There's that scene in nearly every teen or young adult romantic comedy.
You know the one?
I'm talking about the one where the good guy, quite often a nerd, has realized that his longtime crush isn't even remotely interested in him and the only kind of relationship going on is in his head.
Meanwhile, there's this other girl. She's always on the sidelines, ya' know? Quite often, she's even more beautiful than the unattainable girl and she's infinitely nicer.
She's the real catch. But, sometimes she's got those same mind games going on, ya' know?
I love that scene. I really, really love that scene.
In Our Heads, written and directed by Madison Campione, who is wrapping up her studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in May, is a little bit of that scene and a whole lot more as Campione wraps the film around James (Damon McKinnis) and Olivia (Sophie Thomason), two lovable college students who meet at a party but struggle to let go of relationships that are all "in their heads" long enough for real life to catch up with their fantasies.
In Our Heads is a warm and winning film featuring the infinitely likable duo of McKinnis and Thomason, whom you do absolutely fall in love with right away and whose happiness you want to see take hold even within the short span of a six-minute short film. McKinnis's James is a nerd, not quite a Duckie type, but still an introverted fella' who has a hankerin' for the unattainable Audrey (Megan Tully), whose dismissal of his obvious affection is painful to see but not mean-spirited.
She's just not interested, you know?
She sends him off in search of someone more his style, in this case the couch huggin' Olivia, who's more pretty than beautiful but whose IQ is probably 20, 30, 40 points higher than anyone else in the room. She's a gem, but she doesn't know it and she's harboring her own crush of sorts on some guy named Ian who you just know is only going to use her.
We desperately want James and Olivia to end up together and it's pretty remarkable that we feel that desperation within the short span of this film's six-minute running time.
Bravo to Campione.
Set to premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in March as part of the festival's College Shorts Program, In Our Heads feels both familiar yet fresh and is beautifully photographed by Kyle J. Miller and edited by Samantha Cruz. It's the kind of film where you want, and I'd dare say need, to spend more time with these characters and you're dying to know what really happens to them down the road.
Campione doesn't try to pack too much in to In Our Heads, instead creating a small slice-of-life that entertains and energizes and leaves you smiling as the closing credits roll. Reminiscent of warmth and gentle humor of the best of John Hughes, In Our Heads is an absolute winner!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic