Sunday Matinee: States [Film]

 

“A transient road film featuring an array of young drifters wandering throughout the U.S. with varying degrees of purpose, or lack-thereof , “States” is a multifaceted meditation on freedom – via Twain, Kerouac, Altman, Linklater… – and an outsider’s love letter to America and the searchers of its endless highways.” – October Coast PR

 

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To start out here, States is an absolute breath of fresh air. For everyone out there who complains about there not being enough original art out there in the world of filmmaking, this is for you. And while it’s sad to say, you just have to look for it. There are still plenty of original filmmakers and writers out there creating some of the best work imaginable. And this film is a prime example of this work. This amazing somewhat-linear but moving between several different stories is a beautiful exploration into the land of which I came, which is seen better by some folks from Canada. I truly loved this film. Each storyline is unique in its own right, but is still filled with the right amount of depth and character development that you truthfully just can’t find as much anymore.

 

 

Zach Gayne has done something absolutely brilliant here with this mesmerizing film. The dude wrote, shot, and directed the whole damn thing. This is always a fun thing to see in the indie world. Going “Rob Rodriguez” as some would call it. And by some, I mean just me. I’m probably the only one who says this. Either way, States is fucking full forced film of creative expression to be reckoned with. And while I am absolutely amazed with all the performances within this film, it behooves me to shout out Jeremey O. Harris. Holy shit did this dude bring is absolute A game. Just a pure fucking delight, and I will be watching his career from here on out. Also, this is your chance to watch the brilliance of Alex Essoe, who is going to be the one of the biggest stars we have ever seen. I’m talking Scarlet Johansson level fame. I’m so excited to that anyone who decides to read this and check out this incredible film can use our site as a reference to the statement of “I knew Essoe when….”

As much as kid, I have to reiterate, States is absolutely brilliant. It’s one of the best films of 2019, and one of the best in the last decade. We need more works of art like this. And I know there will be more. But for now, let us enjoy this absolutely brilliant take on the American way of life, for all that is god and awful about it.

 

Be on the lookout for States coming to VOD soon.

 

 

 

Saturday Special: The House of Violent Desire [Film]

 

“Awoken by screams in the night, young Evelyn Whipley is found drenched in blood and mysteriously bound to the bed – A Gothic Horror set in the 1940s, a psychosexual thriller disguised as traditional Ghost Story.” – Dark Temple Motion Pictures

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Well, the folks at Dark Temple Motion Pictures are at it again! You may remember some time back we covered a film entitled Cannibal Farm, which really blew my mind. Mostly because it was WAY better than I truly expected. And now Charlie Steed and team may have released their finest work to date with The House of Violent Desire. We have some veteran DTMP actors in the mix, as well as some incredible new faces as well. When it comes to indie horror, this is IT, Folks! I spend ALOT of time watching indie horror. I mean, ALOT. And sometimes, the lack of budget can be seen crystal clear through the production. But other times, especially with Steed at the wheel, you know can find magic. From the amazing performances found throughout the film, to the excellent shooting of Michael Lloyd, you can very well become lost in a film like this. I know I sure the hell did!

 

The thing that made The House of Violent Desire so incredibly interesting to me is the act of storytelling, within the actual storytelling itself. Listening to Barrington De La Rouche recap previous events in this film would probably be near the top of my list of wonderful moments in the world of horror. His inflection and delivery is that of a man of the theater. I don’t know if this is true, but I certainly believe it to be possible. And it was especially desirable when Esme Sears received her chance to do the same. Her character was originally seeming to be a bit meek and scared, giving you the assumption that something dark is buried deep within her soul. And then it is revealed, but it’s not until closer to the end when she gets to shine like a goddamned crazy diamond.

