All Joking Aside [Film]

 

“Charlene Murray (Charlie to her friends) isn’t your average twenty-one year old.  Inspired by her late father’s unrealized ambitions, she wants nothing more in life than to be a stand-up comic, and is equal parts thrilled and terrified by the fact that she’s finally old enough to get into a comedy club and actually try her material in front of paying customers. So with a fistful of jokes, and her stalwart friend Kim there to get her back, she heads to the Laughing Hyena, one of New York’s faded comedic hot spots, to hit her first ever open mic night.  Glued to his barstool at the back of the room, with his fourth whiskey of the night in hand is Bob Carpenter, and he’s not going to stop heckling until Charlie gives up the microphone.  It doesn’t take long before he gets exactly what he wants, and Charlie, chastened, flees the club with Kim on her tail. When she later returns to the Hyena to talk to the manager Dennis, he tells Charlie that if she really wants to learn the craft, then she’s got to be writing all the time, and studying people who know what they’re doing; people like Bob who, before his marriage and career collapsed and he became an alcoholic heckler, used to be one of the top touring comics in the country.  He pulls out some old VHS tapes of the young and energetic performer, first showing him own the crowd with his raw, edgy material, and then in a different clip from his final performance a few years later, literally attacking them.  Impressed by this new side of him, and with Dennis’ encouragement, Charlie decides that Bob is going to be her mentor whether he likes it or not, and sets about winning him over.   As the two slowly feel each other out, what develops is an unlikely friendship based on broken families, a healthy appreciation of sarcasm, and the undeniable rush of making a whole room full of people laugh.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

 

Folks, it’s no secret that we love stand up comedy here at Trainwreck’d Society. We have interviewed dozens of comedic greats of the past and current times. It is such a wildly specific art form that requires so little in the form of physical performance, yet requires so much more mentally than what meets the eye. I’ve heard it said before that, yes, “anyone”, can do stand up comedy simply because it does not require any physical skills beyond a microphone (sometimes) and a voice. But obviously, it takes so much more than just the ability to speak in public. It’s the reason that (at least pre-pandemic, anyway) it felt like 100 new people a day were “starting” in comedy, and 50 people were giving it up, if I had to make some rough estimates. A person could be the most naturally funny person around the old proverbial water cooler at their 9 to 5, but it doesn’t mean they are going to make it in the business, or even have the charisma to pull it off. And that is something that I believe filmmaker Shannon Kohli and screenwriter James Pickering were keenly aware of when they were bringing All Joking Aside to life.

I will be honest with you all, Folks. I am very aware that many times over, films about stand up comedy simply just fall flat. So many times I find myself realizing that my love for stand up comedy is what keeps bringing me to movies that “explore” the world of stand up. And obviously they’re not all going to work. Bull Durham and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch are both technically about baseball, but there is a clear distinction between the two. Not just any film about stand up comedy is going to work. Too often the job and the art form of itself is set aside to dig more into the character themselves, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it always works best when the stand up is integrated consistently into the character development. And I am here to say it loud and proud to you all, All Joking Aside does just that. The story is simple enough, yet with complex characters, secrets lying just below the emotional surface, and a very well written story filled with wit and joy and pain and love, this film pulls off what so many other stand up comedy related films could in the past.

 

 

Yes, All Joking Aside is a brilliant film that is well written and shot beautifully. But of course, the film could have totally fallen flat if it weren’t for some damn fine performances. Pretending to be a stand up comic is probably one of the hardest feats to get right in the world of cinema, but hot damn if Raylene Harwood doesn’t absolutely KILL in this film. I believed every single moment of drive she displayed as Charlie. She absolutely CRUSHED it, if I might throw one more stand up related piece of lingo. And of course, veteran actor Brian Markinson gives a performance of his life time as the grizzled old comedy vet. He’s a unique character, but if you are highly engrossed in the world of comedy, I may imagine you could envision a Dave Attell like character who just sort of fell out of the way. Maybe Barry Crimmins. But, maybe we are digging in to deep here. Raylene and Brian made a hell of an on-screen duo, one of the best of the year, in what is most definitely one of the Top Ten films of 2020.

