CHARITY HURTS

(2010) Writer, Director, Actor, Stunt Coordinator, Action Movie Freak: Andrew Thatcher

 
JASON Should I know him?
 
COP No, you shouldn't, 'cause he's just a normal legitimate
businessman running a professional business, that is,
to the untrained eye.
JASON Well, who is he to the trained eye? 
COP I'm not sure, 'cause my eyes aren't trained.


Hats off to Andrew Thatcher creator of the "cheesy special effects" in the "no budget independent Action film" CHARITY HURTS.  He really is an Action Movie Freak and totally gets it.  In his words:  "I pretty much hired every single person who even seemed remotely interested in being involved" I only wish I could share this movie with you!  I haven't had this much fun watching something in years. 

Here's the trailer . . .
 


CHARITY HURTS

 


Dear Andrew:

Thanks so much for sending me your movie.  It was surprisingly stylistic and cinematic. I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Anyone with this much enthusiasm for the genre will no doubt be going places, and I look forward to seeing your career progress. Also, I'll be curious to see which path you choose to focus on since you seem to be a one-man Action Army.  I'm writing to share everything I liked about it and applaud your efforts!


FIRST SCENE
You have an awesome sense of Drama, Action, and Comedy. The above-the-line scene was fun and really set the tone.  The ominous music was great and I loved the gunshot in the title. The acting dog was cute too, but then you burned your first victim right in front of the dog (implied) . . . this seemed extra cruel!—LOL Why am I laughing at that?  'Cause I'm an Action Movie Freak! [Love that you opened and closed the movie with the dog.  She is very sweet.] A nice touch was the homemade flamethrower prop (I liked how the guy turns to the camera a little so you can see the design on the backpack.  It's a pretty good mock-up of the real thing.) I still can't believe you did all this!
 

FIRST FIGHT SCENE
Great sound effects and choreography on the 2-schoolsgirls-on-1-guy (you) fight scene.  Loved the unexpectedness of it.  The Action is cheesy in the BEST way and as much fun as early Kung Fu movies that made me love Action Movies.  It really is an  "homage to the old school VHS Action Movies we all grew up with" as you put it, and reminded me several Action Movies with ass-kicking schoolgirls.


SECOND FIGHT SCENE, FIRST CHASE
In the second chase/fight scene, you two were a little slow to wind it up but even that was funny, and as the scene gathered steam, it got funnier that you (purposely) look like you were struggling (especially on the jump landings).  Liked the little Rumble In The Bronx shopping cart action.
 

RECRUITMENT MEETING
Love that you have only one person to speak to at the recruitment meeting!  The lines for this character (who wants to shoot charity workers) are funny.  "So, let me get this straight, one more time, I'm not killing anybody?"  And I think he was having a lot of fun saying them.  That's the single most enjoyable thing about this movie:  that you all are so obviously having fun making it.  If this character was more menacing, psycho, and intense/serious, I think it might have been even funnier.  More like the audience would be wondering where the hell did he get this guy?  I loved that his gun discharges when you get rid of it!  Also, loved the line "I'm not leaving, man, I'm just getting a bit of fresh air." He was doing a great job of delivering the lines but he just liked doing it way too much (shaking my head, so cute).  Him being more menacing might have made "You can't prove it was me" even funnier.


BLACK LEATHER JACKET
OMG The two-gun scene between you and the guy in the black leather jacket!  Some of it is genius.  I laughed so hard!  The whole second chase scene is laugh-out-loud funny, the random bounce off the electrical panel, the separate bench jumps just for the sake of jumping a bench, the head-bobbling-running-with-the-camera close up, but especially, the kick to the back of the head.  Then, he broke his own neck! You were killing me. 

(He could hardly keep a straight face when he looked at  you. You kept it together, but I couldn't help but wonder how many takes you might have had to do because he kept laughing) It was omigod funny—I was so looking forward to outtakes . . .)
 

