Flannel Pajamas

Flannel Pajamas


(Madison Art Cinema-Hollywood Video Closure-Home)


If Jeff Lipsky can do one thing, it is sell a movie. I was talking with the man about his latest film “Once More with Feeling” and about filmmaking in general (he is a very pleasant and talkative fellow by the way with a lot to say). “Once More…” he admits was a for-hire gig he took because the pay check looked nice, he thought the script was ok, and he wanted to work.

He is clear to say it is not a Jeff Lipsky film. He was not allowed to change the script nor was he allowed final cut. Monitors were strewn all over the set (something he says he never before allowed on his set!) for producers to oogle over. With that said, he likes what he has accomplished. Oh, and it was shot on video. Lipsky loves film.

And he is a distributor that believes greatly in the theatrical distribution of films as well as the theatrical experience. The producers of “Once More” have opted for a (a few screenings aside) straight to DVD release.

So, I left our conversation on “Once More With Feeling” with one strong reaction. I have to see “Flannel Pajamas.”

Neat little twist ending eh? What a mystery this article is turning out to be. “Flannel Pajamas” IS a Jeff Lipsky film and it is the film he kept referring back to in our conversation. He wrote it, directed it, and shot in on 16mm (primarily in his own apartment). He is very proud of it, and the way he talked about the film made it a complete must-see, although I had never heard of the picture before.

So my girlfriend and I left the Madison Art Cinema, and…lo and behold!…along the way home, we encounter a closing Hollywood Video store. EVERYTHING MUST GO! We stop in. Holy shit! They have “Flannel Pajamas.” We buy it. We watch it.

“Flannel Pajamas” is a 124 minute analysis of a relationship. And the relationship is the story. The movie begins when they meet, and ends when…well, when the relationship does. It is a bit long and often veers all over the place, which made me veer a bit in my seat.

I must admit when it finished, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. But I wanted to love it. I mean, the way Jeff talked about it, and the great convo we had! My girlfriend responded better.

I kept thinking about the picture, time and again. And I still don’t think that it is composed all that greatly and I even think that the acting that Lipsky loves so dearly in the picture doesn’t always work as great as it could (some of the scripts lines are spectacular, the deliveries not always).

But there is something here. And it resonates. This is a real relationship (based, in part, upon Lipsky’s failed marriage). And there are truths here. About people. And that is who we are watching. People, neither good nor bad. Or both.

And what makes this film so powerful and effective, is that we can relate to these people, but we can not do anything about it. We can see ourselves. We can see their follies. But we can only watch them commit them.

After watching “Flannel Pajamas” I never thought I could fully recommend it, but it has stayed with me. The 124 minutes is quite something to struggle through, but it is worth it. It is an experience. I hopefully will watch it at least once more, with feeling.

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