazil and I had all the movies ready to go, all of them chosen and translated. And I had a hard time making the subtitles for this first edition of the film fest. But Paul Inman came to me and asked if there was still time to have his movie at the film fest. 

On one hand I was so happy that the director of such a great movie was interested in screening at the film fest, but on the other hand I was really sad to say “no” to him, cause it was almost September and the film fest was going to happen on September 21th. I would not have the time to translate and make the subs. So, with a heartbreak I said that to Paul, but I promised him that in the next time, for the next edition, he would be the first filmmaker that I would invite to screen a movie at “Long Live the King”.

And I kept my promise. So I had another chance not only to watch this beautiful Dollar Baby again, but also a chance to share it with a Brazilian audience. And I can assure you that every single time I screened this short movie here in Brazil, the audience went nuts!

Now I will explain a little bit of the reasons this movie is so well accepted here, but in a way that I won’t give too many spoilers so you can enjoy it by yourself once it is available to watch on-line for a limited time.

One of the many things I love about this Dollar Baby is its screenplay, written by Paul Inman (one of the many hats he wears in this movie). This short story from King is one of those that just keeps in your mind for a while. It is a really good short story, but It has been years since the first time I read it. I did remember what it was about and how it ended, but not the whole thing. So when I had the chance to first watch this movie it was still a new thing for me. And I had a great time. It is so well written in such a way that makes me think “man, I wish I was that good”. It is not easy to write a screenplay adapted from a great author aaaaand a story which has no linearity. Paul Inman did that and he nailed it. He was kind of 85% faithful to the original short story, but at the other 15% he allowed himself to make great changes or added new things. But he did that in a way that some filmmakers do and still makes sense, it is still a Stephen King’s story.

One of the things Inman changed was the age of the protagonists. In King’s version, Carol Shelton was an elderly woman and so was her husband, Will. They had a long life together, they got married years before the period when the story happens and we understand that through her narration.

The first thing Inman did was change the elder folk to a young couple at their Honeymoon. And still makes sense, it still tells the story the way King did. I always read the short tale before I write these reviews (this time it was an audiobook) and I was surprised when I saw that change, but Inman was still faithful to all the important events of Carol and Will’s life and the meaning of that to Carol. I haven’t had the chance to watch other versions of this short tale as dollar babies, but I do believe that having a young couple instead of an elder one is one of the things that makes “That feeling” different from other versions in a really really good way. Buuuuut this is not the change that makes this version reaaaaaaaly different from the others.

Paul Inman did something amazing that I doubt other filmmakers did adapting this short story and I am not talking about the VFX effects (I will get to that later). Paul Inman wrote not only one young Carol at her Honeymoon/ nightmare, he wrote 2 Carols!!!!!!

“That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French” is one of those introspective stories from King. There are so many inner thoughts of the main character (Carol) that makes you think “man, in a movie it would need a lot of narration and voice over.”. I have nothing against narrators or voice over, but let’s face it: if it is not well written it sucks! Paul Inman did not choose a narrator or voice over, he chose to have a second Carol in the movie! Yes, Carol is talking to herself, literally. She sees another Carol, talks to her, the Second Carol talks back and narrates what is about to happen when Will turns the car at the next corner. And it is such a clever way to work déjà-vus at a movie!!!! Thank you for that, Paul. Having a Main Carol and a Second Carol is one of the best things about your movie. Yes, Cait Salvino had a double shift as an actress, but she nailed it!

But before we talk about Cait, let’s talk about the other members of the cast: Ian Blanco (Will,  the husband) was really good at his role, a perfect womanizer “trying” to be a husband. Yeah, he is still a douchebag, in such a way that he makes us hate that face and that smile. And then I remembered it is a movie and he is an actor, so I laughed and thought “great acting”.

Another great actor at this Dollar Baby was Gregory French. He plays Carol’s father and has only one scene with her, but it is such an important scene and his acting is so powerful. I do believe that he is an old Irish man suffering for his daughter’s choice at that moment. Every single time I watch this movie, these scenes touch me. Thank you, Gregory!

Another actress that we should talk about before we get back to Cait Salvino is Bonnie Ryerson. She plays Carol’s grandmother and she is really good at it. At one of the first scenes of the movie Bonnie’s character gives the catholic tone that the movie will carry on. At this first scene she plays with a younger Carol, a Kid Carol, and first we think Bonnie is that kind of sweet old lady talking to her granddaughter. But then, with one single line, we start to hate that old bitch (Forgive my French, Gregory). And later, in her second scene with now an older Carol we better understand that character and one of the main themes of the movie : Catholic Guilt! That is the main theme of the movie, they are always talking about guilt, hell and consequences for our acts. And that is one of the reasons the Brazilian audience liked this movie so much, because it is a “Catholic country” (if it is not the biggest religion in here, it probably is the second). Bonnie’s character has a reason to be a bitch, so thank you Bonnie. Thank you so much for this despicable grammar .

