You have to ask yourself the question: “Why don’t we see Molly Shannon in bigger movies?” She made some really terrific comedies back in the late ‘90s, deed yeoman’s work for a decade and a half on Saturday Night Live and has done a ton of comedy series roles, but the big films don’t appear to be part of her work-mix.
The reason this question about Molly Shannon springs to mind is directly related to the news from Wolfe this past week that the DVD debut of writer/director Chris Kelly’s Other People will take place on Dec. 6.
Molly Shannon co-stars with Jesse Plemons (as Landry in the Friday Night Lights television series, plus such films as Bridge of Spies, Black Mass, Battleship, etc.) and she is nothing short of sensational.
Other People, an indie film production to be sure, had its film debut at Sundance earlier this year, hit the road to work the festival circuit and has been given a limited theatrical run (which continues in selected cities). The ARR, for the record, is 88 days.
She plays against type, but her humor and comic talents show through. Plemons plays her son, he’s a comedy writer, his personal life is in disarray and to make matters worse, his mom is dying of cancer. He returns to the family home in Sacramento to help care for his mother and this is where the bulk of the story takes place.
The first thing you have to get out of your mind is that Other People is one of those maudlin “disease of the week” telefilms that seem to populate certain cable channels. It’s actually a very personal film from Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly (five Emmy nominations for his work) — hence the connection with Molly Shannon — who is making his directorial debut here.
He worked though his own mother’s illness and death with a running blog and subsequently turned the experience into a working script and finally the finished film. The script is solid, the dialog is at once both hilarious and moving and the interaction between Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons makes this a film that you are going to want to see this December on DVD.
Yes, November and December are months that are loaded with all the big studio releases from the summer, but find the time for Wolfe’s Other People … you will not be disappointed in what Chris Kelly has delivered here.
And, you will, ponder the question, “why don’t we see Molly Shannon cast in more films like this?” Maybe they — they, meaning the “Hollywood” studios — don’t take her seriously? Other People puts that nonsense to rest.