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Review: Millennium Bugs
Party Like It's 1999
Set in the last week of 1999, best friends Kelly and Miguel find themselves on the cusp of their future. Kelly has been floating through life after her parent’s death; drowning herself in alcohol and drugs. When her inheritance money runs out, Kelly is slapped with the realities of her actions. Her best friend Miguel is torn between his immigrant parent’s expectations, and his dream to become a comedian. The pressure to pursue his dreams while defying the sacrifices his parents made for him pushes Miguel to the brink. Together, Kelly and Miguel, along with the rest of the world, find themselves wondering what’s next.
I’m going to level with you reader, I wasn’t aware this film, Millennium Bugs, existed until this very past week. And that’s understandable, this is a true independent film directed by a true independent filmmaker in Alejandro Montoya Marin who is on just his second feature. It was shot with just a 50k budget and from what I gathered was technically shown back in 2020 to a select few; before then going on to show up and win prizes at the Las Cruces International Film Festival last year.
Obviously whenever tackling such a small budgeted project, one might worry on the quality of cinematography, direction, performances, and other technical aspects that go into making a feature film. But to my pleasant surprise the directing here is more than competent and the cinematography is the kind you’d expect from bigger projects.
The performances are all good as well, this doesn’t feel like those other small films where you’d think they just picked someone off the street. Katy Erin, who herself has gotten behind the camera, and newcomer Michael Lovato, both make you feel for the plights of our two main protagonists and perfectly execute their attitudes and personalities. These feel like real people I have and currently know.
But technicality aside what about the story. Well if you’re a fan of comedic dramas that touch on friendship, growing up, finding your path in life, and nostalgia that transports you back to the late nineties, this film will be right up your alley. The central character study of Kelly and Miguel drives the whole thing and their friendship really does come through and I identified with some of their troubles. I’m also someone who can remember being ten years old during the Y2K mania and I think the film nails down the strange atmosphere of those last few days in 1999. And finally, the movie’s heart comes with laughs and it got more than a few chuckles from me.
My gripes would come with the dialogue and certain line deliveries in a few scenes, both which could have used some polishing up, and of course as with any film this small you can see certain limitations with production; but again given how small of a budget this was working with, the final quality on screen is pretty impressive in my book.
If you’re a nineties kid, if you enjoy a heartfelt and yet comedic study of two friends hitting a fork in their lives, if you want to support independent film, then I would suggest you give this a try. Millennium Bugs was an enjoyable little gem worth discovering.
PS: Given how small this film is and its release through VOD platforms this Tuesday, February 7th, I’ll include a link to where you can pre-order it on iTunes, just go ahead and click here.