|Jesse Wakeman and Kris Avedisian|
Donald Cried is one of those movies that you're not sure whether you're supposed to awkwardly laugh, cringe or do both. The film centers around former childhood friends Peter (Jesse Wakeman) and Donald (Kris Avedisian) from Warwick, RI. Peter left for New York and changed. Donald, still lives with his mom (and his horrid stepdad) and has lived a rather dreary unchanged life.
Peter has returned home to settle his grandmothers affairs. He looses his wallet and realizes that the only person he has left to ask for help is Donald. From there everything is awkward...bizarre...insane...intense...at times just outright painfully uncomfortable.
When we first meet Donald, my first reaction was, 'oh hell no! Don't ask this questionable guy for anything...walk wherever you need to go...panhandle, anything just don't ask Donald. But of course he does. You learn right off this isn't going to be an easy afternoon starting with the weird bedroom scene which sees Donald butt naked in front of clearly uncomfortable Peter while proudly showing off his autographed porn poster.
Little by little you start to realize that Donald's annoying and odd behavior brings out the fact that Peter, who can't wait to be rid of Donald, wasn't such a nice friend back when. Donald goes from childlike to aggressive and back again at the blink of the eye getting a little payback while humiliating Peter throughout their adventure. A part of you feels sorry for Donald while a part of you just wants to punch him. At the same time, you wonder what and how bad is Peter's defect. He hasn't been back home in about twenty years because he doesn't like how he feels when he's there. He's been so absent from his grandmothers life that the nursing home staff thinks he's an imposter due to Donald visiting her as Peter...which is creepy and yet enduring. One has to wonder just how good life really is in New York for Peter. How is it that there's nobody in all of New York that he can call in an emergency that would make that roughly three and a half hour drive to Warwick with some money and to help him out.
After an increasingly bizarre day that eventually sees the pair bonding over memories, it all comes to a head. By the end, Peter, after witnessing Donald's stepfather belittle him over breakfast, seemingly understands Donald better even offering him a bit of genuine friendship as they say goodbye. While I wouldn't want to hang out with either of them, I found that I don't find them as intolerable as I did when we first met them and you realize this odd adventure needed to happen between them. Both Avedisian and Wakeman give appropriate, awkwardly entertaining performances.
Donald Cried is in theaters now.
Director/writer/star Kris Avedisian expertly deconstructs the contemporary obsession with the "man-child" in this darkly funny story about former childhood best friends who reconnect decades later in their working-class Rhode Island neighborhood. Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) left his childhood home of Warwick, Rhode Island to reinvent himself as a slick, Wall Street mover and shaker. When he's suddenly forced to return home to bury his grandmother, he loses his wallet on the trip and ends up at loose ends. Stranded and broke, Peter looks to the only person he can think of to help him out - his next door neighbor and former childhood friend Donald (played by Avedisian). The ever-eccentric Donald hasn't changed a bit, and what starts as a simple favor turns into a long and unhinged van ride into their past. Painfully awkward moments and increasingly bizarre – and dangerous – hijinks ensue, as the friends rediscover their stifled aggression and teenaged rebelliousness. Avedisian’s pitch-perfect first feature is a brilliant twist on the family-reunion melodrama and the classic buddy comedy.
TRT: 85 Minutes
Directed by Kris Avedisian
Produced by Kyle Martin
Written by Kris Avedisian, Kyle Espeleta and Jesse Wakeman
Starring: Kris Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause