The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Ignorant bliss

Independent release provides biting commentary on nation’s dependency
 Ignorant bliss
Ignorant bliss

Ignorant bliss

Hello My Name Is Buttons is a refreshingly original film that magnifies social problems, depression in particular, while telling its tale in a somewhat light-hearted manner. Audiences will find the characters memorable and the plot effused with questions of human consciousness.

Hunter Reeves, played by John Merriman, is a cynical 20-something visual artist whose negative world views make him unhappy in his bookstore job.

After a well-deserved firing, he finds himself in need of cash. Two of his friends, also recently unemployed, join him in signing up for experimentational drug treatments administered by Pharmakhem, a large drug manufacturer.

It’s at Pharmakhem that Hunter meets Dr. Williams – a sloppy misguided, but well-intentioned doctor who treats ill children with off-the-wall antics. He’s much like Patch Adams with a God complex.

Dr. Williams intends to “cure” Hunter by force feeding him a citrus drug concoction as well as large doses of pop culture though magazines and piped-in television programming, mostly infomercials and a home shopping channel.

The treatments make Hunter happy by removing his ability to think about anything of real consequence. By putting him on the verge of mental retardation, Dr. Williams gives Hunter his life back.

Incidentally, the film pokes fun at the system of drug testing as a whole, but doesn’t show the doctors in all that negative of a light.

Merriman’s character continually repeats the phrase “my name is Buttons” as if it’s a mantra helping Buttons find and maintain his happy place.

The script provides biting social commentary that mirrors the day in which we live – a society that would rather be ignorantly happy than informed and miserable.

Although the film starts off slowly, by the end, the characters and their misadventures, including an unexpected love interest, force the audience to question the film’s meaning as well as that of their lives.

“You can’t get in trouble for nothing if you don’t do nothing,” Buttons says during a shareholders meeting, that hoped to prove the marketability of the drug.

The script does a fantastic job of showing the dichotomy of Hunter – one, a socially conscious but unhappy man and the other, Buttons, a happy manchild with an empty brain.

The movie’s outcome further displays a negative view of the mass audience. It also tries to show that the power of persuasion can outweigh what’s right.

The film was written, produced and directed by Courtney Davis and Merriman. Davis is a University of Texas film major. Both take on performing roles for the film and bring talent and an edge to their characters.

The cinematography is good, especially for a low budget film, and an interesting variety of camera angles add an artistic dimension.

Buttons is showing at Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station at 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

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