David Jensen [Interview]

Today’s wonderful interview subject is what I would rightfully consider to be a class act of a human being. He has been involved int he world of film and television for over 30 years and as turned out some absolutely incredible roles, which we are so excited to share with you today. It’s David Jensen, Everyone!

I initially became aware of Jensen’s work when he appeared in the absolutely brilliant 2004 film that is often over-looked, but remains to be absolutely brilliant and one of my favorite films of all time entitled A Love Song For Bobby Long. You may remember us speaking about this film a few years ago when we had Grayson Capps gracing our digital pages, who had some incredible music to accompany the film, and who’s father happened to write the story in which the screenplay was eventually based upon. It’s a true love letter to the city of New Orleans, and the beat down souls who continue to occupy its space to this very day. And Jensen was a superb addition to the cast. And absolute damned delight, if you ask me!

And his career has had some very interesting and exciting at bats on many other incredible projects. We are so excited that David was able to take some time out of his schedule to tell us a bit about these projects and his experience as an actor and more over the last 30 years. He is a delightful person, and we are so very excited that he is here with us today. So without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the amazing David Jensen. You’re going to love this!




When did you first decide you wanted to join the world of acting? What was it that initially led you into this world?

How I first got interested in acting was when I was in a 9th grade production of Cheaper By the Dozen and one day during rehearsals 3 or 4 of the girls in the cast started making out with the boys in the cast back stage.  The thrill was so compelling and illicit.  But somehow the cast kept it from the faculty and it continued thru the run of the show.  It was an innocent but transformative moment I will never forget.  I don’t remember telling this story often but I am sure what has kept me going from stage productions one after another is the chance that  something thrilling will happen again.

In 2012, we found you portraying a cannibal in This Is the End during the insanely hilarious scene at the end when we are reunited with Danny McBride. I will still go back and watch that moment very often. So how was your experience working on that scene? I don’t know how I could keep myself from laughing like a child. Was it as fun to work on as it was for us to watch?

My time on This Is the End was a long hot summer night next to the Mississippi River in New Orleans.  I don’t remember anyone holding sides or even bothering with a script.  Channing Tatum was in a full Mexican wrestlers mask and on a short leash Danny McBride was tugging on as McBrides’ sex toy/gimp.  I talked a lot to Jay Baruchel who I think is really talented. and Jonah Hill was very accessible.


In 2004 you appeared in one of my favorite films of all time in a very sweet role that I’ve never stopped thinking about. I’m talking about your role as Junior in A Love Song For Bobby Long. How was your experience working on a film like this one? Was there anything about that experience that singles itself out from the plethora of other projects you have worked on?

A Love Song For Bobby Long was another good summer experience in New Orleans before Katrina.  Elliot Davis shot the film, Shainee Gabell wrote and directed.  It’s one of those films that really captures the sense of place.  Many people tell me that it is their favorite film shot in New Orleans.  I play a saxophone jazz musician who fits in this small riverside community.  John and Gabriel Macht were terrific and Scarlett was flawless.

One genre that you have become quite familiar with is the world of horror and thrillers. Notably, you appeared in the classic film, The Mist from Frank Darabont! We are huge fans and supporters of the world of horror around here, so it behooves me to ask you how you enjoy working in the world of horror as opposed to other genres? What is something positive about working on a horror project?

I love horror movies, and Frank Darabont’s The Mist had a great cast, great special effects and every phase of production was a pleasure.  It was a big cast and you could get to know everyone for the 6 weeks I was shooting.  Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Bill Sadler all fun to work with.

After over 30 years in the business, and with all the advancements in technology over the years, I am curious to hear from an experienced actor what you find to be some core values of the world of filmmaking that are still as relevant today, even as me move into the online/digital modern times?

30 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS and it still comes down to honest truthful story telling.  Good people and a story well crafted. (Regardless if you are shooting Kodak 5248 on Panavision or digitally on the Amira, or on an iPhone 10).

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

Just finished Walk Away Joe, a film starring David Stratharne, that I think will get a lot of good notices and I’m in the new True Detective season starting in 2019.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

That is an easy question because i was just thinking what a good time to be alive.  How important it is for every artist to bring out the truth in whatever art form you are pursuing.  Truth matters and is what ultimately endures the test of time.  I got interested in acting because I thought I was a good liar.  And along the way I learned that truth was far more interesting and life vivifying.  It made my own craft and its’ pursuit more tangible.

And a good guide for structure in every project.  In looking back at the arc of my own life, it gives me satisfaction and a smile.


And check out this lovely collection of stills generously provided by David Jensen himself:


A Love Song For Bobby Long


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button




Alien Tornado



New Music Tuesday: Crooked Ghost – Skeleton House [Album]


First things first Folks, I have to say that I am a huge fan of any band who has a name that is completely and utterly indicative of the sound they are looking to create. So let it be known that Crooked Ghost does just that, and so damn much more. This Asheville based group’s sophomore release Skeleton House is basically everything you would hope it would be with a band name and album title such as this. It’s haunting as shit, yet swerves in and out of fun and despair in a very eloquent manner. While often referred to as a “post punk” band, or at least inspired by said genre in many ways, I can’t help but sensing something much deeper within this group that is far too great to be pigeonholed into such a specific genre. But, if you have to categorize everything these days, I guess it could work. I would dare say that Crooked Ghost is like a vegan-friendly Simple Minds. It has the same flare and concreted misery, but lacks the cheese.

For obvious reasons, the tracks on Skeleton House that were picked to be lead off singles were “Sleepwalker” and “Roadkill”. And believe me, they are fantastic. “Roadkill” has an wonderful video with a great avant garde feel and experimental vibe to it. (which you should definitely check out below). But, this good ole pretentious heart of mine can’t help but lean towards what I would consider to be the most experimental and estranged track on the album, which is the album sharing of a title song “Skeleton House”. I will say this, and I feel as though this should speak volumes to how good it is: When you have to drive 40 minutes at night, on shitty East Anglian roads on the cusp of a blizzard in order to spend far too much money on mediocre Chinese food….”Skeleton House” is the 6 minute opus that will calm your brain as you blow light menthol smoke out of your shitty Mazda Premacy. Sorry, is that too specific? Basically, I loved every song on this 8 track splendor of an album, but that final track really just got to me. I really dug it. Also the Premacy is a fine automobile, I’m just ranting and also a very bad driver. But, I digress.



