Matt Farley is an artist from Manchester who loves making his quirky music, movies and stand-up shows, and would rather do what he enjoys than change just because people don't get it. He has a big comedy show planned and we get to experience his days and thoughts up until the big day.
For everyone to understand my opinion on this movie completely, it is important for you to know that I have reviewed three movies of Matt Farley's (they were written, produced by him and starred him, but directed by Charles Roxburgh). I didn't like either of them - they were just too novelty, too silly and too jokey without actually being very funny to me. They were boring, and I say that knowing I watched a movie called "Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas", so I did expect ridiculousness. Unfortunately it didn't work, and by my second review I declared I wouldn't return to their movies. But then came a monster movie, and I was curious. "Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!" was a tad bit better, but still pretty bad in my opinion. You need to really be funny for me to appreciate that kind of intentional stupidity. There was very little for me to appreciate in his previous movies at all. So it comes as a pretty damn big surprise that I REALLY liked "Local Legends". What happened?
"Local Legends" is a movie about the real Matt Farley, but of course it is done semi-biographical and has some fiction to it - it's not a documentary. I don't know the guy personally and haven't exactly spent my days on Google to find info about him. But it seems that the Matt Farley who made "Local Legends" is very close to the Matt Farley in "Local Legends". It's a story about a guy who just loves making his music, movies and stand-up. He might not be a success at it, but he likes it and he knows why he does it in his peculiar way - it's fun. The movie takes a look at how he perceives himself and his art, but also takes a few seconds to look at how other people view his movies. He certainly has a few things to say about critics who doesn't appreciate his style (that includes me) and that's just one of many meta-moments of the movie that worked really well. He also goes into an alter-ego of sorts, his business side always pushing him to do stuff that will get him noticed, and it is also revealed eventually why his music is such a big focus in "Local Legends". Yes, there's a part in the movie that takes a look at what "Local Legends" is and why it exists.
I'm a big enough of a man to say that this fourth movie that I watch of Matt Farley's was great, even though I saw little to nothing for me in the previous flicks. I had a blast with it, and I think this sort of real-but-absurd comedy works well. I didn't find many things I thought were genuinely funny in "Freaky Farley", "Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas" and "Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!", but in this one it was just great. The movie was a lot more consistent than the other ones and managed to find a great level between how weird and over-the-top silly it could be, and how serious it could be. To say that "Local Legends" is serious doesn't seem right, but at the same time it kinda is. It comes from a great place and manages to speak to us on a more natural level, whether we are fans, artists, critics or just a random person stumbling into the movie. It's not silly costumes, intentionally bad kills and weird dialogue - it's a movie about a real person's life. It's very interesting to see a filmmakers personal opinion about his work expressed in his own work like this, as it does it with humour and a nice sincerity missing from Matt Farley prior to this (in the ones I have seen). The movie felt all the more real when they keep showing you scenes from the movies (those that I didn't like and older ones). Using real movies adds a lot to the movie, and you can tell when it's real rather than having been produced solely for the movie (something most movies would do).
Within the movie they admit to focusing on the music to give his music a boost, and I think that will actually succeed. I didn't know much about Matt Farley, and now I know he makes music - that also isn't terrible if you like novelty music. I also know that he lives for what he does, he enjoys doing it and will continue to do it. I respect that, I think that's great in every case, whether I appreciate what they do or not.
There are some side plots that I am sure are more fictional than the rest, although they could be inspired by real people. It has a woman who constantly stalks Matt only to then go back to her boyfriend, and go back and forth. And Matt hates her, which is just great. He then finds a woman who seems sane and appreciate Matt for what he is, and that's where the movie gets sidetracked at times, but in a good way as it's easier to look at it as entertaining fiction instead of a documentary (something that it's not).
I speak as a fan of "Local Legends" when I say I hope he finds a way to develop this style further in future work, because I honestly liked this a lot. To me, this is Matt Farley's masterpiece, and I don't just think it's great next to his other movies - it's just a damn fun and interesting movie. It speaks to many of us who create things, and we all have a few things to learn from Matt Farley's outlook on things. You could certainly do a lot worse than "Local Legends" if you want to watch a movie about an artist's life, passions and arts. It's actually funny and made me laugh, as things weren't as random and for a change came from something relatable. You might get inspired by the lengths Matt Farley go to just get exposure. Don't confuse that with money and success - he wants to be seen and heard, so he will give you copies of his movies and music, and he'll even give you his number (if you own his movies you most likely have his number). I don't know exactly what details are real and what's fiction, but that's secondary as long as the movie is enjoyable, isn't it?