Movies: ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ (2013)

Reviewing my own film you say…..what an asshole! But I’m not actually doing a review….I’m doing a directors statement and a reflection blog on the purpose of this movie, my goals and what this movie ultimately means to me. A low-budget film is never an easy feat to accomplish. I do regret having to post-pone the film for a February 2013 release when I initially planned for a March 2012 release…but that is my only regret. Otherwise, I am extremely proud of this film, of myself for completing it, and for those investors & cast/crew members who worked so hard on the film. It’s a low-brow comedy with high-brow moments, it’s an homage to one of my favorite cheesy films ‘Big Trouble in Little China’, it’s a goofball film with naked girls and whacky characters….exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Pure entertainment for the regular Joe who wants to crack a beer after work, laugh and see some titties. Just look at the lovely Chiva Soriano below.

It was said to me, ‘Hey Joe. Your dad just died. You don’t have to do this movie. You can re-schedule it’. But, no….I had to do it. My father passed away one day before filming was set to begin in October of 2011. I thought he’d at least see me film the movie, if not hang on to see it completed and watch it on the big screen. And if you knew my father, he was BIG on finishing things. He was behind this movie 100% for the 5 years when I worked with various production companies in trying to get the film off the ground. He gave me his blessing, days before he passed, to go finish the movie. I had to do it for him, and for myself….because I’d waited for so long to get this film up and running. Maybe I could have used more pre-production planning, maybe things could have been different…….the timing seemed wrong….but it wasn’t. It was right. I’d waited long enough to make ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ and it HAD to be made. Just look at lead actress Seregon O’Dassey……man is she hot!!!

A run-n-gun style of shooting, all the trappings of an indie film set, dogs pooping in actors beds, the power going out, wild bears showing up on shooting days and a freak snowstorm later…and the film was in the can. We needed a couple of re-shoots, there were problems with special effects, no theater wanted to take the film because of the title….but we did it. There were mistakes, as always. Some scenes are perfect to me and I just want to scream out in joy (or do the Dance of Joy I guess, like Balki Bartokomous)…….. and then some scenes needed better lightning, or better camerawork, or better sound, or better acting, or better stunts. But, a movie is supposed to have mistakes. Especially a low-budget film that is meant to be cheesy and goofy in the first place. The problems, in my opinion, are minor and arbitrary. Most of them were circumstantial issues due to money and time constraints…and we all did our best. Well….. most of us. So who was in the film??……..

I’d met Comedian Mike Marino years ago in Los Angeles and kept in touch with him. I said, ‘Mike…..one day I’m gonna make a film and I want you to be in it’. And I’m very grateful to him for being such a professional and turning out such a great performance. He was really cool all those years I tried to get this film off the ground…..and he was really cool to work with. So kudos to Mike Marino….check out his work.

I obviously can’t thank everyone here…..that’s what the end credits are for. But I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication (ESPECIALLY all the actresses who did nudity and John Archer Lundgren, who is just larger than life). And now………I’ll share one personal story from the film. 2-3 hours before my Dad passed away, I received a phone call from Bronson Pinchot, telling me he thought the script was funny and he wanted to be in the film. For months, myself and Co-Producer Alice Ray were trying our hardest to get a cameo actor for the film (not so much a cameo role in the end though…..because *spoiler alert* he plays two different characters). My father and I talked about this for years before pre-production on this incarnation of ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ even began. So, I ran into my Dad’s room. I said, ‘We did it Dad! We got our cameo actor. Bronson Pinchot. We finally did it!’……and I kissed him on the forehead, squeezed his hand…..and ran out of the room.

Bronson Pinchot was a real professional. He was a lot of fun to work with. He played one of the best characters, in one of my favorite movies, ‘True Romance’ (1993). Having his veteran experience and knowledge on set and him being involved with this film is something I’ll be eternally grateful for. He could call me the worst director in the world and call ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ the stupidest movie…..and it’d be ok with me. He’s Bronson Pinchot! He’s the man! He even made me do a purposely goofy ‘directors vision’ picture with him.

So what was my goal? To make a funny, entertaining movie that would satisfy guys….and hopefully draw in some girls. I never set out to make an oscar winner. It’s ‘Kung Fu and Titties’!!! Come on! It’s a fun, low-budget, goofball comedy, with a bunch of topless girls and some kung fu. If that’s not pure entertainment for guys….then I dunno what is. And what does this film mean to me? Well, it’s not one of my drama scripts that won festivals which my Dad wanted to see funded and produced. But it’s something that my father and I worked on and bonded over. It’s kind of the last part of my Dad that I have. Regardless of what the film does or how the reception is…….it’ll always be a special movie to me. I’m not asking you to feel bad for me or to go see the film out of pity……I’m just telling my story.

Thanks for reading. I hope you check out the movie in theaters during its limited release (opening Tuesday Feb. 12th in Brooklyn at indieScreen) or when it comes to digital and DVD in a few months. And I hope you enjoy it. As always, take care of yourself, your friends and your family. And treat people with respect! Oh yeah…duh….here’s the website for the film.