 

ALL JOKING ASIDE is available now On Demand from Quiver Distribution, wherever you stream great films.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: The New West and the Politics of the Environment [Film]

 

“The film explores how iconic Nevada Senator Harry Reid set the foundations for a green new deal in the state using power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and usher in a just transition to renewable energy.” – PRANA PR

“A quiet, little-known revolution is taking place in American environmental politics in a most surprising place—Nevada. In this feature-length documentary, Earth Focus tells the story of Harry Reid, a politician who grew up in an Old West mining town, saw the possibility of a New West emerging in Nevada, and rode that change to power. Reid used power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and wilderness, and usher in a just transition to renewable energy. Could this western green new deal set an example for the nation?” – KCET

 

******

In the military, at least the Air Force that is, several e-mail correspondences will begin with something called “BLUF”. It stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. And now that I am typing this out, it may be something used in several other industries, but I really do not know. Either way, I feel as though it is an appropriate addition to this article.

BLUF: Nevada is an immaculately beautiful state, and Senator Harry Reid is a major reason that it has remained as such. But, there is so much more to be done. And this documentary will explain it all in great detail.

 

Still a bit wordy, huh? Well, I think you all get it. The New West and the Politics of the Environment attempts, and succeeds, in demonstrating just how important it is that our political structure (as crumbling as it may seem) is crucial to the idea that human kind may be able to continue to reside on this giant rock for the foreseeable future, if the right people take action. It’s literally the most important issue to date, although it seems as though it is constantly being side-stepped by issues that, while surely are important, shall remain null and void if we don’t have an earth that is functioning for humans because humans just want to screw the whole thing up. I am not the most informed person on the matter, and beyond donating a few bucks to organizations attempting to fix the situation, I could never rightfully call myself an “environmentalist”. But, I do understand that bringing a snowball into a congressional hearing does not prove that Global Warming is a hoax. And I am not lost in the irony that the most legendary “Not A Crook”, crooked Presidents of all time also agreed that saving the planet should be a bi-partisan effort. Which always leads me to wonder…were oil lobbyist just not as prevalent? How did he do that? But, I digress.

While the concept of saving the earth from shitty humans and our inhumane ways is definitely the overall concept expressed in this film, there is one character that truly needs to be addressed. And before you begin to think what I am getting to next, it’s not Harry Reid. Sorry, just had to jump out with that. Harry has done incredible things, and we will get to that later. But, it’s important to stay focused. No, the most important character in this film is actually the state of Nevada. BOOM! (Oh no, that might be inappropriate, please let me explain).

Like so many of the 300+ million Americans living in this land (and the rest of us residing outside of it), when I think of the state of Nevada, I think of one thing only: the hit Comedy Central & now Quibi show Reno 911. Alright, I kid. Yes, it’s Las Vegas. It’s “Sin City”. It’s the home state of arguably the greatest film ever made by Martin Scorsese (arguably by me, and probably no-one else, but I’m ready to argue). Which I would learn in watching this documentary, Harry Reid was a major part of taking all the fun out of, but we shall forgive him because he is making the earth better, which is cool I guess. It’s the only part of the state that I have ever been to for a 3 day stint that involved a time-share presentation that earned free money at the Luxor in which nothing was earned, a surprised topless acrobatic show, and the best Brazilian steakhouse I have ever eaten at thanks to Groupon and their 2 for 1 coupons. But, I have actually have had a couple of close relatives die in the state of Nevada. Others have had their ashes spread in the state of Nevada. And some that have moved to the state of Nevada to wait to die, and most likely have their ashes spread in the state of Nevada. So, the state is a bit more important to me personally than a topless show hosted by the 6th runner up of America’s Got Talent and the best fucking steak I’ve ever eaten in my life, seriously, I believe it’s at the Venetian with the sky on the ceiling and stuff, it was SO good.

