I hate the term dramedy—it discounts the potential for humor in any drama, and movies designated as dramedies typically follow the rigid Terms of Endearment template of laughs in the first half, tears in the second. But this debut feature by Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly gives dramedy a good name: the story is both painful and rudely funny all the way through, often because the situations are so dire that humor is the characters' only escape. A gay comedy writer living in New York (Jesse Plemons) returns home to Sacramento to care for his terminally ill mother (Molly Shannon) and clash with his homophobic father (Bradley Whitford). Cancer and coming out aren't exactly fresh topics for an indie film, but here they have the authenticity of lived experience, and both Shannon and Plemons are exceptional.
Director: Chris Kelly
Producer: Adam Scott, Naomi Scott, Sam Bisbee, Lance Acord, Jackie Bisbee, Cathleen Ihasz, Nicole Ihasz, David Ryan, Hunter Ryan, Richard Bosner and Stephanie Apt
Cast: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, Madisen Beaty, John Early, Zach Woods, Paul Dooley, June Squibb and J.J. Totah