Hey gang, Valkor. And we’re back for another round of MediaView. Now. I’m a huge fan of Kevin Smith’s Clerks, and I’ll quote a line or three whenever an opportunity presents itself. The thing is I’ve yet to see an indie film that comes close to matching Clerks charm and humor. I'm sure there are some out there. However, after watching Nearly Departed directed by Bob Cook, I think I've found a film that almost hits that mark… almost.
Nearly Departed puts the focus on a guy named Wilmont (Conor Romero), who at the start of the film was in a terrible accident, which he survived. However, his fiancee didn’t make it. Fast-forward one year later and Wilmont is applying for a job as an undertaker at a funeral home. We learn that he used to have a high-paying job and a nice place until the accident happened. But he takes this funeral job, which only pays minimum wage because he’s looking for a change of pace. Things take a turn towards the supernatural when receptionist Gloria (B.T. Bauer) suddenly dies at her desk. Her spirit returns to visit Wilmont, letting him know that his departed fiancee sent her to help get his life back on track. Well, not only her exactly, but he’ll be visited by two spirits who’ll impart their knowledge into helping him deal with Julia’s death, like finding a new girlfriend, dealing with the separation of his stepchild, and helping him get a leg up at work.
Now comes the strange part–the spirits that visit Wilmont weren’t necessarily “sent down from the heavens”. Rather, they’re recently departed. And they only have so much time to speak with Wil before they’re buried and their souls are sent away. So, other than Gloria, we meet Marv (Robert Carradine), and John Dobbs (James L. Lincoln), who talk Wilmont through some stuff and advise him on how to handle situations such as getting a date with the new girl Melanie (Kat Kemmet) or a raise from John Dobbs’ tightwad of a son, Leroy Dobbs (Troy D. Williams). In the end, it all works out for Wilmont. And I’ll be honest, I’d like to see a continuation of his ghostly adventures.
From the jump, I wasn’t expecting to like Nearly Departed as much as I did. But with a combination of superb storytelling, a quirky cast of characters–both alive and spectral, and jokes that hit the mark, the film turned out to be very entertaining. I describe the film as being something like Clerks because it has the same feel to it without all the black and white. However, it’s unique in its own way when dealing with human/spiritual interaction, without disrupting Wilmont’s life as the spirits do as they describe themselves, which is to guide Wilmont towards a positive conclusion, with some hilarity ensuing along the way. There are some soft spots, such as the scene at the alligator park. But it’s nothing that slows things down. The film isn’t perfect. But neither was Clerks. And yet the two are similar in that both are memorable long after the credits have finished. Finally, I enjoyed all the performances in the film, but Greg Pitts and John Dobbs brought in the most laughs. In the end, Nearly Departed was a lot of fun and it’s a film I can’t wait to watch again and again.
I felt the ghosts didn’t do much to help Wilmont; in fact, it just seems that most of his problems could have resolved themselves without their interaction. That’s not to say they weren’t helpful as the ghosts give Wilmont sound advice. But, to me, I believe Wilmont could have figured out his situation on his own.
Nearly Departed is available now on Amazon Instant, and I hope it gets a wider release soon. It’s a fun story that’s packed with pack charm and plenty of humor that makes this film worth the watch. I recommend checking it out. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Nearly Departed a solid 4.