Sunday Matinee: Always Amazing [Film]


When I was but a young boy growing up in the 90’s, I only had four favorite comedians. And it has only come to my mind in recent years who exactly the main four were. I enjoyed sitcoms and films featuring folks like Sinbad and Tim Allen, but I really didn’t know enough about stand up comedy to know that this is where they came from, thus they are not in my first four. Who were those first four? Well, I will cut the shit and tell you, as I can only imagine if you are reading this at all, you probably know who I am going to dramatically end with, and then throw in a few sentences about other comedians who made me happy as a youth, of which you won’t care, but I will continue to talk about because this is my site and I will do whatever the fuck I want to do. Fight me. I’m sorry. I probably wouldn’t fight. Anyway those comedians were: George Carlin, Andrew Dice Clay, Jeff Foxworthy, and….yeah, you guessed it, The Amazing Johnathan. The first two were simply the products of a 9 year old boy living in the New Mexico desert who was told not to listen to certain CD’s in his Dad’s CD collection, so of course he had to listen to certain CDs in his Dad’s CD collection and would eventually learn about the 7 words you can’t say on TV as well as the idea that Old Mother Hubbard was really just wanting some some serious dog dicking. Foxworthy was a product of my mother being somewhat of a “redneck”, but not really, and his stuff being clean enough to play on road trips with me in the car. And c’mon, I was probably like 10 when he really broke.

The latter though, was more of a product of my own bemusement, and actually came around the early pre-teen years for me. The Amazing Johnathan was an almost spastic psychopath that I feel was put on a loop for so many years on the new founded network that seemed to only come on at my Dad’s house because he had cable in the city known as Comedy Central. Back in the day, when CC still cared about stand up comedy (they’re coming back to it, I know) you could not miss this incredible “magician”. His antics were as animated as they were clever, and I couldn’t get enough of the guy.

Cut to almost two decades later: Carlin remained in my wheelhouse probably because I began to adore the films of Kevin Smith; Dice somehow managed to reach legendary status, a feat that only time will understand; Foxworthy stayed the course and managed to only be the 3rd weakest member of his crew falling short of a dude with a fake name and damn good line of beer bread you seem to only find in the midwest; and The Amazing Johnathan…..I feel like I NEVER heard from him again.

And then one rainy day in 2019, I’m listening to an episode of Doug Loves Movies, and I hear the always wonderful Steve Byrne talking about a documentary he has made about somebody named The Amazing Johnathan, and it’s free on YouTube. So I thought, “Well, I better check this shit out before they decide to charge for it!”. And as soon as I saw that face, that bandana, and that bewilderment, I was immediately sent back in time to a much simpler era of my life. There he was, the one who got away. Now, this is not to say that The Amazing Johnathan wasn’t out there performing and doing amazing (as one would assume, right?) things out there in the world while I was losing and then regaining interest in the world of comedy. No, he was out there killing it in pre-internet, pre-400 streaming services, world of Vegas and beyond and just somehow completely missing my radar. But thanks to the wonderful Steve Byrne and the insane people at All Things Comedy, we have an amazing documentary available for free (so, so, stupid, we’ll get into that) on YouTube entitled Always Amazing. And I’m here to tell you, Folks: it’s absolutely brilliant.



Always Amazing is, first and foremost, an absolutely brilliantly made documentary. It tells the tale of a true to life screw up who used his wild personality to achieve acclaim and fortune by forming an identity that was completely wrapped around the power of being zany. The Amazing Johnathan clearly had an animated soul, and the comedic sensibilities that combined the appeal of Gallagher with the psychosis of Charles Manson. And it worked! For so many damn years, it worked beautifully. What do you do when you realize you may not be the best “magician” in the world? Well, you first realize that you are also an incredibly funny person, and you make the two work together! I believe that is truly what this film is all about at its core. But beyond this fact, this is also the tale of a man who befriends a young boy and they have a healthy relationship as friends over the years. Now, I know that last line seems a bit strange and out of left field, but save it people. There are jokes to be made, and as we learn throughout the film may be right in Johnathan’s proverbial wheelhouse, but what is truly on display here is a pure bond that is so touching and insanely heartfelt. Nothing more.

