3 Holes and a Smoking Gun (formerly known as 3 Holes, 2 Brads, and a Smoking Gun) starring James Wilder (Melrose Place, Murder One) gives the audience the impression of a “WhoDunIt” serial killing script written in the blood of those who have come before. The screenwriter, Scott Fivelsen, won “Best Screenwriter” award at the 2014 Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival. The film itself has won several awards including “Grand Jury” at the 2014 Red Dirt International Film Festival and “Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film” at the 2014 Laughlin International Film Festival in addition to Wilder winning “Best Actor” at the 2014 Red Dirt International Film Festival. The film will be featured at the 2015 Garden State Film Festival prior to its official release which is slated to be March 27, 2015. Actor James Wilder will be receiving the “Independent Spirit Award” at the same festival won last year by Laura Dern.
So what makes this film a must see independent film? The duality of symbolism existing throughout brought to life by a superb cast fulfilling the artistic vision of the screenwriter. The irony is this movie is about a washed-up, former addict screenwriter who finds himself on the outs in Hollywood and on the skids in New York teaching his art to wannabes at night. If it sounds a little familiar, it is because the film’s main character, Bobby Blue Day, resembles – in simplistic characterization only – the recent Hugh Grant cheesy main character, Keith Michaels, in The Rewrite where the main character is a washed-up screenwriter who goes to the East Coast to teach a college class on screenwriting. The comparisons, however, end there as Wilder far outperforms Grant in the respective roles.
Although the budget for 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun is not extreme, the performances by all actors brings a realism to the possibility this could actually represent the desperation of Generation X who feel entitled but unwilling to put in the work to achieve the fame they feel deserving of whereas the Baby Boomer addict tries to hold onto all semblance of his worth in a craft he has honed over a lifetime which he knows he has earned. In the face of adversity, each prepares to (and acts on) exercising options to ensure success.
J.F.K. “Jack” Ariamehr (Zuher Kahn) plays a formidable counterpart to Bobby Blue Day (James Wilder) as far as challenging the veteran screenwriter to consider the reasons behind why the elder is so eager to be a part of the script. Day tries to rectify his interest by fixating on his Hollywood connection, namely producer Steven Worthy, who has already tossed Day to the curb but Ariamehr is not privy to this information. He attempts to show willingness to “share” rights by only asking for 50% which brings awareness to Ariamehr the script is good. After Day states it is the best he’s ever read, protégé Jack no longer feels he needs Day sending the teacher into a whirlwind trying to make the youngster understand the game played in Hollywood.
The way the script is obtained by Jack and the ending (which is totally unexpected and warped in its own right) begs the viewer to analyze who exactly was the deal for…who wanted all rights to the script? Was it, in fact, Steven Worthy or the junk dealer who sold the EXACT typewriter of the original script? How many times has this script actually been the real-life drama played out? Even the interaction of Jack with Clive Mimsby (fabulously portrayed by Howard McNair) at the coffee shop reveals much about the storyline when look back on at the end.
This film is far deeper than a simple psychological thriller or exercise in foreshadowing; it takes a serious look at the motives which drive individuals to pursue success at whatever costs it takes…to grasp the golden ring to which they feel entitled, earned or not. A definite hit for independent films!
Images courtesy of IMDb