Title: Is That a Gun in Your Pocket…
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Matt Cooper
Starring: Andrea Anders, Matt Passmore, Cloris Leachman
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
What It Is: In the town of Rockford, TX firearms are the right arm to Jesus. Everyone has one. When Jenna’s (Anders) son brings a gun to school and accidentally fires it, hitting a crossing guard, it begins to concern her. With that, she proposes that until all of the guns in her home are removed she will not have sex with her husband Glenn (Passmore). When all of the other women in Rockford begin to jump on that bandwagon the men begin to lose their patience with that and may or may not fold.
What We Think: This really is a terribly made film. As you’ll read below this was a passion project for director Matt Cooper but sadly it’s one that I can’t spin in a positive light. I’d love to take the time to thank Matt for the chance to talk to him about this project but I found the script rather flat and the overall all package quite underwhelming. Cloris Leachman stands out for her raunchy turn and she’s certainly still got all the sass necessary to pull off the role she played here. Technically it is sound if unspectacular there’s no clever editing and nothing from the production really unique. From the story, it is very similar to Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq which I found equally heavy-handed.
Our Grade: D, If you’re interested in a story of gun control told in a sometimes funny, sometimes cheesy way you’re in the right place. If you’re not interested in this than there really isn’t anything here for you. It’s not a failure because a couple of the jokes hit and Leachman along with Horatio Sanz get a few good lines. Outside of that though this is certainly a skip.
INTERVIEW W DIRECTOR MATT COOPER
So thanks for letting us check out your film! I’d like to first ask about what the process was like of getting this film together?
It’s almost been 20 years since I wrote the first draft. There were many people that said they didn’t get why I would make a comedy about such a serious topic. And others that thought it was not dark enough or serious enough. Twenty years later I’m still happy with the tone that we struck with the film.
I think the message seeps through without hitting people over the head. Another difficult part of getting the film together was finding really strong talent that would be willing to work with a director without major film credits.
That’s always a tough sell.
You had a talented cast to work with here, any stories from the shoot that the folks should know about.
What I like to say about this cast is, I believe, very unique to this film. There are almost 40 speaking roles, which is a lot for a small independent film. On the set, it was truly like a family. I never experienced anything like it before, and I don’t think I ever will again. There was a lot of love on that set! And a lot of laughter. Some of the fun stories are recounted in the special features of the DVD.
A lot of those stories involve Cloris Leachman, who embodies the definition of larger than life. Most of those stories I can’t repeat in a public setting.
I can’t speak highly enough about that cast. Their warmth, their effort, their devotion to their characters and their craft, and to helping me tell a story that I wanted to tell, was truly inspiring for me.
So it’s safe to say that your film is very much advocating for gun safety, to say the least. Is this something that’s important to you?
Not just gun safety, gun control, because we’re out of control. And Congress is actually out of step with their constituents, just as the NRA is out of touch with their membership. Seventy-five percent of NRA members favor closing the gun show loophole and instituting background checks for private sales. Our country is really whacked out right now. And ugly and violent. If we don’t become more reasonable soon, I fear we are really headed for an abyss.
So there’s a distinct sense that the story is based somewhat on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. Why was this an inspiration/basis for the film?
Actually, Lysistrata played no role in this film. I had read the play, but it was not really an inspiration for this film. I took an event that was happening in my life and then used that to explore the power struggles between men and women. Next, I wanted to take a small town and have that become a parable for the larger world.
Every time I get the pleasure to have a director on the other end I often like to ask who are some directorial inspirations for you?
I don’t really focus on directors that inspire me. I much more focus on films that inspire me. I think that the directors who can consistently put out great material are Steven Spielberg of course, Pedro Almodóvar, George Roy Hill, though he’s been gone for awhile. Alejandro Inarritu is extremely talented. There are a lot of talented people out there. And far more without talent!
So while we’re on a private kick let’s suppose for a moment you’re stuck on a deserted and can only bring two films. What two are you bringing and why?
If I’m stuck on an island, I’d rather be asked who I would want to be stuck on the island with rather than what movies I’d rather be stuck with! But if I had to pick two, I love Moulin Rouge. I know that’s surprising, but I do I love it. I probably would have to watch Cast Away I guess.
Thanks so much for speaking with us and allowing us to check out your film! Check out Is That a Gun in Your Pocket on VOD now!