Who is this preppy good-looking guy, Samuel a.k.a David ? A film based on one of David Sedaris’s essays, in a collection published as Naked. The film was close to the original essay, but of course, the film had to alter some of its elements to fit properly on screen, and to maintain its fluidity. Jonathan Groff was the only reason I kept watching this film, he couldn’t be more perfect for this role. He made me want to find out what would happen to him eventually. Whether you will or not, that’s another matter.
Opening scene will be an earful when David listens to a pregnant woman screaming profanity that he has no way to escape; she is his seatmate in a bus heading to a small town in Oregon. David is wearing a sweater with a crested Y insignia that he tells the apple orchard owner, Mr. Hobbs (Dean Stockwell), it means Yale. Later on, we learn that he has his Master and taking a break before heading back for his PhD. In essence, David is taking an intelligent break, and wants to have a taste of being a hard labour. He wants to know where the food comes from.
On his first day of work, he meets the pickers of the orchard: illegal immigrants. He speaks not a word of Spanish, but manages to get along somehow. Since they have to work in tandem, David’s partner is Pedro(Eloy Méndez), the stereotyped Latino who likes girl, so all he wants to do with the only girl picker there is to have sex with her, which David finds distasteful. He thinks and acts like an intellectual with high moral.
Shortly, he is offered to work in the packaging factory and inherits a trailer that belonged to Mr.Hobbs’s deceased nephew, who held the same job. The scenery in the factory is not any prettier, moving from a bunch of illegal immigrants to a bunch of middle-aged and wrinkled women. Obviously, David stands out, and no one can understand his discourse. They call him Einstein. A fellow forklift operator, Curly (Corey Stoll) spots him, and starts a friendship with David. He even helps him to get a promotion. Curly invites David to his house one night… Remember I said Groff was the raison d’être, this scene will prove my point, and more importantly it gives us a hint of his true sexuality.
While in town, David meets a guy,Jon (Denis O’Hare), who is handing out pamphlet with big font label on its cover: C.O.G. Jon is a Christian takes David in; he is afraid to go back to the packaging factory after Curly’s debacle. Jon is a good hearted double amputee, who is hoping to make ends meet with his handmade jade clock in the shape of Oregon. He takes David on as an apprentice.
Ultimately, the question remains to answer is who is Samuel a.k.a David, and why and what he is doing in a small town? You will see what seems to be happening in his life, but one thing we often do is to assume ( making an ass of u and me ); once you undo that, it’s time to watch it all over again. In other words, never judge a book by its cover, or shall I include his sweater.
BTW, C.O.G. means child of God.
WATCH…apparently this was autobiographical.