“I Heart Shakey” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]


To celebrate the release of “I Heart Shakey”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 4 copies of the film on DVD. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite animal-themed film. This giveaway will be open until September 14th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Synopsis: Single father J.T. and his precocious daughter Chandler move from a small town to Chicago with their lovable family mutt Shakey. After missing the fine print in their rental contract, J.T. is forced to find Shakey a new home. Chandler hatches a plan to keep Shakey and teach J.T. a valuable lesson about loyalty and the importance of keeping family together.

The film stars Steve Lemme, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo and is directed by Kevin Cooper.


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Beverly D’Angelo Talks about “I Heart Shakey” and “Vacation” reboot

Mike G and I get asked a lot of questions when we talk to people about our site. The main one: “How much money do you make?” The answer…not a dime. Usually the next question is “Why do you do it then?” There are plenty of good answers but the one I give the most is that sometimes, when the planets align themselves just right, you’ll get to talk with someone that you really admire. This week that someone was Ms. Beverly D’Angelo.

I first spotted her in Clint Eastwood’s “Every Which Way But Loose,” where she played the very lovely Echo (“what’s you name?” Echo. “What? “ECHO!”). But it was her next film, the musical “Hair,” where I was smitten. I could see why John Savage’s Claude Bukowski would go to the ends of the earth to be near her. She followed up “Hair” with a stunning portrayal of Patsy Cline in the Oscar winning “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” In the three-plus decades since she has carved out a career as diverse as any actress of her generation. From comedies like “Paternity” and, of course, the four “Vacation” films to dramas as powerful as “American History X” and the television presentation of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Ms. D’Angelo has continued to grow as an artist.

“You made me join the Army,” I tell her over the phone. When she asks why I tell her it’s because I wanted to find my own Sheila, which makes her laugh. We then talk about her latest film, “I Heart Shakey,” her music and the latest on the (possible) next chapter in the “Vacation” series.

MIKE SMITH: What attracted you to “I Heart Shakey?”
BEVERLY D’ANGELO: The story. I’m a mother and I love family entertainment. It’s a very sweet story with great values.

MS: What can you tell us about your character?
BD: I’m one of the baddies. The family has to check Shakey into a dog hotel. But it turns out that, even though the facade of the hotel is quite fancy, I stick him into what is almost like a back storage area…from which he promptly escapes!

MS: You did a few musical parts early in your career, including “HAIR” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Did you ever give thought to recording and releasing an album?
BD: I did have an album deal in the 80s. There was a time when the music industry didn’t regard actresses as someone that could have a successful recording career. It was an entirely different approach. They wanted singers who had a very definable identity and of course, being an actress, you don’t really want to be labeled as one persona so strongly. I had a deal with A & M. I recorded it, didn’t like it and was very blasé’ and decided I wouldn’t release it. Of course now that I’m older I say to myself, “was I an idiot.” (laughs) A lot of the recordings I’m on are all soundtracks. I’m on the soundtrack of a movie I was in called “In the Mood.” I sang “Stardust” in a film that Neil Jordan wrote for me called “The Miracle.” I’ve written source music for films and television…a guy walks into a bar and the song is what’s on the jukebox. I wrote the song I sang on“The Simpsons”…”Finally Bagged Me a Homer.” And there is some stuff on YouTube of me singing at the Viper Room. But as far as being able to say, “Here’s my CD, go buy it now,” nope…don’t have it.

MS: You’ve done all kinds of films…comedies, musicals, dramas. Do you have a preference?
BD: I approach everything the same way, whether it’s a comedy or a drama, as far as what I do as an actress to prepare. The genre’ doesn’t make that much difference as to what I do to prepare. You enter a certain kind of state of mind for each project that you do. Hopefully you can sync yourself up stylistically to the script, the director and, most importantly, the actors that you’re working with.

