3rd Street Blackout: An Indie Rom-Com You Might Enjoy

I’m going to go ahead and say that if you seek it out, and find it, then well: you’re capable of enjoying 3rd Street Blackout. I believe in you. And in it. The movie is sweet and funny and good.

You might be able to see it if you hustle. It’s in New York this week, Boston and North Florida after that, and then who knows. This is a little tiny movie. East coasters should get on top of it as fast as you can.

Bright nights, no lighting fixtures

Bright nights, no lighting fixtures

3rd Street Blackout is writer/ director/ star Negin Farsad’s first narrative feature, set mostly in the three days Hurricane Sandy extinguished power in lower Manhattan. Farsad and collaborator Jeremy Redleaf have built a tight, heartfelt little comedy around a breezy script and a shoestring budget, with the help of tons of NYC alt-comedy luminaries in small roles (John Hodgman, Janeane Garofalo, and Sasheer Zamata, to name a few).

The plot is essentially the same as Eyes Wide Shut, though with fewer pretentious orgies. In it, a charmingly meek app developer goes AWOL from his foul-mouthed and buxom neuroscientist ladyfriend, having gotten angry at her for nearly cheating on him. She’d like nothing more than to make things right, but can’t figure out how.

As in most rom-coms, the whole thing could be solved with thirty seconds of direct communication, but here (at last!) there is a good reason why this is impossible: the hurricane has left our most densely populated, navigable, and electro-coms-enabled region down for repairs. Compounding the drama, the app developer was the half of this relationship who knew how to maintain human pathways through the neighborhood. If his estranged neuroscientist wants to find her way back into his heart, she’ll have to create some connections herself.

This proves just the right way to tie both character and plot into the theme. Nothing’s heavy-handed nor too cutesy. I wish all romantic comedies had this deft a touch.

I’ll happily disclose that I’ve got a song in the soundtrack. Were my contribution affording me some part of the back end, my journalistic ethics would now hang in tatters. But without a stake, I’ll just thank SB4MC for letting me shill this lovely little film and leave it at that.

Check it out if you can! And failing that, tell your computer phone to remind you to look for it on Netflix in six months or so. Hope that neither our disintegrating public infrastructure nor our crumbling ecosystem makes viewing impossible when that reminder comes due.

MINA-RUDY-BLACKOUT

Oh, and let’s all treat our Netflix-and-chill partners right. We doubly need them whenever the lights go out.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.