Crooked Ghost has a sound that is just so damn intriguing. One element that previous reviews and quotable paragraphs never seen to emphasis is the subtle, yet obvious once the revelation is catered into your brain, is the surf rock-esque elements that are mixed into the album. It’s almost as though this album was recorded in the dead of winter (Spoiler Alert: It was.) and in order to maintain any sort of fun and/or sanity whilst recording the album, they needed just a little spunk. It could have been unintentional on their part, and maybe I am just losing my shit here and am completely out of touch (very possible), but there are many wavering guitar solos that breathe the surf elements into your ears, and they way that Ray Clark’s vocals fade into said guitar, especially on a track like “Sleepwalker” definitely has that delightfully awkward feel of a surf rock track. But, again, do we really have to categorize everything. If we do, let’s call Crooked Ghost a post-surf band. Have we had that yet? I’m not sure.

Despite my own personal uncertainties, I am certain that you all are going to love Skeleton House, as it is a perfectly crafted album from a band that I am very excited to continue listening to, and I would implore you to do the same. With a brilliant post-surf sound and a perfectly relevant to their sound band name, Crooked Ghost is a band that I can get behind with zero uncertainty. They are absolutely brilliant.


Skeleton House will be released on limited edition 12″ vinyl on February 15. Order it on Bandcamp. It is also available now digitally across music stores and streaming platforms such as iTunes and Spotify.  


Kevin Avery [Interview]



Kevin Avery is a comedian, actor, and two-time Emmy award-winning writer. His writing credits include HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show, VH1′s Best Week Ever, and the critically acclaimed FX original series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, on which he served as head writer. He appears in and was co-writer of the Comedy Central digital series, White Flight, and was co-host of the popular Earwolf podcast, Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time, Period, praised by Buzzfeed as “smart” and “funny” and recommended by Entertainment Weekly as a “Must List(en).” Kevin also wrote and starred in the award winning short film, Thugs, The Musical!

You can see Kevin in early 2019 appearing on the new Comedy Central series The New Negroes on which he also served as head writer.

We are so excited to have Kevin grace our digital pages. And even more excited that he requested the above bio to be used to introduce this whole thing, as I am now only required to write these few short sentences, and get back to quality time with my cat, Gatsby. Seriously though folks, the work that this man has given to the world has already been incredible, and the future is looking so bright for this award winning gentleman. So please enjoy this awesome interview. Also, check out his podcast. I have not yet done so myself, but I definitely will now. Denzel is so great. Fun fact: Until 2018, Denzel had never starred in a sequel to one of his films? I wonder if they bring this up. We shall see! Enjoy!


When did you know that you wanted to join the world of comedy? What was it that compelled you to make people laugh for a living?

I mean, I’ve loved comedy for as long as I can remember. Always loved making people laugh, even when I was growing up. I just kind of marveled at people who had the ability to make an entire audience laugh. And I fell in love with stand up at a very young age. I think it’s fair to say I was straight-up addicted to it – whether I was listening to my parent’s old comedy albums, or just watching it on TV as much as I could. I basically studied stand up comedy throughout my entire childhood. And it was something I always dreamed of doing; I just never thought I would actually do it. The idea of writing material seemed so daunting and out of the realm of possibility for me. Meanwhile, at school I was writing funny essays or pieces and reading and performing them in front of my class, not really putting together that I was essentially doing what stand up comedians did. When I got older, I would hang out at comedy clubs and even try my hand at writing material, but then would chicken out and not actually ever go up. Eventually, it took a comedy club owner in the Bay Area, who actually passed away some years ago, Jessica Jenkins, and another comic – a guy from Portland, Troy Thirdgill to talk me into trying it for the first time, and I just never looked back.

Can you tell us about your very first time getting up on stage? What sort of emotional rollercoaster was that for you?

I basically had 2 weeks from the time I got talked into trying it until the actual date of my first set. At the time, I was working this corporate tech day job that I was woefully unqualified for and absolutely hated (I’d eventually be fired from, like, 6 of these jobs). But I’d work from 7am to 4pm, then leave and either take a nap or just watch a movie, and then I’d come back to the office at night, find a conference room and write until really late. I did this for 2 weeks just to put together what I thought was 5 minutes of material, but turned out to be more. This is probably the hardest I’d worked on anything in my life at that point. The night of the open mic, I put my name on the list in the #7 spot, thinking that all of the other spots would be filled in. They were not. I felt as confident as anyone could trying stand up for the first time, so I was nervous as shit. And I had all my material typed out and spread out on the bar in the back of the club, studying it while the show was going on. After the 3rd or 4th comic came off stage, I remember the host saying “Are you guys ready for your last comic?” And I don’t know if anyone else heard me do this, but an audible “No!” actually flew out of my mouth. I was totally terrified, but the next thing I knew I was just walking toward the stage as this guy is introducing me. And it was the weirdest thing: I’d watched so much stand up comedy that, even though I’d never done it before, it all just felt really familiar suddenly. And I became super calm and just walked up there and did it. It was one of the greatest feelings and moments in my life. I remember coming off stage and thinking I have to do this again, as soon as possible!



You had a perfect description of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, calling it “criminally short”. It truly was too short, but groundbreaking the same. What was it like to work on a show like this? Did it feel groundbreaking when you were working on it?

Working on Totally Biased was a lot of things for me. It was my first writing job. And then it became my first head writing job which changed my career and my life in ways I could have never seen coming. This show launched my TV writing career. And, especially in the beginning, it was just a lot of fun! I was working with my comedy homie, Kamau, and a lot of our friends that we’d come up with through stand up. And it was all of these things while also being this incredible learning experience in comedy and TV writing, production, collaborating with other writers, and just the business of making a show every week. And I’m getting to work on a regular basis with one of the most amazing teachers you could ask for, Chris Rock, who was one of our executive producers. And all this is happening while I’m living in New York for the first time. But it was also brutally rigorous, particularly when we became a nightly show. In that way, it prepared me for every job I’d have after that. I’ll always be super grateful for that experience.

And, you know, we were incredibly proud of what we were making every week on the show. We got to do and say things that other shows weren’t saying or doing at that time. We got to put talent on TV that you weren’t seeing on every other show out there. I feel like that was our goal with the show, and we did it very successfully. But ultimately, what Totally Biased was for me was this opportunity to make this thing – this show – with my friend, Kamau, who I’d come up with, both of us being each other’s ride-or-die and just trying to make it, to get our shot. And here we were, doing it. That was a very special and exciting time and something I’ll never forget being a part of.

