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Neon Days

Written by: Sheldon Maddux |   Directed by: Sheldon Maddux |  Genre: Drama

 Jake ( Justin Duncan ) is searching for answers on why he is like he is. He just wants to be a normal guy, and even considers himself a person who doesn’t exist, as he tells his therapist. His therapist, Sean Gamsy ( Eric Hanson ) seems taken with Jake, and desperately wants to help; we’re later given some of Sean’s circumstances for wanting to do so. The fodder between Jake and Sean is a big part of this film, moving Jake’s story forward until it’s twisty reveal. As Neon Days starts and pushes through we learn that Jake works at a roller skating rink and is picked on as much as he is liked. His immediate boss seems to really enjoy causing Jake mental pain; if there’s a crappy job that needs to be done Jake will probably have to do it. The attitudes of the characters, and even the skating rink itself just screamed 2000s or late 1990s, as did the use of bright colors throughout. But back to the story. Other than painting and helping his friend with a guide to dating, Jake likes to paint. It makes him feel normal, but the film seems to shift with the inclusion of a new girl. Sherry ( Meagan Harris ) has just been hired at the rink, and Jake finds an immediate connection with her. He finagles his way into giving her the tour and we are led to briefly believe this is a love story. It isn’t.

 As his relationship with Sherry goes forward, as does his sessions with Sean and his desire to not talk about his parents. We learn a lot during a cool montage within a rage room. A place you can relieve stress by smashing things. But what we’ve been mostly seeing isn’t the real story here. Not really. Neon Days is more about what could have been. There comes a point when everything locks into place and you’re like, “Oh. Now I get it.” What that is I won’t spoil here.

 Speaking of music, songs, and montage scenes. There are a lot of them. A large part of this movie is music and montages. A very large part, maybe a little too large. On a few occasions, the term music video kept jumping in my head. Thankfully, the music wasn’t bad and the much better than average performances from Duncan and Hanson, and everyone else for that matter helped push forward what could have been a complete snoozefest.

 For a movie about a loner and his day to day life, Neon Days offers more than it’s share of perspective. It’s a slow film at times, but offers enough to consider to help its audience push through the slower moments. There are also many scenes with a slickness to them. A sense of knowing everything isn’t OK, but you’ll get through anyway. With hints of alcoholism, loneliness, hopes, and dreams, Neon Days isn’t a perfect movie but well worth it to sit and watch. Thank you for reading, and find out more on this film with the links below.

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