Friday, March 4, 2011

Worth Mentioning - Little Guys with Big Guns

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody talks about Love and other films, while Jay gives an update on Feast of the Vampires. Watch it now!


As soon as I found out this existed, before I even watched it, I knew I would have to mention this one here.

This novelty film is "a rollickin', rootin', tootin', shootin' drama of the great outdoors" and "has everything that a Western should have" - which, in the '30s, included musical scenes. Westerns even had John Wayne crooning, or pretending to croon, songs back then. What makes this one remarkable is that the cast consists entirely of little people.

Beyond an introductory scene and the opening titles, they don't make a big deal about the stars' heights, even if they do walk under saloon doors and duck under desks. The way the film plays out isn't any different than any other standard Western of the time. It's a straightforward "hero vs. outlaws" story, so simple that characters are credited as "The Hero", "The Girl", "The Villain", etc. It just happens to take place in a world where everyone is below-average height and the cowboys ride Shetland ponies instead of horses.

As you might expect, several cast members were employed the following year as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.


Just released on DVD and Blu-ray, this romantic dramedy was one of my favorite movies of last year.

Also a late-'90s period piece look at the pharmaceutical rep business at the beginning of the Zoloft and Viagra booms, Edward Zwick's film follows the development of a relationship between Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal), an emotionally stunted charmer, and Maggie (Anne Hathaway), an emotionally guarded young woman dealing with early onset Parkinson's. Maggie's disease is something the characters have to deal with throughout, it isn't a twist or a surprise, it's revealed right up front in her first scene. Along with her breast. Jamie and Maggie have a whole lot of sex, and Gyllenhaal and Hathaway spend a lot of this movie in various states of undress. A major selling point.

As I get older, movies get bigger emotional reactions out of me. It's embarrassing to admit, but at the end of this movie, I was so choked up that as I walked out of the theatre I was just hoping that I could make it to my car without tears running down my face. Even worse, it's not a sad ending at all, I was crying at the beauty of some of the characters' closing sentiments. I'm a sucker for a good love story, and a total sap.

I also have to thank this movie for introducing me to the Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg song "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key", which I love and have had stuck in my head for months.


The Evictors, directed by Charles B. Pierce (The Legend of Boggy Creek, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) starts out with a sepia flashback to 1928, when the occupants of a farmhouse have refused to leave the property after being served an eviction notice, instead choosing to take a stand and shoot it out with the police. You can guess how that works out for them.

Fourteen years later, married couple Ben and Ruth, played by Michael Parks and Jessica Harper (in her first non-TV credit since Suspiria), move into the house. Unfortunately for them, somebody doesn't want them around. Ruth gradually learns, through locals telling backstory that plays out in more sepia flashbacks, that the homestead hasn't been peaceful during the years since the shootout, while Ben's work schedule tends to keep her home alone while the threat against them gets closer - a note in the mailbox telling them "I want you to move", a man on the back porch, someone inside the house - and builds to violence.

It's an interesting movie with some good tension, check it out if you're a fan of anyone involved.

Jay's mentions:

BUBBLE (2006)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 73 minutes
Starring: Debbie Doebereiner, Dustin Ashley, Misty Wilkins

First off, if you go into this movie having only read the Netflix plot summary then you may be a little confused. Bubble is described by Netflix as following the antics of townsfolk turned detective who try to unravel a murder mystery, but let me tell you, that's not exactly how this movie is going to play out. If you're looking for a Soderbergh mini-DV version of Chinatown then turn back now!

Bubble is based around two friends and employees at a doll factory in a small Ohio town. Debbie Doebereiner plays middle aged Martha and Dustin Ashley plays 20-something Kyle. They seemingly have a nice working relationship and Martha is always giving Kyle rides. Kyle doesn't have a car, lives at home with his mom, and works two jobs. Martha works at the doll factory and takes care of her aging father. Martha considers Kyle to be her best friend, while Kyle seems to be just going through the day on auto-pilot. Things seem to be fairly normal for them until Rose (Misty Wilkins) starts working at the doll factory and things get flipped upside down.

What I really like about Bubble is mainly in form of a who and not a what, with Debbie Doebereiner turning in a really enjoyable performance. All of the three main characters are pretty good in their respective roles, from Dustin Ashley's shy portrayal of Kyle, to Misty Wilkin's performance as Rose, a seemingly nice girl who instead possesses somewhat of a bad side. The cast is made up mostly of "non-actors", which is a term I'm really growing to dislike. These actors do a good job of creating characters, two of which I can relate to very easily, as they are somewhat common for the area I live in. There is something about the very basic and quirky way the performances play out that adds a little more sincerity and believability to what makes Bubble an enjoyable viewing experience. Some might say that they actually are these people and aren't really acting, but it takes something to be on screen and express yourself in that medium, so I always try to give compliments to anyone who can deliver.

If you are fan of Steven Soderbergh's more low-key and independent films then I recommend that you give this one a look. It may feel slow, but at only 73 minutes, things can pick up in a hurry.

And if you're looking for short movies, then do I have a treat for you! My very own film, Feast of the Vampires, is now available on and Amazon on Demand!

Runtime: 63 Minutes
Directed by Jay Burleson
Starring: Bob Dellaposta, Kevin Wright, Aly Sutton, Jeff S. Anderson and Joseph Ray.

Since this is a positive zone, I won't get into how I feel about the movie, but instead remind you that it won the Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the Southern Shorts Film Festival in 2009 and was called "Entertaining as hell" by the Dollar Bin Horror Blog. You can read that review here.

Feast of the Vampires is the story of an African American vampire (Kevin Wright) and his Native American pal (Jeff S. Anderson) as they live on a Southern plantation in Alabama. I wrote and directed the film back in 2007, reshot it in 2009, and now it's out in the world for all to see. A double disc DVD is available on our website ( for $14.99 while a bare bones DVD is available on for $16. The best value is to simply rent ($1.99) or buy a digital copy ($10) from Amazon on Demand. We make the most (as in basically all) when you buy it from our website, so if you are in the giving mood, head on over there now!

I would recommend Feast of the Vampires to fans of Troma entertainment or to those of you who enjoy a good (as in bad) B-movie. I was really inspired to make FOTV by some fun-loving '80s movies like Fright Night and The Monster Squad, but Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers was a huge source of inspiration as well. The film was made for very little money but with a lot of hard work and I'm proud of everyone who was involved with it. It was a great first step to what will hopefully become something much more for me and many others involved!


This version of the DVD is only available at:

Places to buy:
Amazon On Demand

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