It’s Not About Dentists

By Jake Appleman

Today Teeth, which features my little brother, hits the big screen in New York and Los Angeles. I’m running a shortened version of the original post I wrote when the film hit Sundance, but I’d like to say a few things about Teeth before I get to that. After the film plays in NYC and LA this week, it will be released in select cities on the 25th: Boston, Denver, San Fran (3 different Bay Area spots), Seattle, Philly, Houston, Austin, DC, maybe a few others. If it does well, it will expand from there. So, for the love of SLAM (literally), go see the film.

I saw Teeth in late April for a special family and friends screening and I thought it was awesome. Now, obviously I’m biased, but that doesn’t change the fact that I thought it was awesome. Case in point: If I didn’t like it, I might have mentioned it, but not tried to promote it. Most of you that read this web site, and the actual magazine for that matter, know that I’m brutally honest, occasionally to fault. So when I tell you to see this movie, I’m not pulling your leg.

At the screening I sat behind Ang Lee. Ang Lee loved it. I’m pretty sure if he knew of it, Lee would have said that Teeth was so gully, it broke O’s gangsta scale with a 5.5 gangstas rating.

Multiple reviews have labeled the film’s young star, Jess Weixler, a younger Heather Graham. I’d say she’s a better actress, too–Weixler won best actress at Sundance for a reason. Now, if you like good acting and find Heather Graham attractive, you should definitely see this movie. Now, if only one of those holds true, you should still see the movie. If, for whatever reason, you’re not interested in either of those things, you probably suck and I can’t help you. Sorry.

Teeth has a real Little Miss Sunshiney feel to it. The LA Times said it makes Juno, which I loved, look tame. Despite its ridiculous premise, the film feels more genuine than most of the processed crap that Hollywood methodically churns out.

The film was bought by Harvey Weinstein. If you watch Entourage, you are hereby required to see Teeth.

Yes, there are parts of the film–pun intended–that will make you squirm. Get over it. The killers in the horror films that you may deify aren’t trying to kill you. The New York Post recently ran a story about a man that died by trying to drink alcohol through his bum, so as far as 2008 is concerned, Teeth isn’t all that gruesome.

And, as the rest of what I’m posting here illustrates, my brother is the man. If Sly was a brilliant versatile actor, I guess that would make me Frank Stallone. And I’m cool with that.

Without further adieu…

“My Brother and Me” (SLAMONLINE, JANUARY 19, 2007)

If I told you that Reggie Miller inadvertently helped my brother land his first film role, you probably wouldn’t believe me. If I told you that in part because of the opportunity generated by doing Reggie’s movie, my brother landed a role in another Indie film about a girl with teeth in her vagina, you probably wouldn’t believe me. And if I told you that the feminist horror/comedy about the girl with teeth in her vagina made it to Sundance, you definitely wouldn’t believe me.

Well, kids, life is unbelievable.

My brother heads out for Sundance this weekend, two days after turning 21, in part thanks to being cast in the first movie Reggie Miller ever produced, Beautiful Ohio. Small world, isn’t it? The legendary shooter with the checkered history with the very magazine I write for lends a life-altering hand (via his casting director) to SLAM family.

It goes like this: My brother left early into his sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon’s theatre conservatory after landing a role in Beautiful Ohio. During the spring of his year spent away from college, he landed a major role in Teeth. He went to celebrate Beautiful Ohio’s release this November at the AVI film festival in LA, his face actually briefly appearing for less than a second in a video on about Reggie walking the red carpet. He found out in December that Teeth unexpectedly made Sundance. (One of the best things about Teeth making Sundance has been that I’ve been able to call him “Sunny D”, mocking the old-school Sunny D commercials.)

A few words about my lil’ bro: The kid is freaking talented beyond belief. If any of you think anything remotely positive about me, trust, I’m the family runt. I have a laptop and sometimes I say shit. Hale (like the golfer) is prodigal with this acting thing. It started out when he was really young. He was born a month premature; in my family we joke that he popped out early because he had to get to an audition. By eight, he was fake crying his way into anything he wanted. I can’t tell you how many memories I have of my parents rushing downstairs to get an ice pack for him, only to come back upstairs and find him laughing his ass off because, again, we’d all been had. He attended the school for performing arts in NYC and starred in major productions his entire time there, which is like starting at Oak Hill as a freshman.

Good luck, bro. I’m sure you’ll make it big.

Believe it.