Last Week Tonight is another extremely original in its own way type of series that deals with some pretty damned heavy content each week, yet thanks to brilliant writers like yourself, it still remains pretty damned funny. With that, what would you say was the most difficult subject matter you had to work with on LWT? What did you find to be extremely difficult to even attempt to make light of?

Well, I’ve always said that if Totally Biased was boot camp, Last Week Tonight was SEAL training. That show took everything I’d learned at T.B. and multiplied that knowledge, like tenfold. And one of those learning experiences was in how to take very boring, complex or even tragic topics and build comedy around them. Routinely we had to take clips that were going in the show – clips about people losing their homes or livelihood, or stories about people being sick or dying – really sad stuff – and write jokes that John had to say right after these clips. So every week there was really grim subject matter that we had to just figure out how to navigate through and know when and how to tell jokes about it. The one that stands out to me the most wasn’t even a tragic subject as much as it was just really boring subject matter-wise for a comedy show. It was the Net Neutrality piece in season 1. I worked on that with a couple other writers, and the whole thing about it was that it was this incredibly boring, complicated topic about legislation and mergers and how the internet works – basically shit that would clear the room at a party. But ultimately, we just realized we had to lean into how dull and complicated a topic it was, and that became the central joke of the piece – this idea that they’re sneaking this very important, critical issue past us all because it is, in fact, so boring and they’re counting on us not paying attention. And once we figured that out, it was a lot of fun to write. It’s also a piece that featured a joke I wrote that made John laugh particularly hard during rehearsal – a weird joke about Superman and Lex Luthor living in the same apartment complex that I’d written at, like, 3am when I was particularly loopy – so that was always a point of personal pride for me.



Currently you can be found working on The Jim Jefferies Show on Comedy Central. What has it been like to work on this program? What has set it apart from other work you have done as a writer?

It’s been great! Jim is obviously a completely different type of host then John or Kamau – his point of view and take on things is just very different than those guys, so it’s nice to go to a similar type of show that’s still got a completely different feel and comedic sensibility. It just keeps things interesting from a writing perspective. I never want to totally repeat something. 

And just in terms of the writer’s room, it’s a different set of writers, in a different city. I’m in L.A. and not New York, so it’s an all-around different vibe than it was on Last Week Tonight or Best Week Ever or Totally Biased. I like that, from job to job, the feel and inner workings of each writer’s room has been wildly different than the previous experience.

We always like to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you keep your Emmys? And does their physical location hold any kind of significance?

In a glass IKEA case with a bunch of Lego Avengers figurines on top of it. You really have to snoop around my place to find them. At this point, the most noticeable object in my home is the Christmas tree that’s been up since last year.

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

[In March], I’ll appear on a new Comedy Central show called The New Negroes, hosted by comedian Baron Vaughn and rapper Open Mike Eagle. It’s a really funny show that mixes stand up, social commentary from Baron and Mike, and hip-hop from Mike and some amazing guest rappers. I’m doing stand up, and I’ll appear in one of the music videos with Mike and – I don’t think I’m allowed to say who yet, so I’ll just say one of my favorite rappers of all time. I was also head writer on the show, so I’m really excited for people to see what we put together. Also, I’m excited to take down that damned Christmas tree.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The thought of leaving that Christmas tree up one more year.

Sunday Matinee: I Am The Night [Limited Series]

Photo by TNT Drama – © TM & © 2018 Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company.


“Inspired by true events, I Am the Night tells the gripping story of Fauna Hodel (India Eisley), a teenage girl who is given away at birth, and grows up outside of Reno, Nevada. Fauna lives more-or-less comfortably with the mysteries of her origin, until one day she makes a discovery that leads her to question everything. As Fauna begins to investigate the secrets of her past, she meets a ruined reporter (Chris Pine), haunted by the case that undid him. Together they follow a sinister trail that swirls ever closer to an infamous Los Angeles gynecologist, Dr. George Hodel (Jefferson Mays), a man involved in some of Hollywood’s darkest debauchery, and possibly, its most infamous unsolved crime.”



It is no secret that the world of television is dominating the world of creativity today. We have spoken with so many people who are working either behind or on screen on the plethora of work that is coming out in the world of television. Every single network and/or streaming service has their own original programming, so much so that is it is almost too hard to keep up with these days. It can feel overwhelming at times for sure, but if you truly do some research, you are going to find some very fascinating stuff out there. Or, you can just listen to us! Because we want to tell you about a limited series that is absolutely one of the best pieces of television to come out in the last decade at least. We are talking about TNT’s 6-part limited series I Am The Night.

Avid readers here at Trainwreck’d Society will recognize that this is our first venture into the world of television in regards to our Sunday Matinee series. We usually tend to stick to the world of motion pictures. A few series have crossed out digital desks, but none of them have really felt right. That is until we were given the opportunity to check out this absolutely brilliant series brought to the world by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.

There is so much to get into here Folks that it’s almost too hard to begin. But, let’s try it out. Lets begin with the performances, as they are without a doubt the highlight of the series. I will say with complete honesty, I’ve never watched a project of any type that featured the very well known actor Chris Pine. I’m not joking. While we have covered the original Star Trek films and TV series at lengths via interviews, I am completely ill-advised on the the films of the last decade. And as far as the rest of this man’s credits. I promise I will see Wonder Woman someday, but it hasn’t happen yet. I guess I was just missing out. Of course I am a human living in 2019, so I know who he is. But, I promise you that I Am The Night is my first experience with this admiringly beautiful man. And I will be damned if I wasn’t excitedly impressed. Pine’s performance as Jay Singeltary is absolutely brilliant and is not to be missed. While I still feel a bit of shame for being so ill-informed on the world of Chris Pine, I am actually pretty excited that this was how I got to experience him first. The way he displays desperation, torture, and the effects of post traumatic stress disorder is so damn enthralling and not to be missed.


© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks


Another performance that is commendable beyond belief is obviously from the show’s lead actress India Eisley. I was also unfamiliar with her work (beyond appearing alongside our friend Camille Winbush in The Secret Life of the American Teenager), but I am FULLY aware of her absolute brilliance at this time. There is absolutely no way that India doesn’t become the biggest star of this day and age. Her work on I Am The Night is the stuff that genius is made of as she portrays the now legendary Fauna Hodel. Her pain and anguish of living a life that is essentially a lie is so believable and surreal that it is hard to truly explain. Pine is wonderful, but Eisley is most definitely the biggest draw by far. I simply cannot say enough good stuff. Also, it’s damn near impossible to get too far into her performances without spoiling the entire series. So please trust me, India is as amazing as you should expect.

