THOMAS EDWARD SEYMOUR: LAUGH, DAMN IT, LAUGH!

Your comedy Everything Moves Alone received very good reviews prior to opening in a New York theatrical engagement in 2001, but it was not well received by many critics covering that engagement, most notably Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times. How did you feel when your film was suddenly barbecued by the critics after gliding along on good press?
Ah yes, the infamous New York Times review, that was a fun one. In the film 25th Hour one character states: “Fuck the New York Times. I read The Post.” I like that film. Anyway back to the subject at hand. I felt Elvis Mitchell went overboard, laying fault on our film for all of the bad indie films he was made to waste his time on. I’ve gotten bad reviews, but his was nasty. But who am I, right? He’s got to be able to really let the small films have it. You can’t bash every Hollywood flick because after a while no one will trust you or read you. However, who is going to care if you bury an indie flick before it even gets out of the gate? Mainstream critics complain about Hollywood, then burn indie filmmakers at the stake while they’re coming up, while they’re improving, knowing that they can’t afford to pump out films. I’m sure he didn’t think twice about it and I guess it’s not really his job to. If he hated it, then he hated it, but I’m just not crazy about him inferring to the public that my film won’t be in the theater very long because he’s says it won’t be.

But the indie press LOVED our film. In fact as far as the independent press goes we NEVER got a bad review. Hell, even the NY Daily news didn’t hate it; two-and-a-half stars isn’t exactly a pan.

Some of the critics were displeased with a supporting character in Everything Moves Alone called Josh, who was pegged in reviews as an offensive gay stereotype. What was the deal with this character and do you feel the film is better now that his scene was removed from the version in release?
In our film we had a character named Josh and he was a guy stuck in the 1980s; he drove an orange Firebird and used terms like “Bro-man” and “Man-dude” and “Man Bro.” The character wore tight black jeans. A friend of ours was playing the character and he thought it would be funny to add a lisp to the character, and since he was wearing the jeans he rubbed his ass during the performance. We did improv that part. We didn’t think much of it. It was funny. But people took it the wrong way. No one ever said he was a gay character because he wasn’t. The press jumped all over it. What I’m curious about is why some critics saw it as a stereotype. To me, any critic who saw “Josh” as a stereotype and not a weird, colorful character must believe in stereotypes. The two main characters wise-off to a Southern girl in the same scene. Yet no one has a problem with Southern bashing.

I do think overall it was a poor scene, but not for the reasons the critics gave. We cut that part out of the print because the exposures of the film were bad and because it was a weak scene. The film was too long anyway and it is much better without the scene with Josh. But, yes, his character did stick out like a sore thumb and like I said before it’s what you take out that can make the difference in a film, not what you put in. I am now very pleased with my film. The new version has yet to get a bad review, they’ve all been stellar and I’m happy to say we’ve finally found distribution just in time to shoot our next project.

And the next project is?
It’s called the “The Land of College Prophets.” We are boasting that we’ve made the largest “prop” in low budget independent film history. That’s our story, until someone proves us wrong. It’s a fifteen-foot tall wishing well that’s eight feet wide and has a number of moving parts. Me and my dad built it over a year period. The story is about a mysterious wishing well called “The Well That Ate Children.” It comes alive and begins pumping tainted water into the ground, infecting the town people and making them crazy. It’s a bunch of mystical elements, mixed with violence, mixed with comedy, mixed with sci-fi, mixed with drama, mixed with horror with an “independent” heart. It’s a great big untraditional comic book. Not everyone will like it but I’m sure it will have a loyal following and that’s my goal. Hey, I’m not trying to make “Pretty Woman” here.




Posted on March 8, 2004 in Interviews by
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