SXSW Film: ‘Space Station 76’

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A sci-fi comedic soap opera set in a 1970s version of the future is not a movie premise you have most likely heard of until “Space Station 76” came along. The movie, directed by Jack Plotnick, follows the lives of the people living on Space Station 76 and the comedic struggles each of the residents are going through.

The movie begins by introducing the audience to Jessica (Liv Tyler), a newly-hired Assistant Captain of the ship and Captain Glenn Terry (Patrick Wilson), a suicidal and bitter man who we soon find is struggling with his homosexuality. Life on the space station is not very amusing or exciting and some of the residents have trouble coping with their lives while simultaneously battling cabin fever. Among the ship’s residents are the ship mechanic Ted (Matt Bomer), his Valium-addicted wife Misty (Marisa Coughlan) and their daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers), along with Steve (Jerry O’Connell) and wife Donna (Kali Rocha).

Originally created as a stage play, Plotnick manages to successfully bring Space Station 76 from stage to screen. Plotnick prevails in creating comedy out of the despair of his characters as they struggle with suicide, sexuality, gender and health. The droll humor is hit-or-miss in the movie, but scenes such as the numerous failed suicide attempts from Captain Glenn and the robot therapist Dr. Bot that loves handing out Valium to its patients make up for some of the other missed opportunities.

“Space Station 76” ended up being one of the most buzzed-about movies during the SXSW 2014 film festival and managed to be picked up by Sony Pictures for international distribution.