hopeless romantic
Saturday Night Short Film

Hopeless Romantic by Stephen Beason: Saturday Night Short Film #14

Romance and violence.

Saturday Night Short Film is a weekly series where I shine a little light on short films. They are often overlooked but provide a unique experience due to their length, making them ideal for ideas that aren’t necessarily meant for a feature length event. The point of Saturday Night Short Film is to give bite-sized commentary on the selected short film, not a full-blown review. Hopeless Romantic is Saturday Night Short Film #14.

First, a disclaimer: I came across Stephen Beason on LinkedIn–because I am a professional–and while we don’t have much of a relationship on there, I do have that connection with him. I did pay attention to what he was working on because his profile appealed to me. He cites some directors I’m very fond of so I was hoping that his influences would seep through. If Saturday Night Short Film is meant to shine light on overlooked films, well, here’s an obscure one.

Hopeless Romantic is a brief story about two hitmen, Matt and Sammy, who couldn’t be any more different. Beason describes Matt as “a temperamental yet straight-laced consummate professional with his own moral code,” whereas Sammy is a “reckless womanizing drug-addicted liability with a taste for fine whiskey.”

When you’re approaching an indie flick you have to keep in mind the lack of a budget. This affects the movie from the top-down and it’s evident in Hopeless Romantic as well. When I take all of this into consideration I can say that I still enjoyed the film and see potential in Beason, but it’s impossible not to mention some of the flaws.

When Matt and Sammy are talking the film is a lot more interesting than when they aren’t. Fortunately they talk more often than not. This is in large part because Marx Mitchell (Matt) is worlds above Jeff Freeman (Sammy), who is making his debut as far as I know. The dialogue is more believable as Mitchell organically says it, whereas Freeman reeks of being the new kid on the block. This is to be expected from the indie realm, and I’m not saying Freeman is awful, but Mitchell really raises every scene that he’s in. Freeman has some potential and will definitely rise above this with more experience.

I do have a slight problem when Matt meets Lizzy. The conversation looks like a YouTube video because of awkward quick cuts. The purpose of it is to disorient the viewer, as the characters themselves are under the influence, so as an author intent type of deal I can appreciate it. I find it a tad distracting as just a viewer, however, and feel that there are likely better ways to accomplish that. It’s a forgivable issue.

The finale is a tad unexpected but I’m not sure it felt entirely earned. As a solitary moment it’s compelling enough, but the description of the movie states that tensions rise and I didn’t feel it. It was if seeds had been planted but not nurtured as much as I would have liked. However, with that said, I would love to see this fleshed out to feature length so I could really invest in these characters.

Hopeless Romantic shows a tremendous amount of potential but it’s a tad rough around the edges. I suppose that’s to be expected from this sort of thing but I would definitely not say I hated it. I enjoyed it, ultimately, and it’ll be interesting to see how Beason progresses throughout his career.

Give the flick a watch because even if I wasn’t as high on it as I would have liked, he’s got an interesting vision and deserves to be given a shot. Let’s be completely clear on the way out: there have been some atrocious short films that I’ve covered by renowned directors that aren’t as good as this.

He is also a hopeless romantic.

1 thought on “Hopeless Romantic by Stephen Beason: Saturday Night Short Film #14

  1. I think you went very easy on this film — “rough around the edges” doesn’t describe the work I just watched.

    The dialogue is forced and feels like they trained an AI on several scripts written by Tarantino wannabes. I wonder how many edits this went through before production — I’m willing to bet not many.

    The color grading, if you can call it that, is atrocious. It jumps from orange to blue and back again with almost every cut. I believe it’s the most noticeable in the beginning of film, when Matt pulls up to Sammy’s place.

    The hotel scene is poorly written and executed. By the time the assailant said “I’m gonna get you sons of bitches,” the two hitmen could have emptied an entire clip into him. After being shot in the arm at close range, how is Matt able to fire a shotgun TWICE, one-handed? Also, where are the police in this universe? They fired at least five shots in a motel room and proceeded to have a full conversation, yet no one came to see what all the ruckus was about?

    The bar scene was nauseating — the added camera shake made me carsick. That, combined with the SIXTEEN jump cuts, pretty much killed any interest I had in this film. The dialogue during this scene definitely tries way too hard and the big reveal isn’t big or revealing at all. Matt’s reason for killing Sammy doesn’t really have any attention drawn to it.

    The final scene is probably the best of them all, but it also lacks finesse. We see Sammy from behind as he’s urinating, but there’s no urine flowing between his legs. We can hear it, but there’s nothing there. Then, he turns around and is shot. We can see Sammy with his pants down, but there was never a chance for him to put away his package. However, when we see him, everything is put up. Did Sammy piss his pants? Did he do it through his underwear?

    To conclude, this entire film seemed like an ego trip for Beason. His name appears twice in the opening credits and is twenty times bigger than anyone else’s in the end. This could have been a decent short film, but it seems like Beason’s greatest weakness was himself. In the future, I would suggest that he surround himself with people who will tell him like it is and when they give advice, TAKE IT.

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