Vic DVD Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
DVD released by Grindhouse Releasing
Directed by Sage Stallone
Written by Sage Stallone and Will Huston
2006, 35 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on December 10th, 2013
Clu Gulager as Vic Reeves
Tom Gulager as Tony LaSalle
Miriam Byrd-Nethery as Mary Kay
I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Sage Stallone was nowhere near the director or storyteller his father (Sylvester Stallone) is. Actually, I take that back. There is a fantastic, compelling, and even heartbreaking story here. It's just not told adequately in this short. Clu Gulager, a character actor best known for his work in numerous cowboy TV shows and movies from the 1960s, plays the titular Vic, a down-on-his-luck character actor best known for… you get it. In watching the interview included in the special features, it is obvious this is a very personal story to Clu, and he pours his acting heart into it. He is truly the best thing about this short. Unfortunately, it's so full of odd "art" shot choices and hyper-kinetic camera movements, it distracts the viewer from the painful life Vic is living.
The plot involves Vic getting a last-ditch attempt at a comeback thanks to a young director who is a fan of his. Fate and circumstances conspire to make the audition go not so smoothly, and a sad spiral ensues. One of the best parts is a montage of a who's who of "Hey I know that guy!" character actors auditioning for the same role Vic is desperately trying to win. The last few minutes of this process is the most convincing and makes up for a lot of the other faults, but it's not enough to lift it up beyond film school project quality short.
Stallone did win "Best New Filmmaker" at The Boston Film Festival in 2006 for this, which speaks less for his talent and more for what must have been the talent pool he competed against. There are shades of promise, but unfortunately, we'll never know if he would have improved and developed his skills, as he would pass away in 2012.
Video and Audio:
The video is super low budget and grainy, shot in 1.85:1 ratio. It's not a particularly pretty short, but the grittiness lends itself to the sadness of Vic's life. I can't help but wish Stallone had gone with black and white instead. It may have helped sell the story a little better.
The sound mix is passable but not spectacular, very much in keeping with its low budget nature.
The most worthy of the special features is an interview by Stallone of his star, Gulager. It's really oddly and distractingly shot, but close your eyes and listen to Clu give his reasons for taking the role and how much it meant to him, and you'll gain a better appreciation for the whole project.