THE TAO OF STEVE
Review by Michael Jacobson
Logue, Greer Goodman
Director: Jenniphr Goodman
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: Commentary Track, Talent Files, Trailer
Length: 86 Minutes
Release Date: March 20, 2001
The Tao of Steve is one of those rare films that
proves there’s such a thing as an intelligent and different romantic comedy.
In fact, I almost hesitate to call it ‘romantic comedy’ because its
so much smarter than the typical one that comes off of Hollywood’s assembly
line. Yet, that’s what it is,
because at the core of the story is a man, a woman, and the classic ‘will they
or won’t they’ dilemma. It’s
not different in the grand design, but rather, the little details.
Dex (Logue) is the kind of guy that, by his own admission,
shouldn’t have any luck with women. He’s
obese and lazy, has only a part time job, and likes to smoke pot, hang out with
his friends, and chill. Yet the
women come, one right after the other. His secret? The
Tao of Steve.
Steve is not just a name, but an attitude.
“All the cool guys are named Steve,” he insists.
Steve McGarrett. Steve
Austin. And, of course, the ultimate Steve, Steve McQueen.
These men represented the ultimate American man…and according to Dex,
being that is not about how you look or what you have.
It’s all a state of mind.
“We pursue what retracts from us,” he teaches his
friends. If you want to be with a
woman, in other words, what you have to do most is NOT want to be with her.
There’s more to the Tao, of course, but I’ll leave that philosophical
journey for you to discover, as I did. The
bottom line: Dex knows his Oriental philosophy backwards and forwards, and
the Tao of Steve works for him.
At a college reunion, he meets up with Cyd (Goodman), a
girl he slept with but now has no memory of.
Needless to say, that fact doesn’t sit well with Cyd, whose initial
disdain for Dex seem to give her immunity to the Tao of Steve.
And true to his philosophy of pursuing what we cannot have, Dex begins to
fall in love with her.
They do not start with what Roger Ebert calls the “meet
cute”—the initial omen of doom for the typically unoriginal romantic comedy,
and therefore, what follows is far from the typical mindless love story banter.
The conversations are funny and smart, filled with real ideas from every
source imaginable: philosophy, religion, the pursuit of happiness…even the
occasional guacamole stain.
The point is, there was much at work in The Tao of
Steve. I enjoyed it while I
watched it. I liked it even better
afterwards the more I thought of it. Which
is what sets this movie apart from other romantic comedies more than any other
asset: exactly how many of them
inspire you to think at all?
Despite being a low budget film, The Tao of Steve boasts
a rich, colorful transfer with good sharpness and detail throughout and an
absence of grain or other distractions along the way. Occasionally, I thought flesh tones were a bit too yellowish
to be natural, but that’s the only complaint.
There’s no bleeding, no shimmer, and no image break-up.
Even darker scenes maintain a strong sense of visual integrity.
Though a simple 2 channel surround mix, the audio for The
Tao of Steve serves it well: dialogue
is very clear and strong throughout, as is the soundtrack of terrific and
appropriate songs. I noticed no
distortions or noises along the way, although discreet use of the rear stage is
fairly non-existent and dynamic range is only marginal.
This is not meant to be a speaker rattling audio track; it delivers
exactly what is required and delivers it well.
I really enjoyed the commentary track with director
Jenniphr Goodman, co-stars Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, and Duncan North (who not
only co-wrote the film, but was the inspiration behind it).
My favorite commentary tracks are always the ones for the low budgeted or
independent films, and this one is no exception.
It’s a funny, informative and entertaining listen.
There are also talent files for Goodman and Logue, and a trailer, plus a
DVD ROM weblink.