And of course this gives a lot of credit to the writing of the film itself. When you get that absolutely wonderful combination of a brilliantly written script, and the right performers to deliver the dialogue, it’s fucking game over. And that’s exactly what you can expect in The House of Violent Desire. So Folks, you owe it to yourself to give this film a watch. And after you love what you see (because you will) check out the rest of the catalogue of Steeds and Dark Temple Motion Pictures. They are one of the few collections of talent who are doing it absolutely right. And hands down, this is the best work I have seen from them thus far. You HAVE to do it!

 

The House of Violent Desire is available now in the US on streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime. 

 

Jason Stuart [Interview]

 

Hello Folks, and happy Friday to you all! To kick off the weekend with a good laugh, we have an incredible guest for you all. It’s the “swiss army knife” of actors, the wonderful Jason Stuart! Jason is that guy that I have been watching for years, as an avid TV and film watcher, but also as a huge fan of comedy. That’s right, we have another damn fine comic on our hands here at Trainwreck’d Society. And not only his Jason a fantastic actor and stand up comedian, he is also a god damned inspiration!

Jason Stuart did something that could have wrecked his career very early, based on the timeframe in which he did. It’s almost sickening to discuss in this day and age, but we simply cannot ignore the past. Jason Stuart came out as a gay man in the early 90’s, at a time where you just didn’t do that. Anybody who watched the 2018 film mid-90’s and refused to believe that some of the dialogue in that film wasn’t lifted directly from what was considered “appropriate” at the time – believe it. And while it is still not safe to say that things are “better now”, you have to understand that they sort of are better. But, the chance for regression in the changes that have been made is always there. But thanks to people like Mr. Stuart who pioneered the very simple idea of just being who you are and loving who you wish to love very early on, changes have been made for the better. He is commendable for his talents in the world of art and entertainment, and even more commendable for his actions as a human being.

And with that, Jason has a wonderful new book coming out entitled, Shut Up I’m Talking: Coming Out in Hollywood and Making it to the Middle. Without a doubt, it is going to be something that you simply HAVE to read. And we are so happy that Jason was able to take some time out of his numerous gigs to share some responses to some questions with us here today. So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the even more incredible human being, the great Jason Stuart!

 

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What inspired you to get into the line world of comedy and acting? Was it an early aspiration that you have had since you were young, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I started acting at a very young age. When I started getting laughs on stage doing school plays and community theatre, I knew this was what I wanted to do. At the time, I thought I wanted to be famous. But what I learned as I became more adept at the work, was that I loved the idea of being able to make people laugh, cry and touch people. I love the idea that you can go into the theater or see a movie or watch a TV show and I could change the way you feel about something.

 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned that still affect your work today?

I guest-starred on a TV show called The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts and played a ping-pong player who smoked pot in college. I thought, “This is it! I’m going to get jobs like this all the time!” So I quit community college … and didn’t get another job for two years. I really had no idea how lucky I was to get that job or lucky to get any job. So I just started to work hard and put one foot in front of the other until around 10 years later when I was able to start making a living.

 

While you are indeed a renowned actor, you also happen to be a hilarious stand up comedian. And we love stand up around here! So with that, I am curious to know how your experience has been in the world of stand up? Over the years, a lot of changes have been happening. In your own personal opinion, what have been some of the positive changes you have noticed over the years since you started?

 

Comedy has been very good to me. I’ve been able to work all over the country and actually learn geography! I went to public school. Lucky I learned anything! But to be honest, I was so bullied in school that it was hard for me to pay attention. One of the bigger changes is that people don’t go to comedy clubs as much as they did when I started out. My fans like to come to theaters or alternative spaces. So, that’s what I focus on now. Also, young people watch comedy all over the Internet now. So they are less apt to come to clubs because they have to talk to real people in real life.

