If Franz Kafka wrote Rocky after binge-watching The Office he might have come up with something like All Sorts, an absolutely bizarre comedy from writer/director J. Rick Castaneda (Cement Suitcase, Ninjago: Decoded). How bizarre? Bizarre enough that you may be wondering if it wasn’t the work of Carlos Castaneda instead.
Diego (Eli Vargas, All Cheerleaders Die) is down and out. Unemployed and living in his car he’s desperate to find work. Running low on options he applies for a job at Data-Mart and, due to his ability to type 55WPM he gets hired. His new boss Vasquez (Luis Deveze, Ingrid Goes West) introducing him to his co-workers as though he was announcing a pro wrestling match is the least of the strangeness he’s about to face.
A break room with coffee coming from the sink is actually one of the less odd things going on at Data-Mart. He’s assigned to produce data reports but nobody will provide him with a computer to do it on until he bribes some with twenty Payday bars. His desk calendar says November 32nd. People’s spoons vanish into their coffee and people vanish without a trace.
But then two things happen that may just change his life. He meets his co-worker June (Greena Park, Once Upon a Time in Seoul) and he learns about the world of underground filing competitions.
All Sorts was made for no money with a lot of bandages, duct tape, and chewing gum. When you make a movie that way, everyone has to love it. They have to love the concept, the characters, and the people involved.J. Rick Castaneda
A blend of absurdist comedy, magical realism, sports film and, of course, love story All Sorts is the most delightfully weird film I’ve seen at SFFF since Dave Made a Maze. It’s set in a drab, grey cubicle farm that frequently seems to defy the laws of physics and is filled with people who seem to be from a whole different reality from you or me.
Castaneda walks a thin line between making the world of All Sorts fascinatingly absurd and simply ridiculous. It takes talent to have a paper clip come to life and try to escape, crawling like an inchworm across a desk and having the viewer laugh rather than roll their eyes.
That’s the kind of background he creates, and it works. No less strange is the world of filing competitions and June’s innate talent for the game. With Diego playing Mick to June’s Rocky she’s soon a rising star in an unknown sport, with a shot at the title in sight. Does she have what it takes to take it all?
Of course Mick and Rocky weren’t falling for each other, except maybe in the world of fan fiction, so he also has to play Adrian to her Rocky because All Sorts is also a sweet office place love story. Can this unlikely pair overcome the odds and find happiness and success without a filing cabinet being involved?
Trying to describe All Sorts really doesn’t do it justice and probably also does it a disservice by making it sound like something too weird to be fun as well as giving some of its secrets away. You’ll just have to trust me when I say this is one you’ll want to see if you have a taste for the strange.
All Sorts will screen on Tuesday, November 23rd as part of this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, you can check their website for ticket information. You can check the film’s website or Facebook page for other upcoming showings.