Buffalo Bill’s Defunct

Stories From The New West

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“An ambitious and often moving feature, produced locally and directed by Seattle’s Matt Wilkins, "Buffalo Bill’s Defunct" is both shrewd and sophisticated filmmaking.

Essentially a collection of poignant short tales about the grown children and grandchildren of ornery but magnanimous "Buffalo" Bill (Earl V. Prebezac), the action begins when Bill accidentally rams his truck through a wall of his dilapidated shed.

Deciding it’s time to demolish the rustic hut, widower Bill enlists his kin in removing its family paraphernalia from bygone years. This dismantling of the past becomes a catalyst for learning more about Bill’s kids (and their kids) through spare vignettes that have been compared, with good reason, to stories of the late Port Angeles writer Raymond Carver.

One of the best pieces stars Keith Fox as an emotionally reckless and taciturn father whose grown daughter (Frances Hearn) reluctantly bonds with him while humiliating her drunken boyfriend (Michael White).

Improvising dialogue and behavior, the entire cast and Wilkins find a quiet if urgent soulfulness somewhat obscured at times by overly busy editing.”

Tom Keogh, Special to The Seattle Times

“When he accidentally drives through the door of his dilapidated garage, an elderly curmudgeon named Bill (Earl V. Prebezac) tries to cover up his ineptitude by declaring he’s decided to tear the thing down. As various family members are enlisted to help with this absurd task, the shed is emptied of ramshackle heirlooms and board games, sparking gossip and remembrance in the form of flashbacks. In one tale, Bill’s granddaughter takes her boyfriend to meet her father, and a cruel drunken prank ensues. In another, the family’s youngest generation confronts natural reality in the form of a roadkill fawn.”

“Dancing elliptically around themes of familial disintegration and modern disconnectedness from the world, "Buffalo Bill’s Defunct" earns its subtitle: "Stories From the New West." Director Matt Wilkins and producer Eliza Fox, winners of a Judges’ Award at the 2001 Northwest Film and Video Festival for the short film "Interior Latex," have crafted a solid, impressive-looking film. The semi-improvised performances are consistently naturalistic, and the production as a whole marks a promising feature debut for these Seattle-area filmmakers.”

—Marc Mohan, The Oregonian

“Startlingly unique” — Sean Axmaker, Seattle P-I

“Funny and touching” — David Walker, Willamette Week

“Keenly real” — Shannon Gee, The Stranger

“Weirdly heartwarming” — Laura Cassaddy, Seattle Weekly

“Reminiscent of free verse” — Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

“Brilliant!” — Karl Krogstad, The American Avantgarde