The film is also the documentation of a man who lived a life, as the kids would say: hard AF. In the 90’s you were never really an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”, as long as you were a performer. If you created art in any kind of way, you were an artist, not a drunk. We didn’t seem to combine the two. Tupac Shakur was a straight up pothead and alcoholic, and died at 25 years old. But, he was idolized because of the art he created. Hunter S. Thompson was an absolute madman and was lucky that he was such a wildly bad shot with a pistol that he never killed anyone before killing himself. But, the ART! This is what signified The Amazing Johnathan as a true talent. He was always fucked up. But, guess what? 14 year old Ronnie Trembath didn’t know that watching his Comedy Central specials. I didn’t know the pain behind the eyes. How would I have guessed that 20 years later I would be watching a film about this man on this new “internet” thing and realizing, “oh, he was just fucked up all the time!”. But alas, here we are. And thanks to the likes of folks like Steve Byrne, we are now learning what exactly are the consequences of a life lived so hard and based around the means of enthralling audiences.

I am completely aware that we are in a weird renaissance for comedy. Over the last 5 years or so, I have returned to loving the format, and actually got my ass out to some shows lately. Documentaries about road dog comics and television personalities are becoming rampant as the bubble continues to blow up. The infiltration of comedians into podcasting and YouTube has really made this whole set up flourish. Think about it: podcasts are simply talk radio. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO TALK RADIO! It’s truly fascinating. So with that thought in mind, I am truly not that surprised to see that The Amazing Johnathan is having his moment back in the sun, all in his time of dying.


So, Folks, please see the below link to check out Always Amazing. And if you can find some way to give money to Steve Byrne, All Things Comedy, the film’s crew, whoever it is, please consider doing so as, again, this incredibly well made documentary about an incredible human being is FREE! Enjoy!



Saturday Special: Clinton Road [Film]


“In the film, scripted by Derek Ross Mackay, a widowed fire fighter seeks closure after his wife goes missing on an actual haunted road in rural New Jersey but must unlock the roads secret if he wants to get out alive.” – October Coast PR


Let me kick things off by saying this: New Jersey is scary as fuck. I’ve never actually been there, but from what I have heard over the years, possibly just from people who live in Philly, there is a lot of weird shit happening in the Garden State. Growing up as a huge Kevin Smith and Zach Braff fan, I think I assumed it was all just fun, slacker-oriented horseplay happening up there. And now, I see Clinton Road? What the hell is happening?

More on the subject at hand, Clinton Road is an absolute masterpiece in horror cinema. This film has an emotional depth that is comparable to any mainstream horror sensation you are likely to know by name. This film truly has it all. Whether it’s jump scares from creepy ass kids, to oral sex GIVEN to a female at an inopportune time, all of the elements are covered. There is even a great deal of mysticism, and a brilliant amount of Ice-T telling a dumbass group of white kids to not go fucking around in the woods, all the while knowing that they are going to do just that.



Renowned actor Richard Grieco has dabbled in the off-camera world for many years, mostly has a producer, including the wonderful film The Green Fairy directed by our old friend Dan Frank, as well as another old friend of our’s, Rolfe Kanefsky, Art of the Dead, which also features another dear friend, the great Sarah French. Alright, that’s enough name-dropping for now. But, Grieco has now taken it a step further in the world of horror in which he has already immersed himself within ever so nicely, to sitting in the director’s chair. And I will be damned if Clinton Road isn’t a prime example of a legendary figure who truly GETS the horror genre. He does a bang up job with this film that I know you all are bound to enjoy.

And thanks to a wonderful script, an incredible young cast, and some non-Ice-T cameos from the likes of Vincent Pastore, Fredro Starr of Onyx fame, and Eric Roberts, who is absolutely hilarious by the way, Grieco had a wonderful gathering of great things to work alongside with bonafide writer/director (and Leonardo DiCaprio’s former bodyguard, according to IMDb) Steve Stanulis. Seriously Folks, Clinton Road is not be missed! Check it out as soon as you can, if not sooner!


Clinton Road is in select theaters now and will be available on DVD and VOD soon!



