Trainwreck’d Society’s Top 20 Films of 2018 [Exclusive!]

When it came to films in 2018, the possibilities were almost too vast, in my humble opinion. There were so damn many movies that I “wanted to see” but just couldn’t quite find the time to get to them all. With that being said, the titles below were absolutely my favorite of the couple hundred I was able to sneak in. And I think we have a nice collection to share with you all.

But, remember, if you want to check out some true and concise reviews of some of the hottest films of the year, you can always check out Micro Reviews with Eaves, from our resident film expert here at Trainwreck’d Society. Where I saw precisely 2 films (Christopher Robin and The Grinch, because I have children) in an actual theatre in 2018, one of which did indeed make the list, Chris made it a habit to see just about every damn movie that was released theatrically this year. And he was probably close!

So folks, please check out the list below, support the world of film in all realms. Of course, I would put an emphasis on independent films, but I just want people to appreciate film a bit more these days. And 2018 offered up a selection of titles to choose from, and here are the favorites of Trainwreck’d Society. Enjoy!

20. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Written by: Gus Van Sant
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Roomey Mara

 

19. Christopher Robin
Written by Allison Schroeder, Tom McCarthy, & Alex Ross Perry
Directed by Marc Foster
Starring Ewan McGregor, Ronke Adekoolujeo, Jim Cummings

18. The Jurassic Games
Written by Ryan Belgardt & Galen Christy
Directed by Ryan Belgardt
Starring Katie Burgess, Perrey Reeves, Tiger She

17. The Forest of the Lost Souls
Written by Jose Pedro Lopes
Directed by Jose Pedro Lopes
Starring Daniela Love, Jorge Mota, Mafalda Banquart

16. Fear, Love, and Agoraphobia
Written by Alex D’Lama
Directed by Alex D’Lama
Starring Doug Haley, Linda Burzynski, Lori Petty

15. Entanglement
Written by Jason Filiatraut
Directed by Jason James
Starring Thomas Middleditch, Jess Weixer, Diana Bang

14. Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain
Written by Alex Winter
Directed by Alex Winter
Starring Rosario Dawson, Gramatik, Imogen Heap

13. A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Written by Michael Colton & John Aboud
Directed by David Wain
Starring Will Forte, David Krumholtz, Liz Femi

12. King Cohen
Written by Steve Mitchell
Directed by Steve Mitchell
Starring Larry Cohen, Yaphet Koto, Fred Williamson

11. Dumplin’
Written by Ann Fletcher
Directed by Kristin Hahn
Starring Danielle MacDonald, Odeya Rush, Jennifer Aniston

10. The Basement
Written by Brian M. Conley, Nathan Ives, & Sean Decker
Directed by Brian M. Conley & Nathan ives
Starring Cayleb Long, Jackson Davis, Tracie Thoms

9. The Workers Cup
Written by Adam Sobel
Directed by Adam Sobel

8. The Heretics
Written by Jayme Laforest & Chad Archibald
Directed by Chad Archibald
Starring Nina Kiri, Jorja Cadence, Karen Scobie

7. Sacred Heart
Written by Kosta Nikas
Directed by Kosta Nikas
Starring David Field, Kipan Rothbury, Lizzie Schebesta

6. Revenge
Written by Kjersti Steinsbø & Ingvar Ambjørnsen
Directed by Kjersti Steinsbø
Starring Siren Jørgensen, Trond Espen Seim, Anders Baasmo Christiansen

5. Dead Love
Written by Emanuel Isler & Chad Israel
Directed by Colin Floom & Greg Nemer
Starring Nicole Elizabeth Olson, Elias Harger, Kate Linder

4. Strawberry Flavored Plastic
Written by Colin Bemis
Directed by Colin Bemis
Starring Aidan Bristow, Andres Montejo, Bianca Soto

3. Clickbait
Written by Michael J. Epstein & Jeremy Long
Directed by Sophia Cacciola & Michael J. Epstein
Starring Amanda Colby Stewart, Brandi Aguilar, & Seth Chatfield

2. 1/1
Written by Jeremy Phillips
Directed by Jeremy Phillips
Starring, Lindsey Shaw, Dendrie Taylor, Judd Nelson

1. The Lighthouse
Written by Paul Bryant, Chris Crow, & Michael Jibson
Directed by Chris Crow
Starring Mark Lewis Jones, Michael Jibson, David Lloyd

Trainwreck’d Society’s Top 25 Albums of 2018 [Exclusive!]