Now, obviously Pine and Eisley steal the show front and center, but it behooves us to talk about the absolutely incredible supporting cast that made I Am The Night an overall delightfully terrifying experience. If Golden Brooks doesn’t win an Emmy for her performance as Fauna’s (unknown to her, adopted) mother Jimmy Lee, then there is seriously no justice in this world. She was absolutely brilliant in every damn second she was on screen. You loved to hate her, yet could empathize with her fears. Of course, if she had her way, the story may have never come to fruition. Anyway, Brooks was absolutely brilliant in a commendable appearance. And of course, there is Tony-Award nominated actor Jefferson Mays who portrays the infamous George Hodel and absolutely nailed the part of the man who is suspected to be the actual man behind the infamous Black Dahlia murders. Note: If you check out the live recording of the I Am The Night event that was done with the absolutely wonderful podcast, My Favorite Murder, you will be left without a shadow of a doubt that he fucking did it! But regardless of obvious historical evidence, Jefferson Mays is creepy as hell in his brilliant performance as Hodell.

Another performance that was absolutely wonderful, yet sadly underused in what was probably an attempt to keep the pace of the show moving, was that of Justin Cornwell, who you may recognize from the short lived television re-imaging of the film Training Day alongside the late Bill Paxton. Again, Justin was underused, but absolutely destroyed on every second he was on screen. The same can be said for Connie Nielsen who shines on screen as well.


© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks


And while the performances in this limited series are worth their weight in blood stained scalpels, it is also fair to say that the characters that these brilliant actors were working with her absolutely intriguing in their own right. In fact, Pine’s character is supposedly not base around an actual person per say, but an idea of a person. Which is always intriguing. And the mystery behind George Hodel has long been determined to absolutely terrifying. From his mesmerizing Mayan themed Los Angeles mansion (actually used IN the series!) to well-documented writings from George’s own son who truly believes he was, beyond an reasonable doubt, the Black Dahlia murderer, I Am The Night is a story that needed to be done wisely and very carefully. And I firmly believe that show creator Sam Sheridan and director Patty Jenkins have truly done just that. Stylized in a fashion that simply screams L.A. noir, this series truly takes you back in time in a way that I feel as though hasn’t been done before.

I have to preface this paragraph by stating that there are indeed times when the normalization of horrifically fucked up things can be appropriate when simply attempting to create an accurate setting. And that is exactly what is happening in I Am The Night, whether or not the show’s creators actually realized it. Oh, and I should say…I’m not talking about the murders. Yes, that’s pretty fucked up, but that’s not where I am going with this. I am speaking about the inclusion of the frustration and inhumane setting of racism that existed during the time this show was to take place. I feel that it normalized these actions, because it truly had to. It was sadly commonplace at the time. The despicable surroundings had to be addressed, but when you are dealing a real specific story, it can’t be the focal point. And with that, I feel as though the show did a wonderful job at addressing these issues, especially as the show wraps up. I am not obliged to speak about details, but I hope that you will trust me on this matter. Or not. Either way, I will remain firm that when it comes to creating characters battling the hatred of a nation, as well as the then unrealized effects of war traumatization (a different matter altogether, but tackled with equal sensitivity), I Am The Night does an absolutely amazing job!


© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks


Seriously Folks, I know that each and every day somebody in your office/gym/Fifty Shades fan club message board has been uttering the words “You have to watch [insert show title here]”. And the chances are that they are probably right. Well, kind of, as you don’t “have” to watch anything at all, so fuck off Jacob from accounts payable. The best writing of this day and age is truly in television, we all know this. But, I am here today to stand on my proverbial soap box and exclaim to you all that I Am The Night is ACTUALLY that show that you have, nay…SHOULD, be watching.

If you have spent the last decade watching critically acclaimed television yet secretly not quite understanding the hype of certain programs, I Am The Night is very likely the series you are looking for. Also, think of it as a less daunting experience, as it is merely a 6 part event that has a beginning and end. I understand how mentally exhausting (and first world problem-ish) to know that the 4th season of Mr. Robot is on its way and your mom changed her Amazon Prime password without telling you, so you never finished the first 3 seasons. I understand this. I’m certain Better Call Saul is a wonderful show, but dammit, I have been re-watching episodes of Full House for the last month. These things happen. Just think about I Am The Night has a 6 part story that will enter your life, and leave sooner than you will probably want  it to, but you will still leave the series feeling whole, and maybe even taking upon yourself to return to it. I don’t know, I’m not your keeper. I just want you to watch I Am The Night!

I also have to say that I am actually jealous of so many of you who have not been privy to this show yet. For the next 6 weeks, your lives are going to be filled with so much anticipation for each Monday night, you’re probably going to completely miss the backside of the winter season. My experience with I Am The Night is always going to be a day and half of nightmare inducing mayhem in which I could do nothing else but invest myself deeper into the curious adventures of Fauna Hodel and the realization that Chris Pine may be the most beautiful man on the planet. Anyway, you are all lucky. Spread out the madness, I’d say.

Also, as you know we are huge fans of the world of both comedy and podcast, I highly suggest you check out the accompanying podcast that will follow along with the series, as well as the show’s sponsorship and features of one of the finest podcasts that has been covering topics in the vein of I Am The Night for years now, the wonderful My Favorite Murder podcast. They recently dropped the recording of the live event at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles that details the Black Dahlia murder, as well as the “possible” inclusion of George Hodel. It also featured a wonderful interview with the aforementioned Jefferson Mays. Check out the My Favorite Murder website to get started.

Folks, if you believe I have never steered you wrong in the past, please believe me when I tell you that I Am The Night is a series you are going to absolutely LOVE. If you feel like I have steered you wrong, consider this my reckoning, and a way to make it up to you, as I can damn near guarantee that this is going to be one of the finest viewing experiences you will have in 2019. Possibly your life, but let’s let time decide that one. Enjoy!



I Am the Night will premiere on January 28th at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT.


Tadd Galusha [Interview]


Hello Folks! I am so very excited to share this interview with you all today. And it is not only because we are featuring our very first comic book artist and we always love to break into new territory here at Trainwreck’d Society, but it’s more about WHO the artist is himself. It’s Tadd Galusha, Everyone!

