Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody? (Miguel Arteta, 2005)

We’ve thought a lot lately about short films (their prevalence and the limits on their circulation).  More specifically, we’ve been thinking about McSweeney’s too short-lived DVD/magazine series “of unseen things,” Wholphin.  Over 15 issues (and a Best of edition), Wholphin provided a much needed opportunity to explore film in its short format and its selections were brilliant.  The Criterion Collection remains decidedly auteur-focused in its approaches to short films, while Drafthouse Films’ recent Confetti of the Mind, a compilation of Nacho Vigalondo’s shorts, has yet to claim a spine number or a place on hard media (which it should).  Shorts, particularly those made by filmmakers not yet acclaimed or defined as auteurs, need forums like Wholphin to circulate and find appreciation.  Both Criterion and Drafthouse could find a space for something akin to McSweeney’s now-defunct series.  This is our modest call for more short films on hard media.  We’ll respectfully label these posts “Son of Wholphin” and use these spaces to celebrate our favourite short form works, regardless of whether they’re new and unheralded or already circulated and admired.

We’ll kick this off with our favourite from Wholphin No. 1, a 4-minute contemporary classic shot with a budget of only $150, written by Miranda July, and directed by Miguel Arteta (director of Cedar Rapids (2011), another favourite here at MMC!).  Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody? (2005) stars John C. Reilly asking this simple survey question to a series of passers-by (July, Mike White, Chuy Chavez) with delightful results.  Interestingly, Arteta comments in Wholphin on the poignancy of the film as he became aware during filming that his relationship with July was winding down.  The shoot was pleasant, but they were broken up by editing, and Arteta looked fondly on the film “like a rear-view mirror that survived a fabulous, painful crash.”

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