MS: When we know we’re going to talk to someone we often ask our readers to submit a question they’d like to ask. And the majority want to know if there’s another “Vacation” film in your future?
BD: (laughs) There is a company that is doing a remake…they’re calling it a re-boot. There have been a few articles out discussing a re-boot which would feature Rusty, now in his forties, taking his family across the country to Wally World. There has been a lot of flirting in the press with the producers saying, “we have a role for Chevy andBeverly…we really hope to get them on board,” but Chevy and I agree that they’re going to have to come to us. Chevy and I want to work together. We want to do something.

MS: What do you have coming up?
BD: I’m starting a film called “The Bounty Killers.” It’s a post-apocalyptic look at the future where the media stars and cultural stars are the Bounty Killers who systematically hunt down and get rid of the CEOs that have caused the demise of the economy and culture. And in January I’m doing a film called “The Arranged Marriage of Moonbeam,” which is based on the life of the film’s writer/director (Mollie Englehart). If you can imagine “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” but here the family is a communal one. Here the young woman is a lawyer who can’t seem to find a husband so she returns to where she grew up, where her mother decides that the best marriage is an arranged one.

“I Heart Shakey” Prize Pack Giveaway [ENDED]


To celebrate the release of “I Heart Shakey” in theaters and on video-on-demand, Media Mikes would like to giveaway the fantastic prize pack of goodies. If you would like to win these great prizes including includes a poster, water bottle, bracelet, rings, stickers and more “I Heart Shakey” merchandise, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite family film. This giveaway will be open until Friday July 13th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out four winners and alert the winners via email.

Plot Outline I Heart Shakey is a family film about a 35-year-old widower named J.T. O’Neil, his precocious 10-year-old daughter and their devoted mutt Shakey. After moving from a small town to Chicago and missing the fine print in their rental contract, J.T. is forced to try and get rid of his loveable pooch. Shakey and Chandler won’t have it and hatch a plan to keep Shakey and teach J.T. a valuable lesson about loyalty and the importance of keeping family together….
Starring Steve Lemme, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Alfonso Arau, Rylie Behr

Directed By Kevin Cooper

Be sure to follow “Shakey” on Facebook and Twitter

Film Review “I Heart Shakey”

Directed by: Kevin Cooper
Starring: Steve Lemme, Beverly D’Angelo, Steve Guttenberg, Alfonso Arau, Philippe Brenninkmeyer, Rylie Behr
Distributed by: Amarock Productions
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 103 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to family films, they usually hit or miss and usually have no appeal to adults at all. “I Heart Shakey” really brings a little bit for everyone. It has zany over-the-top comedy put still packs a great heart. This film was made on a low-budget and even shot 3D in fact (reviewed 2D here), but it really delivers a lot of entertainment for the whole family.

The film follows J.T. O’Neil, his daughter and their dog Shakey. After moving from a small town to Chicago to pursue his dream job. Though they are forced to get rid of their dog due to bylaws in their rental contract. Of course things don’t work out the way they planned and they realize a valuable lesson about loyalty and the importance of keeping family together.

Steve Lemme gets a chance to shine in this film. He really brings the funny as well as the sweet side of him. It is a real 360 degree turn from his work with Broken Lizard. but a great turn. Philippe Brenninkmeyer, who has worked with Steve and Broken Lizard prior, is absolutely hilarious as Mattias Ober. Beverly D’Angelo and Steve Guttenberg have small roles but are also very funny, especially Guttenberg! Lastly, Rylie Behr really lands her heart as Chandler O’Neil.

I love how they incorporate animated sequences into the film, they are really cute and allow the film to go where the budget won’t allow them. Kevin Cooper, who has worked with James Cameron and Michael Bay, is stepping up to the director’s chair for the first time and really nails his efforts. I really even enjoyed the little extras aspects of this film like added sound effects like twinkling fingers, which adds whimsy to the film.

If you and your family are looking for a simple yet fun film, I would make sure to check out “I Heart Shakey” for a good time. Also fans of Broken Lizard, keep an ear out during the scene when Lemme is driving a Lamborghini!! Who wants a mustache ride?! Check out the film’s official website for more details on where you can see this film, now in theaters and it is available now on video-on-demand. Help support good independent films!


