this week in web videos

The Story of Every Man Who Drives a Muscle Car

Featured Funny Video: Hardware

You know when you’re driving and you spot a middle-aged guy in a muscle car? A new muscle car, not a vintage model. I’m talking a 2012 and above Mustang, Chrysler, or Dodge. It’s not cool, but it’s shiny; it’s not high-performance, but it’s loud. Inside sit men who’ve just missed the mark of where they thought they’d land — indefatigable strivers sporting ill-fitting dress shirts and cheap haircuts. What are their stories? you wonder. Who do they think they’re fooling? Hardware, written by Ellen Stringer and Stephen Jacobson and directed by Jacobson, tells us that they’re not trying to fool anyone at all. This is who they are, and they’ve got some things to say.

This week’s feature introduces one such man in Branch Dangus (Kenneth von Burmeister), our window into the life of a would-be entrepreneur, who spends his nights alone hammering away on an electric drum set and his days projecting the image of a “successful entrepreneur” — best foot forward, firm handshake, and a smile that says, “I look forward to our partnership.” He’s a walking guidebook, a human inspirational poster gone wrinkled and forgotten. The guy fantasizes about signing deals and shaking hands. But when a business expo trip doesn’t turn out as planned, Branch’s façade begins to crack, and the darkness of desperation shines blindingly through.

Too real to be laugh-out-loud, Hardware is truly, mesmerizingly funny while contributing a dash of sobriety to the long-possessed fantasy of the bootstrapping American entrepreneur who will always win just as long as he keeps his tie straight and Dodge gassed up.

Luke is executive producer and head of development at Big Breakfast and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

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The Story of Every Man Who Drives a Muscle Car