Deck of Cards

3 out of 5

Directed by: Eric Notarnicola

Any piece of On Cinema-related media certainly “benefits” from being viewed through that lens, as it’s inevitable – now 12 seasons, multiple Oscar specials, HEI-network series and etc. in – that the in-jokes and slowburn payoff after whatever you’re watching are probably funnier than the actual thing you’re watching. This is maybe especially true with the 45-minute Deck of Cards, OCatC’s Gregg’s (Gregg Turkington) bid at a feature film, after realizing that the “characters” populating a deck of cards – queen of hearts, etc. – were in the public domain, and why not use some sweet cash he (in universe) acquired to make a movie out of them; while the surface laughs initially come from Gregg’s need to turn any project into proof of his film bona fides – by naming movies people starred in and knowing movie runtimes – and the movie’s purposeful CGI’d incompetence, the bigger laugh comes from a surprise shift about halfway through, which is funny in itself but also immensely satisfying for OC fans. 

Still, these jokes do run a bit thin, even if that is part of the joke (a two+ minute driving sequence; constant goofed up CG / bluescreen composites). To our team’s credit – Gregg, Tim Heidecker, constant behind-the-scenes man Eric Notarnicola – it’s not too thin, and the runtime is just about right, meaning any newbie viewer with a tolerance for Tim and Eric style non-humor can still chuckle along, while their OC-addicted partner gets some larger chuckles. 

…But it’s still the case that the biggest joys will likely be the aftermath, and however the “film’s” bits and bobs are absorbed into the world. 

There is a plot, and it involves code breaking and Ben Franklin, and definitely unique characters we’ve never seen before – wink wink – but that’s as much as I’ll spoil.