January 2022 I was introduced to Cooper Raiff’s second feature, Cha Cha Real Smooth, and I absolutely fell in love with it. March 2022 I saw Cha Cha Real Smooth again and fell in love with it all over again, then again on June 15th 2022. It’s been six months into the year, and every movie that has absolutely blown me away has been an independent movie. It is rare for me to see a movie multiple times in theatres, with the exception of Licorice Pizza last year, it almost never happens. However, there is something truly magical about Cha Cha Real Smooth that is almost impossible to articulate. What Cooper Raiff manages to capture and deliver between writing directing and acting, is simply put magnificent. For only his second feature to be able to deliver such a quintessentially perfect film that is so heartfelt and heartbreaking. Movies like Cha Cha Real Smooth is what makes movies worth going to see, there is no other way to put it. Movies that capture heart and soul and wear their emotions on their sleeve and warm, break, and rebuild your heart all at once is what movies should be about. There is nothing wrong with things blowing up and caped crusaders or the alike overtaking the screens, but to be featured on 19 screens at a 24 screen multiplex breaks this cinephiles heart. The more we support movies like Cha Cha Real Smooth the more we get to see movies like this, the more we get to feel something that isn’t just the next big thing. Sure, Cooper Raiff has everything in him to be the next billion dollar head of a franchise, he’s shown his restraint in his direction and his passion in his script but as he said in our chat with him, he’d rather focus on the movies that he loves making and not worry about making movies that need to break the box office records.
This was meant to be the beginning of my review for the aforementioned movie, but I couldn’t stop myself from pleading to anyone reading this that cinema is alive and well. Yes, Cha Cha Real Smooth is premiering on Apple TV+ and if and only if you’re comfortable going out in public at the moment, please go see this in your local cinema that is showing it and don’t be distracted by your phone or the door or anything else that can take you out of the experience of seeing Cha Cha Real Smooth with an audience. My first two viewings were at home, pandemic life, but I was able to see it for a third time with a sold out crowd and it was the most I was able to emotionally connect to the film. Cinema matters, good cinema matters. Cha Cha Real Smooth matters. Yes I sound like a blabbering fool writing all of this, but I haven’t felt so personally connected and in love with a movie in so long. This movie just resonated with me on such a strong level, and I could talk about this endlessly.
To summarize, Cha Cha Real Smooth is the movie of the year. It is currently sitting in my top 5 favourite movies of all time, and that is not something I take lightly. The list usually does change, as any cinephile will attest to, but there’s always those one or two movies that always stay grounded in there and Cha Cha Real Smooth is one of those movies. Cooper Raiff, no matter what he does next will always be someone whose films I want to see the second they become available, whether he’s in them, writing them or directing them, he has a fan and admirer of his work for the rest of his career.