After watching Cooper Raiff’s sophomore film, CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH, I decided to go back and watch his freshman outing, SHITHOUSE, this past weekend. I was not disappointed. 

While CHA CHA is about what happens after college and has its charm, you should easily be able to see why SHITHOUSE one the top award at SXSW in 2020. Think of it as a mix of BEFORE SUNRISE, but in college with a lot more drinking and embarrassing moments. 

The film’s theme of leaving your family to discover yourself at college has been done countless times before, yet what Raiff continues to prove is that he’s an expert in delivering charm. It’s delightful watching Alex (Cooper Raiff) and Maggie (Dylan Gelula) fail only to discover that’s the point of college. It’s lonely, awkward, sloppy, and allows you the space to find yourself amongst a new group that is “only half as cool” as your family.

SHITHOUSE slowly eases into the well-worn characters as audiences learn the backstories of Alex and Maggie. Yet, in these backstories, audiences should be able to see younger and/or current versions of themselves. There’s a moment towards the end where Alex is talking to his mom and sister back home that’s pure cinema perfection. My wife and I both went to school away from our family, so it was instantly relatable and had us both in tears. And it’s within that moment that I once again realized that Cooper Raiff is the next filmmaker to keep your eye on. His films can be rough around the edges, yet they make up for that with more than enough ❤️.

SHITHOUSE is a story about characters learning that it’s okay to have feelings, even if they are shitty. That transition of becoming comfortable with your feelings makes for an indie film that easily graduates as a must-see. 

It’s available to rent on Apple TV+.

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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