The January 10, 2017 DVD/TVOD release (after a January 6, 2017 Los Angeles theatrical run) of the amusing art-house comedy "Hickey" helps establish Gravitas Ventures as the go-to source for such quality stuff that the multiplexes and larger home-video companies foolishly shun. The (Unreal TV reviewed) October 2016 Gravitas release of the Woody Allenesque comedy "Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends" is another prime example of the greatness that is Gravitas.
Adorkable brilliant MIT-bound Ryan "Hickey" Chess discovering on arriving at the small-chain car and home stereo store where he works with fellow quirky recent high-school graduates that their employer is destined for closure unless the business moves a seemingly insurmountable amount of merchandise in eight hours evokes strong thoughts of the felony-level under-rated 1995 film "Empire Records." The latter has a charming outsider who finds a home at the titular independent music emporium facing the challenge of avoiding an imminent sale to a Tower Records clone. Both films even feature an unrequited love and a hilarious frantic dance scene.
The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-DRIPPING "Hickey" trailer includes most of the best moments of the film while providing an accurate sense of what the movie offers.
Every child of the '80s knows that both "Records" and "Hickey" respectively are the son and grandson of the classic 1985 John Hughes film "The Breakfast Club." All three present teens that represent different stereotypes with a daunting challenge only to have them join forces and learn over the course of a day that no one really knows the person with whom they are thrown together and that all of us are not as different as we think. Don't you forget about any of them!
Ryan further must decide whether to move ahead with plans to move across the country for his free ride at MIT or attend UCLA to be closer to those whom he does (and hopes to) love.
The unrequited love in the case of "Hickey" is pretty and nice co-worker/aspiring musician. Chess has yet to make his move on her and will lose the chance to do so if the store closes for good on the day that may live in infamy. Having unfiltered best bud (and fellow geek) Jeremy on hand to goad him does not help matters. It does set the stage for a hilarious scene in which Jeremy coerces Ryan to drop trou allegedly for his own good after figuratively putting the ball in his court.
Other memorable scenes include a good-natured discussion on having Jewish traits without being one of the chosen people and having hyper skaterat Derek unrealistically gush about his upcoming college experience.
On a deeper level, Ryan is dealing with the mother of all smothers. Mrs. Chess is recently divorced and too quick to pin her hopes on Ryan. The nature of this relationship further prompts speculation regarding the timing of the divorce.
The other cast of characters is tough and scary working-class girl Ellen, wimpy and underappreciated manager Gary, and hilarious bully/disgraced former jock regional manager Brady. Brady making moves on Carly provides Ryan another obstacle to happiness.
The aforementioned fresh twists that writer/director Alex Grossman (who is the winner of the Best Director Award for "Hickey" at the 2016 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival) puts on the "Club" and "Records" formula while staying true to the earlier films makes "Hickey" work. Ryan is the brilliant and nice quiet boy next door for whom most people wish the best. His circle of friends are the kids who entertain us. Ready, Set, Go see this one.
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