 

One very specific project you worked on has me all sorts of intrigued, and I know it’s probably a weird one, but I gotta know….America’s Most Wanted. You appeared as a detective in 2011. How was this experience? It seems like it would be very different from other acting gigs. What do you remember about working on this project?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it was just like any other job. The reason I wanted to do it is because I wanted to play the role of a detective. That role got me a number of other roles after I  put it on my demo reel. I have a supporting role “Detective Walter“ in the film Abducted coming out this year. Every job leads to another. You have to show people that you can play something in order for them to believe that you can do it. My good friends Billy Damota and Dea Vise cast me, as they have several times. They gave me the opportunity to play roles out of the box that I was offered at that time. I only played fussy managers or annoying Jews or funny gay guys. But because of people like them, I’m now considered for all sorts of roles ….most of the time.

I understand that you have a book that was recently released to the world. And you had a signing event that was hosted by our friend and past guest Alexandra Paul! Can you tell our readers a bit about the book? What can they look forward to learning about you and the your sometimes insane business?

The book is about this young gay Jewish boy who went to see Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand. When I saw it I fell in love with Omar Sharif, her costar. And then thought to himself,  “If I love a man, who am I to be but Barbra Streisand, the woman. She’s funny on the outside and sad on the inside just like me. But she’s a not a guy.” This was very confusing to me as there were no gay role models in film and television in those days. It was very upsetting for a young boy at that time to come to grips that I might be gay. The book is about cleaning up the wreckage of my past and becoming a man. Dealing with a crazy family, a father who was in the holocaust, brothers and sisters who don’t show up for me and the ins and outs of show business. Also a lot of fun stories about everyone from George Clooney to Tiffany Haddish. And a lot about my very flamboyant mother, Gloria!

 

 

I am also very intrigued by a radio gig you have now entitled Riffing with Jason Stuart. Can you tell us a bit about this project? What compelled you to get into this game, and how can our readers find it?

The reason I started getting into hosting Radio, was that I wanted to get a boyfriend. So I wanted to find a job that would keep me from going on the road. I wanted to learn a new skill set. Just being funny wasn’t enough, I had to learn to interview people and I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years and for five different shows. What I really love about the job is you get to ask questions to people that you’ve known forever or work with, that you wouldn’t ask if you were just hanging out. So to me that’s a lot of fun.

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well my book is my main focus now. I have another film called Immortal coming out where I play a very intimidating private investigator. The film also stars Dylan Baker, Samm Levine, Robin Bartlett, and a lot of wonderful character actors. I also have created a new web series with Mitch Hara called Smothered, about two middle-age gay men who hate each other but can’t afford to get divorced.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Having my mom sit in the front row of my book signing, as she was smiling with joy over a book she was afraid I would tell too much in about her and the family ups and downs.  At one point she said “Don’t use my real name! Call me Goldie not my real name Gloria”. I said “Ma, I’ve been talking about you for over 30 years everyone, knows who you are.”  She said “Oh yeah, I forgot.”

The Listening Tree Interviews: Jordan Farrow [Interview]

 

 

Our dear friends and fellow TWS contributors Adam Mattson and Chris Eaves of the world-renowned podcast, The Listening Tree, did a fantastic interview with lead singer and guitarist for the kajui metal band Oxygen Destroyer, the great Jordan Farrow. And our friends were kind enough to allow us to share it with you all  here! Please enjoy, and listen to Oxygen Destroyer!

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE LISTENING TREE ON ITUNES.

 

 

Check out more from Oxygen Destroyer on Bandcamp.

 

Also be on the lookout for the band coming to a city near you:

 

August 16th @ The Charleston in Bremerton, WA

August 22-25th @ Vancouver Island Metal Festival in Victoria, British Columbia

September 27th @ El Corazon in Seattle, WA

Oct 4th @ McCoy’s Tavern in Olympia, WA

 

Find more dates on the band’s Facebook Page.

