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Sizemore: The Big Salad II

  • Communication 2645 Milwaukee Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

A local filmmaker's surreal "Seinfeld" adaptation gets an expanded treatment. Info

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Derek Hain's 2017 short film The Big Salad, shot on a low budget around Madison with local performers, reinterpreted the Seinfeld episode of the same title. Hain and a largely amateur cast stuck faithfully to Larry David's teleplay—a tale of pencils, murder, and severe pettiness—but didn't try to mimic the look, mannerisms, or comic timing of the original. It's the kind of adaptation you might make if you simply treated the script as a dry set of instructions, and if you'd never been exposed to the pervasive cultural influence of Seinfeld. You can tell that George is miffed about not getting credit for buying Elaine the big salad, and that Jerry loathes Newman, but there's no laugh track, none of the jokes really land, and the actors inhabit the characters with discomfort or surreal numbness.

Sizemore: The Big Salad II, screening here, takes this dissociative experiment a few steps further. Instead of just working with the episode script, Hain has fleshed it out with some writing of his own, expanding upon several of the intertwining plot lines that feed into the episode. The result runs 68 minutes. Hain wasn't able to share the full movie with me to watch ahead of this screening, but shared his detailed production notes, and the film's trailer suggests that Sizemore: The Big Salad II shares its predecessor's tone and feel (tonally ambiguous, and nothing like Seinfeld). Hain did take plot and structural cues from Larry David's script while writing Sizemore, but notes that many of the liberties he takes "are arbitrary, whimsical, or willfully perverse." Most of the actors put together their own costumes from written instructions Hain provided, which should further contribute to the film's stylistic dissonance. Viewers will also notice plenty of local filming locations, from downtown Middleton to the Mound Street Laundromat. Sizemore's cast includes Sarah Friedland as Elaine, Lewis Peterson as George, Jack Beise as Kramer, and Shelby Turner as Jerry. —Scott Gordon