Smashed, a literally sobering drama which examines the bittersweet relationship between two alcoholics (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul), features inspired and heart wrenching work from the two leads. Kate’s (Winstead) decision to join AA with the help of a co-worker (Nick Offerman ) is the first step in her gradual recovery, a healing which causes a rift with her husband (Paul).
Along with his solid work with the actors, filmmaker James Ponsoldt also gives viewers an intimate peek at Highland Park, one of my favorite sections of Los Angeles. One Smashed sequence features the loving (and inebriated) couple biking home during a trafficked stretch of Figueroa Boulevard, one of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares. It’s easy to see why the lovebirds continue their addictions, as Ponsoldt effectively captures the intimacy and immediacy of Highland Park’s watering holes. It’s really a small portion of the indie, but such attention to detail elevates Smashed from a standard fare alcoholism tale.
Highland Park, almost a stone’s throw away from Downtown Los Angeles, has been home to generations of Latinos, and over the years it’s turned into a hipster and yuppie haven. As for me, Highland Park is the home of Follieros, a wonderful and no nonsense sit down pizza joint, and it’s where Last Exit To Brooklyn author Hubert Selby Jr. drew his final breath.
There is a Proustian romanticism I have for Highland Park, and during a recent interview I asked Mr. Ponsoldt about why it was the perfect place to shoot Smashed. (To hear Ponsoldt, click on the media bar below)
Smashed, co-starring Mary Kay Place and Megan Mullally, opens in New York and Los Angeles October 12th.
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posted by Greg Srisavasdi (Twitter: @Gsrisavasdi)