Happy Face [Film]

 

“Estranged from his manipulative cancer-stricken mother, Stan, a quixotic 19-year-old, dons a disguise and joins a therapy workshop for disfigured patients in a misguided attempt to reconnect with her. But when his deception is revealed, Stan, who is desperate to gain coping skills to care for his disease-ravaged mother, offers the afflicted patients a bargain: he stays with the group, and in exchange he teaches them how feel good about themselves : by using their “ugliness” as a weapon against our beauty-obsessed culture.” – October Coast PR

 

******

By synopsis and just general film normalcies, there are a lot of obvious events and emotional responses that you can expect to see and have whilst watching Happy Face. And it’s for good reason. At its core, the film is almost exactly what you think it is going to be. If you are a cryer during films, you will cry tears of both joy and sadness. You will feel that heart-warming sense of joy for character accomplishments. But….there’s always a “but”, right? Another aspect of the film, which may be obvious to some folks, is the very dark sensibility and humor that is encompassed in this film. The film does not seek to sedate you with clouded misery, nor does it yearn to uplift your spirits to an immeasurable height. It short, the film is more truthful than that. It’s a dichotomy between knowing oneself & being proud of who you are, and understanding that sometimes the world is absolute bullshit. The idea that good things always come to good people is absolute trash and should not be believed. Instead, find your joy in the world, accept that painful things will happen, and life will pass you by and you can then die hoping that you have more fond memories that dark ones. Dare I say, put on a “Happy Face”, and keep moving through this world!

Anyway, off my proverbial soap box, I would still declare that Happy Face is an exceptional film, and one of my favorites of 2021 thus far. Filmmaker and co-screenwriter Alexandre Franchi brings an absolutely beautiful story that is powerful, a bit shocking at times, and most importantly, true to itself and the message that is being conveyed.

 

 

Leading man Robin L’Houmeau turns out a tremendous performance that is deserving of all the adoration that an actor if his ilk should receive. I can not overstate that enough. His performance in Happy Face is undeniably great. But (there’s that “but” again) I have to say that it is the ladies of the film that truly worked their magic in this film. Debbie Lynch-White plays a tough yet nurturing and frightened character in such a way that I have never seen before. And Alison Midstokke was probably the one give me the most feels and laughs throughout the film. Truly two incredible performances amongst a sea of amazing performances. To include first time performer David Roche who lit up the screen with every moment he was on screen.

Seriously, Folks, you are going to want to check this one out. You will not regret it. Keep the tissues close and your mind open.

 

Happy Face is available now, streaming just about everywhere including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu,  Direct TV, Dish Network and all major cable providers.

 

 

Myq Kaplan [Interview]

Photo by Levy Moroshan

 

Hello Folks! Today we have yet another absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all! It’s Myq Kaplan, Everyone! Having Myq on the site is not only a real treat, it is actually reminiscent of something that occurred no more than two weeks ago. As regular reader(s) of the site might remember, we had a wonderful comedian on the site name Mike Carrozza. He was a cat that I just seemed to hear extensively during the promotion of his album via podcasts that was released last year, as it was basically the only way to let any damn body know about it. Well, today we have that again with the brilliant Myq Kaplan.

Yes, I started to hear Myq on just about every podcast that I keep in my quickly rotation. And his album that was released in May, A.K.A., would have landed at the top of the list had I decided to do a list of my favorite comedy albums of 2020. He is an absolutely hilarious human being, and much like the aforementioned other Mike, he seems to be one of the nicest guys in comedy. It’s still a rare condition in the world of stand up comedy, but Myq has proven that it can be a solid quality to have, and also to still be so damn funny.

We are overjoyed that Myq was willing to take some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for us here today. So without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Myq Kaplan!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I was an aspiring singer-songwriter as a teenager. I was very good at aspiring. An inspiring aspirer. Some of my songs were serious and some were funny. (It’s possible that some of the serious ones might be now funnier to me than the funny ones.) I started performing at music venues in the Boston area where I was going to college, wherever I could, and just started contacting all kinds of clubs, bars, and subway stations to see if I could play there.

I found the Comedy Studio and asked the owner, Rick Jenkins, if I could perform at his comedy club. He gave me five minutes, which meant I could play approximately one and a half songs. 

I did two real short ones, and talked a little bit in between. People laughed. I loved it. So I went home and started thinking of things to say that might make people laugh in the future, you know, for in between songs. Later I would come to call that “writing jokes,” and the time between songs would become known as “my standup comedy.” 

Sometimes when people ask me “when did you know you wanted to do comedy,” I tell them “it was right after I started doing comedy.” So, the answer to your question, I suppose, is that doing comedy inspired me to do comedy. But what inspired me to do the first comedy? Music, remember? It’s turtles all the way down, until you get to music.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

Good question! I honestly don’t remember a lot about it. I will tell you about my SECOND paid gig, which was a short set at a fundraiser maybe a year or two into really pursuing comedy. I love performing at fundraisers because even if it goes poorly, people can’t demand their money back. “This comedian was so bad, I actually don’t want to help cure this disease anymore!”

This show was booked by Rick Jenkins, the owner of the Comedy Studio. After his shows, Rick would always thank me for performing, even at times when I felt like he was much more doing ME a favor by allowing me to perform. So, I would say that a theme that has run through my comedy career since the beginning is “gratitude to Rick Jenkins.”

 

I always like to ask comedians who (used?) to travel across the globe making people laugh this one question: What are some of the more obscure cities and/or venues that you have enjoyed performing in? What are some places that most people may not realize are wonderful places for live comedy?

It’s hard to answer exactly, because I don’t know what most people realize or don’t. Most people know about NYC, I bet. Maybe they know about other cities also. How about Minneapolis? I don’t know if that’s obscure either, but I’ve recorded two of my albums at Acme in Minneapolis, and I love that comedy club and the whole area very much. Here’s at least an obscure fact about it: I’ve heard that the Twin Cities area has more theaters per capita than NYC. You hear that, New Yorkers? Get some more theaters if you want to be number one! OR… relocate from New York to Minneapolis in enough volume, to up the population there so that the ratio shifts in your favor. That would be a weird thing to do, but if it’s important for you to win this strange competition of the arts, go for it!

