Looking for the Jackalope, written and directed by Karl Shefelman, is a comedy drama about confronting our past. Winning both the Festival Award and Audience Choice awards at the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Looking for the Jackalope is one of the best indie films we’ve reviewed to date.
The movie begins with writer Jordan Sterling (Michael Leydon Campbell) stuck in a rut in nearly every aspect in his life. Broke, uninspired, and recently divorced, Jordan is contacted by Jennifer (Meissa Hampton), an ex-girlfriend from his college days who seemingly wants to reconnect at their 20-year reunion. In a spur of the moment decision, Jordan calls up his old college roommate Jim (Larry Clarke) to meet up at the reunion and have a good time. His boss Barb (Mary Testa) seems disinterested in the whole ordeal and warns him that it’s not going to go the way he expects, and he will end up disappointed, telling him that he should focus on bettering himself and to get his life back on track. After some thought and the Jackalope, a personification of his past, urging him on, Jordan makes the split decision to go to the reunion. Missing his initial plane, he desperately asks Jim for help, prompting Jim to buy him a second plane ticket at an airport nearby. His bad luck continues however, and he misses the train that will take him to JFK airport and decides to hitchhike the rest of the way to Ohio. All along the trip Jordan continues to hear the voice of the Jackalope, bringing back the good memories of when he hitchhiked to New York with Jennifer after college, as well as emboldening Jordan to believe that the relationship can be rekindled. After a comedic and arduous journey, Jordan meets up with Jim and makes it to his reunion, where he must confront his past and deal with the relationship he made.
Despite the deeply personal narrative about moving on from the past, Looking for the Jackalope maintains a humorous and relatively lighthearted tone throughout the movie, ending on a hopeful note. The flashback scenes are chock full of atmosphere, oozing the feel of the 70’s (even though it’s actually the 90’s) and perfectly conveying that nostalgic feeling we all get from time to time. These scenes are lightly sprinkled throughout the movie, providing well timed and relevant backstory, as well as some comedic moments after an emotional monologue. The Jackalope really stands out in these parts, giving a mystical and otherworldly quality to the flashbacks, and while he urges Jordan to go to the reunion, never outright states that the relationship can truly be rekindled. The camera work is great, and actively uses character movement to shift focus rather than using cuts, while making liberal use of framing to convey how characters feel. Overall, Looking for the Jackalope is a funny, heartfelt, and meaningful movie that any indie film lover should watch.
If you want to watch Looking for the Jackalope, you can find it on:
Amazon (Free with Prime) : bit.ly/LookingfortheJackalope_on_Amazon
Tubi TV: https://tubitv.com/movies/442411/looking_for_the_jackalope
If you want so learn more about the movie or the director: