Love, Concord, named as such because it was shot and takes place in the city of Concord CA, is the story of high school senior Gerry (Jorge Diaz) who is faced with the typical teen-movie challenges of getting into college to pursue his dream of becoming a video game designer, while in the meantime keeping his girlfriend Melinda (Angelina Leon) happy. Melinda sees things in Gerry that other girls haven't and even tells him that she loves him, but Gerry just can't seem to be able to tell her likewise and is also jealous of Melinda's male friend Alex (Alex Rodriguez).
I was interested in seeing this movie since I often drive past or through the city of Concord, and one of my criticisms of it afterwards was that I felt it didn't really show off the town that much- I didn't see any places that looked familiar to me. However, in the commentary track, director Gustavo Guardado Jr. does say that he in fact did want to showcase the town and many of the locations, including the hilly areas on the outskirts near Mount Diablo, were among his favorite places, so I can't argue with that. Much of the movie's promotion, including the cover art, plays up the video-game elements of the movie as well but that isn't really a huge focus of it. Gerry is shown in a couple scenes playing video games and also wears two different Pac-Man shirts, but video games still aren't as big an element of Love, Concord as they are in movies like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. However, this movie's most redeeming quality which makes it stand out is a number of game-inspired animated sequences used to show unfolding events, such as Gerry and Melinda's first few dates. Done in the style of NES graphics with 8-bit style music, Gerry and Melinda are shown as game characters going places (including Waterworld and the Concord Pavilion concert venue, indicated as such by a sign next to it) and encountering heart "power-up" graphics.
Most of the actors really appeared too old to be portraying high school students, but they made the characters likeable enough nonetheless. One of my other favorite moments was Gerry asking Melinda "How's an A's game sound?" implying that he's going to take her to the baseball game, but ends up instead taking her under a tree to listen to the game on the radio. When she asks what's going on, he replies "Well, I did ask you 'How's an A's game sound?"
Shot digitally in a 16x9 aspect ratio but retaining a film-like look, Love, Concord looks about as good as it can on standard DVD, with no noticeable compression artifacts and a good amount of detail, with items such as a fine-striped shirt giving an aliasing effect due to the limits of standard definition.
Audio is in 5.1 Dolby Digital, with good fidelity and most of the sound kept up front, with the LFE only being used during music at a prom scene.
No subtitles are included but there are standard closed captions, which require a 480i analog connection for your TV to decode.
An audio commentary accompanies the movie, with director Gustavo Guardado Jr, producer Virginia Saenz-McCarthy, and cast members Jorge Diaz, Angelina Leon and Blake Rosler. They talk non-stop throughout, giving many interesting details about shooting the movie- one detail the director points out is that he had originally wanted to use many more locations, but time and budget constraints did not allow for shooting in as many different places as he would have liked. It's apparent from listening to this that everyone had a great time making the movie, which is how it should be.
Also included is a short behind-the-scenes featurette, four minutes of outtakes (mostly actors flubbing their lines), a trailer and a "photo gallery" where a number of production photos are displayed with animated transitions.
Love, Concord has a number of both remarkable and unremarkable moments, but in the end it's a satisfying little movie with likable characters, and you can watch this knowing that the people behind it put their hearts into it. I certainly hope they'll get to do another movie soon.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.