IT’S A DISASTER: BRUNCH AND THE END OF THE WORLD
The 2012 LA Film Fest may be over, but our guest bloggers aren’t done talking about all the movies they’ve seen! This post is from guest blogger Pamela Ezell, who brings her own smart vibe and insight into the witty new comedy, It’s a Disaster:
Filmgoers looking for an intelligent film where the dialogue crackles, the characters seem like people you know, the jokes are funny and—even better—the plot is not only present, it’s engaging, will be delighted with It’s a Disaster, the new comedy from writer/director/actor Todd Berger. The movie stars Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrara and an ensemble that includes Berger collaborators Kevin Brennan, Jeff Grace and Blaise Miller.
It’s a Disaster serves up the smart friends vibe with the spice of a French bedroom farce: four L.A. couples meet for their weekly brunch, where their longstanding rivalries and a few juicy secrets surface.
This might be enough for some filmmakers satisfied to bring together a talented cast and let them improvise to an outline—and, according to Berger in a post-screening Q&A, a lot of improvising occurred; he wanted the film to feel like a real conversation where “people talk over each other.” But as Brennan said, “Some of my best scenes were fully written.”
Berger takes this film beyond funny conversation: brunch is interrupted, possibly forever, by reports that a dirty bomb has exploded Downtown. Is it the North Koreans? Iran? Or aliens? No one knows, but what is certain are the characters’ absurd and witty responses to the end of their world.
Berger’s entire movie takes place in one house. He said he was inspired in part by the movie Clue (1985), one of his top five favorite films. All the rooms in the film are in fact in one West Adams’ house—the house where Marvin Gaye, Sr. shot Marvin Gaye, Jr.—except for the garage, which is attached to the house across the street that Berger and producers rented for the cast and crew in lieu of trailers.
The movie was shot in 14 days using, most of the time, two cameras. This resulted in a lot of footage for editor Franklin Peterson. For example, a scene of the end of the film was “six hours of footage for 10 minutes.”
Another interesting aspect of the film is its use of classical, sourced music in lieu of a score. “I didn’t want a score,” said Berger. “All the songs are really inappropriate, ominous and weird.”
Whatever else it is, Berger’s comedy is laugh-out-loud funny. In his hands, cataclysmic disaster is just so amusing.
—by Pamela Ezell for Film Independent
Check out highlights from the It’s a Disaster premiere:
June 27th, 2012 • 1 Comment