Posted: 07/11/2006




by Gary Schultz

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I recently went to the premiere of a truly independent film made on smarts not money, devised by ingenuity not fancy equipment and featuring young aspiring actors and non-actors. The movie was called “Broke” and even though the title might depict the budget if this little film it in no way depicts the enjoyment that I and the packed house at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, IL felt. “Broke” was a huge hit. This low budget film was directed by Bill Whirity who you may not know yet but you will someday soon I assure you. Bill and a crew of fellow young filmmakers and friends spent two summers shooting their no-budget film “Broke”, a homage to the classic 80’s style teen comedy about road trips and the lost art of pool cleaning.

BROKE follows the adventures of four friends who try to plan a weekend trip to Canada. Marshall Tucker has just survived the last day of his junior year of high school. To celebrate, he and his three best friends plan to head north of the border to Canada for the weekend. However, the venture soon takes a turn for the worse when Marshall’s trusty Chevy Nova dies about ten minutes into their trip. Their solution; convince their friend Vern to take his parents minivan while they’re away for a week on a strange religious retreat. They do so, but before the group even gets out of the neighborhood they end up in a bizarre car accident, wrecking the minivan. Now its up to them to find a way to raise a thousand dollars to fix the van before Vern’s parents return home. Classic scenario, laughs ensue.

Given that this movie really had no budget “Broke” might be a bit rough around the edges from a technical point of view but it does provide a lot of laughs and showcases the talents of its young crew and director. The story is straightforward and simple but the comedy writing is good and not just dick a fart joke humor. This story helps show the value of friendship and how friends can get you in trouble and still be there to bail you out. “Broke” also teaches you a fine lesson in never underestimating the annoying guy that wants to be in your crew but nobody likes…yeah that guy…well that guy just may save your ass in the end. I think the writing is what I found most inspiring because the story has heart in the right places. It’s like watching a really good Nickelodeon show but it’s unrated so teens and adults would like it.

Here’s the Bottom Line: Personally I see this little movie being more of a stepping-stone for the careers of those attached. You can see that the director/writer has talent and passion for this genre. I would really like to see what Bill Whirity would do on a budget with name actors. This crew of young filmmakers has a cartoon series they are pitching called “Lab Rats” and director Bill Whirity is currently moving from Chicago to Los Angeles to pursue his film career and pitch his next feature script “Roadside Distractions”. “Broke” is cooler than “Ferris Bueller” and riskier than “Risky Business”!

Check out “Broke” here and here.

Contact Bill Whirity:

Gary Schultz is a filmmaker living in Chicago.

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