Josh Jarman (2004)
A Critical Review

Lee Jo Han (30520448)
MED231
Australian Cinema
April 2007

Part 1: Film Information

Runtime > 97 minutes
Genre > Comedy
Rated > M (Moderate course language, Sexual reference)
Release Date > 10th November 2004

Directed and Written by
Pip Mushin

Production Company          
Instinct Entertainment

Producer                               
Pip Mushin & Eva Orner

Executive Producer              
Ray Jacobson

Line Producer           
Ann Folland

Casting by    
 Mullinars

Production Design by
Carrie Kennedy & Ben Morieson

Costume Design by  
 Katie Graham

Editing by     
Uri Mizrahi

 

Music by                               
Brett Rosenberg

Cinematography by             
Jaems Grant

Make Up and Hair Artist    
Lea Dixon

Make Up and HairDesigner
Tess Natoli

Cast

Marcus Graham                      : Josh Jarman
Daniella Farinacci                    : Maxine
Damien Richardson                 : Russ
Kestie Morassi                        : Sasha
Kim Gyngell                           : Stan Billows
Suzi Cato                                 : Edwina Billows
Alex Manglet                          : Sebastian
Wayne Hope                           : Service Station Attendant
Rosalind Hammond                : Burgerland Girl
Marcella Russo                       : Service Station Attendant
Louise Siversen                       : Therapist
Ross Williams                         : Bob the Cockney Man
Danny Gesundheit                  : Courier
John Cousins                          : Harold Stalinger
Chelsea Gibb                           : Vicki Trameli

(Sources: joshjarmanthemovie.com, 2004; imdb.com, 2007; rottentomatoes.com, 2007)

Bibliography

While searching for sources, obviously the first place I looked was the DVD case. It provided me with information on the cast and credits. I was unable to locate the box office figures from any of the reliable or popular websites which includes a list of the
Following:-

http://www.joshjarmanthemovie.com/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0359518/

http://www.themoviechicks.com/early2005/mcrjoshjarman.html

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/josh_jarman/

http://www.smh.com.au/news/film-reviews/josh-jarman/2005/11/07/1131211990068.html

http://www.infilm.com.au/reviews/joshjarman.htm

http://chaos.com/product/josh_jarman_710301_231260.html

Filmaker’s Interview
Only details I could gather for Philip Mushin is that he was born in Melbourne, Australia in year 1963. He made his debut in 1984 with the film Street Hero and I also found a list of his career work in directing which includes several TV series.

1) King Kong (2005)
2) Josh Jarman (2004)
3) Fat Pizza (2003)
4) "The Secret Life of Us" .... Director (1 episode, 2002)
    -Sweet Revenge (2002) TV Episode
5) Queen of the Damned (2002)
6) Halifax f.p: Playing God (2001) (TV)
7) Muggers (2000)
8) "Good Guys Bad Guys" .... Detective Blair (1 episode, 1998)
     - Don't Cry for Me Arch 'n' Tina (1998) TV Episode
9) "Blue Heelers" .... Simon (1 episode, 1994)
     - Without Intent (1994) TV Episode
10) "Frontline" .... Stuart O'Hallaran (2 episodes, 1994-1997)
     - We Ain't Got Dames (1994) TV Episode
     - The Souffle Rises (1994) TV Episode
11) Time Trax" (1 episode, 1994)
     - Lethal Weapons (1994) TV Episode
12) "Jimeoin" (1994) TV Series
13) Strictly Ballroom (1992)
14) Breakaway (1990)
       ... aka Escape from Madness (UK)
15) "Mission: Impossible" .... Journalist (1 episode, 1989)
       - War Games (1989) TV Episode
16) The Time Guardian (1987)
17) "Prisoner" .... Bank Teller / ... (2 episodes, 1984-1985)
       - Episode #1.544 (1985) TV Episode
       - Episode #1.438 (1984) TV Episode
18) Street Hero (1984)

 

 

Critical Reviews
Gathering reviews for this movie wasn’t a problem as I was able to gather a few. I also found that most professionals and non professionals found this film rather funny and managed to give it a decent rating of 5 to 7 from a scale of 10. Here are the few reviews that are included:-

http://www.theage.com.au/news/film-reviews/josh-jarman/2005/11/07/1131211990082.html

http://www.infilm.com.au/reviews/joshjarman.htm

http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?section=reviews&Id=7191

http://www.moviehole.net/reviews/20051104_josh_jarman.html

 

Part 2: My Personal Plot and Synopsis of the Film

Plot
Josh Jarman is a humorous story of a man driven by passion and integrity. He plays a playwright who’s desperate to make things happen for him. His lifetime dream come true when hotshot producer Stan Billows decides to use his plot and make it a big time play. It may sound easy but Josh endures a rollercoaster journey which comes with a price. Upon achieving his dreams, he met the girl next door who changed his life and dreams.

