The 2009 Independent Film,


 

This was the official website for the 2009 independent film, "Splinterheads", depicting an awkward romance between two young misfits set in the backdrop of a traveling carnival.
Content is from the site's 2009 archived pages as well as other outside sources.

Rating:  R
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Brant Sersen
Written By: Brant Sersen
In Theaters: Nov 6, 2009  wide
On Disc/Streaming: Feb 23, 2010
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio:  Paladin

 



Splinterheads (2009) trailer

 

Justin (Thomas Middleditch), a twentysomething slacker has a hard time getting out of bed before noon and works part-time mowing lawns with his buddy Wayne who is only slightly more ambitious(Jason Rogel). Justin's family is constantly talking about him making something of himself. Jason doesn't pay much attention until one evening he and Wayne check out a traveling carnival. Justin meets Galaxy (Rachael Taylor), a beautiful and spunky girl who works at a dunk-tank concession. Although she takes his money in a fixed game, Jason is so taken with her he doesn't care. The next day Justin unexpectedly crosses paths with Galaxy, and before long he's spending most of his time with her and her fellow carnies. Is Justin just another stop on the road for Galaxy or has Justin finally found his destiny with Galaxy? Most critics didn't care. Audiences were more forgiving.

 

REVIEWS

 

Splinterheads -- Film Review

11/6/2009 by Frank Scheck , AP / www.hollywoodreporter.com

Depicting an awkward romance between two young misfits set in the backdrop of a traveling carnival, "Splinterheads" mainly comes across as a low-rent version of "Adventureland." Although Brant Sersen's comedy has amusing moments, they come too far between to elevate the film above the standard indie level of quirkiness for its own sake.


 

The romance is between Justin (Thomas Middleditch), a twentysomething slacker who lives at home with his mother (played by Lea Thompson, and doesn't that make you feel old?), and Galaxy, a comely tattooed con artist whom he meets when she scams him at a convenience-store gas station.

It's certainly not hard to see what Justin sees in the gorgeous and sexy Galaxy, whom he later encounters at the carnival, where she works as a game-booth operator, or "splinterhead." Her attraction to him is rather less plausible, though he's clearly sweeter than her near-psychotic boyfriend, Reggie (Dean Winters), who, needless to say, is less than thrilled by the presence of the interloper.

Among Galaxy's more unique attributes is her passion for something called "geocatching," a sort of GPS-led form of scavenger hunting that is never clearly explained.

Among the numerous eccentric characters are Justin's 116-year-old grandfather, who always has condoms on hand in case the need arises; his pot-smoking best friend (Jason Rogel); his mother's ex-boyfriend/cop (Christopher McDonald) who still pines for her; and the carnival's resident magician, "The Amazing Steve" (Jason Mantzoukas), and his assistant, Wyoming (Lennon Parkham), with the latter two characters providing the few laughs to be had.

Newcomer Riddleditch fails to display the charisma necessary to make us care about his generally unappealing character, and though the supporting players, who also include the terrific Frankie Faison as a carnival worker who woos Justin's aunt, provide fun moments, they're not enough to compensate for the lack of wit in the listless proceedings. Other than possibly adding exotic new terms ("splinterheads," "geocatching") to the lexicon, the film has little to recommend it.

 

 

 

Splinterheads

A lovestruck townie tries to steal a girl away from a traveling fair.
By Peter Debruge November 5, 2009 / variety.com/
Splinterheads work the midway, tasked with parting suckers from their cash when a carnival comes to town. In the movie “Splinterheads,” however, it’s the other way around, with a lovestruck townie trying to steal the girl from a traveling fair. Writer-director Brant Sersen’s amiable indie comedy — even less edgy than Greg Mottola’s theme-park-set “Adventureland” — attempts to compensate for its too-familiar romantic setup by defining its characters through idiosyncratic hobbies and traits. A non-starter on the fest circuit, “Splinterheads” will likely be overlooked in limited release as well.

As played by newcomer Thomas Middleditch, who’s performed with the Improvised Shakespeare Company and several other noteworthy comedy troupes, Justin Frost belongs to the same category of listless, middle-class, white-guy characters as Napoleon Dynamite. He lives at home with his single mom (Lea Thompson), practices amateur karate in his spare time and drives an old Toyota he insists on calling his “sports car” — qualities that don’t go particularly far with an edgy girl like Galaxy (Rachael Taylor, “Transformers”).

Nevertheless, Galaxy feigns interest when they first meet, showing just enough cleavage to con Justin out of 60 bucks in a gas station scam. When Justin sees her again, she’s working the dunking booth at the fair, a two-bit operation just exciting enough to lure Justin and his randy best friend, Wayne Chung (Jason Rogel), after a lame day mowing lawns.

For a character in his mid-20s, Justin behaves more like a junior high teen: He’s a bit of a spazz, and lacking in ambition, interests and backbone. He’s easily intimidated by Galaxy’s carny boyfriend (Dean Winters), as well as the town police officer (Christopher McDonald) who used to date his mom. By the third time he and Galaxy cross paths, during a geocaching hunt for hidden treasure, he is thoroughly smitten, yet virtually incapable of loosening up.

While Justin seems to be coming to terms with his inner dork, Middleditch has clearly embraced his own. The actor looks like a young Daniel Stern, with his sleepy eyes and sideways smirk, and it’s not hard to imagine Galaxy would find his awkwardness endearing. At the very least, he seems more sensitive than her cartoonish bully of a boyfriend.

Still, their time together feels mostly pro forma. Sersen (“Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story”) uses the old trick of dropping out the dialogue as the two characters laugh and chat, but instead of condensing several dates into a standard falling-in-love montage, he cuts together multiple shots from a single, long drive, which conveys little more than how long it takes to reach their destination.

Side characters introduced as comic relief — including a self-important magician (Jason Mantzoukas) and Justin’s older-than-dirt granddad (Edmund Lyndeck) — add flair to what feels like a very small town, but get in the way during the pic’s sloppy climax. And the professor, who is obsessed with his appearance is clearly proud of his new glasses with thin lenses, after having lived his life having to deal with the bug eyed look that accompanies his former thick, "coke bottle lenses" as he calls them. But since we never get to see his former thick lenses, we only get to hear about them, over and over, which, while amusing the first time out, does get boring after a while. Still, Sersen has the right instincts for comedy, and with a few clumsy exceptions, his work is polished enough to pass for pro. Red-shot footage looks sharp.Splinterheads

Production: A Paladin release of an Atlantic Pictures presentation in association with Offhollywood Pictures. Produced by Darren Goldberg, Christopher Marsh, Anisa Qureshi. Executive producers, Steven Voichik, Mike Bulger. Co-producers, Chris Lechler, Amy Dempsey. Directed, written by Brant Sersen, based on a story by Sersen, Brendan McFeat Burke.
Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm) Michael Simmonds; editor, Chris Lechler; music, John Swihart; music supervisor, Jim Black, Gabe Hilfer; production designer, Chad Keith; art director, Adam Willis; costume designer, Cameron Folan; sound (Dolby), Bryan Dembinski; supervising sound editor, Marshall Grupp; sound designer, Phan Visutyothapibal; assistant director, Spit Stevens; associate producers, Nicholas R. Bell, Dominic Anatore, Taylor Phillips; casting, Beth Bowling, Kim Miscia, Nadia Lubbe. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Oct. 30, 2009. Running time: 94 MIN.
With: With: Thomas Middleditch, Rachael Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Lea Thompson, Dean Winters, Frankie Faison, Edmund Lyndeck, Jason Rogel, Pamela Shaw, Jason Mantzoukas.

IMDb Review

surprisingly good
********* 3 February 2013 | by laws1791
Only found out about this movie while surfing through netflix looking for something random to watch. The title caught my eye, but the synopsis of the movie seemed like it had been something that had been done before, thousands of times, but I figured I'd use the 15 minute rule and just turn it off if I didn't like it.

Well, I watched the whole thing and enjoyed it. Yes, it is predictable. Yes, the character development is nothing out of the ordinary - you basically get all of your stereotypes portrayed. Yes, the storyline moves along very quickly to where you find yourself with the last 13 minutes of the movie and wonder how they can wrap things up so quickly, but it all works.

It is like a lot of other movies out there, but it has a different vibe to it. It wasn't laugh-out- loud-pee-your-pants hilarious, but it was funny! It wasn't sappy or soft-core porn to grab attention.