But let’s now talk about the actress who most worked in this movie, Cait Salvino  and her double shift (Did you pay her double , Paul? You should!) Cait Salvino was amazing in this movie, really amazing. She makes us believe that she is really lost and trying to understand what is happening. And when she sees and starts to interact with the Second Carol, man… sometimes she just wants to get rid of that double , other times she seeks for help from the only one that can truly understand her. It is so cool. And the Second Carol, man… a moody Carol,  a tired Carol, a desperate Carol… her irony, her contempt for her husband, her agony…. At some moments this Second Carol reminded me of Bergman movie ” Wild Strawberries” , especially when Second Carol is only watching before she starts to interact with the Teenage Carol or the Main Carol. Each Carol played by Cait Salvino has their particularities, almost two different Carols, although they are the same Carol. But they are at different “timelines”: for the Main Carol these things are happening for the first time, but how many times has the Second Carol lived the same things? It reminds me of “The Dark Tower”. Why? Well, not only because of the Easter egg in the movie, but also because this “how many times Second Carol has lived these things?” reminds me when I read a theory about The Dark Tower’s first book , The Gunslinger, where King subtly wrote that it was not the first time Roland has walked that path to the Dark Tower.

The last thing I would like to talk about this Dollar Baby is the VFX effects: Paul Inman wrote an essay that we from SKSM posted sometime ago. And in it Paul says some interesting things about the VFX, but he opens the text saying that he is not a VFX artist. Well, I disagree. Sure, sometimes it is not a Hollywood VFX, but it is still pretty good. It is more amazing to think about when we know that Paul had such a low budget. You did it yourself, Paul. You studied and did it yourself. And I can assure you it’s not bad. Something really amazed me, especially when I read that you had a Chroma key at the car scene. I really thought that the scene was shooted without the Chroma key. I read what Paul said and after that, when I watched it again for this review I almost saw it, but just because I knew I had something to look for.

But even then, man, Paul Inman, you had a great cinematographer too. John Leonard did a great job at lighting up that scene, the shadows at the husband’s face and also in Second Carol’s face, man, that fooled me. It still fools me, even when I watch it on the big screen. The reflection of the airplane at that mirror too, man, it was pretty good. The signs on the road, one I noticed at the first time, but some others I only saw after reading the essay. And no, Paul, I have no idea where it was that you erased a car during the car scene. Please, tell me!

“That feeling” is a great movie. I wish I could say more things about it, but I would hate to give spoilers. Because, yes, you can watch this dollar baby. For a limited time: at the Lift-Off film fest you can watch “That feeling” on-line until 5/20/24 and you can also vote to get it into the next round of the festival. And please,  DO VOTE, cause the most votes make it to round two where judges will decide which films to put onto the Shortlist for the Lift-Off Season Awards at Pinewood Studios!

Where can you watch and vote? Click the link below: (Vote for letter label C for That Feeling)

Choose “Trendsetters:” https://liftoff.network/lift-off-sessions-may-2024/

Or you can also try direct checkout: https://checkout.liftoff.network/trendsetter-shorts-may-sessions-2024

And when you’re ready to vote: https://liftoffnetwork.typeform.com/May24Trends

Ok, it is not for free. You will need to pay a fee to watch the movie, $ 12,00 USD. But I promise you that it’s worth it. And once you pay to watch it you can also watch every movie in the same category. I don’t know if you guys are used to watching short movies or just the ones based upon King’s stories, but if you are not used to watching short movies this is a great way to start. Do yourself a favor and pay the $ 12,00 USD fee. After that, watch as many short movies as you can. Believe me, you are gonna get addicted to short movies.

And please, come back here at SKSM and share your thoughts about “That feeling” with us.

The dollar baby’s grade? We from SKSM give Paul Inman’s “That feeling” 5 fingers from the dead guy’s hand! Or maybe it is a 10, because I got the feeling that I already did write this review before and gave the same grade for the movie. Is it The Matrix working ok for you guys?

That is it for today, Constant Readers. Hope you guys  give a hand to a fellow filmmaker by watching his movie and voting for it. And I hope you guys like the movie, I know I do.

See you next time.

Leonardo Granado.

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