- Justin Long
- Jess Weixler
- Addison Timlin
- Shelley Long
- Frances O'Connor
- Tyler Labine
- Evan Jones
- Michael Landes
- Ted Koland
- Ted Koland
- David Abbitt
- Jen Roskind
- Sharyn Steele
- Magnolia Pictures
- Koda Entertainment
* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.Home/Social Media Links
Best Man Down (2012/2013)
Opened: 11/08/2013 Limited
Trailer: Click for trailer
Rated: PG-13 for thematic material, drug content, some sexuality and brief language.
When their obnoxious and over-served best man, Lumpy (Tyler Labine) unexpectedly dies at their destination wedding in Phoenix, bride and groom Kristin (Jess Weixler) and Scott (Justin Long) are forced to cancel their honeymoon and fly home to the snowy Midwest to arrange for his funeral. But getting Lumpy's body back to Minneapolis is just the start of their adventure, as the well-intended sacrifice surprises at every turn. And when the newlyweds' path leads them to a fifteen year-old girl (Addison Timlin) in a small, northern Minnesota town -- all bets are off on who Lumpy really was.
A few years back, my brother told me a tragic, yet darkly comic story about a friend of a friend of a friend. It seemed that this distant acquaintance had gotten blotto drunk at a "destination" wedding and was found the next afternoon slumped over a Pachycereus pringlei. Dead. Without knowing anything else about the deceased or what his life had included, I was fairly confident this man would live in infamy as "the guy who died on a cactus."
Honestly, I felt sorry for him. We all have a friend like Lumpy. And if you don't, you've certainly seen him at a party or a wedding. Surely there had to be more to the guy than his unfortunate death-by-cactus. Surely there's more to all of us than one moment, good or bad. People are so easily categorized as "the girl who ------" or "that guy who got caught ------." We get one piece of information and we think we know the whole story. But life is never that simple. Public labeling used to be limited to politicians and celebrities. But in a modern world of texting, Facebook and Twitter, we're all subject to instant and permanent branding. And we rarely get to choose what that moment is.
I also couldn't stop thinking about the story from the survivors' point of view. What would you do if your best man died the night of your wedding reception? There's an almost ridiculous amount of stress put on weddings today, and I could only imagine the reaction of some of the brides I've known. A day designed to be one of the "happiest of our lives" so often ends up defeating its own objective, due to an obsession with recreating an event from the pages of BRIDES magazine.
So who was Lumpy? We live in a world where technology designed to make communication easier, more often takes the place of face-to-face interaction. How can we not lose track of old friends when intermittent texting replaces real conversations and Skyping has become a legitimate substitute for travel? As a society, our social nourishment comes increasingly from a fast-food diet. Maybe Lumpy was a boorish drunk. Maybe he was a bad guy. But maybe --at least to one person--he was a surprise arrival, a new relationship, a lifeline even. How did they meet? What was their connection? Who did he become to her? Was it above board, or did the relationship slide into icy waters?
In Minnesota, as in so much of our country, there's a great divide between city life and small town America. Farm life is dying. Main Street has been replaced by a big box store just outside town. Drug trade has become industry. And too many promising young minds fall through the cracks. So I wanted to weave the two sides of Lumpy's world: Ramsey's "family' in Lutsen and a relatable bride and groom as our narrators. They may appear to have little in common, but over time we see them struggle with the same issues of money, drugs and loss.
I wrote my first draft in about four weeks in July of 2008. A mild polish that fall added more time with Lumpy in Ramsey's eulogy. After a couple years and a couple producers attached [and detached], the green light came out of nowhere. By the time we started prep, it was already late February of 2011 and we couldn't shoot the film without winter. The producers and I quickly realized that the only place we were going to find a frozen, Minnesota lake in March was in... Minnesota. I was ecstatic. In this day and age of production tax incentives, it's a rarified luxury to shoot your scripted locations --let alone send a postcard to your hometown. And true to form, Old Man Winter dumped a late-in-the-season blizzard on us the second day of shooting.
The Minnesota location was also important because I knew I had a secret weapon: the local talent pool. I grew up in Minnesota when fine arts were an integral part of public education. And in Minneapolis, there are still more theater seats per capita than any other city in the U.S. outside of New York City. The local casting director was fairly shocked when I requested specific actors by name for day player roles, but I was only too happy to call on some of the acting talent I had literally grown-up watching on stage (mostly at The Guthrie).
It's taken a while to get my first film finished and out into the world, but I can't help but feel like a lucky storyteller. Not only did I get to make my first film with amazing partners in front of and behind the camera; but I was also able to shoot Minnesota as I know it, and hopefully take the audience on an unexpected, emotional ride they haven't been on before.
-- Ted Koland