For long time followers and/or readers of TWS, you know we have had a very close affiliation with one of the finest podcasts in existence, the wonderful Super Geeky Play Date. We worked on some duel coverage of another acclaimed comic book artist’s, Kevin Eastman, Kickstarter campaign for his book Drawing Blood. And I had the distinct honor of appearing on the show shortly after the release of the masterpiece/absolute disaster (depending on which host you ask) that was The Last Jedi in December of ’17. I love this podcast so damn much, and am always excited when it pops up on my Laughable playlist.

So of course I had to do an interview with their mortal enemy.

Well, to be fair, Tadd is only the enemy of one of the show’s host, who shall remain nameless (for now, keep reading), which may or may not revolve around the idea that he has been forced into an open relationship with his “podcast wife” Big Sexy Bry Fieri (a.k.a. Bryan Bales) and Galusha, as Bry and Tadd host the also brilliant comic book (and more!) centric podcast Blue Tiger. Tadd has made some amazing appearances on SGPD that are also not to be missed.

Hailing from the northwestern region of the United States, Tadd Galusha is a comic illustrator and writer currently living in southcentral Alaska. He has worked for numerous publishers including IDW, Oni Press, Dark Horse, Critical Entertainment, and Western Horseman. When not in the studio, Tadd can be found wandering the Chugach Mountain Range with his malamute, Nikita. His current publication is Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers for IDW. Cretaceous, written and illustrated by Tadd Galusha, will be released by Oni Press on March 26th, 2019.

We are so excited to check out Cretaceous, and most likely share it with you all here, and we are so happy that Tadd was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to share some words with us here today. He’s a hell of a nice guy (despite what one SGPD host who is not named Metal Mattson might say), and we know you are going to love this interview.

So Folks, please enjoy this incredible interview with the brilliant artist, Tadd Galusha!




When did you first discover your passion for comic book illustration? Was it a skill and drive you picked up as a youth, or did you just happen to find yourself in the world of comic books one day?

I didn’t discover a love for comics until later in youth, some time during my college studies at Washington State University. I always read comics from time to time and was an absolute Captain America fan. I never missed an issue after discovering Cap Wolf in a grocery store in Columbus, Nebraska (life changing experience for a 6 year old. Not the strongest of the Cap runs, but it holds a special place in my heart. I was always drawing as a kid, so looking back it was inevitable that I would end up doing what I do now. 

What was your very first paid gig as an artist? And where there any lessons learned from that project that still impact your work to this day?

My very first paid gig, as in professional gig, was while I was in my second year of art school. I was hired by some design company to illustrate images and designs for MMA t-shirts out in New York. It was when Affliction and Tapout were popular. Honestly I can hardly remember the gig. I just remember that I got paid practically nothing and they constantly wanted revisions and stuff. I ended up quitting by the start of the next school year. Lesson learned: know when to walk away from a shitty employer. There are other gigs to be found.

 What are some common traits that you tend to look for when you are considering a project that is being offered to you? What are some “must have” elements that you prefer to have when taking on a new project?

I try to find projects that are good stories and have a budget that justifies the amount of work that it’s going to take in creating this thing, as in visually bring it to life. As a commercial or professional artist, unfortunately, it comes down to the budget. This is how you pay your bills and sometimes even the companies that hire don’t quite put that together. So it might be the greatest story ever written, but you have to pass because you’ll be homeless in month trying to meet their demands. I try and make a balance.  I have the work that satisfies my life and the work that satisfies my soul. Ultimately the goal is to combine those two into one…. I’m working on it.

 The comic book industry seems to be another sector that seems to be moving towards being showcased more in a digital space. As an independent illustrator having worked in the business a number of years, and have worked on digital based projects, what are your thoughts on this manner. Are we destined to see physical comic books go the way of vinyl records, and just be a rarity that some people are avid collectors of?

Good question. I think comics are already like vinyl. The really good stuff you have to have on your shelf so you can pull it out now and then and just take in its beautiful existence because it does something for you on an existential level. The digital stuff is great too because it’s there for instant reading and if you really like it the collection is always available. Both platforms are incredibly important and valuable. The biggest thing about digital is as an artist you can do what you want now. You can negate the validation of a publisher and still cultivate a solid viable readership. It puts everything on you as a creator, but you own everything, the potential is limitless.

What would you consider to be the most challenging, yet rewarding, project that you have done thus far in your career?

The most rewarding thing I’ve done up to this point is Cretaceous, which will be released March 26th, for multiple reasons. I wrote and did all of the art and Oni Press helped make it a reality in supporting the project and releasing it out into the wild. It feels like a bit of a “Rocky” moment for me. I had some big, big names early on when I was writing and loosely pitching the idea around tell me “it wasn’t marketable”, “it was a waste of time,” “ it needed jungle babes,” (I kid you not). Basically I was told NO early on, so it was a form of vindication to have Oni Press come aboard and say “YES, we see what you’re doing here, lets do this!”

 Can you tell our readers a bit about the podcast that you co-host with friend of TWS, Bryan Bales entitled Blue Tiger Podcast? How did the name and concept of this fine program come about?

Blue Tiger Podcast! It’s something that Big Bry and I do for fun. We just chew the fat on weird news and what’s going on in the world of comics. How’d we get the name? Go read up on the Maltese Tiger. A rare and magnificent creature, does it exist? Some say it does, deep in the eastern forests of the Taiga. That’s us, possibly existing deep within the metaphorical forests of pop culture.

Who is your least favorite podcast host and why is it Brady Berserker from Super Geeky Play Date? 

I don’t like to name names, but my least favorite SGPD podcaster is this guy (Brady) who really thinks he knows what’s going on, but hasn’t got a clue (Brady B.). The dude operates with the surgical proficiency of a chimpanzee with a shot gun. I never know what he’s talking about, his co-hosts don’t know what he’s taking about, I could go on…. But I don’t like to insult people or name names (Brady Berserker… B.R.A.D.Y.). He tries, so I’ll give him that. Luckily he has amazing co-hosts to steer the ship and provide quality content.



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

Well, I’ve got a couple things in the fire, so to speak. Cretaceous comes out in March. I’ll be releasing a daily web comic starting the end of [this month], as well as bringing back my web comic, The Backwoods , for Volume 2. Both comics will be 100% free over at my site: TADDGALUSHA.COM. I’ll be linking them to a Patreon for the first time, so if people like the comics and want to help support it they can and I will just provide more and more content. I’ve been writing and developing a bunch of different concepts over the last couple of years and I’d like to start getting them out there. So we’ll see. The more support, the more content I can create. I just want to tell stories.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

The last thing that made me smile? Probably my wife, she’s a secret comedian behind closed doors. A regular Maltese tiger of hilarity.