Sunday Matinee: Barbie’s Kenny [Film]


Hello Folks! It’s Father’s Day all around the world, so we here at Trainwreck’d Society felt it was only appropriate to have our Sunday Matinee be based around a film that revolves around…a Mother! Aren’t we just so clever? You pay for the whole seat around here, but you’re only going to need the edge, as our old friend & comedian Sean Jordan used to say. In all honesty, the timing has nothing to do with why we are covering Barbie’s Kenny here on Father’s Day. I honestly forgot that that this Sunday would be any sort of mild landmark, it was honestly just my genuine excitement and time availability that made me decide today would be the day to showcase this absolutely incredible film. And when I say incredible, I feel as though that is lacking justice. Let me be absolutely clear here, Folks: Barbie’s Kenny is the best film of 2019. I know we have a lot of proverbial road to cover this year (literally half of it), and we haven’t even hit the awards season, but I seriously can not see any project topping this absolute gem of a film.

Last February, you should definitely remember an interview we did with the brilliant Everything Sucks! actor Zachary Ray Sherman. In that interview, we talked about a little film that he had worked on as his directorial debut, in which we were completely uninformed about, and relied heavily on the internet for research. Obviously always a good call, right? Either way, I was very intrigued by the film, and was hoping to check it out some day. And lo and behold, just in the last week, Zachary himself thus provides! I was expecting to throw this film in the queue and get to it eventually. But then I found myself with 20 free minutes, and I was absolutely hooked. The level of intrigue I had right from the beginning of this film  surprised even myself. But before I get to heavy into my own thoughts on this brilliant film, let’s go back to what Zachary had to say about the film last February:

This project came out of me wanting to quit thinking about directing and making a movie and actually do it. So I self financed it (savings, loans and credit) and shot it very quickly as people were working for free or next to nothing. I was elevated by my talented peers who came on and donated their time, skill and energy to the project. My director of photography (Martim Vian) is brilliant and he was an amazing catch. I didn’t think he’d be available to do it, but he read the script and he liked it and generously came on board. It was a lot of work, but I thrive on the prep, the planning, deciding what’s going to be the best for the making of the movie. I wrote, produced and directed and we shot it in ten days. The story is loosely based off of my girlfriend and her dad. A couple years ago he came to live with us and I got to know him. I dramatized the seed of the inspiration (you can equate it to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in that he took this story that took place over months, in some times years in previous versions and he ratcheted up the tension by placing the drama within days) and came up with the script by taking a microbudget online film course led by a great guy Shawn Whitney. The script came together really quickly and after shooting Everything Sucks! I began planning how to go and make my first feature and was shooting a few months later.

– Zachary Ray Sherman, February 2019



So Folks, as I stated earlier, I absolutely loved Barbie’s Kenny. Not only is it the best film of 2019, it is one of the best indie releases I have seen in quite a great while. It is films like that this that truly got me into loving cinema. And it is so inspiring to know that there are still films like this out there getting made, as well as knowing that folks like Zachary Ray Sherman are still out there to give a damn about making a classic heartfelt and inspiring film.

And what a cast! Seriously, the relationship between the two titular characters, portrayed brilliantly by Tara Bast and Shawn Hawkins, builds so brilliantly. This is of course thanks in part to a beautifully written story, but is definitely guided to perfection by these two incredible performers. And the compassion in the eyes of Bianca Lemeire, who portrays Emily, the woman who may just change Kenny’s life and help him through his turmoil, was absolutely mesmerizing.



While I can not say that I appreciated this film for any direct relation to my own life, I will say that I completely understand this film. I, and alot of other, know the character of Barb. Some people seem as though they were sent to this earth only to wonder aimlessly, maybe bringing another, better, life into the world, and leaving far earlier than most. It is a familiar concept, yet I can not say that I have ever seen a story like this displayed with so much accuracy and brilliance in the last couple of decades. The guerrilla style filmmaking, and obvious gift in storytelling, Sherman has created absolute magic with Barbie’s Kenny, and if you find yourself in the festival circuit throughout the rest of 2019, I implore you all to check it out ASAP.