 

Sunday Matinee: Badass Beauty Queen [Film]

 

“Badass Beauty Queen is incredibly inspirational and a call to action for anyone who has ever felt that they want to make a difference in this world. The film features never-before-seen footage of Lin’s struggle to bring global attention to the issues of religious freedom and organ harvesting in her native China. The highly acclaimed documentary follows Anastasia Lin as she stands up for her beliefs on the world’s stage. This eye-opening glimpse into the story that made headlines across the world, when Lin was denied from competing in the Miss World pageant in China.” – October Coast PR

 

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Prepare to be inspired, Folks. That is something I have to say right out the gate about Bad Ass Beauty Queen. Because, the title really does say it all. Anastasia Lin is all of these things, and so much more. There is just so damn much evil in the world, and it is a beautiful thing to know that there are some great forces of nature out there looking to do the right thing, for the sake of simply doing the right thing. And Lin did just this. There are moments in just this film that had me personally exclaiming, “Yeah, I would have just quit.” But thankfully she did not, and her actions have very likely put some wild shit that is happening in China and other countries, on the table for conversation, if nothing else. Now prepare to be pretty bummed out….

 

 

And this is what the real conversation should be here. Why is it that Miss Canada has to be the one to shake some sense into people? Yes, I understand that the concept of representing a nation in this campaign is to be an inspiration. Sure. I’ll bite. But, in the end, she is a twenty-something young woman who is using a worldwide platform to bring up the fact that PEOPLE ARE SMUGGLING FUCKING ORGANS FROM INVOLUNTARY HUMANS!! Seriously, Folks, this is some next level, 90’s action movie type shit that should only be science fiction. But, it is not. And this is just one of the causes that Lin has been speaking out against. We all know that human violations in China are plentiful, but we do nothing about it. In this modern North American age, it’s as though we are dependent on these human rights violations in order to advance ourselves in the slightest, and to ensure that we keep the pockets line of fat cats like Bill Gates, who “adorably” cannot tell you how much a box of pizza rolls cost. It’s not adorable. It’s terrifying.

It is the government’s job to keep these people in check, and they aren’t doing it. They won’t do it. It’s time to accept that. Everything that a company like Apple makes is made in labor/death camps in China. We know this. As I type these words out at this moment I wonder if there are blood stains in the internal parts of this laptop from a 6 year old who knocked their finger on hour 13 of a 16 hour shift. All the while we are told that things would be “so much more expensive” if these people were treated right, or companies didn’t outsource their labor. Which is true. But it is also bullshit. This is simply a reality that we have created where CEOs, including the British companies behind the Miss World pageant who were sheep and blindsided Anastasia Lin, refuse to accept less profit. And they are commended for hoarding their wealth. It’s sick, and honestly, there is no end in site.

I hate to end this on such a bummer, but it’s the truth Folks, and I honestly don’t have a solution. I am not a politician, and I am not in the business of policy change. But those who are, will not do shit about it. But thankfully we have people in this world like Anastasia Lin who are at least attempting to make the world a better place, by whatever means they may have available to them. I never would have thought a beauty pageant sash could be a weapon of choice, but what the hell, right? Rock on Anastasia!

 

Bad Ass Beauty Queen is available now on DVD and VOD wherever you watch great films.

 

Saturday Special: The Velocipastor [Film]

 

“After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.” – October Coast PR

 

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You know what Folks, I am a person who does enjoy a good bit of art & culture from time to time. I have been to Italy a handful of times and drank lush wine, and looked up at the Sistine Chapel in the way that Robin Williams described it in Good Will Hunting. I have enjoyed fine intellectual conversations in the vain of a Mitch Albom novel. I’ve read Kafka, and understood it. But, I’m also the guy who once tried to drink 80 ounces of an energy drink in 2 minutes and only missed it by a mere 18 ounces. Also multiple counts of public urination. What I’m saying is that life, not unlike art, is subjective! Brilliance doesn’t always have to come from the serious side of life and/or art. There are times you just want to see a motherfucking human become a dinosaur and tear shit up. Also ninjas. And prostitutes. And more ninjas.

A wonderful television writer once spoke about this humble little site as being something that “doesn’t wish to sedate you”. And Folks, I’d like to think that is true. And it is also what I believe the absolute brilliance of The Velocipastor is not wishing to do as well. It’s just a damn good time, that’s what it is. It is a fun film that will have you asking the age-old question that has been passed around since the dawn of time: “Who comes up with this shit?”