One of my favorite places I’ve performed a few times is Motorco, a rock venue in Durham, NC. A comedian (and now friend) named Deb Aronin booked me to perform there for the first time I think around 2015, and I’ve been back a few times since. Deb does such a good job curating the experience for the audience, visiting comics, and the local comedy scene. Every time I’ve been there, the place has been packed with people who really want to be there for the specific show that’s happening, which is nice. I’m a big fan of people wanting to be experiencing what they’re experiencing.

Also around that time, I did a couple small tours through the Southeast with my best bud Zach Sherwin. We loved performing at little theaters and bars and rock venues in Athens, Asheville, Nashville, Louisville, among others. (I feel like I’m doing a radio ad for my past self: “but wait, there’s more!”)

Ooh, how about Greenville, SC? That’s probably a city that not everyone knows has a lot of fun comedy happening. Or at least, it certainly did the times that I was there. Shoutout to Nick Shaheen, another nice comedian friend who brought me to Greenville and many other places for the first time. Some so obscure even I’ve forgotten them, maybe.

 

And beyond being a necessity these days for comedians to have a podcast, I am always curious to know about the origins of truly original shows such as yours, Broccoli & Ice Cream. You’ve even had some friends & past guests of TWS like Sarah Tollemache, Tom Thakkar, Kevin Avery, Shane Mauss, & more on the show! So, what made you want to bring this delightful show out into the world? And what made you decide on the format?

Thanks for asking this question so kindly. You are nice.

The short answer is that I love talking with people. Comedians. Artists. Friends. I like learning about how people are creative, and what brings them joy. So I started asking them.

The long answer is the same, but with this sentence added for no reason.

 

Photo by Mindy Tucker / Artwork by Ramin Nazer

 

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any figure from the days of comedy past, who would you choose?

I’d love to see the life story of Dick Gregory widely shared. He was vegan for 50 years, which I understand for him began as part of his non-violent practice as a civil rights activist in the ’60’s.

That’s one thing that I knew, and now looking at his Wikipedia, I see there’s so much more that I didn’t know. He once fasted for six weeks to protest the US government’s violation of Native American treaties. He helped investigate the murder of MLK. He marched as a feminist with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. He was BANNED FROM AUSTRALIA, because they thought he would “stir up demonstrations against the Vietnam war.”

This is an incredible life. And I only knew about the vegan part of it, which was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Oh, also he was a comedian. And he cared so much. About so many causes. So many people. So many animals. All of the, it seems. Here’s a final quote from him for now: “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.” Someone make this movie please. Or if someone already did and I don’t know about it, great! And can you let me know?

 

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

Right now, the future seems theoretical in many ways. I hardly know what the PRESENT holds for me. To make a prediction about the future seems fantastical, like I’m telling people to come check out my new comedy tour through Narnia.

What will happen? Hopefully, a vaccination, and then a return to touring. I was planning to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2020, and I’ll hopefully get back there the next time it is safe, healthy, possible, and happening.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of online shows and releasing several podcasts a week, both Broccoli and Ice Cream and a new one I started during the pandemic called The Faucet. You can follow me on social media (@myqkaplan everywhere) and find out what’s happening as I find out what’s happening. And you can listen to everything that I’ve done already. There’s a lot of it. My most recent standup album (of about 5) is called A.K.A. and it’s the best one I’ve made. I’m proud of it and happy with it and would love for anyone who wants to listen. I hope you enjoy it.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This question. Thanks for asking it. And all of them.

A Ghost Waits [Film]

 

Tasked with renovating a neglected rental home, handyman Jack (Andrews) quickly finds out why the tenants keep leaving in droves – this house is haunted. The ghost in question is Muriel (Natalie Walker), herself employed from beyond the veil to keep the home vacant. Against the odds, Jack and Muriel find they have a lot in common… pulse notwithstanding. Having found a kindred spirit in an otherwise lonely existence, they must fight for their newfound affection as pressure mounts for them each to fulfill their “cross-purposes”. – Justin Cook PR

 

******

I truly did not know what to expect going into A Ghost Waits. I was expecting to be at least somewhat mildly entertained for 80ish minutes. What I wasn’t expecting was to see what I consider to be my first great release of 2021. As original and intriguing as the premise seems just be the film’s synopsis, I implore you to know that it is even better than you could imagine. It is a poignant, charming, and just a down right fun film. Without getting into spoiler territory, there are some events (including the ending) that in another story would have been considered “dark”, in either the dramatic or the comedic sense. But when it is presented in such a way as first time filmmaker Adam Stovall decided to go, it remains upbeat and just and absolute joy to see being played out. Everything from the choice of making the film in black & white, to the superb performances, and the witty dialogue, this is a real treat that I know you are all going to love.

 

 

And of course it behooves me to address that one of the greatest elements that I found so fascinating about the film, which were the performances. Leading man & co-writer MacLeod Andrews gives a brilliant performance, and is topped only slightly by his co-star Natalie Walker. Together they, make an amazing team, commanding probably 90% of the film. This is not to throw any shade in the direction of Sydney Vollmer & Amanda Miller, who were also incredible in the time they are on screen. The four person team that makes up the major cast of A Ghost Waits are some performers that we will definitely be on the lookout for in the future. And suffice to say that if this is filmmaker Adam Stoval’s debut film, the future seems bright for this highly talented human being, and we will be on the lookout for his work as well!

 

A Ghost Waits is available now on ARROW, and as you would all guess, I highly recommend you all see it NOW! Heck, you can even to a free trial to check this one out today!

 

 

Lisa Curry [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We are kicking off the week and month with a true banger of an interview, with an absolutely hilarious and multifaceted human being. It’s Lisa Curry, Everyone! Over the last few years, Lisa has become a staple in the world of comedy. Not only was she a globe-trotting stand up comedian in the before times, but Lisa wrote and worked on hit shows like The Office, The Jim Jeffries Show, and TruTV’s hilarious comedy competition show Comedy Knockout, which featured appearances from several hilarious people who have also graced our digital pages. Lisa has had a career with a list of achievements that only begin to reflect just how absolutely god damn funny she is.