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Kevin Cooper talks about directing “I Heart Shakey”

Kevin Cooper has worked various jobs in Hollywood and has lent his talents to such films as “Armageddon” and “Secondhand Lions.” A Midwest boy at heart, after graduating from NYU Cooper made his way west, working his way through the ranks of both independent film making and the studio system. Cooper recently got behind the camera, writing and directing the new family film, “I Heart Shakey.” The film is currently available via Video on Demand and will open in theatres nationwide later this month. Kevin took a few moments out of his schedule to talk about his new film with Media Mikes:

Michael Smith: You’ve worked on many films in many various roles yet this is the first time you’ve added writer and director to your resume’. What made you decide to take on this film at this time?
Kevin Cooper: I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’m always looking for something “new” to attempt. My wife, who ended up producing the film, and I were talking one night and we said to ourselves, “we know how to make movies…we have relationships with distributors and talent…what’s stopping US?” And we decided that if we were going to go into the battle we should focus on a subject that means something to us. And this film is ultimately about loyalty…about family. So we chose to pursue this project. It had been sitting around for a long time. In a way it’s loosely based on my life. I graduated from NYU film school, which is where I met Steve Lemme. I moved to L.A. When I got there I rented an apartment. And only after I had been there for a week did I learn that I would be able to keep my dog. So the film brought up a real challenge. What do you do when you have to get rid of your dog…to in a way tear your family apart? Of course I had just got to Hollywood so I thought, “Shit, I’ll just give away the dog!” But every time I gave the dog away to a prospective owner….basically the next day they were calling me and saying “come get your dog…he’s way too rambunctious for me!” He was such a fun and crazy dog. And ultimately, after about three or four months, I realized that the dog wants to stay with ME. And it was really one of those life lessons about loyalty. So that inspired a really early first draft. But the project just sat there. I wasn’t really a development guy, I was a studio guy. I was constantly working on other peoples projects. So when I got back to the Midwest I decided to find a project that’s personal…one we could dive into. My directing work had been in comedy. When I lived in New York I directed and produced all of Broken Lizards early sketches. They had a live show in New York City and between sketches, when they had to set up different props or change wardrobe, my video sketches would play while they did their changes. And the film is also a great way to come back together with friends. With dear friends, actually. I mean they came up with “Super Troopers” on the way to my wedding! We go way back, those guys and I.

MS: Why did you decide to add the extra burden of shooting in 3D to your first feature?
KC: (laughs) That’s a great question. One of the things we knew early on was that, for the film to succeed, we had to give ourselves every advantage. It was less about how the audience would receive it and more about our perception of where 3D was headed. I ran James Cameron’s company for six years and some of my best friends are technologists and industry leaders. Now for 100 years the industry has really kept people like you and me out. You really had to be a wealthy guy or come from money…you had to have some kind of connection generally speaking. Nepotism ran rampant in this industry for many, many years. But our production budget was $235,000. And we asked how much it would cost to use 3D. We found a camera house here in Chicago that was willing to foot the bill for it so it didn’t really cost us a ton more…at least not in production. In post it did end up costing us a little bit more money. I explored what it meant, artistically, to make a film in 3D. And it really opens up new worlds and frontiers. Hollywood is such a competitive place. We thought why just do a regular film…why not give yourself every advantage you can? It was important for us to know that we were out front like that. Some of our best friends are indie filmmakers. And I would say that seven or eight out of ten of them don’t get their feature films distributed. So our idea was to do everything we could to make this film appealing. That was our thinking. And once you’ve committed to that you really have no choice. When you grasp onto technology there is really no backing out. Our distributor is very committed to the film. They’d put it out in 2D. But they’re very committed to putting it out in 3D. And you ask about the difficulty of working with 3D…you can say the same thing about working with dogs…working with kids. I teach film at Columbia and I was sort of breaking all of the rules (laughs).

