The Tao of Steve

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


The Tao of Steve is a sparklingly fresh take on a well-known narrative formula that both revitalizes the genre and provides a thoroughly entertaining perspective on men’s travails with romance. The title refers to the prototypical cool guy, a Steve McQueen, Steve McGarret, or Steve Austin, a man without need who has the ability to attract women effortlessly. It’s the code by which a group of guys tries to live, particularly articulate philosopher king Dex, an oversized kindergarten teacher with a hyper sex drive and a charming and incredibly effective way with women that somehow gets them to chase him. He’s the kind of guy we don’t see very often onscreen, a man whose attractiveness is not physical but intellectual and verbal, although he lives a life of Frisbee golf, poker nights, and the pursuit of sex.

Brilliantly portrayed by Donal Logue, Dex is smart, casually self-deprecating, and still living without plan or purpose ten years after college graduation. Quoting Lao-tzu, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger to support his seductive endeavors or instruct his colleagues, Dex is self-indulgence personified until he meets Syd, an old college friend who doesn’t respond to his technique. She uncovers a person who may still be able to grow up.

Breaking free of the conventions that so often pervade this type of film, filmmaker Jenniphr Goodman displays a terrifically deft directorial touch, as well as an outstanding feel for character and dialogue that lets men be men and invigorates both sexes with humanizing insight and wisdom.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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