IMDb > Lovely by Surprise (2007)

Lovely by Surprise (2007) More at IMDbPro »


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Plot:
A truly unique and visually stunning take on meta-fiction, Lovely By Surprise follows the journey of novelist Marian Walker as she attempts to finish her first novel. | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
(9 articles)
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User Reviews:
Lovely, dark, and deep See more (7 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Carrie Preston ... Marian

Michael Chernus ... Humkin

Austin Pendleton ... Jackson

Dallas Roberts ... Mopekey

Reg Rogers ... Bob

Kate Burton ... Helen

Richard Masur ... Dave
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jimmy Crothswait ... Milkman

Glenn Fitzgerald ... Customer #2

Boyd Gaines ... Customer #1
Ron Gephart ... Car Salesman
Angel Gunn ... Mimi's Teacher

Jonathon Lamer ... Car Salesman
Lena Lamer ... Mimi
Donald Meyers ... Customer in Car

Jason Perry ... Car Salesman
Wink Rush ... Car Salesman
Markus Seaberry ... Diner Patron
Arnita Williams ... Diner Patron
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Directed by
Kirt Gunn 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Kirt Gunn 

Produced by
Jake Abraham .... producer
Kirt Gunn .... producer
Michael Hilliard .... producer
Jon Kamen .... executive producer
Marco Londoner .... producer
Frank Scherma .... executive producer
Justin Wilkes .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Shelby Bryant 
 
Cinematography by
Steve Yedlin (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Jim Helton 
 
Casting by
Will Cantler 
Bernard Telsey 
David Vaccari 
 
Production Design by
Timothy Whidbee 
 
Art Direction by
Jeanelle Marie 
 
Set Decoration by
Eric Brice Swartz  (as Eric Swartz)
 
Costume Design by
Eden Miller 
 
Makeup Department
Leilani Bacon .... second makeup
Janice Byrd .... key hair stylist
Elizabeth Harris .... key makeup artist
Cherie Holly .... additional hair stylist
LeDiedra Richard-Baldwin .... additional makeup artist
 
Production Management
Zhana Londoner .... production supervisor (as Zhana Kushnir)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nicholas Owen Langholff .... first assistant director
Peter J. Olsen .... second second assistant director
Robert Saba .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Aaron Dale .... carpenter
Aaron Dale .... construction coordinator
Will E. Drummond .... carpenter
Frank Gray III .... property master
Victor Halters .... carpenter
Ronny Kent .... painter
Jake Meeks .... prop assistant
Eric Brice Swartz .... set dresser (as Eric Swartz)
 
Sound Department
Gioia Birkett-Foa .... boom operator
Shaun Brennan .... foley artist
Benjamin Cheah .... sound designer
Benjamin Cheah .... supervising sound editor
Gerald Donlan .... dialogue editor
Dan Flosdorf .... additional audio recordist
Anton Gold .... sound mixer
Jim Helton .... sound designer
Joshua L. Pearson .... additional sound effects
Matt Snedecor .... foley recordist
Gregg Swiatlowski .... assistant sound editor
Peter Waggoner .... sound re-recording mixer
 
Visual Effects by
Peter Heady .... digital effects artist
Markus Janner .... digital opticals
Alex Shum .... digital opticals
 
Stunts
Mitch Herron .... stuntman
Max Maxwell .... stunt coordinator
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Budd .... grip
Trey Clark .... still photographer
Christopher Crowther .... electrician
Robert Duke .... key grip
Christian Hawkins .... best boy
Gray Hemphill .... additional loader
Josh Malloy .... electrician
Ryan McCoy .... gaffer
Trevor Doyle Nelson .... film loader (as Trevor Nelson)
Nicholas Ross .... grip
Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury .... second assistant camera
Ernie Wann .... best boy grip
Wade Whitley .... first assistant camera
 