To check out more work work from Tadd and to get your own copy of Cretaceous this March for yourself, find details at taddgalusha.com.

And be sure to check out the Blue Tiger Podcast, available on iTunes, but also available on the far superior podcast app, Laughable

TWS Book Club: Introduction


Welcome Everyone! I am excited to announce a new, hopefully long lasting, segment here at Trainwreck’d Society. We are getting into books, People! Now, we have done a few book reviews in the past, but my own count, we have only talked about one single book since the summer of 2014. I almost forgot the importance of reading, quite honestly. I have been purchasing and barely reading so many damn books over the last few years that it is starting to weigh on my emotionally. So I figured, why not talk about it here, and let you fine readers join in on the fun.

It’s a simple process really, and one that has truly stood the test of time. Once a month, on the third Thursday of every month starting  February 21st, 2019, we will showcase one book that I believe you are all going to love. We will then introduce the next month’s book at the end of the review. And we will continue this trend until I simply forget or manage to retreat to a non-literary filled existence that is sad and heartbreaking. But, let’s see if we can prevent that, shall we?

I invite you all to join in! Each month I will share exactly where you can pick up the book, unless it’s a major publishing, then you’re probably safe with looking for it on Amazon. If we are discussing a book that is indie in nature, or even simply self-released, I would definitely encourage everyone to try to purchase the book directly from the author or small press. I know that Amazon is convenient, but Jeff Bezos is a psychopath and we have to support the artists, you know?

Note: Yes, the first book we are talking about is indeed one that could be reasonably purchased on Amazon, especially since we are giving you such short notice. But in the future, this may not be the case!




The book we will be discussing on February 21st 2019 will be Kanye West Owes Me $300 & Other True Stories From A White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big by Jensen Karp.


Cover design by Christopher Brand


On the back (paperback edition): 

When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend’s bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as “Hot Karl,” the most famous white rapper you’ve never heard of.

Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp’s hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It’s 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.


Selected praise for the book:

“The funniest person I follow on Twitter finally got smart and wrote about his unlikely-and hilarious-odyssey as teenage rapper Hot Karl. Karp’s sharp wit and gossipy giggles keep you turning pages, but what lingers is the story of a survivor. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who has ever wanted to be famous.” – Kevin Smith, writer/filmmaker, Yoga Hosers


” If I had kids, I’d read them passages from this to them at night. Rap careers definitely haven’t been explored from this perspective, and I’m excited to see the ripples. Jensen’s gonna make some enemies, though. I’ve been on television.” – Hannibal Buress, comedian, name soon to be carved with anger on a wall in SCI Phoenix.


About the author:

(back of the book) Jensen Karp is an LA-based writer and comedian who has written and produced for Funny or Die, MTV, Rolling Stone, the Grammy’s VH1, Comedy Central and the ESPYs. He’s currently an executive producer, writer, and coach on TBS’s Drop the Mic.

(not on the back of the book, but should be) But more notably, Karp appeared on Episode 48 of the podcast All Fantasy Everything where they drafted One Word Movie Titles, and it was fucking hilarious. He’s also gonna have a kid or something. So that’s cool.


Where to get it:

Paperback edition was published by Three Rivers Press (Crown Publishing Group) and is also available as an ebook and on audio from Penguin Random House.

Find it on Amazon via jensonkarp.com


Siena Goines [Interview]

Photos by Victoria Bradley Images

Hello Folks! We have a very exciting interview to share with you all, once again. Today we have some incredible words from a truly wonderful actress that you should all know and love. Her name is Siena Goines, and I am certain that many of you will immediately recognize her by name, as she is one of the best in the business. Siena has had reoccurring roles on series like Criminal Minds, Jericho, and (a personal favorite of mine) Judging Amy. She’s also made appearances in films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Flight of the Living Dead, which we most definitely discuss in our words below as they have already become staples here at Trainwreck’d Society. And on top of all that, she is also a former Soap Opera star, which is another form of art that we have spoken about at lengths here on the site. Needless to say, Siena is a perfect fit, and we are so damn excited that she is gracing us with her digital presence today here at TWS.

So with that being said, let’s cut the rambling and get right into this incredible words with an even more incredible actress, the amazing Siena Goines. Enjoy!


When did you decide that you wanted to join the world of acting? Was it something you have always been passionate about since your youth?

I think I decided unconsciously when I was 11. I rarely went to movies but on this day I did and the theater felt like home.

What was your very first gig in the world of acting? And did you learn anything from this experience that still affects your work today?

I started in commercials then I did a movie called Show and Tell. I was the female lead and it was 30 dollars a day. From there I got a Manager and booked my first show which was a MOW – Movie of The Week with James Garner in Rockford Files.

Garner had a profound affect on me. He had to be in his early 70’s. We were shooting in LA. It was hot! And he did all his off camera work. No complaints. He was kind, professional and a team player. I learned from his example and his personal words to me regarding my career encourage me for a lifetime. Thank you JG.

You worked on a very hilarious scene opposite Romany Malco in the now classic comedy 40 Year Old Virgin. How was that experience? Was it hard to not break character with all the improve happening around you?

Romany actually got me that audition for 40 Year Old Virgin. Thanks Rom. It was a great learning experience. It was Apatow’s first feature directorial and the studio shut us down on day three because the speed-dating scenes at that point were 17 hours long. I remember driving back in the van to base camp with Apatow learning the news we were shut down. I looked at him in shock but Judd Apatow was cool as a cucumber. They’ll calm down – see you soon.

It was not difficult for me to stay in character, we had a blast playing around.

In 2007 you appeared in Flight of the Living Dead, directed by our friend Scott Thomas and featuring another friend of ours, Laura Cayoutte. We are big fans of horror films here at TWS, especially this one. So, how was your experience working on this film? And what do you enjoy about working in the world of horror? What sets it apart from other genres that you have worked in?

That movie was fun and Scott did a great job. There’s a lot of amped up terror of being horribly murdered most of the film, so that’s a whole other genre in itself. Right?! What was interesting was I get bit at the end and the inevitable is near. Now I don’t do well with blood. And of course they had to bloody my arm up. All day I had this bloody arm and I can’t look at it and it feels super heavy and now it hurting. It seriously started to hurt. Mind of matter is a real thing.

