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Screener Squad: Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cha Cha Real Smooth Movie Review


It’s impressive to watch a film from a first timer and see the potential that will surely be unlocked over the years to come in better movies. Down the road, sometimes a decade later, you can say, “I remember when they kicked things off with that rough around the edges but cute little indie film. My how they’ve grown.” And then there’s a filmmaker like writer/director/actor/editor Cooper Raiff who has somehow discovered the movie maker cheat code to skip past the growing pains phases and get right to a second film that is so good, we’re left wondering if he’s the love child of Richard Linklater and Jon Watts. Raiff is already a pro and has crafted a beautiful and complex film about love, depression, the uncertainties of youth, and the complexities of relationships. Cha Cha Real Smooth follows Andrew (Raiff), a young guy fresh out of college who isn’t quite sure what he wants to do in life. His girlfriend leaves him to study abroad, he lives with his mom and stepdad (Leslie Mann and Brad Garrett), and he works at a food stand at the mall. While attending a Bar Mitzvah with his younger brother David (Evan Assante), Andrew discovers he has the natural skill and charm to be a party host. He soon strikes up a friendship with Domino (Dakota Johnson), a mother of an autistic daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). Melina, Rae, Wright, and T.C. discuss the wonderfully deep, touching, and often brutally honest story of relationships and love in all its complicated forms.

**Check out the review of the film from SXSW with Wright and Chris right here**


DIRECTED BY: Cooper Raiff

STARRING: Cooper Raiff, Dakota Johnson, Vanessa Burghardt, Leslie Mann, Brad Garrett, Raúl Castillo, Evan Assante, Odeya Rush, Kelly O’Sullivan, Colton Osorio, Liam Jones




” width=Wright Sulek (Screener Squad, Digital Noise, Highly Suspect Reviews, Trash in the Can, Audio Editor)

Wright hails from the northern suburbs of Dallas, Texas. His passion for filmmaking brought him to Austin to study and make movies. Since then he’s had his hand in acting, writing, and directing his own short films with numerous like-minded film geeks he’s met along his journey. His newest interest has brought him into the podcasting world. He co-hosted a few different movie related podcasts such as ‘And Now This’ and ‘The Match Cut’. He currently co-hosts with longtime friend, Eric Samaniego, where they talk shop about the grimiest, trashiest, lost gems of movies on their show, ‘Trash in the Can’. Wright also guests and hosts reviews on Screener Squad and Highly Suspect Reviews as well as co-hosts Digital Noise with Chris Cox.



Melina Eames (Screener Squad)

Melina first discovered that she carried the nerd gene at the tender age of four following her exposure to a little film called A New Hope. In the twenty-some years that followed, Melina continued to grow into her geek identity through the discovery of Batman, Mst3k, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Mandalorian. But perhaps her most significant discovery came at the age of fourteen when a night of YouTube mining led her to the review site of Melina became a devoted follower whose fandom did not end with the site’s demise. By then, it had worked its dark magic and left her with a love and appreciation for film criticism that she has yet to shrug.



Lyrae Anderson (Screener Squad)

You can call me Rae. You can also call me a film lover. I’ll watch it all — small screen; big screen, and everything in between. I have attended and worked for Fantastic Fest and South by Southwest for many years. I married a film geek as well. While we don’t agree on everything, we agree on our love of movies.




T.C. De Witt (Screener Squad)

T.C. De Witt is a multi-awarded writer/director originally from Wisconsin and now based in Los Angeles. His life has been devoted to the arts since he was a child. He’s been a stage performer, playwright, stand-up comic, film and television actor, radio DJ, podcaster published author, recorded musician, and comic writer/illustrator. He is now a professional screenwriter and has been thriving for the past decade, regularly offering his talents to production studios in LA, Chicago, Milwaukee, and internationally in Sydney and Poland. He’s provided content for Amazon Prime, Netflix, and several YouTube partners. His films have screened internationally, and his stageplays have been performed across the country. In the last ten years, he has directed 57 films, 23 episodes of his series The One Minute Rewatch, 300+ episodes of podcasts, and his multi-award-winning short film Screen: Righter screened at the Festival de Cannes in 2016. He has released two feature films, The Princess Knight and A Christmas Sunset. He thrives on collaboration and the thrill of sharing stories in all forms.



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