 

 

But, it is for certainly not self-involved reasons such as I mentioned above that I have become such a Harry Reid stan. I honestly wish that Harry could watch all 4 of the Lethal Weapon films and realize that he’s “not too old for this shit”. And maybe he has? Not that he watched all of these films, although I hope he has, but that he has noticed that while he has retired from politics, he has been able to focus on the subjects that worry him the most. It’s pretty evident with The New West and the Politics of the Environment. He clearly believes in what he has said in the past as he continues to do so. We all know that there is money in politics to be made, even when they are not active in the matter. But, the idea of saving the planet has never been a factor that leeches to the untamed mind as a way to make a great deal of money. It’s possible obviously, but I truly believe that it is not foreseen in this instance.

Senator Harry Reid is, let’s face it, is an OG “one of the good ones”. Despite your possible stance on the idea of letting the mob continue to run Vegas because you are a regular dude who loves Scorsese so much, you have to admit that he is a phenomenal figure. His appreciation for the cultural traditions of the Native American tribes of Nevada are stupendous. His stance agains the nuclear testing that the USAF is doing to his native land is heroic (yes, I understand the contradictory affects of this statement because of my opening statement, but I shall continue).

While Las Vegas and a popular improvised Comedy Central series may have put the state on the map, Harry Reid has been crucial to keeping the state, and this planet, on the actual map. His work in Congress to make the the state of Nevada, the country, the world, a more sustainable place to exist upon can not be forgotten. And it is of the upmost importance that we honor him and continue to head the message he is providing. He’s still with us, Folks! Often times we seem to “treasure” the ideals of those who have come before us. Which is great. But, let’s honor the wishes of the great Senator Harry Reid while he is still living and being so damn cool amongst us! How do we do that?

Well, start by checking out The New West and the Politics of the Environment. Learn from it. And do as they suggest. Vote. Donate. Activate. That is actually one of the most fun things about this modern age. There are SO many ways that you can help out. Shit, just recycle, if you haven’t already been doing that. It feels weird to think that the latter is such a revolutionary concept, but I promise to you all living on either coast, it’s not an entirely regular practice. But, I digress.

Alright, I feel as though I have sad enough, and definitely more than I intended to say. I am just so excited about the possibilities that this film has brought to the world and the continuation of human kind residing upon this rock. Thank you so much Jaime Monez for directing this gem of a documentary that I hope gets world wide recognition.

If we can start with Nevada, we can continue moving forward with the rest of the planet.

 

 

For more information and how you can watch the film, see dates below and visit KCET.org for details.

 

AIRDATES

  • TuesdaySep29 8:00 PM PT
    KCET-HD
  • WednesdaySep30 12:00 AM PT
    KCET-HD
  • SundayOct4 6:30 PM PT
    KCET

 

 

Sunday Matinee: American Trial [Film]

 

“AMERICAN TRIAL: The Eric Garner Story is an unscripted, hybrid fiction-documentary about the case that never happened. A mock trial with the real players (with the exception of the actor who plays Pantaleo), the film depicts the trial that would have followed Garner’s death had Pantaleo been indicted. In the pursuit of accuracy, balance and unbiased accountability, the film uses former New York State prosecutors, real attorneys and actual witnesses, all to present to the jury – in this case, the audience – the facts necessary to determine Pantaleo’s guilt or innocence. No script. Only real people and real testimonies in a courtroom setting through a cinematic lens.  In a unique, interactive experience, viewers will then be asked to vote on the charges at the end of the film via an embedded ballot.” – Passion River Films

 

******

 

Folks, I would dare say that we have one of the most original films we have ever had on the history of this site. The description above tells you exactly how it works, but it simply cannot convey the surrealism and emotional journey that the film takes you on. I know it probably goes without saying, but it’s just so damn REAL. If there is any biasness to be had, it’s only in the fact that the film was even made. But, the evidence brought forth on both sides of the courtroom is jarring and has such a very realistic feel to it, that thoughts of biasness should really be taken off the table. As I stated before, this is truly one of the most original ways of filmmaking that I have ever seen. A full on dramatic depiction of the events surround the tragic death of Eric Gardner could have been done, but I believe in my heart of hearts that this was the exact way to get a very troubling and very serious point across.

