The legend of Bobby Dukes, paintball's first superstar, can now be told.
More often than not, when a film is referred to as a "festival favorite" with a "limited theatrical release," it means that said film is probably not very good. There are exceptions, of course, but then, that's why I said "more often than not." Do try to keep up.
Here's the deal: There are so many festivals out there now that practically any film can claim to have been a favorite at one of them and not really be lying. But there is a pretty big difference between wowing the crowds at, say, Sundance or Cannes and doing the same thing at some scrubby shindig in the middle of nowhere. You know, one of those places where the organizers are so happy to have anything, they say that everyone's a winner. They're like T-ball games where the parents agree not to keep score.
As for "limited theatrical release," well, it isn't exactly a harbinger of greatness, no matter how you slice it. It's more or less a way to shield a movie from the dreaded straight-to-video category, the realm of slapped-together sequels and low-budget knockoffs. If your film played even once in some out-of-the-way art house, you can get by on technicalities and semantics. It's pretty awesome.
• Like Waiting for Guffman, Christopher Guest's 1996 mockumentary masterpiece, Blackballed follows a group of small-town losers hilariously unaware of their lower-rung status. Their leader is Bobby Dukes (Corddry), the fallen hero of the paintball world. After telling the tale of his disgrace via He-Man action figures - turns out Dukes committed the sport's ultimate sin, "wiping" after he'd been shot - the film picks up after his decade-long ban has expired. Dukes returns to the world of his former triumphs and finds that no one wants to be associated with a cheater. One of his former teammates tells him, "I'd take a bullet for you. Just not … a painted bullet." So he's forced to join up with the referee who got him banned in the first place (Best Week Ever's Paul Scheer) and cobble together a new team.