 

I have to forewarn you dear regular readers, there may be a bit of deja vu happening here. If you checked in for our Top 40 Singles list that went live yesterday, it’s going to be a bit similar. But, we do have a fun additions to the list of albums that may have been solid altogether, but didn’t quite have single tracks that warranted being on our previous list. Which is actually sort of a good thing, sometimes. It seems as though the days of having an entire album of bangers and/or pleasant tracks is not entirely necessary. Which is completely understandable in the new digital age, but for some of us more nostalgic old bastards, it’s nice to have a solid album every once in a while. And I dare say that we have managed to list together a solid batch of albums for you all to enjoy. So how about we get right into it, shall we?

Folks, please enjoy Trainwreck’d Society’s Top 25 Albums of 2018!

 

 

25. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – THANK YOU FOR TODAY

 

24. CHRIS GARNEAU – YOURS

 


23. BEANS ON TOAST – A BIRD IN THE HAND

 

 

22. JANELLE MONAE – DIRTY COMPUTER

 

21. DRAKE – SCORPION

 

20. THE MIDNIGHT VEIN – THE MIDNIGHT VEIN

 

 

19. YOB – OUR RAW HEART

 

18. THURSTON MOORE – KLANGFARBENMELODIE.. AND THE COLORIST STRIKES PRIMITIV

 

17. URAL THOMAS & THE PAIN – NO DISTANCE

 

16. MOIST – LAVINE

 

 

15. LIL WAYNE – THE CARTER V

 

14. A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS WITH THE PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC OPERA – ASCENSION

 

13. JUDAS PRIEST – FIREPOWER

 


12. REEL BIG FISH – LIFE SUCKS, LET’S DANCE

 

11. EMINEM – KAMIKAZEE

 

10. THE SEA THE SEA – FROM THE LIGHT

 

9. SADISTIK – SALO SESSIONS II

 

 

8. MANIAC – DEAD DANCE CLUB

7. GARY SPEHAR – ANGER MANAGEMENT

 

6. ANDREW SHEPPARD – STEADY YOUR AIM

 

5. ROCKET 3 – WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY?

 

4. POST MALONE – BEERBONGS & BENTLEYS

 

3. LOTTE KESTNER – OTHER VERSIONS

 

2. EZRA BELL – EZRA BELL

 

 1. JUSTIN NOZUKA – RUN TO WATERS

Trainwreck’d Society’s Top 40 Singles of 2018 [Exclusive]

2018 was another year that really didn’t seem to lend itself to a plethora of great singles while the year was on going. But, when I sat down to compile a list to finish up the year, I discovered that I was able to pull about 50 tracks just from memory alone. And then with a bit more research to jog my brandy soaked memory, the list went to over 100. So, it most have actually been a pretty good year.

For those of you who have been following us here at Trainwreck’d Society, you may see a bit of a shift in sound than there was in previous years. And that is strictly personal, and on me. I’ve found myself to be interested in a bit more modern hip hop and R&B. This year’s list may be a bit more “mainstream” than in previous years. Although a few familiar faces did show up, and of course they were near the top of the list. But, I couldn’t help getting sucked into the modern web of autotuned madness that has become quite popular. In fact, 2018 was the year that I finally got into a cat that I knew by name, but never really gave him a listen. His name is Post Malone, and yes, he shows up a few times. This was also the year that my favorite rapper of all time dropped his best album in 17 years. We even dipped into the metal genre thanks to some influence by our dear friend Adam Mattson. Sprinkle in some good old fashion folk joints, and I believe you will find a pretty solid list of tracks below.

Or not. Either way, these are the official picks for Trainwreck’d Society’s Top 40 Singles of 2018. Enjoy!