I know it can sound corny to say, but American Trial is absolutely more of an experience than a film. The film guides you through what exactly might have happened if the justice system in our country had prevailed and did the god damn job, if I’m to be brash. And I’m not trying to give any spoilers here, but I simply must admit that the inclusion of Garner’s widow, Esaw Snipes Garner, was just about the most heartbreaking and brave things I have ever seen a person do. She is a commendable human being, and I cannot convey just proud of a person who I have never met. The courage she showed was incredible. And I also feel the need to add that filmmaker Roee Messinger may already be one of the most original minds of this generation. And this is their first feature film!

I can say with all honesty and sincerity that American Trial: The Eric Garner Story is my favorite film of 2020 thus far. And that it is going to take a lot to move the film out of the number one spot by the end of the year.

 

AMERICAN TRIAL: The Eric Garner Story opens virtually in theaters May 18-21. A live-streamed Q&A with director Roee Messinger and Eric Garner’s wife, Esaw Snipes Garner, will take place on May 21, where the audience jury verdict will be announced.

Please visit the AMERICAN TRIAL website for more information on theaters, tickets and the Q&A: www.passionriver.com/AmericanTrial

 

 

Saturday Special: Cry For The Bad Man [Film]

 

“When a small-town widow is grieving in isolation, she receives a deadly ultimatum from the privileged sons of a local land developer to sell her beloved property. With 24 hours to decide and her pleas to the town’s corrupt sheriff falling on deaf ears, she realizes she must take matters into her own hands. Her quest for justice turns into an all-out battle and grisly confrontation.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

Hello Folks! Today we are sharing a truly wonderful and suspenseful film that may just surprise the hell out of you if you’re not careful. Cry For the Bad Man is a lot of things, but one thing it is not is subtle. It’s a bloody story of extortion and will power, and holding on to what is rightfully yours by the powers that would not only take it from you, but are willing to let you die in the process. Writer/Director Sam Farmer is a new name for me personally, but it is for sure one that I will be on the lookout for in the future.

 

 

Cry For The Bad Man invokes a lot of emotion and demands strict attention throughout, in my opinion. Of course a lot of this could have to do with the presence of the horror legend herself, Camille Keaton. Camille continues to prove that after 40 years in the world of horror, she knows EXACTLY what she is doing. And while she is obviously wonderful in Cry For the Bad Man, I have to admit that it was the trio of would be villain brothers that truly intrigued me the most, especially Scott Peeler’s performance as Wayne. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about his character simply scared the shit out of me. It’s likely simply a combination of a great performance and well written character, but I feel like there is something even more to it than just that.

I’m telling you Folks, if you are looking for a suspense thriller with enough twists to fill a year, yet takes place over a couple of nights, you are absolutely going to love Cry For The Bad Man. As I would usually say, I cannot recommend it enough.

 

Cry for the Bad Man is available now on DVD and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Mossville: When Great Trees Fall [Film]

 

“Mossville: When Great Trees Fall is a powerful and intimate documentary exposing the link between race and environmental injustice.  It’s the story of a centuries-old black community in Louisiana, contaminated by petrochemical plants, struggling with the loss of its ancestral home. The film focuses on one man who stands in the way of a plant’s expansion and refuses to give up on his family home – and his community.” – Maggi Simpson PR

 

******

 

Today we have an absolutely mind-blowing and insanely frustrating film to share with you all today. Mossville: When Great Trees Fall should not only be watched for informative reasons, it should be a god damned message to say the least. Imagine if everything you ever knew was literally taken from you. What if you lived with knowing that a major corporation that is hell bent on destroying the earth for profit, is willing to do whatever it means to move you out of their way? Even if that means essentially murdering you? How do you think you would handle this situation?

