IMDb > The Art of Pain (2008)
The Art of Pain
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The Art of Pain (2008) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 2)
The Art of Pain -- A starving artist working at a movie theater finds inspiration when an amateur ninja sets out to destroy his life. WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD-Sunscreen Film Festival, WINNER BEST FEATURE COMEDY-Route 66 Film Festival and many more!
The Art of Pain -- Nick (Greg Brookens) describes his idea for a Skunk Ape themed comic book to Jack (Anders Erickson).  Illustration by Jacob Elijah Hallinen. Animated by


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Matt Brookens (written by)
Great art comes from great pain. See more »
A lazy painter learns that great art comes from pain as his life is ruined by a ninja. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Sadism has never been funnier. See more (13 total) »


Marshall Bean ... Peppito
Lauren Ashley Bishop ... Sharon (as Lauren Bishop)
Greg Brookens ... Nick
Danielle Brothers ... Martha Russell
Dale Chapman ... Nick's father
Wesley Chu ... Lead ninja

Keith Compton ... Fratty McFrat
Anders Erickson ... Jack
Elliott Fredland ... Rex
Kiel Frieden ... Shoved theater patron
Nihilist Gelo ... Marcus (as J. Scott)
Jake Hames ... Charlie
Patrick Higgs ... Brother Francis
Arvin Jalandoon ... Nobu

Lloyd Kaufman ... George Romano

Leena Kurishingal ... Stacey
John LaFlamboy ... Marcus

Mike McNamara ... Swank McShiny

Joyce Porter ... Mary
Vicky Strei ... School Marm
Meiko Taylor ... Cindy McSweeny
Mindy Turano ... Betty the Bartender (as Mindy Youroukos)

John Turk ... McKracken
Chad Wheeler ... Shopkeep

Directed by
Matt Brookens 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Matt Brookens  written by

Produced by
Matthew M. Jones .... producer
Original Music by
Steve Kiefer 
Cinematography by
Daniel Kenji Levin 
Makeup Department
Amber Blasco .... makeup department head
Brad Sauper .... special makeup effects artist
Sound Department
Mitchell Logan .... sound recordist
Brian Magrum .... sound designer
Camera and Electrical Department
Jordan Balderas .... grip
Westley Gathright .... electrician
Nathan Gregory .... grip
Logan Groover .... grip
Tim Ryan .... gaffer
Alyssa Soetebier .... electrician
Animation Department
Jose Fonseca .... animator
Jacob Elijah Hallinen .... layout artist

Production Companies

Additional Details

USA:88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The movie theater where The Art of Pain was shot at is the historic Landmark at the Century Mall. The director, Matt Brookens, wrote the screenplay while working there as an usher. "I always wanted to see what would happen if somebody were to fall off that ledge in the middle of the mall," states Brookens. "I finally got to throw someone off in the film!"See more »
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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Sadism has never been funnier., 13 January 2009
Author: clarisnl_03 from United States

Inspiration is a coy mistress. Many an artist has grappled with her elusive nature through the ages to achieve greatness. And while muses and narcotics have come to the aid of some struggling for the creative impulse, "The Art of Pain" reveals a more reliable method: absolute devastation, courtesy of a rampant ninja.

Hot off of winning the Audience Award last spring at the Sunscreen Film Festival, Chicagoan writer/director Matt Brookens's "The Art of Pain" follows the mission of Marcus (John LaFlamboy), a greaser ninja desperate to win the approval of his demanding sensei (Arvin Jalandoon) and, consequently, his black belt. Marcus is told he lacks creativity and distinction, which he decides to remedy by exploiting the same qualities in someone else.

After gaining employment at a multiplex, Marcus recognizes his new coworker Jack (Anders Erickson) from high school. Back then, Jack was an avid painter, but Marcus can see that the complacency born of his job and his pretty girlfriend Sharon (Lauren Bishop) are stifling his potential. The combination of an informative run-in with George Romano (actually played by Lloyd Kaufman of the "Toxic Avenger" series), and a drug-fueled trip that brings the zombie metaphor to life, lead Marcus to hatch a pain-inflicting plan.

By systematically destroying Jack's sparse but content existence, Marcus hopes to wrench emotive paintings from him that will land him a contract to produce a mural for a new high rise. Jack's masterpieces would thus make Marcus a winner, apparently in accordance with the distributive property. His first step in releasing Jack's untapped talent is to start tapping his girlfriend, which leads to a hilarious public falling out between the lovers as well as an artistic awakening. And Marcus's tactics only get more brutal from there.

Centering as it does on artistic impulses and the creative brain, "The Art of Pain" intuitively manifests this world in the relationship between Jack and his geeky best friend Nick (Greg Brookens). As the pair brainstorm about a comic they're making together featuring the mythological Skunk Ape, animated characters spill across the screen. Additionally, their shared visualization of the great beyond and even their commonplace conversations teem with the originality that Marcus covets.

Meanwhile, Marcus inhabits a completely different universe from his coworkers. Ample showdowns with his sensei and fellow students take place in Chicago, but they achieve the imperial kung fu vibe. This is mainly thanks to the actors' expert handling of the fight choreography, which often includes authentic weaponry. Marcus's appearance at the mundane movie theatre is thereby initially hard to fathom, but later on, his guerilla attacks profit from his eccentric image.

"The Art of Pain" is built on a sadistic premise, but it's great fun watching it unfold. Characters like Peppito the perverted projectionist (Marshall Bean) and Charlie the effete manager (Jake Hames) pepper the theatre scenes, threatening to steal several of them. Also riotous to behold is the sheer number of ways someone can get his ass kicked; new weapons are literally invented for the cause.

With an alchemized mixture of gore and jest, "The Art of Pain" has the ability to gag, slay, and -- above all -- entertain.

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Right Title larry-gold
Art of Pain received 5 stars from Film Threat! findmac
The Art of Pain Wins Audience Award @ Sunscreen Film Fest zabbazabba
Watched this at AOF Festival solasta
Chicago Premiere at the Music Box beezwax
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