 

THE VILLAIN • John Scaglioni
Was that a rubber weight?! LOL That's what I thought the first time I watched it, that it was a fake weight, as if the Villain was only pretending to lift weights. He was a great sport to let you beat pretend to beat the crap out of him later.  I suspected he was your martial arts instructor (I confirmed that on your site. :D) because it came across that he seemed genuinely concerned about not hurting you, but also because he was so skilled and precise in his movements. He reminds me of Christopher Meloni. He was a great sport to do this and I hope he enjoyed himself more than he worried about hurting you or you hurting yourself.
 

The dialogUE
I really liked the intro. conversation on the phone, and later, especially this line "Only cows and whores need to have things in their mouths all the time."  (LOL He did not just say that!) You have talent, and charisma—judging by how many friends/acquaintances you got to participate who were obviously not actors but who were more obviously loving every second of being in the movie.  This worked in the movie's favor.  The standout for me was "Cop" (why did he stop halfway through his haircut?) Too funny when he combed only one side of his hair (that's genius too!). I had the feeling I had seen him before (at first, I thought he was in The Square but I couldn't place him.) 
 

The PLOT , CINEMATOGRAPHY, and SPECIAL EFFECTS
Unlike you, I have never made a movie and I admire you for that!!  I thought you did an excellent job of editing and mixing shots, close-ups, camera angles, slo mo, and special effects.  It was very entertaining to watch, and there is no question you have a great eye for placement of the various Action elements for the most enjoyable viewing experience. You know what you like and how to put it on film!  That is HUGE.
 

NINJA SHOWDOWN
The movie seemed to have it all.  Loved that 5 ninjas showed up but then it seemed like you killed 12!  Classic gnarly kill on the NO SMOKING sign!  The ninjas all die awesomely, and I clapped at the end of the back-to-back circle shooting with you and the Cop.  Loved the buddy chemistry between you two; the whole "sidekick" angle. It was so good, I wanted more.  The scene with you two reminded me of Bad Boys.  Loved your delight with the lines "People wanna see! People wanna see!" LOL Great conviction and delivery.  I was trying to place that scene but I couldn't pin down a reference [re-watched Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2 (what took me so long)] then I thought it might be Rush Hour 2.  [I did see bits of Bad Boys in the rolling on the floor while shooting and the awesome shooting using the car's side mirror as a ledge.]

You were great with the "double fists" line/bit . . .

After the Cop grabs a Ninja to use him as a shield and you do that diving shot with the Colt M4 Commando, (did I get the gun right? I had help from a friend), I loved the blood splatter when you hit the other ninja, and the funny way he spasms and twitches on his knees just before he falls. (I could watch that twitching all day. Must have rewound it 5 times!)  About the 7th time when I watched this scene, I realized at least 3 if not all of the ninjas are you!!!  LMAO  That is so awesome! I laughed so hard (with surprise and delight at your dedication) my chest hurt.  You are going to go places!! Nobody with this much drive and motivation could help but succeed.

You hit all the best clichés. 
Of course the Cop has only "2 days to retirement." LOL I think the super small knife should have been funnier, maybe even smaller? but I still laughed (no blood on the knife).
I wasn't sure if there were specific scenes in particular you might have been intentionally paying tribute to, but I definitely saw a little Matrix, a little Lethal Weapon . . .
 

GETTING TO THE BIG BOSS
I like how you threw a bunch of stuff in your path to the Big Boss.  Knife toss, rocket launcher, it was like you wanted to include everything you could in the movie. Loved that! I couldn't tell what level martial artist you might be but your training is evident.  When the "the only way to my boss is through me" "cheat-shots" fight guy turned his back and started fidgeting, I thought maybe he had stopped to pee. LOL You had to wonder what was he doing, then he pulled out a knife.  I love the pay off for "What are you gonna do, spank me?" You even used your belt. [ ;) Transporter ]
 

EXPLOSION!!
Your facial expressions are great throughout but especially funny during the hanging out of the car.  Did you laugh just before you fell out? I love that you're having so much fun with it. Loved the firing off the side mirror!  The driver was great too . . .  I also noticed after you fell out of the car and it sped away, that it quickly turned and came back at you because it was in a cul de sac! If that was intentional, kudos. If it wasn't, maybe it was a happy coincidence and you have an innate sense of funny.  You worked in leaping over a car and a big explosion.  All these things matter to the
Action Movie Freak. Way to go!!
 

