Is Grandpa crazy? That’s what his adult kids believe, but his grandson and the skatepark kids think differently. The film has an extremely strong cast with convincing performances that keep the audience enthralled. Viewers will embrace all of these great characters. The story is unique, original, and masterfully crafted.
Grandpa’s Crazy? is a family-friendly comedy-drama that all generations can enjoy together. Young and old will find a character they identify with, and will go on a roller coaster of emotions throughout the movie.
First time feature film director Danor Gerald said he knows most people will ask: “What’s a black man doing directing a film about a bunch of white kids in Utah?” His response “The answer is simple. The producer took a chance on me.” Producer Dave Bresnahan said, “I first worked with Danor Gerald back in 2013 on Saints and Soldiers: The Void, a World War II film about the plight of blacks serving in the Army. We had quite a few teens involved in that film, so I knew he worked well with kids. I didn’t hesitate to ask him to direct my film.” Bresnahan wrote the original screenplay, and Gerald helped with the final polish.
The beginning reminds us of Disney’s Up. Gramps (Walter Platz) has just retired as a teacher and baseball coach of the local high school in the rural town of Tooele, Utah where everyone knows everyone. When his wife Janet (Susan Phelan) dies suddenly just before going on a cruise, Gramps is left alone with just his dog, Slider.
His kids have busy lives and months go by with no visits to Gramps. Suffering from boredom and loneliness, Gramps decides to pretend to get lost as a way to get attention. Gramps spots his grandson R.J. (Aiden Beagley) at the local skatepark while cruising the town to figure out a way to get lost. Gramps discovers the kids at the skatepark are not the bad influences he thought for many years, so he helps them by taking videos to put on YouTube. Gramps quickly becomes a hit with the kids.
But his own kids aren’t amused with his antics. His son Rob (Eric Osmond) takes away the car. Then Gramps gets an old car going he has had in the garage for years, so Rob takes that too. Gramps will not be stopped, so he resorts to a bit of an extreme and his kids call a lawyer to have him declared incompetent.
The skateboarding scenes will keep the younger viewers excited, and this film will likely be called “that skateboard movie,” by the kids. The teens at the skatepark are at all levels of abilities, and they happily teach R.J. how to skate. One of the skateboarders has more problems than a typical teen. Scab (Jagger Woolstenhulme) is an orphan who lives with an abusive uncle (Zach Hursh). He expresses suicidal thoughts to R.J., so Gramps cheers him up and gives him hope. When Scab runs away he put the entire audience in tears as he looked up at the stars and said to God: “I just want a home. I just want a home.” The skateboard scenes and problems of the young teens are somewhat reminiscent of The Sandlot, complete with a girl Amy (Kallie Lowerly) who is very much like the character Wendy Peffercorn.
When Gramps goes to court because of the legal actions of his kids, the skateboarders are quick to come to his defense. Young actor Ethan Blackham in his role of Jake, delivers a masterful presentation that puts Gramp’s adult kids Rob and Julie (Sue Rowe) in their place. Jake wins over everyone in the courtroom, including his father, the judge (Robert Andrus), and all the film’s viewers. You’ll cheer for Jake along with the skateboard kids.
Walter Platz is perfect as the Grandpa that everyone loves. Viewers at early screenings adore Gramps and say they want to give him a big hug. Their next favorite character is Scab, played by Jagger Woolstenhulme (12). This young actor provides a very strong performance that is very believable. One audience member, a woman in her 30s said, “When he said ‘I just want a home’ I was in tears and wanted to just give him a hug and take him home with me.”
The film has been seen at special screenings and film festivals, but has not yet been released for general distribution. Brandon Purdie of Purdie Distribution is the Sales Agent and the Distributor. Bresnahan said several major companies have shown an interest in purchasing the film.
Plans to film the sequel are in the development stage. Skateboarding Aliens? will have all the popular characters back in action. Alien teen boys see Scab and the others on YouTube and decide to steal their parent’s space ship to come to Earth to learn to skateboard with them. When asked about plans for the sequel Bresnahan said, “Skateboarding Aliens? Yup. They’re coming! We expect to film this summer.”
Grandpa’s Crazy has already received attention at film festivals. It has won an award at the Multi Dimension International Film Festival, it is a finalist at the Krimson Horyzon International Film Festival, and it has been selected for award consideration at many others that have not yet completed the awards process. The screenplay for the sequel Skateboarding Aliens? has already won an award at the Dreamz Catcher International Film Festival and is up for consideration in quite a few others. Bresnahan’s ability to tell an original, compelling story is excellent, which makes his next film something to look forward to.