Casting Department
Forrest Pruett .... extras casting
Sarah Tackett .... local casting
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Meriwether Nichols .... wardrobe supervisor
Marissa Pincus .... wardrobe intern (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Cy Christiansen .... assistant editor
Nick Dibeneditto .... negative cutter
John Dowdell .... digital intermediate colorist
Peter Heady .... digital intermediate finishing artist
Jean Lane .... digital intermediate producer
Joshua L. Pearson .... additional editor
David Pultz .... color timer
Tim Spitzer .... digital intermediate supervisor
 
Transportation Department
Monte Emery .... driver
Wende Martin .... transportation captain
Steve Moffit .... transportation coordinator
Hall Prewitt .... picture car coordinator
 
Other crew
Sharon Bicks .... production coordinator
Nalla Black .... intern
Alex Borys .... location manager
Andrew Cesana .... script supervisor
Jayson Dancy .... stand-in
James Denham .... production assistant
Noah Derks .... production assistant
Hugh Edwards .... world sales agent
Ben Feldman .... production legal services
Sarah Fleming .... key production assistant
E.J. Friedman .... production assistant
Shellie Gillespie .... accountant
Shelly Gillette .... location assistant
Cesar Mylo Hernandez .... technician: Arriscan
Erik Morrison .... production assistant
Cort Percer .... assistant production coordinator
Benjamin Rednour .... production assistant
John R. Whitehead .... assistant location manager
Learyn Wilde .... stand-in
 

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Additional Details

Runtime:
98 min
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Did You Know?

Trivia:
Austin Pendleton was offered the role of Bob but asked to audition for Jackson after Frank Langella turned it down.See more »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Lovely, dark, and deep, 7 June 2009
Author: Dan Franzen (dfranzen70) from United States

In this stunning, offbeat film, an aspiring novelist tries to kill off her protagonist - on the advice of her ex-lover/professor - with real-world repercussions. Meanwhile, an unstable car salesman tries to cope with the death of his wife and the subsequent silent treatment of his young daughter. The two story lines dovetail in and out of each other’s orbit nicely, with the result a movie that’s at turns joyous and devastating.

Marian (Carrie Preston) has written a book that has little plot and no conflict, so her mentor (Auston Pendleton) suggests she create some by killing off a main character. But doing this triggers a whole mess of complications, not the least of which is that the character somehow cheats death and winds up in the same world as Marian, albeit wandering around in his tighty whities. Bob the car salesman (Reg Rogers) is gamely trying to keep his act together, as well as his job, while also trying to connect with his daughter Mimi (Lena Lamer), who has not spoken since her mother died.

Going into the plot in any more detail might give away key points that are best savored as they occur, so I’ll stop right there. Let’s talk about the cast. Preston is outstanding as the novice writer, desperately trying to write herself out of a corner. She wants very badly to succeed, but she’s hesitant about such an extreme solution. I thought Preston showed just the right combination of spunk, cleverness, and vulnerability. Her equal is Rogers as the not-all-there Bob. Rogers is so good, you’re not sure if he’s intentionally trying to be strange or is simply overacting. It’s the former - Bob’s own vulnerability is masked by a veneer of unfounded optimism, and his boss (Richard Masur), who’s given Bob many chances to succeed, is nearing the end of his rope. Bob’s problem is that he’s just not a conventional salesman; instead of selling cars, Bob tells his customers to go home and spend time with their families. He’s sort of an existential salesman, if anything, and Rogers is commanding and believable in a difficult role.

Oh, but that ain’t all. The supposed-to-be-killed-off protagonist, Humkin (Michael Chernus) is a man-child who has lived (in the unfinished book) with his arrested-development brother for years on a landlocked boat, subsisting on milk and cereal and speaking in curiously appealing, innocent speech. Humkin somehow makes it to the real world, where his affable personality serves him quite well. Again, just what Humkin does in the so-called real world isn’t something that should be revealed here. But the point is that Chernus is a sheer, buoyant delight in what’s an award-caliber performance.

Lovely by Surprise is really a sweet film, but it can be tough to watch at time. It can’t really be pigeonholed as a comedy or a drama, although there are some laugh-out-loud moments. The brilliant characterizations (by writer-director Kirt Gunn), fully realized by a capable cast, elevate this from a mere slice-of-life art-house film to a solid, heart-breaking masterpiece.

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