Check out this trailer below courtesy of Zachary Ray Sherman used for the 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival:


Saturday Special: Terror in the Skies [Film]


“Journey to the heartland of the Midwest in this new documentary which offers an in-depth look at an ongoing phenomenon.  Director Seth Breedlove contacted numerous witnesses and investigators who claim to have seen massive beings in the sky as recently as last year. One of the most recent, and popular stories in recent years has been an ongoing wave of sightings of a red-eyed, shapeless creature dubbed “the Chicago Mothman”.” – Justin Cook PR



Well, wasn’t this a documentary that can only be described in the most elegant way by stating it was “fun as hell”. Usually whenever I dig into a documentary, I usually have at least the slightest idea as to what the concept may be about. That is typically what draws me to docs to begin with. I mean, I knew a bit a bout the idea of a “mothman”, but not necessarily about the Chicago Mothman legend. And I certainly wasn’t aware of the terror that has been occurring every now and again in the state of Illinois. Hell, my father lives there! I’ve gone there several times, and never knew that I need to be on the lookout for some giant ass birds that are looking to carry me away and devour me, if not whole into a couple dozen pieces! But thanks to this brilliantly made documentary Terror in the Skies, I will probably never be able to visit my father again. Needless to say, Folks. I am a believer! In fact, the supernatural effect of these giant birds seems so entirely reasonable. I mean, a kid was literally picked up from the ground and flown to an alternate location rather than where he was once standing. Is that not reason enough? Something is out there Folks, and we need to be prepared.



Beyond whatever speculative content you may watch in Terror in the Skies, you can not deny that director Seth Breedlove has created an absolutely brilliant documentary. SRV Films and Santino Vitale handled VFX and the film contains original illustrations by Matt Harris and Brian Serway, and it is all absolutely incredible! Again, no matter what you choose to believe in regards to the subject matter within the film, you are going to be thoroughly entertained and impressed by the brilliance that went into making this delightful documentary that is just so damn much fun. Enjoy!


Small Town Monsters films released the film on Amazon Instant Video, Vimeo OnDemand, DVD and VIDI Space on June 7th.  


Sunday Matinee: Free Trip To Egypt [Film]


“Seeking to build a bridge of mutual understanding and friendship, Tarek Mounib — a Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur of Muslim faith — travels across the U.S. to find Americans concerned about an Islamic threat and makes them an intriguing offer . . . a Free Trip to Egypt.

With initial reactions ranging from suspicion to hostility, Mounib treks from sunny California to a Trump Rally in Kentucky, a small town in the heart of Georgia, Union Square in NYC . . . and a variety of locales in between. Eventually he cobbles together a diverse group of people, including a school teacher, police officer, Marine Corps veteran, single mom, preacher and beauty pageant queen. All have preconceptions and misgivings but are open and courageous enough to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in Cairo, Egypt, where the Americans are paired with locals just as diverse as them . . . and possibly with just as many misconceptions. What happens when a retired teacher and her husband are united with a young Egyptian revolutionary? Or when a Christian missionary and a born-again, former Miss Kentucky are housed with an orthodox Muslim family where the mother wears a burqa? Or when a police officer faces off with a radical, left-leaning journalist?” – Greenleaf & Associates




Folks, if you’re looking for an absolute guarantee for some heart-string pulling, you’ve come to the right place. Free Trip To Egypt is exactly the sort of awe-inspiring documentary that is going to take you on absolute whirlwind of emotion. Tarek Mounib & filmmaker Ingrid Serban have managed to create absolute magic in documenting a group of complete strangers wondering around in a strange land, learning more about the world, and as corny as it may sound….learning about themselves in the process. Sure this is a cheese-filled statement but, honestly, fuck it. It’s true. And with all the turmoil and anger that is circulating the globe these days, I feel like we need some delightful cheese at this point. We need to see American people of different backgrounds getting to understand themselves, one another, and to break down the walls of hatred (both proverbial and physical) that is being built for people simply because they don’t live the same lives as them. And Egypt is an absolutely perfect place to start this type of conversation, as this incredibly well done documentary will allow you to see.


And don’t get me wrong, it’s not all cheese and corny giggles occurring throughout the film. There are very real, touching, and deeply somber moments that are very important to the development of this very well crafted documentary. There are certain individuals that made up the group that accepted their free trip to the motherland that rubbed me the wrong way, but I feel that even as a viewer of a film like Free Trip To Egypt, you have to be patient and accepting of things you don’t understand. Except for when people are just acting like complete fools in a distant land, then I believe they can be free game, and was grateful to see them called on their bullshit. But, I digress from the point here.