We have spoken with quite a few folks who have worked extensively on screen or behind the scenes in the world of Soap Operas. You spent a couple of years appearing on the classic series The Young and the Restless, even earning an NAACP Image Award nomination for your work. How did you enjoy working at the break neck pace that Soaps are known have? Was it a challenging way to shoot a project?

I took over a role from another wonderful actress who was ill who was the original Callie Rodgers on Y&R. I remember I had back shows to make up totaling 46 pages in one day. I remember thinking: Did I repeat myself? Did I just say the paragraph from that other scene? Soap stories moved at a snails pace, how to make the same moment new after a month of repeating it became a challenge for me. Just tell him you’re pregnant already!!

With that said I was no longer a fit for daytime Soaps. But how grateful I am as the medium taught me I could cry on queue to perfection and how to study, study, study, my lines 🙂 to the point it becomes so real, I’m honored with a NAACP AWARD.

If you were handed the opportunity to star in the biopic of any well known figure, regardless as to whether it has already been done before, who would you want to portray?

SADE because she’s fascinating to me and was an inspiration growing up where there were few who resembled me. Plus… music is my first love.

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

Two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy to air January 24th, 2019 and February 7th, 2019 and Chicago Med February 13th, 2019.

Dates for Chicago Med subject to change please check schedule for show titled “Can’t Unring that Bell”.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The vastness of the sky.

New Music Tuesday: California Hearse – California Hearse [EP]


On a very personal level, there is no sound that evokes such beautiful nostalgia for me than the thunderous guitar riffs overlaid by somewhat sweet, yet angry lyrics, that are consistent within a pop punk song. It has always been a sound that seems to only bring joy to my heart. And I have to admit, I don’t listen to it nearly as much as I should these days. But, sometimes, when I am feeling as though an energy boost from the past is all I need to recoup from these strange days, something wonderful passes through my inbox (actually or, maybe, metaphorically?) that makes you feel joy, if only just for 15 minutes or so. And that thing would be what I want to share with you all today. It’s California Hearse’s self-titled EP. And it is incredible.

California Hearse is a genuine pop punk band who make seriously good feeling tunes about subjects such as wasting your life away, dissecting broken hearts, convincing yourself that your not dying inside, and…surfing!  A line like “I gave my best years, to the worst things” from their track “Best Worst” probably sums it all up the best, and is 1 minute and 43 seconds of absolute brilliance that I simply could not stop repeating. And as a whole, this brilliant EP is an absolute delight from front to back, with a re-listenability that is almost unheard of these days. Although I will say that while California Hearse can produce a brilliant record, it is bloody apparent that this is a band that should definitely be experienced live and in person. Oh what a life it would be if I could simply have this record for the lull time in between seeing these cats rock out in person. There is absolutely no way that these guys couldn’t put on a hell of a show, based on their sound alone. So, if you find the chance to do so, I highly suggest you see them live. I understand that the will be playing at La Escalera Fest 7 in San Diego, CA and Tijuana, Mexico this coming May. That might be a good place to start!

Seriously Folks, this is an absolutely amazing record, and it only feels like the beginning. Of course, we never know what the future may hold, but I feel a great deal of hope that we are going to be seeing a lot more from the rhythm section of Gentlemen Prefer Blood (who I am honestly unaware of personally, but what a cool fucking name, right?) that has decided to continue on creating their brilliant pop punk manifesto and graciously spewing their positive energy about negative things out into the world. This is great stuff Everyone! Enjoy!



You can find the EP now on Bandcamp and Spotify. Or to get you started, check out the single “Welcome Home” right here:






Taylor Morden [Interview]


Welcome to another week of awesomeness here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today’s interview subject is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker who sense to want to pull on my own very specific and nostalgic heart strings. His name is Taylor Morden, and he has a couple of very exciting documentaries that are posed to come out in 2019 that will surprise the hell out of me if they don’t end up on Netflix or any other applicable streaming service in the near future.

Morden is man who has taken along the labor of love in showcasing the very lost remaining Blockbuster Video store in existence in the upcoming and aptly titled film, The Last Blockbuster. He also has a very intriguing doc in the works about the incredible third wave of ska that saw great popularity in the late 90’s entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. So basically, it seems as though Taylor just took a glimpse into the things that I loved as a youth, and still have fond memories of to this very day. While it may seem like a stretch, the specificity of it all is very peculiar.

We were fortunate enough to steal some time from Taylor to talk about his upcoming projects, how he got into the world of filmmaking, and so much more. We are very honored to have Taylor Morden grace our digital pages here today. So let’s get into it, shall we? Here we go! Pick it up, pick it up, pick….alright, I’ll stop. Enjoy!




What inspired you to get into the world of filmmaking? Was it something you have always wanted to do since your youth? Or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I was always the kid in high school with the VHS camcorder running around making dumb videos, but I never thought that could be a career.  Mostly it came from playing in bands and making our own music videos for years.

You have put quite an emphasis on the world of documentary filmmaking specifically. Was it by design? Or did you happen to discover that you had a real knack and love for this specific style of film?

I love documentaries.  I love being able to learn about something and be entertained at the same time, so I was definitely drawn to the documentary field. I also may or may not be mentally stuck in the 1990’s and wanting to re-live that era in any way I can.


Your first released documentary was on the wonderful group that sadly can be categorized as a “one hit wonder”, which was rampant in the 90’s, known as The Refreshments. What made you want to profile this band? What led you pour your heart into a project about the guys who made “Banditos”?

I had recently moved to a small town, and had some time on my hands.  I had done several short form docs and wanted to try something new.  The Refreshments are one of my all-time favorite bands, and I had recently discovered that they were basically still playing, under a new name, and had a huge cult following.  That was fascinating to me, so I reached out to see if they’d let me try to make a movie about them.

They said, “not sure why anyone would want to do that, but… OK” so I set out to make my first feature length film.  The process was difficult for sure, but I’m proud of that film and it got me to where I am today (making 2 more feature docs).  

I am very intrigued by a project you have in the works entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. I still have vivid 20 year old memories of skanking the night away at a Reel Big Fish show, or in a church basement somewhere in my shabby hometown. Also I notice that legendary actor & musician  Alex Désert is attached! We LOVE us some Becker around here! Anyway, what can you tell us about this project? What can viewers get excited about seeing in the future?