If I am being completely honest (I mean, what’s the point of lying?), my first realization of Lisa’s brilliance came from a place that is sometimes the most uninspiring digital place on earth. Of course, I mean Twitter. It was a couple of years ago when I began to notice that everybody on that wretched site that I actually admired was sharing Curry’s witty and hilarious tweets, and that I should jump on board. And it’s been a hell of a ride since. In addition to that, she also became a regular attendee of You Up with Nikki Glaser, alongside our dear friend and past guest Tom Thakkar. So, for all of you regular readers out there, you can probably guess that she runs with the same wonderful folks we have bene known to showcase in the past. So you know she’s damned hilarious!

As Lisa will mention below, Lisa has a new podcast! It’s called Long Story Long with Lisa Curry. It is currently premiering on Sirius XM’s She’s So Funny Channel 771 each Thursday until February 11th at 12 p.m. PST, 8 p.m. EST. After that, look for her brilliance on iTunes! Read on for more deets.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the hilarious human being, the great Lisa Curry!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I kind of slowly stumbled into comedy. I always loved performing – I was in dance as a kid and I’d often put on little recitals with my friends at home, but I was in my twenties before I really realized that comedy is a viable line of work. My family is working class and so I grew up thinking jobs in the arts were a mere fantasy. I watched a ton of comedy with my family, mostly sitcoms, but because it was the only genre of television we watched, I didn’t realize it was comedy. As in, I thought everything was funny. It didn’t occur to me that there were shows without jokes in them. I don’t think it really sank into my brain that anyone on TV was making money, or at least I didn’t consider it. I thought Johnny Carson and Jerry Seinfeld had somehow been ordained as comedians.

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I couldn’t even guess what my first paid gig was, but I’m sure it didn’t pay much. I started standup in Los Angeles, which is about as good a place to start as Antarctica. Nothing pays and everyone’s waiting for a celebrity to drop in and do some time. I’m glad that’s the case, because it’s part of what drove me to go on the road. The gigs I’ve done outside of LA have been incredibly impactful to my life and career.

I always like to ask comedians who (used?) to travel across the globe making people laugh this one question: What are some of the more obscure cities and/or venues that you have enjoyed performing in? What are some places that most people may not realize are wonderful places for live comedy?

I had one of the best shows of my life in a theater in Copenhagen. I couldn’t believe how good the crowd was. Of course, that’s not really an obscure city, but I certainly wasn’t anticipating the very warm welcome I got. Another unlikely place I love is Wales. I was the first American to perform in the Mach Comedy Festival, and so I’m very partial to Wales. The people there are very warm and welcoming and love to laugh.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your new show Long Story Long with Lisa Curry, currently on Serius XM? While it seems just about mandatory for comedians to have a podcast these days, I am still always curious to know what makes them want to do their own specific show? So what made you want to do this project?

I had been sitting on the podcast idea for a while, but wasn’t quite bored enough to follow thru with it. Separately, I had become a regular guest on Nikki Glaser’s show on Sirius. The producers liked my appearances on the show and offered me the opportunity to launch my own podcast on the network. I love working with Sirius. It’s great to be able to reach their audience, especially now with standup comedy on pause.

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any figure from the days of comedy past, who would you choose?

Carol Burnett. She’s incredible! Has been for decades. To my knowledge, no one has made a flashy documentary about her. Those are all reserved for men and serial killers.

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

Who knows! I’m dying to get back to standup, but I’m unwilling to put people’s lives at risk to tell jokes. I have a couple projects I’ve been shopping around. Hopefully, one will take off soon. In the meantime, you can subscribe to Long Story Long on iTunes, so you’ll get new episodes as they drop there beginning February 18th.

Your readers can find me at my website: lisacurry.net / on Twitter: @lisa_curry / on Instagram: @olympianlisacurry . 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog. Every morning I wake up, I’m so grateful to get to spend another day with her.

Jamel Johnson [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today we are excited to share with you all some words from an absolutely brilliant stand up comedian and podcaster. It’s Jamel Johnson, Everyone! Jamel is a hilarious comedian that I had being hearing as a guest on several different podcasts, but especially with our dear friends and past guests on All Fantasy Everything. After probably three appearances, I decided that this man was downright hilarious and needed to be thrown into my regular podcast rotation.

Jamel is the co-host of two wonderful athletic podcasts, Air Buds and Sorry We Love Football. And on a personal note, I have to say that Jamel actually brought back my interest in sports! Well, that and a year of not a damn thing to do, but mainly Jamel! I had long since forgotten about the joy of basketball, until I starting listening to Air Buds regularly, and decided I should probably know who the hell some of these people are that they were talking about. But nevertheless folks, I truly believe that even if you are not deeply knowledgable (as am I) about basketball and/or football, you are going to love his shows. There have even been a few crossovers with some of our friends and past guest like Steve Hernandez, Zak Toscani, Liza Treyger, Billy Wayne Davis, and many more!

Also, for a person recommendation, I highly encourage everyone to watch his “Jamel Johnson Critiques Black Lives Matter Art” on Team Coco’s (Conan O’Brien team) YouTube channel. It’s one of the most hilarious videos of 2020, in my humble opinion.

So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Jamel Johnson!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

It was watching stand up with my family at a real young age and seeing how people react to laughter.

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I got 50 bucks to do 30 minutes at this spot, Axum Lounge. It was pretty empty so it was low pressure but I realized I really only had like 15 minutes pretty fast. The lesson being, write more jokes be over prepared basically.

I always like to ask comedians who (used?) to travel across the globe making people laugh this one question: What are some of the more obscure cities and/or venues that you have enjoying performing in? What are some places that most people may not realize are wonderful places for live comedy?

I don’t travel much but being from DC I am extremely biased. DC Improv is the best club. Love a underground music venue anywhere really.

 

 

Besides the fact that it is practically required for every comedian to have a podcast, I am always curious to know the origin behind fine shows such as yours, the wonderful Air Buds podcast. You’ve had some of our dear friends and past guests on the show actually, like Steve Hernandez, Zak Toscani, Mike Mulloy, & more. So what made you want to put this show out into the digital either?