40.The Weeknd (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Pray For Me

 

39. Grave Danger – Let ‘Er Rip


38. Childish Gambino – This Is America

37. Judas Priest – No Surrender

36. Machine Gun Kelly – Rap Devil

35. The Dandy Warhols – Forever

34. Hozier – Movement

33. Bebe Rexha – I’m A Mess


32. Tiësto & Dzeko (feat. Preme & Post Malone – Jackie Chan

31. Yob – Original Face

30. Juice Wrld – Lucid Dreams

29. Kanye West – Violent Crimes

28. Black Eyed Peas – Get It

27. Soft People – The Absolute Boy

26. Drake – I’m Upset

25. Lil Wayne – Uproar

24. The Midnight Vein – The Likes of Me

23. Halsey – Without Me

22. Eminem (feat. Joyner Lucas) – Lucky You

21. Moist – Traces

20. Post Malone – Better Now

19. A Flock of Seagulls with The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – I Ran

18. Seth Walker – Giving It All Away

17. Avalanche City – Prayed For Love

16. Eminem – Fall

15. Maniac – Children of the Dirt

14. Andrew Sheppard – Lies As Cheap As Whiskey

13. Sadistik – Yokai

 

12. Reel Big Fish – Pissed Off

 

11. The Sea The Sea – Everybody

10. Gerry Spehar – Thank You Donald

9. Post Malone – Candy Paint

8. Lotte Kestner – You’re In My Head (Guitar Version)

7. Y La Bamba – Mujenes

6. Rocket 3 – Hip Shot

5. Blitzen Trapper – Heroes of Doubt

4. Benny Blanco (feat. Halsey & Khalid) – Eastside

3. Elsa Faith – Tattoo

2. Ezra Bell – Tourist


1. Justin Nozuka – Warm Under the Light

Sunday Matinee: The Harrowing [Film]

“Haunted by the  ritualistic  killing  of  his  best  friend,  a  vice  detective determined  to discover  the  truth  goes  undercover  into  a  forensic  hospital  and  is  plunged  into  his  own personal  hell  where  demons  might  be  real.” – October Coast

Right in time for Christmas, we have a gem of a psychological thriller for you fine folks! I know we are supposed to be being more festive around here, but we simply cannot break the tradition of showcasing a truly wonderful Non-Holiday film for you all. Especially when said wonderful film is set to be released on Christmas Day. That’s right folks, prepare to have your mind completely blown away with The Harrowing, a film written and directed by a guy who is becoming one of my own personal favorite writers and filmmakers, on Jon Keeyes. Not to jump ahead here, but Keeyes also has another film coming out next month entitled Doom Room that is absolutely fascinating as well. So stay tuned for that one!

Now back to The Harrowing. Wow. Matthew Tompkins gives an absolutely superb performances as a detective who has a lot of demons to work through. Like, literal demons. He takes on a brilliantly written role in a film that is nothing short of a spectacular story that thrills, excites, and has an absolutely wild ending that you simply will not expect, yet once it happens, you may very well realize you knew the truth all along. Or you won’t. Either way, you’re going to love it.

The Harrowing will be available on VOD and on Demand December 25, 2018 from Clay Epstein’s Film Mode Entertainment.

Kristin Minter [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to our last interview of 2018! Can you believe the year is just about over? And as we stated yesterday, we are getting a bit more festive around here. So much so that we have yet another member of the McCallister clan from the beloved holiday film, Home Alone. Although we would rather think of Kristin Minter has an amazing actress who has done some pretty amazing work, one project of which happens to be a beloved holiday gem. Which is true. But, of course, we need to be more festive.

That being said, Minter is indeed an absolutely wonderful actress who had some amazing answers for us. We talk about her time on the legendary television show E.R., her work in our favorite genre of films, the world of horror, and yes, we dig into a Home Alone a little bit, as it is the holidays after all.

So Folks, please enjoy an absolutely wonderful interview with the brilliant Kristin Minter!

What inspired you to get into the world of acting? I know you got into the business at a pretty young age, but what was it that made you personally want to do this work for a living?

I didn’t initially know I wanted to act. I had modeled a bit around the world and then got quite sick. I abruptly quit and decided to audition for Philadelphia College of Arts, which I got into for dance. I actually hated acting class when I went to PCA. I broke my foot and saw a tape of my dancing and decided I wasn’t good enough. I went back to modeling which brought me to LA.

I didn’t know I loved acting until I learned how to act and I was so lucky, I had to learn very quickly. I got work quickly. They say work is the best teacher and when you aren’t working, live so you have something to draw from. I have been doing a lot of living lately!

What was your very first paid gig in the world of acting? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?

