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The John Hughes Effect

24 May, 2008 By: Billy Gil


Eric Stoltz in The Lather Effect


Ah, the morning after. Beer bottles strewn about place, strangers sleeping on the floor, the memories of a night's worth of bad decisions filling your aching head.

Such is the premise of The Lather Effect, writer/director Sarah Kelly's first feature film. The movie hits DVD May 27, at $26.97 from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

The film stars “Friday Night Lights’ Connie Britton as Valinda, who decides to reunite her high school crew for a “come as you were” party. The whole gang shows up, including the cool ex-boyfriend (William Mapother) and the wisecracking party guy (Eric Stoltz). However, with time comes baggage, and the aftermath of the party is tempered by dealing with old flames, marital woes and other thirtysomething complications.

“In part it was [inspired by] a real party I threw, sort of an '80s old school rager,” Kelly said, sounding not unlike Britton's Valinda. “But also the John Hughes movies and saying we needed another one.”

Stoltz, an '80s icon who hired Kelly as a production assistant in the '90s, and who served as an associate producer on The Lather Effect, agrees.

“I think it's definitely related to that genre, and not by accident, either,” Stoltz said. “I think Sarah and most of the actors have a great deal of affection for that kind of film.”

Besides trying to recreate the na?vet? of those films, The Lather Effect also employs the same kind of communal, party-time aspect of era films such as Fast Times as Ridgemont High.

“We had about a week of rehearsal. We all got together and walked around the house, worked out scenes, hung out in the back yard and really got to know each other,” Mapother said. “We all got along very well. We had a house instead of a trailer, and it was like a dormitory or fraternity.”

Kelly made sure to capture plenty of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans for the DVD's plentiful special features, which include a making-of featurette; a commentary with Kelly, Stoltz and editor Darren Ayres; “The Cameron Effect,” a featurette about Kelly's obsession with writer/director Cameron Crowe; and a featurette on being a production assistant — “The Importance of Being An Ernest PA.” Kelly created perhaps the mother of making-of featurettes with her well-received documentary on Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Till Dawn, entitled Full Tilt Boogie (available on the From Dusk Till Dawn: Dimension Collector's Series Special Edition DVD, from Disney and Dimension).

“I'm a big making-of kind of girl,” Kelly said. “The making-of is cool because it shows the real vibe on the set. It's almost hard to believe it was that awesome, but it really was. How great everyone got along is why the movie works.”

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