Well, in 2016 I had just moved to LA and linked with Mike Benner pretty early on and I did his live show, Mixtape, in a SuperSonics shirt and he was like do you wanna do a basketball show with me and Peter? Lol pretty simple shit but back then we were like it’s a lot of basketball people who can crack jokes but there’s not a lot of comedians talking basketball. That’s obviously changed but I think we’ve adapted with the times

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any figure from the days of comedy past, who would you choose?

2 come to mind.

Martin Lawrence: He’s from DC so I’m hooked already. Then he’s like the biggest voice in black comedy for most of the 90s arguably. There’s a rise. There’s a fall. Sex, drugs, violence, etc.

Kim Wayans: Could be a real ill story of one the only women in the room for a lot of comedy classics. Plus she’s in like a comedy Royal Family at this point.

 

 

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

You can expect me to keep trucking on these pods, Baby. @Airbudspod for any basketball needs, @SorryweloveNFL for my American football thoughts. I’m personally at @nonprofitcomic on Twitter and @broccolihouse on IG. My website is BroccoliHouse.com and I have 30 minutes of live quarantine safe standup you watch up there right now. It’s just me with no audience which is weird but chill.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Oh yesterday I was playing Street Fighter online and had a sick comeback with my first born son, Zangief. I was very pleased with myself.

Duane Whitaker [Interview]

 

Holy Smokes, Folks! We have an absolutely incredible interview for you all here today! Today’s guest is a writer and performer that I have wanted to have on the site since jump! It’s Duane Whitaker, Everyone! If you are a horror fan, you absolutely know and love this man. And if you are a 30 something film nerd who started watching indie film in the mid to late 90’s, it’s quite possible you would definitely tell somebody at a party that Pulp Fiction is your all time favorite film, and in that case, you know Duane as well!

Duane Whitaker has been working in the world of film and television for about as long as I have been alive. He is more than a character actor, he is an actor with character. Whenever this guy shows up on the screen, which is often, you just know that the story you are seeing told out on the screen will be either amplified or improved, depending on how things are going. He is a man of brilliance, and as you will learn from his words below, a hell of a nice guy.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the absolutely brilliant Duane Whitaker!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you have aspired to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I kind of decided to be an actor when I was in high school. I got some encouragement from a couple of people and really went at it shortly after that. Did theater there in my hometown of Lubbock Texas there for about three years and then moved to LA.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

My first professional acting job I guess would be there at the Hayloft Dinner theater. I was a “Haymaker.” We did a preshow thing and waited on tables in between acts. You also played smaller parts in the main show. It was an interesting gig…

You have done some amazing work in the one of our favorite genre of film here at TWS, and that genre is horror. From working alongside dear friends of ours such as Leslie Easterbrook, Sid Haig (RIP), & Daniel Roebuck in films directed by Rob Zombie, to action-horror classics like From Dusk Till Dawn 2, which happens to be co-written and directed by our old pal Scott Spiegel…you’ve done it all! So I am curious to know what it is that you enjoy about the world of horror? What do you believe sets it apart from other genres?

As far as doing so much work in the horror genre, it wasn’t planed or anything. I think I’ve been a part of something like 7 different horror franchises. I used to say I was in the horror genre but not of the genre. I know less about it than you might think but I enjoy working in it. I’ve got to play some interesting characters. I worked really early on with Jeff Burr in some horror stuff and got known a little within that world. I’m an actor and I like to work. The genre has giving me some opportunities to do that. The fan base is really loyal. I do Conventons sometimes and it’s interesting to talk to the fans about the stuff I’ve been involved in.

 

 

In 1992, you wrote and starred in the title role of the indie gem of a film Eddie Presley is one of the most unique sounding films that I sadly have not had the chance to see. But, I promise you I will! Either way, can you tell our readers a bit about the film? Where did the idea for this incredible original story come from?

Eddie Presley was a movie I wrote and started  in which started as a one man play I did. It was an idea that I’d been kicking around for years and something just clicked and I sat down and wrote the play in one night. Jeff Burr directed it and we had an amazing cast. I’ve been kind of critical of the movie through the years but I’m very proud of it. The people who like it, like it a lot. It seems to mean something to them. It was a pretty great opportunity for me and I’m proud of the work. Lawrence Tyranny said we should have called the movie Eddie Depressly.

 

And it would behoove me to ask about your absolutely legendary performance in one of the most renowned films of all time, Pulp Fiction. And of all the moments in the film that are memorable, I would make a strong argument that your scene with Peter Greene, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis & our old pal Stephen Hibbert is by far the most intense and shocking. So how was your experience working on this film? And even further, how do make something that is so damn dark, an enjoyable experience to create? Were there any ways of taking the tension away during filming?

Yeah, Pulp Fiction was a pretty amazing experience. Quentin had played a small part in Eddie Presley  and I ran into him while he was casting it. I read it, thought it was a great script. We shot for about a week. I felt like it was something special and the part was pretty damn interesting but I don’t think any of us knew it was going to explode like it did.  Pretty damn happy to be in that one. I don’t remember a lot of tension at least on my part. I was a little shocked at how bizarre the sequence was when I saw it the first time cut together.

 

 

With a career that is entering it’s 5th decade, and having worked on so many incredible projects in all of them, I am curious to know how you feel the world of acting has changed over the years? With all of the advancements in technology over the years, what do you believe is the biggest difference from when you started? Also, at its core, what do you believe to be the same?

As far as things changing through the years, the technology has jumped. When I started it was a lot more difficult and expensive to make a movie. Now anybody with a phone can do it. There are a lot of things that have changed on the technical side but the actual work from my perspective is the same. A very smart person once said, “Acting is being truthful in imaginary circumstances.” That’s what I’ve always tried to do. The part of this business I really enjoy is the space between action and cut. All the other stuff? Not so much.