It was The Outsiders.  I found it very uncomfortable and extremely nerve wracking because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know to listen and respond. Everything was planned and rigid. I knew if this is what acting felt like no one would want to do it. I soon went to a wrap party with a boyfriend and met Jeff Goldblum. He gave me advice and suggested I go to a Meisner class. I knew immediately while auditioning from that class, it was the right thing for me. I went to 4 classes a week. I loved every second of it!!


You are a member of the now legendary fictional family that once flew away without one member of the family being left behind. That family is the McCallisters. And the film was Home Alone. The film has since become one of the most acclaimed holiday films of all time. I am curious to know how it feels to be a part of something so historic? And what was the set life like on this project? Where you aware at the time that you were a part of something very historic?

It was my second real acting job so I didn’t really know what to expect at the time. Most people don’t think I know how to count. LOL TO BE CLEAR….I count the wrong kid. The set was great, the kids were great. We watched movies in my room. Mac and Kieran were sweet normal kids working on a movie. Corey was teeny tiny and their mom was lovely. When I wrapped, Everyone came to my room including the Culkins to say goodbye. I have photographs to prove it. No one has seen these…lucky I was cleaning stuff out and found them recently! (See above)


Another very historic project you worked on was a solid 8 year run on one of the most popular television series of all time known as E.R. I truly loved your performances as Randi. Sort of the same question as before I suppose, but how was your experience working on such an iconic series?

NERVE WRACKING lol. A lot of pressure with long, one camera, 8 page scenes. ONERS they are called. It is like a choreographed dance. Every character leads you to the next character. A lot of moving parts. My character was a bit comedic and I actually think the pressure helped make me more funny or odd at times. I would work on my scene know my lines back and forth but, had no idea how they would come out. So much happened in every scene and your moment was in the moment. Did you catch my elbow in the live episode, lol. Thats acting. It taught me to act fast. I need to learn to slow down now a bit. When I go to work, I go to work. I don’t think about who will see it or if it is historic. I have to have something to offer the audience. Something that is authentic. I work towards having an experience as that character and that is really my focus. And in the case of E.R., I also had to make sure I fit into my costume. LOL.

You have also given some amazing performances in a genre that we cover a lot here at TWS because we love it so much, which is the world of horror. Especially films like Fire City: End of Days. So, I am curious to know how you enjoy working in the world of horror and thriller projects? What sets these apart from the plethora of other genres you have worked in?

Fire City was so fun. I got to be so ugly and raw. Every time I was mean to the little girl playing my daughter it would make me cry. Then I got to be “together” and then in recovery. It was so much fun to be so hugely different in almost every scene. It was so fun to just let go and who knew I was so mean lol. I am dying to do a real  bloody horror movie. I guess what sets it apart is…. I was free to be HORRORible, looks wise and behaviorally. I really got to be a character and I hope I get to do that more in other genres as well. I did get to play a drug addict on This is Us. That was really fun as well!


If you were handed the opportunity to portray and legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Hmm, I am not sure…. I think most legendary people are very interesting or they wouldn’t be legendary. The more I know the more I would be intrigued by any of them.  Camille Claudelle? Maybe she isn’t considered legendary? I relate to her expression of pain, disappointment  and her bad choices in men. LOL She just had to express herself in her art. My Aunt is a famous visual artist. I loved visual art as well but I am too hard on myself. I just don’t like my art. I much prefer becoming other people.It is an uncomfortable that I am comfortable with.

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

Things change so quickly. I was getting ready to do a movie I had been working on for 3 years and then it went away. It was very disappointing. I don’t really mention anything until I have seen it and I know what to expect. I have a couple things in the can but haven’t seen the yet.That may change. Right now, I like to try and live in the moment. Life can be difficult and again this moment is all we truly have.

I am in a movie called We are Boats that is written and directed by the great James Bird.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dogs Oskar and Tank. It has been hard to smile I just lost my lady dog Mimi Gray and White one in the photo.

Senta Moses Mikan [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! As you all are aware, the holiday season is upon us. And avid readers here at TWS know that we are not the most festive blog in existence. We’ve even gone as far as to, in a somewhat passive aggressive manner, showcase artists and films that are deliberately the exact opposite of festive. See last year’s “12 Non-Holiday Films for the Holidays”. But, we are trying to lighten up a bit over here. Why not? Life’s too short to be so pretentious and aggressive, right? So we decided to show a bit more holiday spirit this year. Okay, not too much though. Baby steps, Everyone.

