A Bag of Hammers

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A Bag of Hammers
A Bag of Hammers.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Crano
Produced by
Written by
Music by Johnny Flynn
  • Byron Shah
  • Quyen Tran
Edited by
  • Brian A. Kates
  • Travis Sittard
Distributed by MPI Media Group
Release date
  • March 12, 2011 (2011-03-12) (SXSW)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million

A Bag of Hammers is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Brian Crano and written by Crano and Jake Sandvig, who co-stars in the film with Jason Ritter. The soundtrack was written and performed by British folk musician Johnny Flynn.


Ben and Alan are great friends who have known each other since high school, and they genuinely haven't grown up. For a living, they pose as valets at funerals and then steal their customers' cars and sell them to a pessimistic car dealer. Melanie, Alan's sister, encourages them to find respectable occupations, but Ben and Alan don't take Mel's advice. Then, Lynette moves into their neighborhood. She is a single mother who is financially insecure and has a short temper, as Mel finds out. When Lynette commits suicide, Alan and Ben take her son Kelsey under their wing. With the help of an unenthusiastic Mel, who deems their idea crazy, they try to involve him within their car-theft scheme. However, they come to realize that Kelsey needs more suitable role models, and Ben and Alan will have to grow up.


Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. Website Metacritic gave the film a score of 50 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[1]

Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club enjoyed the film and gave it a B−.

A Bag of Hammers, on both sides of the camera, rests in the push-and-pull between sincerity and indie piffle... It's a struggle all the way for A Bag of Hammers, though its irony-crusted heart is in the right place... A Bag of Hammers flounders whenever it focuses on the pair's insufferable banter, or allows its soundtrack to do the heavy lifting. But the bigger problem is Crano's oddly structured screenplay.[2]

Other reviewers, such as Nick Schager of Time Out New York hated the film, giving it one star out of five.

Grifting is all fun and games until a young boy needs help in this preposterous dramedy... The real scam was the filmmakers tricking Rebecca Hall (and a cameoing Amanda Seyfried) into participating in this blunt instrument of an indie.[3]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2013 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Ten and Under Chandler Canterbury Nominated [4]


  1. ^ "Critic Reviews for A Bag of Hammers". Metacritic. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  2. ^ Tobias, Scott (2012-05-10). "A Bag Of Hammers". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  3. ^ Schager, Nick. "A Bag of Hammers". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  4. ^ "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 

External links[edit]