THE TRAP
In the next scene, the Boss kills the surviving ninja (also you) from the team that failed to capture you.  You (as that ninja) get your arm broken, not once but twice. You don't scream either time, and the first time you still use it to get up off the floor.  Loved the Steven Seagal-ish bone-breaking of this scene. It sets up the Boss's last ditch effort to 'trap' you in a fake rescue scenario where you are outnumbered: another Action Movie classic. The  ass-whopping, way-more-men-than-it-seems-should-be possible, but always mainly one-at-a-time fight. 

As you show not only your fighting skills, but also your stunt abilities and extensive choreography of multiple fights, it's serious and silly all at the same time.  What is obvious, though, is that it not only took a whole lot of energy, it must have taken a good bit of practice as well.  Your ensemble of fighters each has their opportunity to show their skills.  You exceed here at getting beat up, but you keep going, tireless.  I couldn't begin to tell you all the different styles you pay homage to, but I see a little Thai elbow here and there. The fights have quite a bit of drama considering the suspension of disbelief is not an option :D.  We disbelieve, but we are loving it anyway.  I noticed you look at the cameraman a few times when fighting as if to check that he got that scene. She/he deserves a lot of credit as well. It's amazing to me in this scene, with all that you have done and how long it must have taken to film, that you keep a sense of continuity.  I love what you choose to show and what you do not.  The pipe death at the end was an inspired bit of lunacy (couldn't help but think of Universal Soldier: Regeneration).
 

FUN WITH FIRE AND NINJA BOWLING
Just how much ass whopping can one man take or dish out?  In true Action Movie form, you have progressed you way through various weapons and levels of fighting to face the Big Boss in the finale, including beating your way through his assistant, who, for the character, is surprisingly skilled. After he runs away, you face even more ninjas (with flame throwers) and a couple more henchmen.  Loved the stick through the head and the ninja bowling.  Wished that scene was a little bit longer.  Just when we think you're through, Wilmer Valderrama and John Belushi show up ;)  This is the only tiny thing in the movie that seemed a little strange to me. This fire work. Did Belushi talk you into putting it in?  It looked cool but the transition from the assistant running away to that seemed like it sidetracked the movie just a bit before you got to the Billy Duke scene.
 

BILLY DUKE
This scene is made, not only by the lovely ladies, but by the music.  It seemed like the girls were shot without all the men in white shirts being there and then it was put together. That's kind of sweet.   The dance was nicely done and a welcome break from the frenzied sound effects and fighting. 

Well, so much for the ninja disguise. I thought they had already killed the last  ninja anyway.  I had a hard time understanding the dialogue in the bathroom, but you swing it into overdrive again as you take out another whole group of men.  Love how you did the Bruce Li stomp on the throat kill from Enter The Dragon and the crotch punch from ?


T & A
Just how much ass whopping can one man take or dish out?  In true Action Movie form, you have progressed you way through hoardes of challengers and then when the ladies come along, whoops, you have to fight them too.  Working the spanking in was very clever. Never seen that before. 
 

"TOO SKILLED"
The final fight was really good. There was a big variety of moves and I liked when you sped it up at times.  It gave it more impact.  Too skilled is what you are to stay small time for long.  So, bad ass, please let me know what you think of what I wrote.

Best Wishes,

ripley@actionmoviefreak.com

 


P.S. If you decide you want to go into stunt work, (rather than directing or acting) my advice would be to try to contact Larnell Stovall.  I don't know if you can come to the States, but he said accepts apprentices based on a tapes that are sent to him.  At Actionfest 2011, both he and Michael Jai White's comment about BREAKING INTO THE STUNT INDUSTRY was that it was difficult.  You have to pay your dues and then you get noticed for what you've done. I'd say this movie will get you noticed.  Larnell said he's a voracious researcher and web hunter and looks for inspiration from multiple sources:  He reads comic books, looks at video games, Animae, and YouTube, and he recommended everyone to find him on Facebook and twitter.  He was very forthcoming with advice and suggested people make a YouTube video to demonstrate what they can do. He even said they could email him.  I think you've gone way beyond that! Anyone would be impressed.

 


LARNELL STOVALL