Today we have some amazing words from a brilliant actress who has been working in the world of performance for almost literally her entire life. We are talking about someone who started as an infant! And she happens to be have appeared in one of most beloved Christmas films of all time. That film would be Home Alone. And the amazing actress we are so fortunate to have grace our digital pages today is the great Senta Moses Mikan. And while we are trying to be more festive around here, we did ask a Home Alone related question. But, we are more excited about the work she has done more recently, as well as her stand out performance in the amazing series My So Called Life that left us far too quickly! I can vividly remember my pre-teen devastation  when the show didn’t come back around the following year after it aired, and being just oh so pissed!

Senta has continued to work on some pretty amazing projects over the years, and even has a new web series coming out that I hope you all check out as you are sure to enjoy it! We discuss this project and more in the wonderful words below. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the amazing Senta Moses Mikan!

You began acting at a very young age, and have been doing amazing work ever since. With that, what inspired you to continue to work in the world of acting? Having been doing it since before you can physically remember, did the job just sort of become a part of your personality in a way?

Hmm…I think the simplest answer is that I still love it. Being on set is my happy place and I’m so grateful for every job that I book. I feel like I’m getting away with something. Like, I can’t believe people pay me to do this! Do they know how fun this is??? And I find something in every role that inspires me or speaks to me in some way. A lot of times I play characters that are a little “off”, so it’s challenging to figure out what makes them tick. Why do they do what they do? Or how do they go about getting what they want. The investigation of the character is what inspires me. Or the talent of my cast and crew. Nothing is more inspiring than talent, right?

And to answer your last question, it’s absolutely a part of my personality. I’m an actor. I grew up on sets. Acting is how I earn my living, and frankly, I’m not qualified to do anything else. No seriously, not qualified to do ANYTHING else. When I look back on my childhood, I can see that it wasn’t typical, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. And that’s probably why I’m still in the entertainment industry. I absolutely love it…and I don’t have a “Plan B”. I’m almost a cautionary tale.

What was the very first paid gig you can remember doing? And was there anything from this experience that you can remember learning from that still affects your work today?

Oof. I have such a bad memory. I think I’ve trained my brain to remember lines quickly and then forget them as soon as I’m done with the scene and unfortunately that pattern has carried over into the rest of my life. The first paid gig I can remember is The Blues Brothers. I was four or five, I think. It was freezing cold. We shot in the middle of winter on a street in Chicago. I remember warming up in my Mom’s car in between setups. I also remember having to pee during the dance sequence on the Blues Mobile and not wanting to tell anyone. So I did what any 5 year old would do, I peed on the car. Through my wardrobe. Not my best moment, but hey, when you begin your film career peeing on the Blues Mobile, it’s all downhill from there. So I guess the thing I learned from that experience was to speak up. If something is wrong or if I need something, I say something. That’s not always easy to do as an actor, but it is absolutely necessary.

You are a member of one of the most infamous families in holiday film history, the McCallisters of the legendary film Home Alone, and it’s wonderful sequel. What is it like to be a part of something just absolutely legendary? The holidays must be exceptionally insane for you after appearing in this holiday classic, right? How has the fan interaction based around the Home Alone universe been?

First of all, I’m very proud and grateful to be a part of those films. I know they’re a holiday tradition for a lot of people, and it’s fun to reminisce about that moment in my life. I’ll never get over the fact that I worked with John Hughes. It seems kind of surreal since his other films were such a huge part of my childhood. I only regret that I didn’t speak with him more about it. I’m sure I was just scared of geeking out, so I kept my enthusiasm under wraps. I’m not super eloquent around people that I admire, but who is? When we were making the first movie, I was very young and I don’t think any of us knew we were making a holiday classic. We were just making a movie with a bunch of fun people. And the second one was the same, but with a little more security and a fancy trip to NYC. So I guess what I’m saying is that it hasn’t affected me as much as you think it would. It’s only around the holidays that people mention it to me. Or want to interview me. Or post on social media a snap shot of me, in all my frizz and teenage awkwardness, with Joe Pesci. Talking about “Home Alone” has become my holiday tradition, and I don’t mind it at all. It’s very cool. I’m very blessed. I only hope someday to run into Peter Billingsley from A Christmas Story, so I can tell HIM what a huge part of my Christmas he was…and still is.