 

 

This is a film that does not lie to you. Right from the very beginning, it makes it’s presence and purpose very clear right from the beginning. And god dammit if it didn’t make me extremely happy. Our dear friend and contributor to this site, Christopher Eaves, has always said that he appreciates a film that doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. Of course, he says this about the Fast & the Furious franchise which is absolute rubbish, but you can see his point. The Velocipastor is not The Godfather Part IV. Hell it’s not even The Godfather Part III (also complete rubbish.) But it is an entertaining mad house of events collected on film that is meant to be enjoyed. The world is in utter turmoil right now, and the human population may not exist by the end of our kid’s lifetime. So, how about we have some fucking fun, huh?

Do yourself a favor and check out this wonderful film with at least 16 proverbial grains of salt, and try not to take yourself so serious. There is always time to enjoy the world of arthouse cinema and expressionist asphyxiation centered around one’s purpose in this finite existence and blah, blah, blah. Every once in a while, just have some FUN! Enjoy a low budget, purposefully corny, and grindhouse like fun for once. I always think about Sydney Pollack’s line in the film Husbands and Wives, when he was talking about his new girlfriend during his separation with Judy Davis, in which he describes a film his new girlfriend rented that was “dopey” and “stupid”, as well as something that his very serious all the damn time  wife would have never let in the house. And the pure joy on his face in that scene is incredible! Of course the girlfriend was an idiot and he got back with Davis in the end, but you see the point, right? Live a little!

And yes Folks, I just managed to squeeze in a reference to a pretentious Woody Allen picture in a review about a film that is about a man of the cloth (“claw” as the tagline would say, which is brilliant) who is able to turn into a dinosaur when he is angry and is convinced by a prostitute to act like Batman with his new found ability. Also ninjas.

Art, Folks. Art.

 

The Brendan Steere directed classic-in-the-making will premiere on DVD and Digital August 13th on such platforms as iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. A Blu-ray release will follow September 17.

 

 

 

Zoe Eisenberg [Interview]

 

Aloha Folks, and Happy Friday to you all. Today we have a wonderful interview that we sort of teased to you all during our Sunday Matinee this week, and one that you are absolutely going to love! It’s Zoe Eisenberg! Zoe is a writer, director, and producer of the incredible indie film we previously gushed over entitled Stoke. And in between the time of our coverage of the film and this interview, the film is now available! It is seriously one of the best films of the year, and an absolute must see.

And after checking out this lovely film, I simply had to reach out to the folks involved with the making of this genius piece of art, and Zoe was kind enough to take some time out of her busy life on the big island to answer a few questions. We discuss Stoke in detail, the film community of Hawaii, and what made her want to join the world of filmmaking, which we are so damn delighted that she did, as she is a rare gem in a sea of mediocrity and has been creating some of the best work in recent years.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from an incredibly talented individual, the great Zoe Eisenberg!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of film? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having? Or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’ve always been interested in storytelling, and my formal education is in creative writing, so I entered filmmaking from the screenwriting side. My best friend from high school, Phillips Payson, is a filmmaker, and in 2013 he asked me to write a screenplay for him. I did, and then I ended up producing that film as well, because we needed a producer and I’ve always had a knack for project management. During that process I found out I love producing (and Phillips, it turned out, plot twist, we just got married). That first film we did is called Throuple, a weird dark comedy also set on Hawaii island, where we live. Since Throuple, we’ve done three more films together– a short, a documentary called Aloha From Lavaland, and Stoke, our fourth film but our second narrative feature.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of film production? And where there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that you still use in your work today?