The world is in a mass hysteria right now over COVID19. People are understandably furious about the governments reactions to the spread of this virus. But, I implore you all to check out Mossville, and understand that this is not a new concept. Black families have been getting poisoned, killed, and losing their heritage for a very long time now. I am sad to say that I was completely unaware of this, and that is nothing short of white privilege. This I am fully aware of. But it is suffice to say that if you think the rich not giving a shit about the poor is a new concept, you really need to look deep inside your own soul as well as do a bit more research. The genocide is continuous. And it is only the poor who suffers. Always.

 

 

Watching the “residents” of Mossville struggle to retain what little bit of an identity they have to the place they grew up is probably one of the most heartbreaking things I have witnessed on film in a very long time. The actions of one of the film’s subjects, Stacey Ryan, is absolutely commendable, and he should be proud of what he accomplished. He is definitely a stronger man than I would be, I’ll tell you that much for free.

This film from documentarian filmmaker Alexander Glustrom is another example of a film that should be shown in social studies classrooms across the globe. It’s a beautifully made film about a very ugly situation, and I implore you all to check it out as soon as possible.

 

MOSSVILLE: When Great Trees Fall will be broadcast nationally on the PBS series Reel South beginning May 25 and on the world channel beginning May 31st.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/145085489″>&quot;Mossville: When Great Trees Fall&quot; Trailer &ndash; In Theaters March 2020</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/fireriverfilms”>Fire River Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Sunday Matinee: Red Rover [Film]

 

“Damon spends his waking hours searching for that elusive something. Whether it’s for deeper meaning, love, or just “treasure” on the beach with his metal detector, but to no avail. So when Damon meets an offbeat musician named Phoebe handing out flyers for a one way trip to Mars, a bond quickly forms. She’s going to help him find that thing he is looking for by sending him 33.9 million miles away, even though what he needs might be right in front of him.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

I can’t even begin to lie to you, Folks. This one got to me. While I don’t have any specific experiences like the events that occur in Red Rover, I can relate to the feeling of wanting to get away from the real world so badly that I would, hypothetically speaking, rather move to Mars. Well, what if that was a reality? What if you were offered the opportunity to start fresh in a literal whole new planet. What if you feel like your life is in shambles and their are no repairable qualities about yourself? But more importantly, when such an opportunity becomes a reality….what could keep you back? These are the very personal questions that Red Rover presents, and I am here to say that they present it extremely well. Filmmaker Shane Belcourt has directed his way directly into my heart with this film, which is easily one of my favorite films of 2020. I wouldn’t be so bold as to guarantee a placement, but with 8 months left in the year, and a whole lot of time on my hands, I know that when we are talking end of year favorites, Red Rover will be nearing the top.

 

 

The previously mentioned filmmaker and co-writer Shane Belcourt and writing partner Duane Murray have a truly unique story to tell with Red Rover. And that story is merely amplified by some incredible performances. Kristian Brunn and Cara Gee absolutely light up the screen with obvious chemistry and that actually made he yell at my screen, when no one was awake, something along the lines of “What are you DOING man?”. You’ll get it when you see it. Or you won’t, and I am just an insane person. Either way, the latter mentioned performer, Cara Gee, may have just moved into my mental line up as one of the most wonderful performers of the modern age. And I’ve honestly never watched any of her other work, but I certainly will now! If she does half as amazing of a job as she does with Red Rover, I know I will enjoy all that she gives. Simply phenomenal.

So Folks, if you are looking for a film to pull on your heartstrings a bit, and make you feel something for once in your god damned life, I highly suggest Red Rover. It’s funny and poignant at times, down right upsetting with sadness at others, and is an overall delightful film that I can not recommend enough.

 

Red Rover will be available on VOD on May 12th, 2020 from IndieCan Entertainment.