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

As far as what I’m up to at the moment, obviously it’s a bit slow right now. I’m set to do a couple of things soon including a horror thing but we shall see. I’ve have some films sitting and waiting at the moment. A film called Edge Of Town which we shot in Georgia a while back. A film I just did recently called Lucky Louie which was shot in Pennsylvania and directed by my friend Dan Roebuck and his daughter.  I’ve probably worked with Danny more than anyone else at this point. We met as extras on General Hospital so you can imagine how long ago that was. Just shot [a film for] kids called Sally Floss: Digital Detective.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was watching my dog do something stupid.

 

Kelly Masterson [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We are headed to the proverbial writer’s room again for our latest interview. Today we have the absolutely legendary playwright & screenwriter of projects such as the legendary Sydney Pollack directed Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead which usually lands respectably somewhere on many different lists of my favorite films. It’s Kelly Masterson, Everyone!

For years, Kelly was writing plays that were controversial and mind-blowing in their time, as they tended be geared towards such “astonishing” things as being gay and the importance of social justice and environmental torture that non cis-white dudes were (are) bringing down on to people they did not agree with. Can you imagine the audacity of Mr. Masterson? How dare he? I kid of course. While I have not been privy to these works, I have had the great fortune to see his work that was written for the screen. And while Snowpiercer originated as a graphic novel, knowing his previous work in the world of the theatre, it’s easy to see why Kelly was the best person for the job when it came to writing the 2013 film that would be directed by the forthcoming Academy Award winning director, Bong Joon Ho.

We are so very excited to have Kelly join us here at TWS to learn a bit more about this legendary figure. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant writer, Kelly Masterson!

 

******

 

What inspire you to get into the world of writing and entertainment in general? Was it something you have strived to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I started as an actor when I was 10 years old performing in community theater plays and got bit by the show biz bug.  I had an aunt and an uncle who were Broadway performers and that was my first dream.   I wrote my first stage play while I was in college with the intent of starring in it.  I never studied writing but read every play I could get my hands on.  I was influenced by Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Niell (that should be pretty apparent in my work). 

In the early 80’s, there were exciting contemporary playwrights that inspired me – Lanford Wilson, Peter Schaffer and, the one that blew my mind, Harvey Fierstein.  His play, Torch Song Trilogy, made me want to write plays.  I wrote a play about five men with AIDS living in a hospice (Touch).  It won a local playwriting contest in Las Vegas and was subsequently produced in San Francisco and Boston.  Again, it was written primarily for me to act in.  It opened off-off-Broadway in 1987 and, while I was not in it, my husband was.  We moved to New York where I tried to be an actor.  Alas, I had no luck.  Over time, my scripts stopped being vehicles for myself and rather expressions of themes and stories that interested me.  Early stage plays were either gay themed or about social justice.  It was not until I started writing for the screen that my themes became more universal. 

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of writing and/or entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work to date?

My first performance was in the role of Sir Jim in the play Sir Slob and the Princess (I know, what a bombshell!) at the Huntington Beach Playhouse.  My first script was Happymattox (I know, how horrible), a musical comedy about Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee.  Luckily for me, no copy exists.  My first screenplay was Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

 

 

Your debut original screenplay Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead will always be not only one of my favorite heist films, but just one of the best stories ever brought to screen in my opinion. I am curious to know what made you want to bring this story into the world? 

 

I read a book by John Burnham Schwarz (Reservation Road) that had a fascinating structure.  It told the story from one point of view before backing up and telling it from a second. I stole that structure and made it even more complicated by pursuing three POV’s in Devil.  I wrote it without knowing where it was going to go so I was surprised by it.  It was very dark and maybe that is because it was a very harsh winter while I was writing it.  I wanted to write about fathers and sons.  I wanted to write about obsession.  Each of the three male characters have obsessive behavior they cannot break free of even though it leads them to tragedy.

And when you first heard that the legend himself, Sidney Lumet was interested in working on what would unfortunately turn out to be his last project?

It was May 15, 2006 that I learned that Sydney Lumet was directing.  I was working at a bank in New York City.  My lawyer called me and asked if I was sitting down.  I sat down.  She told me she just learned from the producer that Devil was greenlit with Sydney directing.  I was also told the casting for the first time that day. I was so overwhelmed and happy.  I wrote it 7 years earlier and it had bounced around for years and I came to think it might never happen.  My lawyer and I celebrate every May 15th.  

I don’t really have the words to describe how grateful and lucky I am to have had Sydney direct this movie.  It was his last.  It was my first.  It has made my career.  I quit the bank on August 1 of that same year and have worked as a writer ever since.  I am so proud of the movie that Sydney made out of my script.

 

 

And of course, it would behoove us to ask about your 2013 film Snowpiercer, as it is another wonderful story that is an incredible analogy for the struggle of class warfare and social injustice. Can you tell us a bit about where in your mind this story was coming from? And do you believe the message you wanted to convey was carried on the screen?

Snowpiercer existed as a graphic novel before Director Bong Joon Ho and I adapted it.  So, the bones of the story already existed.  Director Bong and I discussed early on in the process the themes of inequality, injustice and revolution that we wanted to emphasize.  This project was such a joy to work on.  Director Bong is a wonderful collaborator and, of course, an amazing, visionary director.  He is also a wonderful man.  The success of the movie, and the clarity of its message, are terrific achievements and I am proud to have been a part of them.

 

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

 

I have written another script for Director Bong and hope that he will find time in his very busy, post-Parasite schedule to make it.  I have a few other feature projects in the works, including one which we hope to shoot this summer, Covid willing, to be directed by Steven Shainberg (Secretary) and starring Juliette Binoche.  I have a few TV projects in development.  I am lucky to get the opportunity to continue writing.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

From the silly: my dog chasing birds on the beach; to the profound: the prospect of Joe Biden’s inauguration which is tomorrow as I write this.  These made me smile today.

 

Mike Carrozza [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to Trainwreck’d Society for yet another incredible interview for your beloved eyeholes. Today we have one of my downright favorite comedians of the modern era. It’s Mike Carrozza, Everyone! I have to be straight up honest here, and let you know that I have only become acutely aware of Mike’s comedy over the last 6ish months. As most of you know, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. And many times, especially when a comedian is promoting a new album, I tend to hear the same guest on many of the podcasts I love. And this was definitely the case in regards to Mike for about a month stretch this last summer when he was promoting his debut comedy album, Cherubic. He appeared on 4 of my absolute favorites in just a months time, and then again on another a couple of months later. Specifically, I heard him on Who’s Your God?, Stand By Your Band, Dumb People Town, Doug Loves Movies, and Never Seen It. Now if, these sound familiar to you regular readers, that makes sense. These shows feature folks like Amy Miller, Steve Hernandez, Tom Thakkar, Tommy McNamara, Daniel Van Kirk, and Kyle Ayers….all past guests! And now, we are so excited to have Mike join the TWS family amongst some lovely company!

One amazing characteristic about Mike Carrozza, that we will definitely get into in the words below, is that he is just..so…fucking…NICE. It sort of hurts to say that a person’s general way of being is just to be nice is such a revelation, but sadly it is true. Mike has made a name for himself for simply being a kind human being. Which is a quality that sadly isn’t found that often in the world, let alone the world of stand up comedy. But to be fair, along with the names mentioned above, there is a solid group of very nice people. But, I would bet dollars to donuts (as another nice boy comedian and past guest, Sean Jordan, would say) that Mike Carrozza is the NICEST GUY IN COMEDY! There I said it, all caps. This dude is the best.

Mike also has two wonderful podcasts, xBummerxBoysx & We Didn’t Get A Rose, that he will mention below, and they have become a part of my regular rotation, and I highly recommend you all do the same. I would say that I demand you do it, but I don’t believe Mike would want me saying such a thing. See? He is rubbing off on me. Hopefully he does the same for the world.

So Folks, thank you all for dropping by, and please enjoy some incredible words from the brilliant and hilarious Mike Carrozza!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something you have strived to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’d always been interested in jokes and making people laugh at a young age. I grew up watching some cartoons which mostly always had comedy in them and stuff like Whose Line is it Anyway? or Friends. I think most importantly, Just For Laughs tapings would air on The Comedy Network (Canadian Comedy Central basically) and I would watch those with my dad. So I was in it early. Pair that with the fact that I’m from Montreal and grew up there, where the Just For Laughs festival happens, I just gravitated to it strongly. My dad would always tell me street jokes or jokes he’d read online or whatever. I’d memorize them and tell them at school. I got a reputation for being a jokester and leaned in. Before I knew it, I was doing jokes at my elementary school recorder concerts between the grades. I hosted my elementary school graduation, lots of high school events, sketch and whatnot in college and university before doing stand up when I was 19. Honestly, I was doomed from the start, bud!

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work to date?

I really couldn’t tell you what my first paid gig was. I had won money from like little competition shows or open mics where the host would have the audience vote for their favourite and I’d won a few times. But honestly, the first time I got paid for comedy and booked with the understanding of being paid was when I started getting booked to host open mic night at The Comedy Nest and then weekends hosting or guest spots. David Acer’s really been good to me and The Comedy Nest is my home club. I hope they’ll be alright after all this. I love that place and the people there. Shout out to Sheila and Dougie and Ellie and Theo and Peter and Ocean and Justin and…

 

Back when the world was “normal”, what were some of your favorite unconventional spots to do comedy? Were there any cities and/or venues that you worked in that the average comedy fan would never have thought to be a great place for comedy?

I think what [Kyle] Kinane does by doing shows at punk venues is the coolest and the best. I love that. I think in the spirit of that, my favourite unconventional venue I’ve performed in would be a house show for bands I really like. I got to go up between bands whose work I was already a huge fan of like Gulfer, Secret Stuff, and I Love Your Lifestyle. Some of them were online friends because the emo revival/math rock community is relatively small. It was just so cool to not only see them, but to be on the lineup and watch the audience and my new friends laugh at my dumb jokes. I’d known the Gulfer guys for a while and shout out to them and their incredible new record. They’re so good, please check them out. Shout out to Jessica too, always.

 

You have one of the absolutely positive vibes when it comes to your social media presence, especially in the sometimes virtual hellscape that is Twitter. Yet, you work in a field that is often littered (sometimes even in a hilarious way) with negativity. So I simply have to ask…how do you do it? I can only imagine from what I have heard that your delightfully positive attitude is not simply a social media thing, but is just your nature. So, how the shit do you keep it together, Sir?

I think it has something with being sheltered and naive if I’m being completely transparent. I haven’t struggled with things too hard besides you know the emotional stuff. I’ve always had some support of some kind and people who believe in me. It’s also so much nicer to look on the bright side. I’m certainly capable of being critical and blunt and whatever, but I prefer it to be in service of bettering people’s lives. I don’t believe at this moment in altruism, but there are still so many stories that challenge that. From a personal perspective, I love being a nice guy and to give to others, to make them feel good, etc. However, it’s not entirely selfless because I know it makes me feel good. But there are stories of people out there just doing the right thing and sacrificing for others. I will also say that my online presence isn’t necessarily always positive, like i’ve had my share of tweeting about anti-maskers being absolute fucking morons or earnestly believing people who believe/follow Trump deserve to be punished severely for it. It’s not all positive, but I can say it is in service of making things more positive for everybody.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your podcast xBummerxBoysx? Besides the fact that it is practically a requirement these days to have a podcast, where did this premise come from? And how did you know that this was something that you could do really, really, well?

“Really really well”? Thank you, that’s so nice! xBummerxBoysx! We have the Xs there to make it look like a dumb hardcore band! We started it literally right before the pandemic. Alex Kolanko (my co-host) and I had been talking about music for a long time and one day hanging out we both said it’d be cool to just talk about tunes on a podcast where we can have friends on or even people we haven’t met but admire. We were thinking like “Oh, man! Spanish Love Songs are gonna be in town in April and I have a connection to them, maybe we can get them on the podcast!” But then we ended up reaching out to Dylan (SLS’ singer) deeper into the pandemic, because why not! And he did it and it ruled and I can’t believe it sometimes! I love his band and to just hang out and be funny with someone you admire and appreciate, what a feeling!

The premise is that we talk about songs that made us sad that week and also talk about one nice thing from the same week. When we have a guest, we get to know them and their relationship with music before talking about our selections and why they made us sad.