Free Trip To Egypt is the type of film that needs to be shown not only in theatres across the globe, but in an educational setting as well. So many people around the world, but especially in the United States, could benefit from the message that Mounib and his crew have brought to the world. I hope you all take a moment check out this incredible film as soon as you can. Run, don’t walk, to see this incredible documentary.

And because I truly do not want to screw up what could be a magical event, I am going to defer back to the good people at Greenleaf & Associates to tell you about how you can check out the film, very soon:

Free Trip to Egypt will enjoy a one-night event premiere June 12 in 450+ theaters across the country (Fathom); and is also available for viewing in theaters on Cinema on Demand via Tugg.

The Wed., June 12th premiere event, live at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT and tape-delayed 7 p.m. MT, PT, HI, AK, is the highlight of a #PledgeToListen Day of Unity. Immediately following the screenings, a 30-minute panel discussion led by celebrities and thought leaders will be streamed into theaters to launch a discussion about how to listen and bring more kindness to the world — and asking everyone to take the online #PledgeToListen and to look beyond that which divides us and to bring authentic conversations to their community.


Saturday Special: Zilla and Zoe [Film]


“In the story, Zoe is determined to make a horror film. She sets her sights on an upcoming horror film contest and enlists her family, to help her with the project. As her film becomes more and more bloody, her father Oscar (Conroyd), becomes concerned and shuts down production. Now, Zoe is tasked with shooting her sister’s wedding. But, she still has plans to complete her horror film and this wedding might be the bloodiest set ever!” – Allen Film Publicity




Jessica Scalise’s very funny, but also very touching, film Zilla and Zoe is at its core, a delightful treat of a film. It touches on several different elements of the human personality in a sort of serious manner, yet manages to keep the whole idea of the story very light-hearted, and dare I say just a whole lotta fun. The story is solid and follows a group of truly unique characters. One of those characters I should add, is not actually a person. It’s a particular city that is whimsical in its own right. Of course I am talking about our beloved city of roses, Portland Oregon. Regular readers know that we tout this city with great pride and admiration for what it is at its core. Unfortunately, one thing that it is at its core, and so many PDX natives refuse to admit, is that the city can be completely ripe for mockery. And Zilla and Zoe is not afraid to poke a little fun at its fare city. Scenes fit themselves into the storyline as though they were taken directly from Portlandia. The character Oscar (brilliantly portrayed by Kurt Conroyd) even passes along the old saying of “Unemployment in Portland is more like an art form”. I haven’t lived near my old stomping grounds in quite a while, so I’m not sure how much gentrification has changed much. But, I can tell you that this statement used to be very accurate. The use of Portland, while not entirely important, definitely adds a bit more hilarity that fits in beautiful with the story.



When it comes to the cast of Zilla and Zoe, the two titular characters were wonderful, although weirdly not as much of a “team” as the title may suggest. But youngster Aida Valentine gives an amazing performance as the horror movie obsessed Zoe, and Sam Kamerman is a damn saint on the screener who should be in the running for the crown jewel of the PDX film community. But, as wonderful as they both were, I have to say that Kurt Conroyd absolutely stole the show. His performance was phenomenal, and brought the perfect amount of life to what I would consider to be Scalise’s best written character in the film as the uncle who’s just sort of passing through the entire situation at hand, yet sort of feels like he might be on the edge of a nervous breakdown. A performance like Conroyd’s is something that makes me so happy that Al Gore invented the internet, so I can write this and tell you all about how wonderful he was in this brilliant film.


So, if you are looking for a good bit of fun in a film, I cannot recommend Zilla and Zoe enough. You’re going to laugh, you’re going to smile. You’re going to see a 10 year old girl mutilate dolls in the first two minutes. Honestly, what more could you ask for? Enjoy!


Zilla and Zoe will is currently available in select theaters, and will be released in VOD soon.


<p><a href=”″>Zilla and Zoe Trailer</a> from <a href=””>Indican Pictures</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Sunday Matinee: Becker [TV Classics]



A couple (few?) months ago, one of my favorite comedians, Chris Cubas, tweeted something along the lines of (I’m paraphrasing here, because I am too lazy to go back and screenshot the actual tweet):


“Post Malone is what I refer to Ted Danson’s work on the television show Becker.”


And dammit if I didn’t laugh my ass off at the though of this. Not just because of it’s social relevance today, but because any time that I have a chance to see and or talk about this incredibly underrated sitcom, I instantly become excited.


Folks, if you are a regular reader here at Trainwreck’d Society, the idea that we would have the series Becker featured so prominently on our Sunday Matinee series, as well as throughout the upcoming week, might not seem so strange. In fact, all six of you may rejoice a bit. But, for those of you who may just be tuning into our digital pages, please let me explain. So here’s the thing: In short, I absolutely adored the television series Becker, which ran from 1998 to 2004. I did an incredible amount of growing up during this period. The growing up wasn’t directly related to my watching Becker almost religiously, but it definitely played a part. No, the real growth came due to the fact that the show started when I was 13 years old, and ended its run far too quickly when I was 19 years old. Now, for those of you who were familiar with the show while it was on, I can honestly understand that you may seem a bit confused as to why a 13 year old would become attracted to such a program. And for those of you who don’t understand why it might be a bit odd, here is a short description of Becker from the ever so informative and accurate site that is


“Becker is an American sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2004 on CBS. Set in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the show starred Ted Danson as John Becker, a cantankerous doctor who operates a small practice and is constantly annoyed by his patients, co-workers, and friends, and practically everything and everybody else in his world. Despite everything, his patients and friends are loyal because Becker genuinely cares about them. The series was produced by Paramount Network Television.

The show revolved around Becker and the things that annoyed him, although the members of the supporting cast also had their moments. The relationships between Becker and Reggie (later, Chris) formed the key plots of many episodes. The show tackled more serious issues as well, such as race, homosexuality, transvestism, addiction, nymphomania, schizophrenia, cerebral AVM, and political correctness.”



Now, that description doesn’t exactly scream “young adult” or “teen friendly” in any kind of way. But for us weirdos out there in the world, it was a PERFECT show that was had a great run yet was still taken away from us far to quickly.

Over the years here at Trainwreck’d Society, we have spoken with several folks who worked on this damn fine program. Including Hattie Winston, who by our count was one of the first people to share words with us, way back in 2012, when we were just learning how to do this thing (we still are). And since then we have featured the likes of writer Maisha Closson who worked on the program, as well as actor Damon Standifer who had a recurring role in the series. Even when it comes to folks who may have only appeared in one episode of the program, such as pen15’s Taylor Nichols and Getting Grace writer and director Daniel Roebuck, I always feel compelled to ask them how they enjoyed working on this program. And they ALL had only nice things to say about both the show’s star Ted Danson, as well as the crew that made up the core of the series. And I simply cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to know that Ted is a genuinely good guy, and that the general nicety of the program’s production was what exuded onto the screen and brought so much joy into my life.

So Folks, here is what we shall do! All this week, we are going to be almost 100% Becker! We have four wonderful interviews to share with you all. Four brilliant writers, directors, producers, that helped bring this amazing program to the world….right down to the show’s creator himself, Mr. Dave Hackel!



I am not blowing smoke up your proverbial asses when I say that a week like this was something I had been hoping to be able to do since I started this little project almost 8 years ago, on a whim, in a shitty hotel room outside of Biloxi, Mississippi. Now, here I am on a rare sunny day in the East Anglia region of the UK writing to you all about a show that I loved so much, trying to share my respect for the program 15 years after it went off the air. This is sort of a dream, Folks. And I thank you for coming to hang out within it.

So again, we have 4 days of interviews with some of the fine folks who were behind the making what I consider to be the greatest sitcom ever produced. And we will even have a special “New Music Tuesday” feature that is also relevant as well. All of you hardcore Becker fans out there probably already know where I might be going with that one.


To kick things off here, check out this incredible 10 minute collection of some of Ted Danson’s best moments as Becker, according to YouTube user illshelteru. Enjoy!