 

 

Saturday Special: Getaway [Film]

 

 

 

“Tamara Miller has planned a weekend lake getaway with her two best friends. When she gets kidnapped by a backwoods cult, eerie and unexplained occurrences arise. Will she make it out alive or become the treasure of these deranged lunatics?” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

Now this was fun, Folks! I just have to say that right out of the gate. As somebody who has ingested quite a ton of horror films in their time, I instantly have to say that I approve of Getaway, just so much. The premise is simple get engaging, the build up is just enough to get you comfortable, the intensity rides like lightening on a scary spring night, and the pay out is ultimately bloody and satisfying. Getaway brings all of the elements you want in a horror film, and maybe some that you didn’t realize you wanted. With amazing performances, a compelling faith-based set of bad guys, and brilliantly simple effects, this is an all around gem of a horror film if I have ever seen one. When you simply want to turn your brain off for 90 minutes and let yourself be scared as hell, Getaway is the perfect film for you.

 

 

As previously mentioned, the film has some absolutely amazing performances. As expected, horror screen legends Scout Taylor-Compton and Landry Allbright deliver in their roles, no question. But, the biggest shoutout is obviously the film’s lead, Jaclyn Betham, who is just so damn convincing yet confusing as a character throughout the entire viewing. Which I couldn’t have loved more. And as far as performances go, director and co-writer (the other writer being Jaclyn herself!) Lane Tolan absolutely nails it as well. And fun fact, for those who aren’t aware or possibly not in your mid-30’s, Tolan is the legendary voice behind King Bob of the animated series Recess, as well as Wolfgang in the classic series Hey Arnold! Isn’t that something? King Bob out here capturing women for the Lord? I love it.

Seriously Folks, I can’t say enough good things about Getaway, and I would highly recommend to everyone, but especially those looking for a well made horror film in this day and age were details and storylines sometimes get substituted for gore and jump scares. This is not one of this film. Getaway is a very stylized suspense-filled horror film that you simply must see. Enjoy!

 

Getaway is available now on DVD and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Streetlight Harmonies [Film]

 

“From its street-corner origins, through successful ’60s girls groups, Streetlight Harmonies charts doo-wop¹s influence on modern-day boy bands and how it impacts today’s contemporary music including pop, R&B and hip hop.  We also hear stories of how these artists used music as a way to quash segregation and support the civil rights movement.” – Prism Media Group

 

******

Hello Everyone! For regular readers here, you may know that we cover a lot of documentaries, especially entertainment based interviews. We’ve covered films about 90’s ska, 80’s punk, legendary stuntmen, middle actors & actresses….basically a pretty wide playing field. And while today’s showcase is in the same vein in a way, there is definitely something fresh and original here. Streetlight Harmonies is a film that showcases a genre of music that I honestly didn’t know that I loved so much, and if you are not a long-time fan yourself, I truly believe that after only one viewing of this incredibly made film, you will soon realize that you are also a fan! How could this be, you say? Well, everything needs an origin, if you will. It’s sad that rock and roll stemmed from the blues. Which is fair. But, what about other origins? What about a genre that influenced rhythm & blues singers, rock singers, hell it goes all the way into the g funk era of the 90’s if you cared enough to argue it! Well that genre Folks, is doo wop. And I will be the first to admit that I had zero knowledge on the subject and how it came to rise in pop culture so prevalently. That is until Streetlight Harmonies entered my life, and now I am not only more knowledgeable on the subject, but more grateful for the said knowledge entering my life.

 

Ron Coleman & Bill Brown, photographed by Hilda Somarriba

Filmmaker Brent Wilson is a cat you has absolutely mastered his craft, and was destined to be the one who tells us about the power of doo wop. He came into the industry working for some of the biggest pop stars of their time. Artists like Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and more. But, being the inquisitive soul that he appears to be, I can only imagine that he was wondering about the origins of this type of music. And all of these years later, he has finally been able to put out a wonderfully-crafted documentary in the likes of Streetlight Harmonies. The film features some of the greatest artists from the world of doo wop. But for those of us who may not be so familiar with this world and just learning, legendary figures like Brian McKnight, Lance Bass, and Brian Wilson show up to weigh in with their thoughts. Streetlight Harmonies is an incredible look into an art that doesn’t get the credit that it deserves. If you don’t finish Streetlight Harmonies with a new sense of love in your heart, you may want to check and make sure you indeed have a heart.