Ha! I also love Alex Desert, he’s a rad dude! and Hepcat is a phenomenal ska band! if you like Becker… you’ll love Hepcat!  But seriously… I’ve played in ska bands for over half of my life, and that music has made more of a difference in my life than anything else.  It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a strong DIY work ethic and it took me around the world playing music for tens of thousands of people. So it only made sense to combine my passion for filmmaking and my love of ska music into this project.  If you have a soft spot in your heart for a skankin’ guitar, a sweet horn line, and a dirty pair of checkered Vans, I think you’ll love this movie.  It’s an unapologetic love letter to third wave ska and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.  As far as who else is in it, there are a lot of folks you may know (no one else from Becker) including members of Reel Big Fish, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime, No Doubt, Less Than Jake and tons more.  

Another project you have in the works is another extremely intriguing documentary entitled The Last Blockbuster, a story about the last remaining Blockbuster store located in our beloved Pacific Northwest. Bend, Oregon to be specific. You even had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, receiving almost double your $20,000 goal. So, for those who are not in the loop, what can you tell us about this project? What made you want to tell the tale of this store and the rise and fall of its namesake?

I moved to Bend, Oregon about 4 years ago, and since then I have driven by this Blockbuster Video almost every day.  I was almost certain it was closed and they just hadn’t taken the sign down yet.  But one day I decided to go in… and it was like stepping back in time 10 years! The florescent lighting, the shelves of movies, the smell, the customers picking out their evening’s entertainment, the employees still dressed in the iconic blue and yellow… It really took me back.  So I asked the store owner if I could start working on a documentary about their store.  At the time there were still a dozen or so locations so I thought I might follow them for a year or two and see how they were still in business.  Then this year, the remaining stores (mostly in Alaska and Texas) all closed down, leaving the store in Bend Oregon as the last remaining Blockbuster Video.  So I immediately jumped back into high gear to finish this film while they are still in business.  The ultimate goal being to have our documentary on the shelves and available to rent at Blockbuster.


With all the research and work you have done on The Last Blockbuster, I am curious to know if you had any opinions as whether or not the city of Bend is one of the reasons that this place still exists? Or is it pure coincidence?

The City of Bend is really interesting, and it’s definitely a contributing factor, but I think it has more to do with the owners and the staff wanting to keep the store alive, and the confluence of events that lead to the rest of the locations closing.

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

I’m working hard to get these two films out in 2019, I’m really excited to get them finished and out into the world and start on the next projects.  I’ve been reading a lot of scripts and looking into making a narrative feature, possibly some more short films.  To follow along with any of these projects you can go to popmotionpictures.com 

We are also on instagram for both films at:




What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m deep into editing the ska documentary right now and today I was working on the segment on the Aquabats, which is a super-hero based ska band from Orange County CA that is perhaps the silliest of all the ska bands of that era.  We spoke with Travis Barker (Blink 182) about his time playing in that band and have found some old footage of him dressed as a super hero, playing the drums… that made me giggle for sure.

Sunday Matinee: West of Sunshine [Film]


“Separated from his family and caught in a cycle of gambling and debt, Jim has less than a day to repay a violent loan shark. His day is turned upside down when he must look after his young son. Jim’s relationship with his son is tested as his plans to pay back the loan fail. When his last desperate effort to repay the debt puts his son’s life at risk, he must make a choice between his past and a second chance at life.” – Uncorck’d Entertainment


Strap in Folks, because I’m not going to lie to you….this one may hurt. If you are a person who truly doesn’t understand the power of addiction that could possibly overpower the love you have for another human being, West of Sunshine is a film that is bound to cause some intense frustration. For those of you (us) who know exactly what I am talking about, this is a film that is going to hit you on an oh so powerful level. It may just hurt more than you think you can handle. With powerful performances and a stress factor level that is damn near through the roof of a vintage American car, West of Sunshine is a film that is bound to have an impact you on in one form or another. You’ve been warned!

West of Sunshine had a wonderful showing last year at the Venice Film Festival, which was equipped with a well deserved standing ovation. Well, deserved because there are so many brilliant aspects of this puzzle like film that fit together oh so nicely to create a truly amazing film. From the absolutely stunning cinematography from the great Thom Neal (the man who helped stylize Hannah Gadsby’s brilliant comedy special, Nanette) to a truly beautiful story from the mind of writer/director Jason Raftopoulos, this film is an Australian gem that can only be classified as a must see.

And as West of Sunshine is obviously a character driven film, it would be a crime not to mention the amazing performances given by the recently dearly departed Damian Hill, who I was sad to learn had recently left us due to unknown circumstances in September of 2018.  He was absolutely stellar in this film, and dare I say damn near perfect. It’s a shame that we will no longer have his presence in the physical world, but should his spirit live in one singular performance, I hope that it is his role as Jim, a father with a taxing past and an inner struggle that is either relatable or unimaginable, depending on where you are in your life.

Another shout out has to go to Hill’s real life stepson, Ty Perham, who gives an absolutely wonderful debut performance as Jim’s somewhat estranged son Alex, who is truly the linchpin in this whole film. If you can’t feel for this kid whilst watching West of Sunshine, I’m not certain that you could have any feelings at all. The emotional depth in which Perham is able to bring to the willful ignorance of youth is commendable and brilliant.

Damian Hill & Ty Perham in “West of Sunshine”. Photo credit Thom Neal (cinematographer).

West of Sunshine is being billed and showcased as a crime drama, which is definitely accurate. But, I have to say that I truly believe that it is SO much more than that. The criminal element of the film is almost circumstantial. And while very important to the story line, the focus of the film, in my opinion, remains solely on the relationship of a father and son, amidst the horrors of addiction and coming to grips with the pain of reality. Without spoiling too much, it is suffice to say that an obvious solution to Jim’s probably is (almost literally) right underneath him. But again, depending on your nature, the answer is not always as simple as you may think. And with amazing performances, powerful visuals, and an incredible story, West of Sunshine truly delivers!

The way the world just seems to open up when you rid yourself of the vile things in your life is impeccable. There is nothing like it. You begin to see things for what they really are, and what is truly most important in your life because insanely clear, leaving you to wonder how you ever could have missed it. This is probably the biggest take away from West of Sunshine. The past can sometimes be a very hard thing to let go. And sometimes you must reconcile with your demons, even if it is already too late.


Currently running in select theatres, and releasing on VOD January 22, West of Sunshine is being distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment.