Two Cents & A Footlong (2024)
Two Cents & A Footlong (2024)

Genre: Short and Drama Running Time: 11 min.

Release Date: February 11th, 2024 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Kanin Guntzelman Actors: George Russo, Saul Trujillo, Arielle Uppaluri

 


 

“W

elcome to Subclub,” drones a decidedly unenthusiastic employee (Saul Trujillo), who clearly doesn’t want to be toiling in his monotonous job (his mouth stays slightly agape in that perfectly apt mannerism that suggests that even the act of breathing and communicating in this locale is stifling). Expectedly, his followup question of “How’s it going?” is equally drenched in disregard, though the customer, accountant Rodger (George Russo), takes the query with a touch more rumination than most.

“I don’t talk to anyone much anymore.” An insomniac who has once again endured a birthday with zero fanfare and participation by others (ordering a Hawaiian Dream sandwich with provolone, toasted, appears to be his only celebratory act), Rodger decides to ponder his life and his decisions, right there in front of the clerk. Initially, it’s humorous, as they engage in small talk that segues into personal tidbits, but then it grows morbid as revelations about an unfulfilled career potential and unsatisfying routines come to the forefront. Eventually, it’s antagonistic, as existential notions about expectations and social standards emerge; the escalation from dour to enraged is abrupt.

“Are you happy?” Rodger momentarily wishes to drag down those around him, desperately in need of some commiseration (others’ happiness appears to be as crushing as his own wealth of psychological issues), but his lapse in civility leads to a second of unanticipated hopefulness – a solid note on which to conclude. This little interaction is a decent subject for a short film, not outstaying its welcome and getting its point across unambiguously and succinctly. Rodger overthinks, but audiences won’t have to, which is an increasing rarity in shorts – many of which opt for abstract ideas that bamboozle rather than entertain. Plus, the cinematography is crisp and the acting is exceptional; “Two Cents & A Footlong” may not be as shocking or life-changing (or affirming) as it intended (the spontaneous reevaluation of a person’s history is likely meant to mirror the complexity of an overstuffed, puzzlingly seasoned sub, though this is lost in the ordinariness of its assembly, while the entire scene’s inspiration from Peter Finch’s most famous diatribe in “Network” is also unrecognizable), but it’s nevertheless put together quite competently.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10