After getting away with a box of Dilaudid (hydrogenated morphine) from a county hospital and nearly running over Sanders—who suffers from moments of dementia—Labudde applies for a job at a convalescent home where Tharin resides. He coolly dupes the hospital manager Shirlee, played by Jossie Thacker, with a vague resume and interview: “The reward of caring for the elderly is…just so … rewarding”. Labudde’s plan is to get access to the medicine room to get the Dilaudid he so needs. The Russian head nurse Vladimir, stoically played by Charles Santore, thwarts this somehow. Vladimir, Joe Tones, Mary LeDoux, and “One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest” alumni Mew Small are the only ones who do not trust Eric.
When Tharin notices that the straight looking Labudde is also addicted to Dilaudid, which is in Tharin’s prescription, he makes him a deal, only with certain demands: play his jazz records at night at any volume, freedom to help him score and smoke his Mary Jane and keep the imposing Mexican nurse, Javier, from interfering. Labudde agrees and so begins the show.
As mentioned earlier, Henry Dittman’s performance is perfect. He supplies the character with the visuals that the written character needs. A great addition is that Labudde seems to actually care about the residents, even though his actions are ulterior. Conrad Roberts’ portrayal of the jazzman Tharin Sanders is so convincing that I didn’t even recognize him when I met him. Similar praise can be given to Charles Santore’s portrayal of Vladimir. Much credit goes to the makeup artists that worked on the film.
The rest of the cast is also excellent; a notable inclusion is veteran actor Rance Howard as Walker Bill, who steals every scene. Jeff Orgill’s direction of Hector Maldanado with his story and B. Scott O’ Mally’s excellent screenplay are detail orientated with insider humor.
The wonderful soundtrack from Jason Moss and Dean Harada is in the jazz vein, just like it had been recorded back in the days of Miles Davis, Yusef Lateef and John Coltrane. The film has garnered a couple of awards and nods: The “STIFFY” at Seattle True Independent Film Festival (http://www.trueindependent.org/) for Best Feature Film and the Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival (www.dffla.com) for Best director. I highly recommend it to those who liked Mike Judge’s “Office Space” and Milos Forman’s “One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest”.