Every so often films come around that just have that special undefinable thing that speaks to your soul. They are so different and authentic and unique, that you feel that the auteur behind them is speaking directly to you... That the film was made with you and your tastes and life experiences in mind. I cherish these films and I only come across them rarely, but as an artist, ultimately I aspire to create something for somebody out there that has a similar intimate impact.
I know these films are of those sort even before I see them. I get that little shooting pain in the pit of my stomach--that authentic envy that turns you a couple of shades of green when it envelops you. To know that somebody out there beat you to the punch and made a film you wish you made. That feeling, to me, is what separates a great film from the films I truly love.
I remember feeling that way when Jarmusch came out with "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai". It was so strange and beautiful. It touched on antiquted themes like code and honor. It depicted the journey of a solitary hero and Rza laced the whole thing with what was at the time a revolutionary score (pre-Kill Bill).
When Darren Aronofsky came out with "The Wrestler", I again was given pause (Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei in the real Jersey? Are you fucking kidding me?). It had these similar themes with an East Coast gladiator of old hanging on to an era and a life that had passed him by. Both films depict these damaged warriors in a sad and sympathetic light, and in a manner that many may find depressing--but not me. To me there is nothing so righteous and noble as to die in the arena; for the gunslinger to meet his end with his boots on.
"Ice Grill, USA" is a very personal story for us and one that I feel, though on the surface very different than the films I've referenced, has a gritty and genuine, melancholic soul that is brave and feels true and honest. My only hope, is that for some blue collar kid out there, "Ice Grill, USA" can strike a chord. That IGU could be anything close to them what these films have been to me... That it can remind them of who they are and where they come from or at the very least leave an impression that lasts. I can only dream that IGU could someday make another young Jersey filmmaker envious, inspiring them to tell a story of home in their own unique and authentic voice.