Another infamous project that worked on that was sadly taken away from us far too quickly was the absolutely incredible series My So Called Life, in which you were superb as Delia Fisher. I am curious to know what you think your character would have developed into had the show not been prematurely removed from us? And what do you think Delia would be doing today? 

Ohhhh, I loved doing that show so much. And that character? C’mon! What an absolute gift from God. I’m ready for a reboot, are you? I’ve read interviews with Winnie Holzman, the show’s creator, and she mentioned that if the show went on, Delia would have gotten back together with Brian. She would have forgiven him??? WTF? But I get it. He was a catch. A little misguided, but we’ll chalk it up to his youth. And I would have loved to see how their relationship played out. Eventually, after a bit of back and forth with Angela, I believe Brian would have realized how great Delia was. He would have asked Rickie to teach him some moves on the dance floor and there would have been some grand public gesture in front of the whole school. They’d be married now with two curly-haired kids and a sensible, well-researched Volvo. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m a sucker for a happy ending. And I feel like Delia would own a cupcake shop, but maybe I’ve been watching the Great British Bake Off too much. Anyway…

In the world of television, you have performed in just about every genre and/or brand of show possible. From soap operas, to dramas, to teen dramas or shows geared for children, sitcoms, etc., you’ve done them all. So with that, I have a very serious question to ask: Of all the television sets you have worked on, which type of show provides the best craft services overall? And is there any one project in particular you can think of that had some bomb snacks?

Nice misdirect, but I can roll with it. My favorite crafty was on Faking It, a single camera comedy on MTV. Will Garcia, our fabulous crafty, is not only one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, he’s outstanding with snacks. Just outstanding. And I got so spoiled. Now I walk around my house like, “Where are the snacks? I’m hungry! Where’s Will?” He created a monster. A PB&J, cookie-eating, monster. As far as the type of show with the best snacks, that’s hard to say. It’s not really about the type of show, but more about the type of person who runs crafty. That might be symbolic of the rest of the entertainment industry too. It’s all about the people!

I am very curious to know more about a project you are currently working on entitled Badge of a Quitter. How did this project come to life? And how did you come up with the story itself?

Badge of a Quitter is a web series that I wrote and created with Carla Cackowski. We met at Second City and Carla came to me earlier this year with the idea of a grown woman going back to girl scouts. I loved the concept, and jumped at the chance to work with kids that were shorter than me. Not an apple box in sight! We took about 4 months to write the six episodes, flushing out the “why’s”, the characters, the plot, etc. then we shot it in early October. Carla directed it and I starred in it. My sweet friends, Kendra Shay Clark and Helen Geier, cast five incredible little girls to play our scouts. My husband, Joe Mikan, is editing it together right now and hopefully we’ll be streaming on Vimeo sometime early next year.  It was so much fun and such a blessing to be in creative control of a project. We wrote the show we wanted to see and we shot it, using as many friends as we could. It was a blast and with any luck, we’ll need to shoot a second season! I really hope people love it and want to see more. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @BadgeofaQuitter or on our website: www.BadgeofaQuitter.com

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

I’m auditioning now, looking for my next gig (Ah, the life of an actor), so hopefully I’ll be cast in another show real soon! Until then, I’ll keep writing and creating projects for myself. I’m not real good at sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring. I’ve taken up watercolors, which is super meditative and somewhat daunting. I have a bunch of home improvement projects on my slate, I’m in denial of my 4’11” stature and completely addicted to HGTV. I’ll continue volunteering with organizations that help the homeless in our city. But most of all, I’ll spend time with my husband, my family and my friends. Because without them, what’s the point?

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

My husband’s face when the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers and clinched the NFC North. His whole face lit up and that made me smile! HUGE!

 

Wes Johnson [Interview]


Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview for you fine folks today! As avid readers here at TWS may know, we are obsessed with the world, lure, and creativity of the world of Fallout. From Fallout 3 to the latest release, Fallout 76, it has been a wonderful world to literally play around in. So fun it is, that we have showcased several of the fine voice over actors who have worked on these projects. The number of how many we have spoken to escapes me at the moment, but they all have been wonderful.