Synopsis
Josh Jarman is a small time playwright, played by Marcus Graham, who struggles to make it big for his plays. Although the people around Josh like his writings, he has a lifetime dream of making it big in the theatre and to become someone notable like his favourite author, Harold Stalinger. The story began when he met Sasha, the attractive and happening daughter of Stan Billows. Josh of course, did not know the relationship between Sasha and Stan. Despite being somewhat nerdy and not so cool, he somehow managed to attract Sasha to the delight of Stan because Sasha usually dates weird and scary guys which Stan dislikes. He believes that Josh would be a safer bet or a better choice for Sasha and soon decided to use Josh’s writing of a play which he initially rejected. Things went well at first but soon everything didn’t go according to plan as Josh’s play was changed bit by bit without his consent. Although unhappy but he had to go along with Stan’s plan because he wanted to achieve his lifetime dream. Soon, he meets the beautiful girl next door who understands him in a way Sasha couldn’t. They began to fall for each other but a certain disagreement right before Josh’s “big day” ruined their relationship temporarily. On Josh’s “big day” which is the premier of his play, he felt really great for a moment, receiving thunderous applause and standing ovation which he always wanted. Suddenly, he noticed Harold Stalinger amongst his audience who seemed disappointed about his play and he began to think. Being a person with integrity, he stunned the crowd by announcing his disapproval of the play. It may have ruined his lifetime dream but Josh felt better and soon put himself back together and made a play three months later which is dedicated to the girl next door. To his surprise, the girl next door who had initially left and shifted from her home came back to watch and enjoy his play. There was also an important feature in the film which I had to mention. It was of course Josh’s psychic or close buddy, Russ who plays a funny character who’s addicted to gambling and robs selected outlets or shops to support his gambling habit. However, I feel that Russ’ role in this film is insignificant as he seems like a side event in this film although he has always been supportive towards Josh.
Critical Uptake
The film Josh Jarman can be considered a small production and is not too well known. Unlike some of the previous Australian comedies which failed to harness good reviews.
To my surprise, the film actually does a good job in providing laughs throughout without going overboard. It also managed to give a touching and happy ending unlike most comedies. In my opinion, Marcus Graham did a great job in playing the nerdy and nervous Josh Jarman. I also think the rest of the casting crew did rather well in playing their roles, notably Kim Gyngell who plays a strong character of a hotshot producer. From the reviews gathered, I think that majority of the crowd did enjoy the movie as much as I did. Among all the Australian films that I have seen, I think that this has to be one of the best along with “The Castle” and “Happy Feet”. I think that if it went worldwide today, (if the film was release first time today) it would probably be a big success if there was proper publicity. I would end by saying that Pip Mushin did a great job.

Australian Cinema as a Medium Sized Cinema
Today’s English filming industry is clearly dominated by Hollywood. Subsequently, Australia along with New Zealand, Britain and Canada are considered as medium sized cinemas. These nations have to compete amongst each other for coverage of the markets they share. (O’Regan, 1996:77)
Being a medium sized cinema, it is one of the main reasons why Josh Jarman did not make it big in the cinemas worldwide. This is a perfect example of the term little gem because I think that the film actually has the potential. It just shows that Australian cinema lack the cutting edge to compete with Hollywood films because of exposure and maybe financial reasons.

(Sources: O’Regan, 1996. T. Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London)

Australian Cinema Genre
The film Josh Jarman is a “quirky” Australian comedy which reflects Australian culture. It is classified as a comedy because it produces humor and laughter. The term “quirky” fits the film Josh Jarman because it contained unexpectedness and strangeness in behaviour which makes it even more interesting for its audiences (Gillard, 2004:87-89). Besides that, the film Josh Jarman also features the essence of drama. This film had a storyline and a conclusion which includes the ups and downs to give it a good introduction and climax as well as conclusion. In my opinion, I think that Josh Jarman is a typical Australian comedy and it is obvious that it’s Australian because of its “quirkiness” and also the accent from the actors. An Asian like me might not be able to tell but I’m certain Australians can identify the accent easily because even I could pick up a little bit after watching several Australian films.

 

(Gillard, G. 2004, Ten Types of Australian Films, Comedy, pp.87-100.
Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia)