Yet Douchebag is not mumblecore. Not in my view anyway. One of the things that best describes an m-core movie is that its participants so often seem adrift, barely knowing what they want, or need, or are even doing a good deal of the time. That's not the case here. The characters created by Doremus, with help from his actor/co-writer Andrew Dickler and actor/co-producer Ben York Jones (shown below, with Mr. Jones at left) are, if anything, a little too sure of themselves. There's no drifting here.
Nicole Vicius in a skating rink is simply magical -- and then suddenly, quite sensible) Dickler and Jones make a fine set of sparring brothers, while the always-engaging Marguerite Moreau (shown above, right, who was so compelling in the recent Easier With Practice) -- direct and utterly real -- helps ground this short, 72-minute movie. Good music is provided by, among others, the Goddamn Electric Bill, and there's also some nifty artwork (the Jones character is an artist) from Christopher Baier.
Douchebag, from Paladin, open today, October 1, in New York City at the Village East Cinemas, in Los Angeles on October 8 at the NuArt Theater, and elsewhere around the country in the weeks to come. Click here for a listing of cities and theaters.
At the chance to speak with this filmmaker, shown at left, TrustMovies jumped but, due to a time mix-up, it was not to be. Instead we emailed back and forth and came up with the following. (Normally I would retype Mr. Doremus' answers -- which came back to me in CAPITAL LETTERS -- into upper and lower case, but today's time constraints prevent this. (Plus, TrustMovies is such a lousy typist that he would make many mistakes, only some of which, if history be a guide, would he then catch and correct.) So, in the below interview, TM remains in upper and lower case, while Drake Doremus appears in ALL CAPS:
So, Drake --how old are you? Seeing this movie, by the way, really makes me want to see your earlier Spooner, so I will stick that one in my Netflix queue – if NF has it.)
THANKS MAN, SPOONER SHOULD BE OUT SOMETIME IN JANUARY, I BELIEVE. I AM 27 YEARS OLD. WE JUST SHOT A NEW MOVIE, TOO, THIS YEAR CALLED ''LIKE CRAZY'' STARRING FELICITY JONES, JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND ANTON YELCHIN. SHOULD BE DONE FOR NEXT YEAR AT SOME POINT. AS LONG AS THE IDEAS ARE THERE, A MOVIE A YEAR IS THE GOAL.
A Super Crispy Entertainment Production: Great name. Sort of describes the feeling your film has. Where did that name come from?
HAHAHA. THAT'S THE WONDERFUL NAME OF MY PRODUCER JONATHAN SCHWARTZ'S COMPANY. I BELIEVE IT JUST POPPED INTO HIS HEAD ONE DAY AND HE WENT WITH IT. HE'S AN AMAZING PRODUCER. HE PRODUCED ALL THREE OF MY FILMS AND WITHOUT HIM NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. HE'S A HERO IN MANY WAYS.
THANKS MAN I APPRECIATE IT. ENERGIZED IS A GREAT WORD AND THAT'S COOL THAT YOU FELT THAT WAY. SURE. I NEVER REALLY SAW THE FILM AS MUMBLECORE BUT I UNDERSTAND THE COMPARISONS. I APPRECIATE THE GENRE FOR WHAT IT IS BUT I FEEL LIKE DOUCHEBAG IS A MORE FANTASTICAL JOURNEY THAN MOST FILMS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT GENRE.
There is such immediacy to the proceedings! The energy level is really high—without being off the charts. Is this something you wanted going in, or did the actors provide it on their own?
I HATE IT IN MOVIES WHERE IT TAKES TOO LONG FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN OR MOMENTUM TO BUILD. I THINK IF YOU'RE NOT HOOKED IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES TO GO ON A JOURNEY WITH THE CHARACTERS YOU NEVER WILL BE, SO YES THAT WAS ALWAYS THE INTENTION IN THE RHYTHM OF THE FILM. I WANT ALL OF MY MOVIES TO BE SHORT AND I LOVE IT WHEN WE GET GOING QUICKER THAN LATER. THE WONDERFUL BEN YORK JONES AND ANDREW DICKLER BROUGHT THAT ENERGY EVERYDAY, TOO.
How much of the dialog was improvised, how much written?
One caveat that I have: Not immediately bringing up the possibility of Mary’s being married-with-kids (or something) seems a little too dense. I know you needed to get the guys out of there, plot-wise, but I wish you could have found a way around the viewer’s objection to this kind of non-believability == because so much of your movie really is believable.
I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT. FOR ME THOSE TWO GUYS ARE PRETTY DENSE IN SOME SOCIAL WAYS FOR SURE AND I THINK THE FACT THAT NEITHER OF THEM BRINGS IT UP OR MANY OTHER LOGICAL THINGS DURING THIER JOURNEY JUST ADDS TO THE FANTASTICAL ELEMENT I SPOKE OF BEFORE.
How’d you get Marguerite Moreau? She’s so good: Direct, simple, direct, real and involved! She grounds the movie.
YES, I LOVE MARGUERITE AND MAN, DOES SHE ALWAYS BRING IT EVERYDAY THAT SHE'S ON SET! I HAD MET HER ON ANOTHER MOVIE AND IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT OF HER TO PLAY STEPH WHEN WE STARTED CASTING. THAT'S FUNNY YOU USE THE WORD GROUNDED BECAUSE THAT WAS ALWAYS THE INTENTION WITH HER AND I USED THAT WORD A LOT WITH HER. SAM AND TOM CAN BE VERY SILLY AND OUTLANDISH AT TIMES SO I FELT IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE HER AS THE VOICE OF REASON THROUGHOUT THE FILM. I ALSO GREW UP WATCHING THE MIGHTY DUCKS AND GREW UP A BIG DUCKS FAN IN ORANGE COUNTY SO I GUESS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND I ALWAYS LOVED HER AND IT WAS VERY VERY COOL TO GET TO WORK WITH HER.
YEAH, NICOLE I ALSO MET ON ANOTHER FILM AND I FELL IN LOVE WITH HER AS AN ACTRESS THE MOMENT I SAW HER IN HALF NELSON. SHE'S NEVER HIDING ANYTHING ON SCREEN. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET WITH HER AND THAT SECTION IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES FOR SURE.
Christopher Baier did the art for the end credits? Really good. How did this come about?
CHRIS IS ONE OF BEN YORK JONES' BEST FRIENDS AND ONCE WE KNEW TOM WAS GOING TO BE A PAINTER HIS NAME CAME TO MIND VERY QUICKLY. HE IS AN INCREDIBLE ARTIST AND LIVENS UP THE MOVIE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT. YOU CAN CHECK OUT MORE OF HIS WORK HERE.
Great music, too. Goddammed Electric Bill -- never heard of ‘em -- but good! Friends of yours?
YES, BEST FRIENDS, ACTUALLY. I ALWAYS KNEW I WANTED JASON TORBERT AND CASEY IMMOOR'S MUSIC IN THE FILM. I HAD NEVER REALLY SEEN A FILM IN THIS VEIN WITH THIS TYPE OF ELECTRONIC SCORE BEFORE, SO I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT MUSICALLY HERE THAT STILL HIT EMOTIONALLY THE WAY IT NEEDED TO IN THE FILM. YOU CAN FIND MOST OF THE MUSIC IN THE FILM ON ITUNES AND HERE OR HERE.
DON'T TEMPT ME; I COULD TALK FOR HOURS.
WELL, JUST THAT THE FILM OPENS IN NEW YORK THIS FRIDAY OCTOBER 1ST AND IN LOS ANGELES ON FRIDAY OCTOBER 8TH, AND THEN IN ABOUT 10 SELECTED CITIES AFTER THAT. BEN, ANDREW AND I WILL BE DOING Q AND A'S MOST OPENING NIGHT WEEKENDS AND WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOUR READERS COME OUT AND HOPEFULLY ENJOY THE FILM AND HANG OUT AFTERWARDS AND TALK FILM. SO PLEASE, COME ON OUT AND HAVE A BLAST WITH US. SEE YOU GUYS AT THE THEATER. CHEERS! --DRAKE