My trajectory in film production has been pretty scrappy – most of the film production work I’ve had I hired myself for. I didn’t take the traditional route of becoming a PA and working my way up, I fell into filmmaking and have since worn so many hats. I’ve been a PA, AD, props, costuming, wardrobe, makeup, I’ve wrangled extras, I’ve done a lot, because in the kind of micro-budget filmmaking I do, you don’t often have a budget to bring on someone else, so you figure out how to do a lot yourself. My sets are not the kind of sets where someone says, as not my job. That said, I’ve always had a team of people to help me, and I couldn’t have done it without them–but typically I’ve been working with a team of 10 to 20 instead of 100 or more, like on larger films.

I recently had the pleasure of checking out one of your latest films, Stoke, which was absolutely amazing. So what made you want to tell this story? 

Thank you! Stoke is about an entitled, grieving tourist who hires two wannabe tour guides to take her to Kilauea volcano. It was actually inspired by the film before it, a documentary called Aloha From Lavaland, that followed my town of Pahoas reaction to a lava flow in 2014 that threatened to cut off our only major access road, which would essentially isolate the town from the rest of the island, and the world. While working on that documentary I was interviewing dozens of people about their relationship with the lava. Our town is located right next to Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. We interviewed both people born and raised here, and people like me, transplants who knowingly, sometimes purposefully, moved into an active rift zone. As we were interviewing, we kept hearing the same thing over and over from the transplants: they came here for healing. For whatever reason, again and again this came up. They found the island’s volcanic energy healing. This made me want to tell a story about someone called to visit Hawaii island to heal, and why they feel the volcano–which destroys as it creates, simultaneously–can help them. This is the perspective I wrote our tourist character Jane from. And for our Hawaiian characters, their perspectives on lava tourism were also gleaned from the interviews we did with those born and raised here. How do they feel about so many people coming to see their volcano, and the industry that surrounds that tourism. Puna, where I live, has no hotels, so lava tourism is our only kind of tourism.Â

We also spent a long time casting our Hawaiian characters. In more mainstream cinematic history, Hawaiians have been white washed from their own stories, and we wanted to make sure the actors playing our Hawaiian characters identified with Hawaiian heritage. Even in my own previous work, in Throuple, there wasn’t a single Hawaiian character. I was new to the island and so I imported our entire cast and crew, and I’ve always regretted that, so we spent a long time trying to get that right with Stoke. Most of our cast and crew are from Hawaii, except for Jane, who we wanted to be a genuine outsider. And most of our music is also Hawaii-based. Our soundtrack has some well known artists like Willie K, Keali’i Reichel and Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu. Honestly I was very nervous asking to license their work for the film because I knew how important it was to have an authentic sound — and I couldn’t believe they said yes!

 

 

And how was your experience working on such a unique project?

We really had to go with the flow in order to safely shoot with an active volcano, and I couldn’t miss the irony about having to build our shoot around the volcano while telling a story about, among many things, reverence to nature and the contrasting human urge to try and control everything around us. There were things about the shoot I just couldn’t control.

Stoke, much like yourself, is based in Hawaii. In fact, the land is a pretty large character in itself I would say. So with that, I am curious to know what the film community in your area is like? I would guess that alot of films get made there, but what is the local scene like?

Most of our local film scene is over on Oahu, where they shoot some of the larger television shows like Hawaii, 5.0 and Magnum PI. The film scene on Big Island is much smaller, as we have limited infrastructure and only one film studio, three hours from me in Kona. That said, there is a tight knit film community across all of the islands. There has to be, because we are so isolated.

If you were given the opportunity to write and directed the biopic of any legendary figure in world history, who would it be? 

Oh wow. Great question. I would love to produce a biopic about Kahumanu, an extremely powerful figure in Hawaiian history and a women’s rights activist, but I would want to pull on a female Hawaiian director to spearhead it.Â

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m currently working on a feature set in Hilo Hawaii that I plan to direct myself. I co-directed Stoke along with Phillips, so this would be my solo directorial debut. I am also the Executive Director of the Made in Hawaii Film Festival, and that keeps me pretty busy.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My husband, probably. He cracks me up all the time. He works hard at it, too, I think. I like to give credit where credit is due.