- Keith Freudenberger
- Brendan Leach
- Soaring Flight Productions
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Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (2012)
Also Known As: The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
Opened: 09/21/2012 Limited
|Village East||09/21/2012 - 09/27/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Recently dumped by his girlfriend, underachiever Alex (O'Nan) embarks on an impromptu road trip with his new bandmate, the eccentric Jim (Michael Weston). By channeling their inner children and giving a new meaning to the term "lo-fi," Alex and Jim find their unique style by bringing the sound of children's instruments to their unsuspecting fans. Playing a series of bizarre shows and experiencing multiple near-disasters, Alex and Jim's persistence takes them on a true coming-of-age journey -- one that may be their last shot at achieving their childhood dreams.
During a tumultuous break-up with his girlfriend, Alex Logan (Ryan O'Nan), a singer-songwriter on the verge of giving up his childhood dream of being a musician, has a bizarre and violent run-in with Jim (Michael Weston), a self-appointed music revolutionary. Through unconventional ways, Jim begrudgingly convinces Alex to make one final attempt to pursue his life goal, so the two set off on a cross-country tour culminating with a Battle of the Bands concert in Los Angeles.
With both their band and their set list formed within 24 hours (Alex playing acoustic guitar while Jim wields an arsenal of children's instruments), The Brooklyn Brothers fall upon a sultry small-town promoter named Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel) at their inaugural gig in rural Pennsylvania. She joins them on the road, and as an attraction emerges between Alex and Cassidy, the three explore how lying, stealing, and relentless passion are useful tricks of the trade on this seemingly impossible journey. But as is often with the hard knocks of life on the road, the band winds up stranded both literally and figuratively -- with no money, no gas, and no hope -- playing music for spare change.
Galvanized by the realization that their music means everything to them, The Brooklyn Brothers attempt to navigate through the dangerous waters of friendship, love, heartbreak, and family, as the waves of responsibility and adulthood swell higher and higher around them -- backed by the beat of a cheap Casio keyboard.
For Christmas of 1993, my best friend got a drum set, I got a guitar, and we instantly did one of the most cliche things known to man... we started a band. For the next seven years, we played every single day, toured the country for over three years in a nearly windowless van, and put out three records. I've always wanted to make a film about music, about how much of a tightrope walk it can be, and how much faith, dumb luck, and bravery is necessary--and how irresistibly fun and dangerous it is.
In writing the script for BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST, I wanted to be inspired by those experiences, but I didn't want the story to be my own. Something about it felt too shapeless, too intertwined with ideals and beliefs that evolved and changed every year. Influences rotated like band-members, but the one constant throughout the process, which sat like a dark cloud waiting to reappear the day after any success, was the lingering question -- "How much longer will I be able to do this? Will I shed this dream like so much surrendering skin?"
I moved to New York and played music, acted, directed, wrote, and fought against the rejection and apathy that swallowed my friends one by one.
In 2004, while living in New Jersey and attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, I came across a two-man band called The Crayon Rosary. The band consisted of one guy playing acoustic guitar and the other guy playing a plethora of children's instruments, all along to a cheap Casio keyboard beat. They were wonderful -- so original with quirky little songs that had hope and sadness coursing through their thin little notes. We ended up becoming good friends, and have remained ever since. Together, the three of us have written all the songs the Brooklyn Brothers play in the film.
For the two main characters, Alex and Jim, I wanted to split the artist in half, into the two parts I recognize in myself and in my dearest friends as well as my greatest heroes. One part of me wants to be brave, but at the same time I have open ears for those brilliant naysayers. I'm tormented by self-doubt, and I watch that ticking clock like a goddam hawk, waiting for the moment to give up. The OTHER part of me is the fearless, relentless lion of faith, who sprints blindly into the dark and refuses to take "no" for an answer, regardless of the consequences. They need each other. They're lost without one another. Kindred spirits. Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and one irreparably bleeds into the other. The balancing act between art, love, friendship and family is not for the weak of heart, but what a lovely ridiculous adventure...
Above all, I wanted this film to be a human story. A story about growing up, and about those last painful moments before we make some very big and possibly irreversible choices. And hopefully, just maybe, a tiny seed of hope that makes people laugh and feel a little less alone with their dreams.
-- Ryan O'Nan, Writer/Director