I did however start a new podcast at the beginning of 2021 called We Didn’t Get a Rose with me and Chris Mejia. It’s a Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise recap show and maybe if Are You The One? comes back, we’ll cover that, too. It’s been really fun and honestly having two podcasts to focus on has been very good for me. This has absolutely been the roughest time of my life as I’m sure plenty of people can relate. I essentially built my life and self-worth into how I can help and impact people. Comedy makes me feel great because laughter is my favourite feeling and I assume those who seek it out feel similarly. That’s the quickest validation that what I do has a positive impact on people. Now that that’s gone (and Zoom shows, while they can be fun, they caaaaaan’t replicate the feeling), having two chunks of time a week where I can hang out with friends and cool people I’m meeting, make some laughs happen, talk about stuff I like, man it’s a good feeling.

 

 

If you were handed the opportunity, with an unlimited budget, to write/direct/star, whatever you would like basically, in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

This is a good question and I have no idea how to answer it. The Canadian in me wants to say “hmmm why American huh?! They already get to dominate our sitcom slots to the point that our country doesn’t invest into its own art or identity or star system! Why should it be an American!” but also realizes “The reach!”

That said though, the first person to come to mind was Chris Farley. I have a fondness for how well loved he was and his legacy, but those final years definitely have some room for a truly dramatic turn that I am eager to sink my teeth into. I have a degree in Theatre with a specialization in Performance and what can I say, I miss it! But I think if I was to take a day on this question, I’d pick another person, but then keep changing every 15 minutes. Either way, agents out there if you’re reading this, first of all thank you, second of all, I’m money on the table. Get me in the rooms and I’ll bake us some bread, baby!

 

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

I have an album out called Cherubic available wherever you get your music (Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc). I’m really proud of it. It was included in the 2020 comedy roundup The Comedy Bureau put out and Jake wrote some really nice things that made me smile. Please check it out!

My podcasts xBummerxBoysx and We Didn’t Get a Rose are weekly podcasts so subscribe to those please.

I’m sure I’ll be doing more Zoom shows here and there so follow me on Twitter or Instagram @mikecarrozza I’m way more active on Twitter.

I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff last year despite everything. I worked with my favourite comedian, appeared on some of my favourite podcasts (Doug Loves Movies and Dumb People Town, I couldn’t believe it when I got those emails), I got to play Magic: The Gathering with friends all over the world, I got to play Magic DnD with Rachel Weeks, Dan Sheehan and Sheldon Menery (one of the guys who came up with the Magic format I play! Isn’t that nuts!). Hopefully, 2021 will lead to more cool stuff. But I learned that I’m just going to have to ask for things I want. So follow me on Twitter and keep up :).

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I was going to be cheesy and say this question because it did lead me to reflect on a bunch of cool stuff that I ultimately mentioned in the last question.

But truthfully, the last thing that made me smile was just earlier today I started laughing because as a joke to myself I started learning Danish on DuoLingo. It’s a wild language, it’s so strange and funny sounding to me. But it’s so cool. I did it because I got a screener to see Druk starring Mads Mikkelsen (good movie!) and I thought it might be helpful. But now I’m on my third day of Danish and I was doing a few levels on DuoLingo before getting to this questionnaire and I had a hard laugh at the fact that I’m now invested. Like I’m actually learning Danish. WHAT?! Hahaha isn’t that the silliest turn? I was so amused by it.

But if you had asked me right before then I’d have probably said a tweet or something. It’s a nightmare hellscape of a site, but it has made me laugh.

Anyway bud hope this was good enough for ya! Fart city, baby!

Thanks for asking me 🙂 love and appreciation

Rebecca Matthews [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have another wonderful interview to share with you all today. We have an absolute genius from the world of horror, fantasy, and beyond, it’s the incredible Rebecca Matthews! To begin with, Rebecca wore multiple hats (from producer, director, casting director, & more) on two of my favorite horror films from the last Halloween season, Cupid and The Candy Witch. Both of which are amazing and you should definitely check out ASAP. Don’t wait for October for a good scare, as the world is scary year round. You might as well have some fun with it. We talk about these films in the amazing answers that Rebecca passed along to us.

I did commit one act of damn tom foolery though, I must admit. At the time I was making up the questions for Matthews, I somehow failed to realize that she is also the mastermind beyond the absolutely incredible film, Pet Graveyard. Before I get too into the details of what I loved about this film, be sure to check out our review from 2019. But it is suffice to say that I absolutely LOVED this film, and while it may have been titled with a circumstance of requirements for sales, I will forever attest that it is a brilliant stand alone film despite any sort of supposed likeliness to any other film that could have possibly been remade and released in the same year. In fact, I would highly recommend it over any other hypothetical project that might have been around in that same year.

So here we are, with an extremely talented producer, director, editor, and so much more. Beyond the couple of films we talk about in the interview below, as well as the beloved Pet Graveyard, Rebecca has worked on several incredible projects. Some I have watched in the past, but sadly didn’t get a chance to cover here, as well as a some (at least one) film that is forthcoming, and is absolutely wonderful! So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the amazing Rebecca Matthews!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I’ve always had aspirations to be involved in the world of showbiz ever since I was a youngster, so it’s something I’ve always strived to be involved with in some way. I had originally done my training in theatre before exploring other roles and avenues in the world of film, so this was something that I ended up gravitating towards in the end.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

I did A LOT of unpaid work before I ended up getting a paid gig. I had to build up my experience, knowledge and professionalism so these unpaid jobs actually ended up being some of the most valuable experiences I’ve ever had in a roundabout way. I feel like there were many hard lessons learnt on my first fully paid feature film as a producer — the results actually weren’t that great as an outcome so a lot of lessons were learnt. I find that with each new project I’m learning something new – it never stops – but that keeps me on my toes and makes the jobs even more rewarding to know that you are learning and growing after each project.

 

I recently really enjoyed one of your most recent films, Cupid, which features our friend and past guest Sarah T. Cohen. I am curious to know what drew to Scott Jeffrey’s insane story?