MS: Ironically my next question was: was it difficult to work with the animals?
KC: It was hard! (laughs) There’s a great supplemental bit on the DVD for “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” where they talk about how they rescued all the dogs. It seemed very logical and possible that we could do the same thing here in Chicago with one dog. So we found a rescue dog and trained with him for months. And it just didn’t work. We ended up having to call all over the United States. And eventually we ended up with a dog that was pretty good. Most films use a purebreed dog because it’s easier to find a double. But I wanted to use a mutt. We found a double but he was hard to work with. I would say that animals in general take a lot more time. In some cases we didn’t get all the things we wanted the dog to do. One thing I’m proud of is we came up with ways to further some of the sequences in the film with animation…almost like a representation of the girl’s imagination. Originally it was just a crutch but when we tested the film we found that our target audience loved the animation! It’s interesting how what appeared to be one of our problems turned into one of our strengths.

MS: You have a very solid cast, including Steve Lemme, Steve Guttenberg and Beverly D’Angelo. How did you get them interested in the project?
KC: Hollywood is a funny business. My first job out of college was working at CAA (the Creative Artist Agency). One of my best friends is now running the Motion Picture Talent Department at CAA. Not that he helped me get the cast…it’s just that Hollywood is a very small place. You know everybody one person removed if you’ve been there a few years. And it’s important to understand the mentality behind the talent agent. So a guy like Guttenberg…he wants to get paid. He wasn’t paid a lot but he got paid. Three days of work for several thousand bucks. You make him an offer. “Hey, do you want to come out here for three days?” And he’s also a big fan of Steve Lemme and Broken Lizard, so that helped. And having Steve involved…he doesn’t have a huge fan base but the fan base he does have is very loyal to him. In certain circles he’s a major rock star! If you’re a 45 year old lady you’ve probably never heard of him. But if you’re a 22 year old guy, you’ve probably memorized all of his lines from his films. So having Steve on board was definitely an asset to the project. And then we got Alfonso Arau. Now maybe he doesn’t have a lot of fans but he lent a certain level of legitimacy to the project. He directed films like “Like Water for Chocolate.” And his comic role in “The Three Amigos”…El Guapo…you won’t find a comedian who doesn’t consider that performance one of the top five or top ten…everybody loves that role. We didn’t get a “Prometheus” size push with the talent involved but, like a said, for under a half-million bucks…it was enough to get the investors to support the film. So it certainly helps to know the psychology behind a Hollywood talent agent.

MS: So, in a sense, making this film was your own El Guapo?”
KC: (laughing) Exactly! You know it, man. It was a plethora of fun and problems all at the same time.

MS: Finally, once the film is released and behind you, what are you working on next?
KC: I’m working on a project with Steve Lemme called “My Sky.” It’s a script written by Alex Torres and it’s about a guy with Tourette Syndrome. It’s a very different tone…in the vein of “Awakenings.” It’s something that we can really control the tone of…we can dig in deep and roll up our sleeves. I don’t know if you were suggesting this earlier or not but, if you were, you were right on the money. Making a film with all these attributes…3D and kids and dogs…are definitely harder for sure. Unless I have a lot more money I’m not going to be doing that kind of film for a long time. Not so much that I needed money…it’s just that you need more shooting days…you can acquire more takes. “My Sky” is such a gem of a script that we want to do it justice. A lot of people have said to Steve, “you’re sort of this generation’s ‘Cheech and Chong, what with his films with “Broken Lizard.” But it will give us a chance to make a film that’s really cool.

MS: Thank you for your time.
KC: It was a pleasure to talk with you. I should also add you have a very neat site. I think it’s awesome. You guys do a really great job of working in and outside of the systems. Keep up the good work!


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Steve Lemme talks Broken Lizard, new film “I Heart Shakey” and comedy tour with Kevin Heffernan

Steve Lemme is known best for being a member of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard.  He has co-star in “Super Troopers”, “Beerfest” and “Club Dread”.  He is taking the lead role in the upcoming 3D family film “I Heart Shakey”.  Steve is also currently touring comedy clubs with Broken Lizard co-member Kevin Heffernan.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Steve about his new film and also his current comedy tour.