 

Streetlight Harmonies is available now on DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD wherever you purchase great films.

 

Saturday Double Special: Zak Toscani Live in Portland [Stand Up] + Same Boat [Film]

 

 

Hello Folks, and welcome to another Saturday Double Special. As we are all doubling up on the content we are taking in these days, we are excited to share with you two incredible collection of moving images that I know you are going to love oh so damn much.

First off, we are so excited to talk about a brilliant half hour set (27 minutes if you need to be a dick about it) from our dear friend and past guest Zak Toscani. It’s been just over a year since we had Zak on the site, and we have continued to follow, and love, his work since then and definitely before. Zak has continued to make audiences laugh with his brilliant observations and self-realization that could arguably considered a bit too harsh on himself, but that’s obviously the point. He’s poignant and profound in his act and I simply cannot say enough good shit about his work. He’s a wordsmith as well. “There is no love where there is no obstacle” is a quote from Zak that I truly adore. Especially since it is about frozen pizzas.

Zak, like so many other great comics we have had on the site (including a lot of his friends), is continuing to attempt to entertain audiences during this extremely weird as time and has something incredible to share with you all. Back in January, Toscani returned to his old stomping grounds, our beloved former home base, of the Pacific Northwest, PDX proper, and gave an absolutely phenomenal performance. In absolute seriousness, it is one of the best half hours I have ever watched. I hope with all of my heart that one day I will finally get to see this shit live. Word for word, I know I would laugh myself into hysteria. It’s that damn good.

So what does a stand up set from January have to do with Zak’s attempt to keep us laughing? Well, recently he publicly announced that he would like to share this set with the world.

 

And being the humble man he is, if you simply ask him to check it out, he’s probably going to give to you for free. But, I implore you all to shoot him a couple of bucks via Venmo (unless you live in the UK where they refuse to acknowledge this fabulous service, the bastards) or PayPal (way to think internationally PayPal!), or however you are able to send funds to a brilliant comedian who simply wants to make people laugh and also afford to purchase the canvases known as frozen pizzas.

We are living in some sort of strange simulation right now, so let’s roll with that shall we? If you were able to roam the streets of Portland, Oregon for a night, you may wander into Helium and drop 10-15 bucks (I’m honestly spit-balling here, because I’ve been to exactly one comedy club, ever) to watch a wonderful comedian give their brilliant observations of the world. Well, it can still happen! You’re just at home, in your pajamas, watching comedy. How great is that? I honestly can think of nothing better. Except maybe actually going to a show, as I mentioned earlier, but it’s not an option so let’s make the best of it.

So, how can you watch Zak’s incredible stand up? Simply hit him up on TWITTER. And don’t forget to ask for payment information, and pay what you think is fair or whatever you are able to spare. And of course, if you are simply broke as fuck but need the enlightenment, Zak is likely to simply hand it over to you being the perfect gentleman that he is. But, if you can spare a few bucks, I implore you all to do so.

 

Enjoy!

 

One of my favorite moments in TV history. Past guests of the site Mike Mulloy, Zak Toscani, Sean Jordan, and David Gborie, showing their support for their friend Ian Karmel before his set on The Late Late Show. This has no context to anything, I just really wanted to to exist on our site as well.

 

 

******

 

 

“James is a time travelling assassin from the 28th century sent to 2018 to kill a woman, but when his intern gets sick and he loses his paperwork he has some time to kill, so to speak, while enjoying the cruise he accidentally falls in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill. Same Boat is a film about duty, love, friendship, and how kindness is more powerful than destruction.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

If I am being 100% honest Folks….I was very hesitant to watch this one. I can’t quite explain what exactly it was about the description of the film that was turning me off, but I definitely put off checking out for a while. And let me tell you all, I have made some terrible decisions in the past. Big ones. I once shot myself in the foot with a BB gun to prove a point. And I am confident enough to sit here and tell you all: THAT wasn’t even as dumb as putting off viewing Same Boat. Not only is this film one of the best I have watching this year, it may be a new all-time favorite comedy.

