Tribeca Film Festival Shorts: Zach Woods’ ‘David’ & Aubrey Smyth’s ‘Liza Anonymous’ Reviews

Zach Woods’ David

On my first day of my Tribeca film access, I was scrolling down the offerings and stopped when I saw the face of Chidi from The Good Place, which is to say the actor William Jackson Harper. Then I saw that David also featured Will Ferrell, and that it was only 11 minutes long, so I thought “I’ll just watch this right now, won’t I?” It was good decision-making. 

The third actor in David is Fred Hechinger, it’s directed by Zach Woods, and it’s probably got as many good laughs as it has minutes. It requires serious comedy chops to pull off jokes about suicide – but there are chops aplenty in this short about a therapist trying to balance the needs of his seriously depressed client and his son, who really wants his Dad to come to his wrestling match. 

Aubrey Smith’s Liza Anonymous

In Liza Anonymous, Liza (Danielle Beckmann) pretends to be addicted to various things in order to attend support groups. I understand that director Aubrey Smyth and writer Leah McKendrick have crafted the character to be a lonely soul looking for a place to belong, but it’s impossible to empathize with her. She puts on personas, outfits and accents, to the extent of some cringeworthy racist appropriation. I wouldn’t want to spend very much time with Liza, but the running time is only 12 minutes, and it builds toward a punchline so ridiculous that I rolled my eyes – but I also laughed out loud.

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