WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
David Silverman, Randall P. Havens, Leslie Walden-Bellair
"My Good Fortune" Review
Paulie Gugliata (David Silverman) loves Chinese food. Paulie Gugliata LOVES his fortune cookie. One night, Paulie's regular trip to his favorite Jersey Chinese joint ends rather unexpectedly when, instead of his usual fortune cookie, Paulie gets an orange slice.
A fuckin' orange slice.
Paulie tries to man up about it, but after being told by the restaurant's owners about a fortune cookie writer's strike he finds himself headed out on the first plane to Georgia determined to set things straight. Instead of a striking writer, Paulie, who exudes a sort of likable Jersey boy meets Goodfellas persona, meets up with Perry (Randall P. Havens).
That's right. Perry.
Perry is flamboyantly gay and a fabulous fortune cookie writer ... or he was until he was struck by the Curse of the Emerald Dragon and rendered completely and totally unable to write.
What will Perry do if he can never write again?
What will Paulie do without his precious fortune cookies?
This 14-minute short film from writer/director and co-star David Silverman is a delightfully funny and rather surprisingly sweet film about how Paulie, clearly out of his element, helps Perry discover the antidote to the curse and, to top it all off, the key to one of life's greatest mysteries - the mystery of love.
My Good Fortune is proof positive of what great things can happen when a filmmaker takes a rather simple story and actually cares about the characters within it. Rather than existing as caricatures or jokes within themselves, Paulie and Perry are quirky and winning ordinary guys in hilariously extraordinary circumstances.
While Paulie, as played by Silverman, is all rough and tumble and F-bombs, he's all wonderful and mushy and disappointed child with furrowed brow when he doesn't get his fortune cookie. As absurd as it is to think about a guy catching a flight over a fortune cookie, Silverman so wonderfully embodies Paulie as this sort of man-child that it becomes completely believable. Rather than building a false tension between Paulie's street machismo and Perry's flamboyance, Silverman finds their common ground and goes from there.
Damn near genius.
Randall P. Havens is equally spot-on perfect as Perry, who could have so easily become a caricature but, instead, becomes in the matter of a few minutes a deeply felt, sympathetic and very funny young man. Leslie Walden-Bellair is also terrific in a supporting appearance as Sue, Paulie's clearly preferred server at the restaurant.
D.P. Tim Glover's camera work perfectly captures both the humor and the heart in the story, occasionally lingering perfectly on a facial expression or subtle body language. Elaina Winter's production design proves that even in a short film the right design can enhance character development, an all too often forgotten idea.
My Good Fortune had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and has already been accepted into Dragon*Con, DC Shorts and Rome International Film Festival. If you get a chance, check it out. Don't forget to ask for your fortune cookie.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic