Robers David Film and TV

Poor White Trash

“WOW! A perfect example of Indie film-making.... Poor White Trash sets a new standard for the Indie Comedy... every single actor in this film is practically perfect... Addis (writer/director) brings a zany, kinetic feel to the film, and it's just what the situations call for. The audience I saw this with loved it ... 5 of 5!” ---Harry Knowles, Ain’t It Cool News

“I was pretty blown away... deliciously campy... a fun, guilty pleasure, with enough quotable dialogue to fill out your outgoing answering machine message for a full month.” ENTERTAINMENT TODAY

Hilarious! Poor White Trash" is one of those guilty pleasures that has no business being as stupidly entertaining as it is. Director Michael Addis makes his "name" cast give a damn... enjoyable to watch. "Poor White Trash" celebrates the bonds of family and friendship... what it does best is simply have a raucous and goofy good time! - FILM THREAT

“...enough frantic energy for several comedies... brisk pacing, clever dialogue... Poor White Trash provides... pristine comic moments.”- VARIETY

“Poor White Trash” -- A Review by ‘AtomChik’


I’m a fan of independent movies. Many have poor production values, an unknown cast, bad sound, and directors who try too hard. But, every now and then a film or performance comes along that makes all those bad movies worthwhile. Do you remember the feeling you had after watching Exotica? That was one of those movies. Something that is so amazingly good that you feel like you and you alone have discovered gold in a pile of worthless pyrite.

I had that experience again last month at the Comedy Arts Fest. in Aspen. At the festival, I saw okay films like Pros and Cons, I saw bad films like Advice From a Caterpillar, I saw some pretty good films like We Married Margeaux. But, I also saw one great film. A film that knocked my socks off.

That film was Poor White Trash.

I’ve spent that last few weeks ruminating over the movie, trying to figure out why I enjoyed this little movie so much. It had a very good script, but that wasn’t “it”. The direction was solid, but that wasn’t “it” either. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love comedies, I love to laugh, and Trash certainly had its fair share of belly laughs and sly smiles, but I’m usually more of a drama man. And yet I couldn’t shake the effects of watching this little comedy in Aspen.

Then, it dawned on me. This movie had something which so many indie films don’t have. A cast that not only can act, but one that completely becomes their roles. I didn’t think “Boy, Sean sure has aged since Bladerunner” or “Jeez, Emmet’ll never be as good as he was in Blood Simple”. Sean Young was Linda Bronco, a frazzled mother of one who drinks too much and is trying to save her fractured family. Emmet Walsh was the Judge, a man who’s been on the bench too long, but still finds pleasure in putting the screws to a really bad ass.

Jaime Pressly played Sandy Lake, a woman who we think is a slut, but later realize that she only has the same dreams of almost every single character in this movie, getting out of her station in life, and becoming a “middle class” citizen. William Devane’s character, a scummy lawyer named Ron Lake is different. He already has the money, but he revels in being white trash. He likes it that people look down on him because then it’s that much more enjoyable when he screws them over.

Jason London plays the washed up high school jock who now manages a fast food place, and revels in asserting his authority over his teenaged employees. Jacob Tierney plays Lenny, a character that reminded me a bit of Billy Bob Thornton’s character in A Simple Plan. He seems like he’s missing a few cards, but he knows what’s going on, and he’s a little more devious than we’d think.

But, the actor that stole the film was Tony Denman. The Coen’s cast him in Fargo, so I knew he must be good. Then he did Go, but he never had more than a scene or two in any movie. Well Poor White Trash gives Denman a chance to show what he’s really got, and that’s talent. Talent that blew me away. His role is the most complex in the movie, and he’s really the lead, although Young gets top billing because she’s a prima donna star. Denman plays Mike Bronco, an extremely smart kid who’s spent his life in a twenty foot trailer in a trailer park filled with other twenty foot trailers. While other teens want to be doctors or lawyers, Mike just wants to be a family counselor. He doesn’t have grand dreams. He just wants a happy, peaceful life. He wants to help his mother conquer her alcohol addiction. He wants his washed-up pro wrestler father to spend more time with him. He doesn’t really fit in with the tractor-pull, NASCAR mentality of his town, and his only friend, Lenny, likes to blow things up.

Mike doesn’t have much of a chance to get out. He can’t afford college, so he’s depending on a scholarship to a state school. When Lenny gets him involved in petty theft, it looks like his chance to make a better life for himself is ruined. When we see the pure desperation on Denman’s face it’s easy to buy everything that follows. He isn’t just trying to steal money, he’s trying to salvage his future. Imagine if someone took from the thing you hold most dear in your life. You’d do anything to get it back, right? Well Mike Bronco just lost his only chance, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it back. He’ll steal, he’ll rob, he’ll even team up with his own mother if he has to.

Denman brings so much truth and honesty to this part, it just left me in awe. I felt the same way when I saw Matt Damon in a small role in Courage Under Fire. That feeling like “wow, he’s gonna be big”. Tony Denman’s going to be a star. There’s no doubt about it. I don’t know if this film will get a theatrical release, or if it will be straight to video or cable. All I can tell you is that you need to watch it sometime. You won’t be disappointed.

Production notes: We shot this film in the small town of Benton, IL. Everyone there was really nice except for a couple of local boys who beat up some crew guys that were stealing all the local girls. The film was originally called "Goodbye Sunrise". While editing the film we changed the title to Poor White Trash (Funnier right?). When a local reporter ran a story about the film and its new title we received tons of hate mail. We wrote back to everyone and offered to show the movie for free in Benton so they could see we were not making fun of them (much). True to our word when we finished the film we flew back and held a big screening, handing out surveys so they could tell us what they thought. 96% thought the new title fit the film but were now completely offended by the bad language.

Interesting fact: "Poor White Trash" was shot in Benton, IL, a small town with 8 churches and no strip clubs. "Bravo" was shot in Tequesquitengo, a small town in Mexico with 8 strip clubs and no churches.

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