Spare Me (film)
|Directed by||Matthew Harrison|
|Produced by||Madeline Warren|
|Written by||Christopher Grimm|
|Music by||Daniel Brenner
|Edited by||Hughes Winborne|
Spare Me is a 1992 "bowling noir" film that, as one film reviewer wrote, "twists conventions of the Western and thriller genres within its parallel universe of bowling monomania." Matthew Harrison's feature film directorial debut, the 16mm feature was made for less than $80,000 US and won awards at the Rome Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Long Island Film Festival and others. Harrison used the cash award from a prize at the Avignon Film Festival to make his second feature, the Sundance Jury Prize winning Rhythm Thief.
This film is the story of Theo (Lawton Paseka), the "Bad Boy of Bowling", suspended from the pro-tour for bashing an opponent in the head on national TV. Desperate to circumvent the 100-year suspension and get back into the game, Theo seeks out his estranged father Buzz, a man of legendary power in the bowling world - a man he has never met.
But Buzz has turned to the dark side of the sport and runs an illegal dwarf bowling operation with his nefarious partner Miles Kastle. "And nobody sticks a finger into a bowling ball in this town without Miles Kastle knowing about it."
Kastle's pyromaniac daughter Sheila (Christie MacFadyen) has the hots for Theo. Her psychotic brother Junior has just broken out of a mental institution and wants to murder Buzz. Kastle offers to get Theo back in the pins - for a price, and Theo finds himself faced with one of the impossible 7-10 splits of life.
- Lawton Paseka as Theo Skinner
- Christie MacFadyen as Sheila Kastle
- Mark Alfred as Buzz Fazeli
- Sunny Weil as Millie Fazeli
- Richard W. Sears Jr. as Miles Kastle
- Bill Christ as Junior
- Christopher Cooke as Sid
- Sean Hagerty as Breeze
Festivals and critical reception
Candice Russell, writing for the Sun-Sentinel at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival , called Spare Me “a warped version of Rebel Without a Cause.” At the XXXVI Mostra Internazionale Del Film D’Autore San Remo in Italy, film critic David Rooney, writing for Variety, made note of the film's "reckless energy and charismatic leads." and Fausto Serra wrote "(the film) marks a great starting point for the future of its author." Todd Anthony, reviewing the picture for the Miami New Times at the South Beach Film Festival, highlighted Spare Me as a "flat-out winner." Film Threat labeled the film “The quintessential saga of a rebel and his ball."
The film was also programmed at festivals both in the US and overseas including Boston Film Festival, Central Florida Film Festival , ExGround Festival , Florida Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival , Hamptons International Film Festival, Long Island Film Festival , Filmfest Oldenburg, São Paulo International Film Festival, Festroia International Film Festival, Welsh Film Festival and Women in Film Festival, Los Angeles .
Spare Me was screened at Anthology Film Archives, Cinemac , Cinémathèque Française, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Deutsche Kinemathek, Harvard Film Archive, Hirshhorn Museum, IFP Market, Kansas State University, Kino Arsenal Berlin, Millennium Film Workshop , Pacific Film Archive, Projected Images of Hudson County, Putnam Screening Room and the Shooting Gallery in New York City. The film was licensed on video in the US and overseas.
- Betsy Sherman, "Westerns Spoofed As Bowling Parody Strikes", The Boston Globe, September 23, 1993
- Candice Russell, "Bowling Comedy is a look at life in the fast lanes", Sun-Sentinel, November 20, 1992
- David Rooney, "Spare Me", Variety, April 12, 1993
- Fausto Serra, "Stritolato tra I birilli", Il Secolo XIX, March 28, 1993
- Todd Anthony, "Yikes! Another Film Festival!", Miami New Times, April 14–20, 1994
- "Spare Me", Film Threat, April 15, 1994