 

TOMATOMETER CRTICS 27% | AUDIENCE 50%

 

 

Remove this splinter

November 6, 2009 By V.A. Musetto/ nypost.com

/images/rachael_taylor.jpg
Rachael Taylor plays a tattooed scam artist in "Splinterheads."

It’s been a long time since I didn’t laugh watching a com edy, as with “Splinterheads,” a lame “Napoleon Dynamite” wannabe.

First of all, Thomas Middleditch, as a slacker geek, has none of the charisma of “ND” star Jon Heder. Secondly, the jokes in “Splinterhead” are few and far between.

Middleditch is Justin, who falls for the amply tattooed Galaxy (Rachael Taylor), a scam artist who works in a carnival. Unfortunately for Justin, Galaxy already has a boyfriend, and he’s mean and ugly.

Now all of this might sound funny, but under director-writer Brant Sersen it doesn’t play that way on the screen.

Sersen throws in a few subplots — Justin’s salty, 116-year-old grandfather, as well as a police sergeant who would like to get Justin’s mom (Lea Thompson) into handcuffs. But they’re not funny, either.

“Splinterheads” might suffice some late night on cable, but that’s about it.

 

 

Splinterheads

Chris Nashawaty November 06, 2009 / ew.com

If good intentions mattered, writer-?director Brant Sersen’s small-town indie about an awkward Seth Meyers look-alike (Thomas Middleditch) falling for a cool, tattooed carny girl (Rachael Taylor) would get an A. But Splinterheads, which aims to be a quirkier Adventureland, never rises above mildly amusing. A supporting cast of oddballs (Jason Mantzoukas’ intense magician The Amazing Steve) and a few familiar faces (hey, Lea Thompson!) aren’t enough to keep you from forgetting about the movie the second you walk out of the theater. B-

 

Splinterheads

0.5 out of 5 by Nick Schager November 1, 2009 / www.slantmagazine.com

Despite positioning itself as a Napoleon Dynamite-style comedy about a spazzy social retard, Splinterheads seems to have misplaced most of its jokes. Brant Sersen’s film dutifully adheres to outcast-makes-good formula with its story of Justin (Thomas Middleditch), a doofus living at home with his widowed mom (Lea Thompson) and working alongside his crude landscaper best friend Wayne (Jason Rogel). After being scammed by a hot tattooed blonde named, ahem, Galaxy (Rachael Taylor) at the local gas station, Justin finds himself—in a typical bit of fantasy nonsense—knee-deep in romance with the sexy grifter.

It turns out that Galaxy works at the local fair, though she isn’t just an ordinary carny but, rather, a hustler known as a splinterhead, albeit one who has plenty of time to ditch work and go geocaching, which is a super-cool GPS treasure hunting game. Aside from trying to mainstream the terms “splinterhead” and “geocaching,” Sersen’s directorial debut has no purpose, following a narrative template so moldy that its employment would only be excusable if some humor were present. Regrettably, aside from two early scenes with a wacko carnival magician known as the Amazing Steve (Jason Mantzoukas) and his equally weird assistant/lover Wyoming (Lennon Parham), there isn’t a single element that warrants so much as a pity smile.

Middleditch in particular seems unsure of how to play this material, with his character’s awkwardness routinely dialed down to the point of nonexistence in an effort to facilitate a relationship between Justin and Galaxy that lacks chemistry and plausibility. From a 116-year-old grandpa offering Justin condoms, to Justin wearing wet see-through boxers and Christopher McDonald’s cop pining for Justin’s mother, Splinterheads piles on scenes and subplots that barely have a beginning, middle, or end, much less a pulse.

Though when it comes to being unfunny, nothing quite tops Sersen giving more screen time to a host of derogatory comments about Asians than to The Wire alum par excellence Frankie Faison.

 



 

RottenTomato AUDIENCE REVIEWS

 

****Justin B
June 26, 2010
Offbeat romantic comedy from start to finish.

+++

***** Adam R
June 25, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie. Yeah, it was pretty stupid but I laughed all the way through it.

+++

*** ½ Paul V
June 15, 2010
Although the story isn't particularly shiny and new (a townie guy meets a beautiful girl working at a carnival, and falls for her), Splinterheads worked for me because of the myriad of quirky characters, the best of whom being, in my opinion, the two main characters, Justin and Galaxy (played respectively by Thomas Middleditch and Rachael Taylor).

Justin's sort of socially inept, he's not very good at much of anything, and he's never been out of his hometown. He's sort of like Napoleon Dynamite, but not as exaggerated; he's a smidge more realistic and relatable. Galaxy is a gorgeous young girl working at the carnival who wants to get out and see the world. And of course, she has a jealous, bad-boy boyfriend who won't have her looked at by another man if he can help it (played with appropriate drunken, envious meanness by Dean Winters). Obviously, neither of these characters are groundbreaking, or even mold-breaking; we've seen them before. However, when played the right way, with enough unique flair, such as I believe they are in this film, such characters are limitlessly endearing and entertaining.

What's a shame in this flick, though, is we only get a handful of scenes with them really getting to know each other. They have solid chemistry, but instead of really developing their relationship, the film tends to shift back a bit too often to subplots of the supporting characters. Now, the rude ancient grandfather, slutty aunt, pervy best friend, crazy magician and lonely spurned had-been-stepfather-to-be (a hilarious Christopher McDonald) are all very amusing, and add another small dimension of originality, but the film certainly could've done with a lot less of them.

All in all, I really enjoyed the film. I thought it was consistently funny, and even if their relationship wasn't explored as much as I would like it to have been, Justin and Galaxy worked great together. Combine that with a strong supporting cast of kooky locals and carnies, plus some fantastic wilderness location shots utilized for the very interesting geocaching subplot, and you have what I consider to be a quirky comedy well worth watching.

+++

***** Justin H
June 8, 2010
Love that it had a geocaching subplot!

+++

****Brad E
May 26, 2010
I enjoyed this indie comedy about as much as most bigger budget theatrical releases. It had memorable characters, pretty good acting and it introduced me to geocaching. It was fun and looked good with some laughs--what more do you want?

+++

** ½ Marlan M
May 26, 2010
Almost shut it off in the beginning, but wound up being just entertaining enough to stick with all the way through.

+++

***½ Ryan B
May 12, 2010
Not actually a bad film. Some funny parts which keep you entertained. Worth a watch for some cheap humour.

+++

***½ Sheranga- T
May 9, 2010
This was a totally feel good movie..was entertaining and keeps you interested.....really cool..

+++

*** Jo B
April 30, 2010
I had never seen or heard anything about this film, but did quite enjoy it. It reminded me of a cross between adventure land/ napoleon dynamite and the other quirky Juno style films.
I didn't think the story itself was very interesting beside the whole worlds oldest man, and the Geocaching thing but worth watching.

+++

** Jordon J
April 26, 2010
Could have been a lot better was kinda like a wannabe Adventureland but comes no where close to it,Not enough to recommend SKIP IT!!

+++

**½ Y.K. G
April 24, 2010
Standard idiot boy meets wild girl story. You're not missing anything not catching this.

+++

**** Paul C
April 20, 2010
I was surprised how much I liked this movie. The story line is ok, but not really the best. In fact it was in pieces in certain areas. But it was the characters that really kept me entertained. Only a couple characters were just ok. This was Rachael Taylor and Dean Winters. Rachel Taylor's part just really didn't seem to fit her. Then Dean Winters was more of a bad guy yet it seemed like he had a hard time playing one. The main character is played by Thomas Middleditch. He had an interesting acting skill. The voice and mannerisms he used were kind of strange, but that made some of the scenes really entertaining. Then you have Edmund Lyndeck. I don't know what it is about this guy. But he is such a rude funny old guy. He plays it so well, you cannot help but laugh when he shows up. So not that bad of a movie. Something fun to watch while taking a break.

+++

*** Verónica H
April 13, 2010
My start in Geocaching

+++

*** Tommie R
April 10, 2010
Not bad, not great. Just entertainment.

+++

*** Andrew S
April 10, 2010
While most people compare this film to Adventureland for similar plot lines and it came out around the same time. This film represents what Adventureland should have been like, instead of the epic fail that was that movie. While this isn't a great film it's cute and funny enough to keep me entertained throughout. I really loved the social awkwardness that Justin's character brought to the film and Galaxy's spunky personality was a good choice to play off of plus these two actually had some chemistry on screen which helps. I liked that it was riddled with these odd ball characters that had larger than life persons but never really took over the story. It was worth the watch, I laughed a lot more than I did while watching Adventureland that's for sure.

 

 

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