Expiration Date (2006)
Robert Guthrie, Sascha Knopf, Dee Wallace-Stone. Director, co-writer, co-producer Rick Stevenson.
Charlie Silvercloud III (Guthrie) is a 24 year-old Native American in Seattle, getting his life in order prior to his impending death. How does he know he will die next week? Both his father and grandfather were killed on their 25th birthdays, run over by milk trucks. It’s a family curse. While shopping for a casket, he meets Bessie (Knopf), who is preparing for her aged mother’s death. Romance ensues, with complications, naturally. The premise of the story is ridiculous but somehow sufficient to sustain suspense as Charlie’s 25th birthday arrives. Scenes of menacing, lurking milk trucks are hilarious, reminiscent of Spielberg’s 1971 movie, Duel and of Jaws. I’ve been interested in Native American humor for decades but I still cannot grasp how it works (think “John Wayne's teeth” in Smoke Signals). True to form, Expiration Date is full of quirky humor so original and unexpected it had me hooting. At the same time, there is a touching love story. Plus, it is shot in Seattle by somebody who really loves the city. It is thrilling to see the ferry at sunset, the Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Gasworks Park, lots of coffee shops, and all the rest. Most movies set in Seattle are actually shot in Vancouver, B.C., so this is a rarity. The DVD extras include an irrelevant but totally fascinating Native American hoop dance contest. You will have to search for this indie. See www.expirationdatethemovie.com.