Problemista Deserves to Go Far

”” “She’s just trying to get to that audition,” Julio Torres says about “our Queen” Anna Faris’s protagonist character in Gregg Araki's Smiley Face. This is part of his answer I asked him in a college roundtable promoting his new Dramedy and directorial debut Problemista. The question being: “In an interview with the Hollywood reporter, you referred to your film as an example of an I-Don’t-know-how-i’m-gonna-make-the-rent genre. Are there other films or narratives that come from that same vein that helped inspire Problemista?” In his answer he delves into a few films that fall into that frantic and straightforward narratives rooted in common human experiences, but what struck me the most is his admiration of Smiley Face, with how apparent of an inspiration it is on Torres’s own refreshing film. Both follow a lead with ambitious dreams for their lives while dealing with the anxiety-inducing humdrum of low-income living. Smiley Face though has been relegated to cult-classic status, ultimately an unfortunately underwatched movie. Problemista doesn’t deserve that same fate. It’s a crowd pleasing wonderful time, with a lot to say on the chaotic positive potential of Karen-dom in the service of ambition. A uniquely modern theme that Torres gets so much mileage out of in this fast-paced gem of a movie.