Dickler, who'd edited Doremus' previous film, Spooner, plays Sam Nussbaum, a bearded, long-haired, enviro-friendly guy about to get married. His fiancée, Steph (Marguerite Moreau), thinks it's odd that his younger brother, Tom (Ben York Jones), isn't attending the wedding, so she surprises both of them by picking up Tom and taking him to Sam, something neither brother is particularly thrilled about. Sam ends up convincing Tom to take a lengthy road trip in hopes of finding Mary Barger, his brother's fifth-grade girlfriend, much in the same way the Terminator went looking for Sarah Connor. Is this so Tom doesn't have to go stag? Or is it because Sam is terrified of getting married? Along the way, we see both of them for who they really are. And we learn whom, exactly, the title of the movie refers to.
“It was never called Douchebag,” Dickler said last week at a roundtable promoting a preview screening of the film. “It was called Mary Barger. But the producer [Jonathan Schwartz] said there's no way you can call a movie Mary Barger—no one knows what it means. We would sit around and think about what to call it—the title didn't just come to us. But when we started talking about one character in particular, one of us said, ‘The guy's a douchebag.' And I saw Jonathan's face light up.
“Everybody laughed,” Dickler said.
“And it turns out he was right. If you make a tiny little no-budget movie with no stars, every little thing that makes people wonder about the film helps. And the title did that.”
Douchebag scored a distribution deal at Sundance and will play for a week at the Ken. I've seen the movie twice now, and it continues to grow on me. It's dialogue-heavy and character-driven in the way American independent films used to be, and it manages to be clever and funny, sweet without being saccharine. Dickler will be there on opening night for a postscreening Q&A.
The Girl Who Kicked the hornet's Nest: The vast conspiracy at the heart of Steig Larsson's books might be a little far-fetched, but this makes for a nice conclusion to the adventures of Lisbeth Salander. At least until the Hollywood remake. See our review on Page 21.
I Want Your Money: Conservative documentary uses interviews with the likes of Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich to pin the economic fiasco on Obama.
Saw 3D: Puzzles just get trickier when you're having severed limbs poked at you.
ONE TIME ONLY
The Mummy's Ghost: Two undead tastes that taste great together! Part of the library's SchlockFest, this one screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Ghostbusters: You know the Ghostbusters theme song? It sounds oddly similar to Huey Lewis and the News' “I Want a New Drug.” Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Psycho: You can catch Hitchcock's mommy issues movie five times this week: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Reading Cinemas Town Square; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 28 through 30, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills; and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
The House on Haunted Hill: The RiffTrax gang does its latest live-commentary event, though it's tapedelayed for the West Coast audience. It's at several area theaters at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28. Hit fathomevents. com for details.
Delicatessen: UCSD's ArtPower! Film presents the best cannibalism movie ever made as its latest Foovie feature. Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's dystopian fairy tale is about a landlord who occasionally takes a little more from his tenants than the rent. Of course, an optional meal is available. Starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at The Loft at UCSD.
District 9: Bond with like-minded lefties over the (possible) forthcoming electoral apocalypse with last year's terrific sci-fi hit. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at the Escondido Democratic Campaign Office (128 E. Grand Ave.). Free.
The Visual Underground: Zombie Prom: San Diego's film freaks Visual Underground rise from the dead with a serious Halloween party. Insane movies, an art gallery and music from The Creepy Creeps, starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at The Casbah.
Frida: The movie's so-so, but Salma Hayek is great as the legendary artist. Screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Women's History Museum, Downtown.
Spike & Mike's New Festival of Animation: More highbrow than the standard sick-and-twisted stuff you've
come to expect from the animation powerhouse, but just as entertaining. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Do the time warp. Again. Presented by FilmOut at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Blame it on Fidel: It's Paris in 1970, and all is well in 9-year-old Anna's home—until her parents go from bourgeois middle-classers to free-thinking radicals. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Coming to America: What's Arsenio Hall up to these days? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
San Diego Italian Film Festival: The festival runs through Nov. 5— Check sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com for showtimes and ticket info.
San Diego Asian Film Festival: Thursday is the last day of the Fest. Check sdaff.org to see what´s left.
Turtle Reef 3D: The Museum of Natural History presents the world premier of this new underwater 3D joint.
Conviction: Hilary Swank stars as Betty Ann Waters, who spent almost 20 years trying to prove her brother (Sam Rockwell) didn't commit the murder he went to jail for. Moving story, predictable film.
Enter the Void: Drug dealer Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) and his stripper sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) have just arrived in Tokyo. When Oscar is shot and killed, his ghost sticks around to look after Linda. Ends Oct. 28 at the Ken Cinema.