Mike Gencarelli: “I Heart Shakey” looks like sweet family film and a sharp right turn from your work with Broken Lizard, what did you enjoy most about it?
Steve Lemme: Actually, I can honestly say it was the best acting experience I have had. When we made the Broken Lizard films, it’s been an ensemble. Right off the bat, we got to the set and I got to rehearsals and realized I had 90 pages of disalogue to learn. Suddenly I had a much greater responsible because I was “the guy”. It then became aware to me that I would be acting with only a 9-year old girl and a dog. The conversation I had with the director was that I was going to have to be pillar of strength and experience here. In someway, I think I grew up a little bit. With the Broken Lizard movies, you always have to be improving and acting on your toes. I think you have to be more so with this film. You find yourself right in the middle of your lines and all of the sudden the dog pulls you off in a different direction. You have to put a greater amount of focus into this. It is also harder not to do comedy certain times. Overall it was just a great experience.

MG: As a new parent yourself, did that contribute to your playing J.T. O’Neil?
SL: The truth is we did the movie before my baby was born or my wife was pregnant. So some people have said that this experience gave me the desire to be a dad…and I wouldn’t deny it. The girl that play my daughter in the film, Riley, after a week or two I became very naturally protective of her. We were spending 14 hours a day together and we bonded. So the running joke is she made me want to be a dad.

MG: You’ve known director Kevin Cooper since college and collaborated with Broken Lizard, how was it reuniting?
SL: We met when he was in NYU film school and Broken Lizard has just started. I acted in his first two student films. He went to Hollywood then and worked for Michael Bay and Jim Cameron. He then moved back to Chicago and became a professor of film production at Columbia College. When we were kids we always talked about making our careers about working together and makings tons of movies together. We just bonded in that way. He called me up a few years ago and sent me the script for “Shakey” and asked me to play the lead. It is a kids movie and so far from the stuff I have done. Overall it was a great experience for me and also a challenge. It was a low-budget feature being shot in 3D and with a dog.

MG: How was it shooting your first film in 3D?
SL: I had mixed feeling about it honestly. In terms of the distribution of the film, since 3Dmovies are so popular right now. But what we are finding it is actually hindering our distribution. Then people are thinking to themselves it was going to cost much more to market and cost the audience more as well. You are then going to be competing with the Pixar movies for 3D screens and be bumped in a heartbeat. On a shoestring budget, shooting 3D is such a time constraint. You are really at the mercy of the 3D cameras.

MG: Was it exciting to work 80’s legends Steven Guttenberg and Beverly D’Angelo?
SL: Well I only got to work with Beverly for one day. In the film her character and my character don’t get along, she doesn’t like me. So I think she was a method actor…so in between takes she would just sort of glare at me [laughs]. So I didn’t enjoy my day with Beverly very much. But Guttenberg and I, we had a great time shooting together. We are both very immature guys. He was in “Police Academy” movies and I was in “Super Troopers”. We really had a blast working together.

MG: You also reunite in this film with Philippe Brenninkmeyer from “Super Troopers”; planned or not?
SL: They were looking for local German actor, who has a good sense of humor. I told them I knew a guy but they were going to have to bring him down from Los Angeles. He showed up on set and just nailed it. He is one of the best characters in the movie. Of course awesome to work with again.

MG: Tell us about your currently comedy tour with Kevin Heffernan?
SL: Broken Lizard started off as a stand-up comedy group. We wanted to do more of that with sketches and that culminated a few years ago with a Comedy Central special. Kevin and I decided afterwards that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more. The problem with the Broken Lizard tour is that we each only got like ten minutes of time. I felt I had a lot more to say and Kevin felt the same. Jay wanted to get back to directing TV. Paul was going off to direct a script he did. Eric was focusing on doing motivation speaking. Kevin and I decided to put together this show and have been touring for the last year and a half. We are going to shooting this show as well for a special during our stop in San Francisco. We are having a blast.

MG: What do you have planned next either solo or with Broken Lizard?
SL: Kevin and I have been writing a lot together. We just sold a show to NBC for us to act/write in. On the side, when the group is not together, Kevin and I have taken it up to write a new Broken Lizard script. Our agent is telling us we are going to hit every comedy club in the country. So after a year and a half, we still haven’t been to the same place twice. So we are just building our stand up reputation and really enjoying it.