A couple meets at a cafe ran by a crazy cook and, what was meant to be an innocent dinner, soon spirals out of control in the comedy short I’ve Heard This Before.
When I’ve Heard This Before started to play, I instantly thought I was about to witness a short film highly influenced by Kevin Smith’s 90’s classic Clerks, what with it being in black-and-white and set in business that serves the public. Thankfully, it was not, after all, low-budget Clerks ripoffs have been done to death. They were cliché back in 1996 and you can still find them to this day. No, I’ve Heard This Before was something more original and clever in its execution.
Directed by Lewis Benjamin Peck and Christopher Walthorne, I’ve Heard This Before starts with a tired Cafe owner called Jeff (Richard Kiess) placing menus onto his tables, awaiting custom. As soon as he uttered the opening line of dialogue to himself, that being “First God damn week of Winter”, I understood the title of the short comedy film. This was cemented when his first customer of the day, Stella (Isabella Inchbald), enters the restaurant and utters the line “What a dump!”. Just like the title of the short, I had heard these lines before, the former being from John Carpenter’s infamous horror The Thing, and the latter famously uttered by Bette Davis in the 1949 movie Beyond The Forest.
After being offered a seat in the corner of the Cafe, Stella opts for a table after stating that “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”. Soon after taking her seat, she is joined by her boyfriend, “Here’s Johnny!” (played by Louis Hill) and the twelve-minute skit turns into a ballad of humorous incidents to go along with some of cinema’s most memorable lines of dialogue.
I found myself laughing throughout the film, using the famous dialogue under a different context really worked. The performances by all the three actors are really great; they really get stuck into their roles and make the most of the material, especially Richard Kiess who seems to have had a ball playing the madcap cafe owner.
I have to say, I really enjoyed my time with I’ve Heard This Before, and if hard-pressed to find any fault with it, then the only real thing I can think of was with one shot that wasn’t framed right – a low shot when all three are at the table, a wider lens, or moving the table a little more away from the wall, or even choosing to sit in the middle of the cafe, could have fixed the issue, but I am being quite picky here.
I’ve Heard This Before is a fun little short film. I found myself saying the titles of the movies – that the original lines of dialogue had featured- out loud, like a solo competition, which added to my viewing pleasure. If you have the chance to watch I’ve Heard This Before, do so, it’s twelve-minutes well spent.