And today I feel as though we have hit the proverbial mother load! Today we have some words from the brilliant Wes Johnson! Wes is so great that Fallout may not be his greatest accomplishment as a performer, but it certainly tops our list here at TWS! You know and love him as The Silver Shroud in Fallout 4, as well as so many other amazing voices over the last 10 years. D.C. residents, and basically hockey fans alike, will probably recognize this genius even more for his close to two decades of announcing for the Washington Capitals. And, well, just SO MUCH else.

Wes is genuinely wonderful human being, and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages today. So without further ado, I will end my babbling and turn it over to some wonderful words from the man of a thousand voices, Mr. Wes Johnson!

When did you realize that you wanted to join the world of the performing arts to make a living? What initially drew you to this world?

I was called up onto the stage during a magic show while I was in grade school by a magician. I’m not sure if he was any good really, I was just a kid. As a magician, he could have been truly shite, but real magic DID happen that day. I got a few laughs from the audience, and it changed my world. We started putting on shows in the neighborhood, and I would write in to the local horror movie host Count Gore De Vol on a regular basis, thrilling when my letters on toys I sent in made it on the air. It wouldn’t be until my freshman year in high school that I’d set foot on a real stage in front of a packed house, but the moment I stepped on that stage playing a physically comic role and got big laughs, I was a goner. There was nothing else for me in this world other than performing.

I understand you started your career working in the world of stand up comedy and improv. I am always curious to know what folk’s early years are like in these types of performance. So how did you get into this world, and what were those early years like?

Stand-up comedy for me was a way to find a stage and perform characters and voices in front of a live audience. My start was not the smoothest. On my very first Open Mic Night in Washington, DC, I followed a juggling comedian named Kevin Lee up onto the stage. Kevin had just KILLED IT. The audience was primed when I got up, and the host set the egg timer to 5 minutes – that’s all the time I would have. I ran out of material and ways to handle drunk hecklers after about 40 minutes (it was actually only about 2 minutes in). After another minute of struggling, which took a sweaty lifetime, I grabbed the egg timer, forcefully turned it to 5, heard it ding and said “Oops! Looks like my time is up. If anyone if looking for me, I’ll be home hanging in the closet.” It was my first real laugh of the night.

I would go on to do sketch comedy with comedy and improv troupes Fresh Victims, Gross national product and The Loyal opposition. One of our Fresh Victims sketches, “The William Shatner School of Acting” made it onto Funny or Die. Willian Shatner saw it. His reply? “Sounds more like Cagney.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7tqfrzx6WE

In 2004 you appeared as the hilariously named “Fat Fuck Frank” in John Water’s brilliant comedy A Dirty Shame. Waters is a renowned mad genius in the world of film, who has created some very original and enlightening films. So, how was your experience working under the guise of one of the kings of weird? What was it like to work on a project like this?

That was one of the best experiences of my life. It was such a friendly set, and having a chance to work with John Waters and legendary Dreamlanders was, well, a dream come true. I absolutely adored Mink Stole, and getting a chance to work with Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Chris Isaak and the amazing Selma Blair – what’s not to like? How many people have been blessed to inhabit a character created by John Waters and designed by the legendary resident Ugly Expert Van Smith? The atmosphere on set reminded me most of high school drama department days. I couldn’t wait for each new day (or night) to begin so I could come out and play with my friends in John Waters amazing sandbox full of sex addicts. I count so many of them as my dearest friends, especially Susan Allenbach who I’ve known since we were just starting out as wait staff in a performing night club. And really, now many people get to say they were Selma Blair’s biker boyfriend in an NC-17 film? Good times 


We have showcased several VO artists from our beloved Fallout franchise. You’ve done several roles in both Fallout 3 and 4. So how has your experience been working with Bethesda in the Fallout universe?

I’m rarely happier than I am behind the microphone in a small darkened studio bringing characters to life created by the feverish minds of developers at Bethesda Game Studios. From the early days of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to Fallout 76, it has been a working partnership that I cherish. Todd Howard has assembled such a remarkable group of creative minds and talents there. Getting to work with sound designer Mark Lampert, writer Emil Paglurilo, and so very many other talented souls there is simply a joy. The characters I’ve played remain near and dear to my heart. In the Elder Scrolls I love Sheogorath, Lucien Lachance and Hermaeus Mora… I feel very close to them. Love EVERY character, but those are special. Playing the Arena Announcer in Oblivion actually helped change the way I call Washington Capitals games for the NHL as their Arena Announcer. As to Fallout, it’s been so much fun playing Protectrons, Super Mutants (especially Fawkes), Moe Cronin, The Silver Shroud and so many more. I loved Fallout 1 and 2, so when Bethesda took over, it was a real honor to be involved in the new incarnations.  I take it very seriously (and yet, have so much fun).  I actually play many of the games I voice, so it’s a weird extra level of involvement in games that are already super immersive. Can’t wait to start playing Fallout 76  ☺.

