Movies: Don't Think Twice

Don't Think Twice is an indie film about a group of improv actors called The Commune. Their venue is being sold out to Urban Outfitters, and they're struggling collectively over a number of issues. When one of them gets picked up by the equivalent of Saturday Night Live (here called Weekend Live, but not fooling anybody), things further unravel.

While this is an ensemble, some characters definitely get more attention than others. In particular, Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) and Samantha (Gillian Jacobs) are the resident couple in the group, and they are both invited to audition for Weekend Live. Jack gets the job, and Sam . . . Well, she doesn't go to the audition. Because she's not into doing things alone. To her, the best thing in life is improv with The Commune. The underlying theme here is: What is success? What if what you want is not what everyone thinks you should want? It's similar to what I explore in 20 August, though at the quarter-life crisis rather than mid-life.

Meanwhile, Mike Birbiglia (who also wrote and directed this) is featured as Miles, a guy who feels like he's constantly on the verge of making it only to see everyone else move up without him. He's finally told, "You've never been inches away. You don't have it." Harsh. But this allows him to accept what he does have and turn his attention toward other fulfilling things. Would you rather be told flat out that you're never going to get any further in your aspirations? Would you at least see this as a way of no longer wasting your time and energy? I do feel like hollow encouragement can be far worse than honesty. I've seen it in writing workshops; no one wants to crush anyone else, and that's fair—I wouldn't want to either. But what is the way to tell someone they're barking up the wrong tree?

As someone who has lived in a house full of actors and then also been a writer, I found Don't Think Twice thought-provoking on the levels mentioned above. It's overall a movie about finding your place and maximizing it, rather than trying to fit in somewhere you don't belong. That's important for anyone to consider, even if they aren't "creatives." The ultimate goal in life is learning what to hold on to and what to let go.

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