My Brother and Me

By Jake Appleman

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.)

I’d bet that both films, based on the projects and the people involved, are quality pictures. Beautiful Ohio boasts a stellar cast, intriguing story lines and a semi-famous director. Meanwhile, Teeth delves into the realm of the vagina dentata myth. And come on, how the fuck–gruesome pun intended–isn’t that fascinating?

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.

It’s been great to grow up with an actor. Pretty soon, I’m going to get really creative around these parts. You might even hear some impressions. Any impressions I do come in part from learning listening to Hale all these years.

Anyway, I’m here in Denver on assignment and he’s nearby in Park City, but I won’t be able to check out Teeth just yet. If you’ve seen either movie, holla at me and give me a review. Eventually, Omar will have to see Teeth because that will be the most gangsta review of all-time.

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

Believe it.