Scott had the idea of doing a Cupid horror movie a while back so it was great to be involved in the development and production of this. I was excited by the premise and concept as it’s something that hasn’t really been seen from any movies I have knowledge of – where Cupid is being depicted as a monster over valentines day. It was fun to take the myth of this figure and put our own little spin on it.

And another recent project you also worked as a director as well as a producer is the film The Candy Witch, which is also phenomenal! So what was it about this project that made you want to bring it to the world?

Ah thank you for the kind words! I am a fan of supernatural ghost horrors so I was really excited to be able to direct this kind of movie as it’s something I hadn’t done myself before. It was a huge challenge as we only had 6 days to shoot the entire thing! But the team were amazing and I’m pretty proud of the outcome given the restrictions we had to work with.

 

 

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

I love working with horror because there is so much to be played with – the emotional stakes for the characters are always high, there’s drama, action, thrill, supsense, gore. It’s like a filmmaker’s dream to dabble with all of that in one movie and that’s why I love it as an audience member too. Horror has so many sub genres too – be it supernatural, slasher, psychological etc – it’s so varied and interesting from project to project. I love delivering content to horror audiences as well – it’s a great audience to be working with.

 

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

I’ve been delving into the action genre recently with some upcoming releases in 2021 – including HellKat and The Gardener which I’m pretty excited about. I’ve also worked on a heavy CGI monster movie which is hopefully getting a release in 2021 too, that was definitely a new challenge for me. Upcoming projects, I am co-directing another supernatural ghost horror early this year which I hope can be turned around in time for a late 2021 release – plus a couple of Shark movies – it’s going to be a crazy year!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Doing this interview – of course 😀

Zed Cutsinger [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome back to another wonderful interview here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today we have an absolutely wonderful guest. It’s Zed Cutsinger, Everyone! Zed is a former amateur wrestler, and current podcast co-host of the brilliant shows Views From the Vista & The Male Gaze, both alongside our dear friend and past guest Steve Hernandez, as well as the latter being co-hosted by another past guest of ours, the great Allen Strickland Williams. They are two of my favorite podcasts for very different reasons, both of which I never miss each week.

Zed is an absolutely hilarious human being and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages. He’s just an overall sweet man, and it is an absolute joy to have him with us. He is also delightfully devoted to his wife, and also co-host of Views From the Vista, Honor Nezzo. So I offer my sincerest apologies if the above photo of Zed might have gotten you all riled up. Please try to control yourselves.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Zed Cutsinger!

******

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you have aspired to do since your youth, or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

My first tastes of “entertainment” were in high school. When I was a freshman I ran for class treasurer. I was thirsty for power. For my speech I just wrote a few minutes of inane drivel. Just a laundry list of reasons I should be elected: how I treated old ladies nicely, I always tied my shoes, etc. Really stupid stuff. It got a reaction and from that point forward my thirst for power could only be clenched by laughter. I never thought it was something I could do beyond the audience of a classroom until I lived in New York and took an improv class at UCB in 2006.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work to date?

The first I can recall was in NY, it was an anti-piracy PSA commercial ~2010. During the audition I was supposed to be peddling bootleg DVD’s and I made some joke about Leslie Nielsen (he had died that day). At least one of them must’ve loved The Naked Gun as much as I did. The video was shot in Union Square during a cold period (Fall?) and I sat in a van with crew members waiting to do my “scene”. (It was just a couple lines.) There was some bigger name talent that had to go first and the whole ordeal took so long I never ended up doing my part. I still got paid. My big lesson: Pirating is good.

Can you tell us a bit about one of my new favorite podcasts, Views From The Vista? How did you link up with our new friend Steve Hernandez to create one of the best movie podcasts in the game right now?

The Vista Theater is the Greatest Movie Theater Ever. (GMTE). Their matinees were $6.50 so every friday I’d see the first showing of whatever was playing there because why the hell not. I kept running into Steve Hernandez (I liked to save money, I’m not sure what his excuse was). During one of our run ins, I was making him laugh an average amount (LOTS) and when he finally caught his breath he said, “We should do a movie podcast together.” At this point I had never podcasted but something about Steve made me say, “Yes.” We had my girlfriend on for episode ten and from that point forward she, Honor Nezzo, has been a co-host and eventually my wife. When we first started I liked movies but now I love them more than anything (including Honor by a LOT).

What would you say are some of the most difficult genres of films you have covered on VFTV?

Comedies. My natural inclination is to break down the jokes like math and figure out what and what didn’t work about them but I can see that being boring to listen to. And It’s hard to joke about jokes? If that makes sense. Also, since we’re in the world of comedy, belittling/criticizing a movie might come off like we’re better than it. I’m not better than anything (including Honor by a LOT). Then there are movies that are SO humorless and serious (AND NOT GOOD) that it can be a struggle to discuss. (2016’s The Birth of a Nation comes to mind.) We try not to review movies that we dislike. I’d rather recommend something than push someone away from something they might enjoy. I straight up feel bad when someone asks me what I thought about a movie and I say something bad to find out they loved it.

You also co-host another podcast, also with Steve Hernandez, as well as other former guest Allen Strickland Williams, entitled The Male Gaze? Same question as before, sort of. How did this show come to life, and what could our readers expect to hear on it?

Steve and Allen were trying to make a horny podcast with a focus on the news. Honor guilted Steve into having me co-host it with them. She was my girlfriend at the time. But she should’ve been my wife. Since day one. Then we asked Brodie Reed to join us. We do discuss what’s going on in the world but it’s mostly us just gabbing. We’re four dudes… but we’re sensitive. That’s the hook. The only sensitive guys ever. We have a lot of fun. And you will too. Just listen to us already.

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

That’s the question! Watching movies and making people laugh by accident. Hopefully by then (tomorrow) I’ll figure out why they laughed. Check out my two podcasts, Views From The Vista & The Male Gaze, and my Letterboxd as well: @zedcutsinger.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

When I was answering your questions, Honor was watching Bridgerton on Netflix. She got my attention during an intense sex scene. (“Zed! Look!”) That made me smile. And it’s the last thing that’ll ever make me smile. I’m done.