To reiterate a comment I previously made about Same Boat this week in an interview we did with Josh Itzkowitz:

I would never compare Josh’s work directly to anyone in particular, as his whole style seems to be coming up with something highly original. I may “liken” it to a bit of a strange genre of sci-fi that might have an origin linked (at least in my mind), to a guy like writer/director Charlie Kaufman. It’s that type of science fiction that takes an idea that is futuristic and exciting, but focuses more on the human reaction elements to a bold stance. A time traveling assassin who travels hundreds of years into the past to kill a woman but can’t because of the power of attraction? That’s on par, if not superior in my opinion, to how humans would react to living in a celebrities head for 15 minutes or fighting against time in your head to stop the erasure of a loved one from your memory while Hulk and Kristen Dunst dance on top of you.

 

 

Same Boat is an absolute gem of a film that I am certain you will be hearing about here at TWS in the future. Director/Leading Actor Chris Roberti shines in the film, as does Tonya Glanz and the whole damn cast. What we have here is an amazing collection of hilarious individuals portraying wonderfully written characters that steal the show with every moment they appear before us. Seriously, I feel the need to shout them out individually, as it truly feels like lightning caught in a bottle. Evan Kaufman, Katie Hoffman, David Bly, Leah Rudick, David Carl, Julia Shonberg….EVERYONE! You were all incredible, and thank you so much for what you are giving the world in these desperate times!

So Folks, if you are looking for a bit of an escape from reality, I can not recommend Same Boat enough for your viewing pleasure. Get on it Folks!

 

Same Boat is available now VOD wherever you purchase great films.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Space & Time [Film]

 

“As they quickly approach their thirtieth birthdays, academic physicist Siobhan and her photographer boyfriend Sean realize they failed to answer key questions about themselves and their relationship. Their devotion to each other is further tested when Siobhan decides to chase a research opportunity that would move them to Geneva.” – Head On Pictures

 

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Relationships can be very hard. This is not an uncommon thought. And the concept of “space and time”, may seem a bit of an odd thing to focus on right now, but try to remember the days when matters such as relationships were even a matter to be considered. Take a break from the isolation, to remember what it meant to be loved. Space & Time is a beautiful exploration of two people who became so engrossed in being together, that they forgot how to be themselves, and in turn discover that maybe they weren’t meant to be together. It’s a tale as old as time, and is a concept that has not disappeared over the years. As we become a more individual based society across the globe, the process of choosing a soul mate has become seemingly impossible to a whole new generation. It’s a complexity in which we may never know the truth, no matter how hard we search for it. But I believe the overall concept and lesson of Space & Time is to never give up hope. Believing in yourself is of the upmost importance, and can not be understated.

 

 

Toronto based writer/director Shawn Gerrard has created something uniquely brilliant with the oddball not so romantic comedy/drama, Space & Time. It’s unknown, as I am terrible at research, just how biographical he has gotten with this film but it is suffice to say that even if the story is completely made up, there is something deeply personal about the tale of Siobhan and Sean. It’s truly Shakespearean in a way. Two people who seemingly have committed their lives to one another, only to realize that their paths may have only been meant to cross for a brief period of time. Will they one day return to each other’s arms for embrace? Who knows. The film will leave you with a lot of “What if’s” and “Maybe’s” which, if done correctly, can be the sign of a great storyteller. And Folks, I believe that Gerrard may be one of those damn great storytellers.

Performers Victoria Kucher and Steven Yaffee give amazing performances as the film’s central focus. Their chemistry is absolutely on point, but maybe not entirely romantic on all levels. Which actually makes quite a bit of sense for the storytelling. So Bravo to these two! On a personal note, it was quite a pleasure to see one of my first childhood crushes appear in this beautiful film. That would be the OG Pink Ranger herself, Amy Jo Johnson!

So Folks, if you are looking for a beautiful little indie film with a strong message to help you kill a few hours during these trying times, I definitely can not recommend Space & Time enough. Hell, I would recommend it in the pandemic-free world that will hopefully happening in due time. Check it out, Folks!