Hereafter: Is Clint Eastwood pondering his mortality? Possibly—his new movie looks at what happens when we die, and it does so through three disparate storylines. There's the French journalist who sees the afterlife as she barely survives a tsunami, the British boy pining for his brother and Matt Damon, who plays a psychic who hates the fact that he can talk to the dead.
Howl: The filmmakers try to put Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem into context by presenting James Franco as the young poet and re-creating publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti obscenity trial.
Inside Job: Matt Damon narrates Charles Ferguson's exhaustive documentary about which people, exactly, were responsible for the recent global finance crisis.
Paranormal Activity 2: Because one just wasn't enough.
Tamara Drewe: Gemma Arterton is an ugly duckling who becomes a swan and returns to the town where she was born, only to raise hell with the luminaries attending an artists conference there.
Jackass 3-D: Shit is flying in 3-D. Literally.
Nowhere Boy: A portrait of an adolescent John Lennon, played by Kick- Ass' Aaron Johnson. turns out all he needed was love.
Red: Action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and, best of all, Helen Mirren, as retired spies some young whippersnappers are trying to kill.
Waiting for “Superman”: You may not agree with all of Davis Guggenheim's (An Inconvenient Truth) assertions about education, but you should watch his new documentary, because it's a discussion we need to have.
It's Kind of a Funny Story: Zach Galifianakis is pretty good, but this coming-of-age story set in a mental hospital feels exploitative once you've been discharged.
Life as We Know It: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are polar opposites forced to move in together and take care of an orphaned baby girl. We're guessing it all works out.
Never Let Me Go: Mark Romanek and Alex Garland's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's beloved novel is a sci-fi tragedy starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley as clones bred for organ donations. It's intense stuff, but perhaps more to be admired than enjoyed. Ends Oct. 28 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Secretariat: Thoroughly family-friendly PG version of how one of history's most famous racehorses got his start.
Let Me In: Solid if unnecessary remake of the terrific 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In.
Buried: Ryan Reynolds plays a contractor in Iraq who wakes up in a coffin. Armed with a lighter and a cell phone, he needs to sort out who put him there—and why.
The Social Network: David Fincher's new film about the early days of Facebook is more entertaining than 99.9 percent of status updates.
You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger: The latest one from Woody Allen is a cynical look at marriage. Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, Antonio Banderas and a host of others are linked together in some way, and none of them is very happy about it.
Catfish: When a New York City photographer finally visits a Michigan family he's gotten to know via Facebook, he finds something entirely different than what he expected. This documentary about internet deception has some viewers wondering if the entire movie is a façade—the filmmakers, however, insist it's all true.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Animated, PG-rated owl film directed by Zack Snyder, the guy behind Watchmen and 300.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: It's been 23 years since Oliver Stone told us that greed was good. Yes, Gordon Gecko is back, but he's almost extraneous, as green energy Wall Streeter Shia LaBeouf dukes it out with sleazy megatrader Josh Brolin. It's simplistic and sporadically entertaining.
Alpha and Omega: Because there just aren't enough 3-D animated movies about animals. Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere are a pair of wolves who have to learn whether love can overcome the pack's social order. We're guessing it can.
Easy A: Emma Stone finally gets a starring role in this about-face turn on The Scarlet Letter. She's Olive, a non-promiscuous high-schooler who gets a reputation for being easy—and proceeds to use it to get ahead.
The Town: Ben Affleck directs himself (not a euphemism). He's a Boston thug torn between bad-guy buddy Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively, a bank manager he once stuck up (also not a euphemism). Oh, and FBI man Jon Hamm is hot on his trail (still no euphemism).
The Tillman Story: Steady-handed and depressing documentary about the cover-up over the friendly-fire death of the football player turned Army Ranger. Playing at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
The American: George Clooney is a sensitive hit man who has to pull One Last Job.
Lebanon: The entire film takes place inside a tank that four young Israeli soldiers are piloting through the early days of the 1982 Lebanon war, and everything you see outside the armored shell is from their point of view. Playing at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Mao's Last Dancer: Bruce Beresford directs this biopic of Li Cunxin, who was chosen by the Chinese government to become a world-class ballet dancer.
The Other Guys: Mark Ferrell and Will Wahlberg team up as cops. Or is it the other way around?
Inception: Christopher Nolan's follow-up to The Dark Knight is epic, complex and beautiful. In short, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.
Alaska: Sarah Palin does not appear in this IMAX film, which runs Fridays at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Coral Reef Adventure: The Fleet's classic IMAX film takes you for a visit to the reefs of Tahiti. Which is cheaper than airfare and your own SCUBA gear, by the way.
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: The latest IMAX entry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park follows super surfer Kelly Slater as he does his thing on some massive waves.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at saturn's rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.