 

While on the subject of the Fallout franchise, I know that this world has some very devoted and die hard fans. I know this because I am one of them. Anyway, I am curious to know what your fan interaction has been like over the years? Whether it is at conventions, or just possible random encounters, how has your experience been with the Fallout fans?

I’ve had a GREAT time interacting with fans of all of the games I’ve voiced.  It’s such a solitary job when voicing, just you, the director, perhaps a writer.  Then you play by yourself to experience the in-game world.  So when you finally get a chance to meet people who have SHARED that experience, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s fun to see the look in someone’s eyes when a voice they’ve heard on a daily basis for years on their consoles starts coming out of me. It seems very weird, I’m sure. I’ve had people who seem far too old to be saying that they grew up listening to me in Fallout, or Oblivion, or Skyrim. I mean, I’m way too young for that, right?  Haha. But it’s super rewarding. And it’s always the best when someone shows up cosplaying as one of your characters. I’ve seen a good number of Silver Shrouds in the past few years. Not many Protectrons or Sentry Bots. Perhaps that cosplay is a bit pricey, haha. But I’ve seen some remarkable Sheogorath and Lucien Lachance cosplays. Erin and Paul Clark do a great Sheo and Dark Seducer combo, and @britishcosplayer does a cool Lucien on Instagram. Just one word of caution – don’t get too authentic when playing Lucien AFTER Applewatch (spoilers).

 

I understand you are also a current and legendary figure in the world of sports announcing in the D.C. area. How did this work come around? And how have you enjoyed the work? Were you a pretty big sports buff prior to taking on these gigs?

I’ve always been a big fan of the DC sports teams, and in a way, even though I’m in my 19th year as the Arena Announcer of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, that’s still what I am. A big fan. Although I get to be louder because I have a mic ☺. And now of course, I have a championship ring after the Caps won the Stanley Cup Championship last season. 18 years wait for me personally and it was so worth it! A magical time for the entire city, and I was right there singing “We Are The Champions” along with them. Good times.

 

I have called Washington Bullets then Wizards seasons in the past as well, and have three Championship rings from the Washington Kastles, DC’s professional WTT Tennis team. I consider myself very fortunate to be doing this, as I never started out to do it.  I was doing morning radio in the DC area and took an award certificate that our show received into the Washington Bullets office for Juwan Howard, who was a regular on our show. As I was leaving I jokingly said “Hey, let me know if you ever have an opening at PA Announcer.” I was joking because I grew up listening to the guy they had calling games for the past 20 years. I wasn’t expecting her to respond with “The guy who was doing it just retired and we are doing auditions next week – do you want to sign up?” Right place at the right time with the right question. I auditioned, got the job, and never looked back. It turned out to be a great occupation for me, and I love UNLEASHING THE FURY at Caps games.

https://www.facebook.com/wesjohnsonvoice/videos/vb.1186502437/10217049765974770/?type=3 

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

More hockey games. More video games. More films. More TV. More announcing for the National Hot Rod Association. More writing and cartooning. Finishing my children’s book. More of being a husband, Dad, and pet couch to a shedding Himalayan cat and a spoiled rotten Chiweenie. I love my life, and I’m not ready to give any of it up. No matter how many aspiring PA Announcers keep cutting the brake lines on my car.

As to appearances – I plan to be at MAGFest in Washington DC January 3rd through 6th (www.MAGFest.org), and NOT CON AT SEA in the sunny Bahamas with Duke Nukem, GlaDOS, Sniper, Spock and Gob February 15th through 18th (www.NotCon.us ) and hopefully AWESOMECON in DC come April, but that has not been confirmed. But even if I’m not there, you should go because TIM CURRY WILL BE THERE. The antici…PATION is killing me! (http://awesome-con.com/ )

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son Max’s animations that he creates at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I see big things in his future. And big laughs for us all.