TCFF 2018 Indie Film Spotlight: LEZ BOMB & Interview w/ writer/director Jenna Laurenzo

Year after year, Twin Cities Film Fest supports women filmmakers, as well as LGBTQ-friendly films. Lez Bomb is written and directed by a woman, Jenna Laurenzo, who also stars in the film, talk about a triple threat! It’s also one of the few indie films playing at TCFF that gets an encore screening. Oh and if you read the interview below, there’s a connection between Jenna and TCFF’s opening night film, Green Book!

Our reviewer Holly Peterson deems Lez Bomb an absolute must-see…The writing is tight, funny, and relatable, and her direction is impressive. Plus it’s got quite a star-studded cast, the likes of Steve Guttenberg, Bruce Dern and Kevin Pollack!

A comedy about a young woman who struggles telling her overbearing mother that the friend she brought home for Thanksgiving is actually her girlfriend.

Review by Holly Peterson

Lez Bomb is a coming out story/comedy of errors about Lauren (Jenna Laurenzo) trying to tell her family that her friend Hailey (Caitlin Mehner) is actually her girlfriend. Unfortunately, Lauren’s parents (Deidre O’Connell and Kevin Pollak) are terrible listeners; the rest of her family is walking, talking chaos; and she’s chosen Thanksgiving as the appropriate moment to drop the “lez bomb”. Lauren tries and fails to be heard through the increasingly unbelievable chaos until she finally finds her moment. Or does she?

Overall, Laurenzo (also the writer and director) put together a great film. The writing is tight, funny, and relatable, and her direction is impressive. This is especially apparent in her direction of group scenes: the audience never loses the thread of the primary conversation or any of the witty one-liners (of which there are many), but the hubbub of the large group still plays naturally in the background.

The cast is subtly star-studded, which makes for a fun group viewing experience. You will constantly be nudging your movie buddy to whisper “HEY, ISN’T THAT ___ FROM ___?!” Aside from that simple pleasure, all of the actors are just good at what they do. Every actor got a fun character to dive into (except Jordyn DiNatale, whose role as a horny teenager escalated way past where it should have and Davram Stiefler, whose unabashed, unwelcome flirtation ruined an otherwise charming character) and everyone (yes, even Jordyn DiNatale and Davram Stiefler) made their characters come to life with a sense of hilarity, whimsy, and believability.

Caitlin Mehner & Jenna Laurenzo

Visually, this is a great film. The shooting style is mostly story-forward, but there are several beautifully shot moments as well. For instance, a perfectly framed close-up of her Lauren’s face when she sprawls out on a bed with her cellphone by her head and a stunning long shot where she walks in front of an ornate building wearing bright red and blue winter clothes.

The comedy of errors element to the script eventually gets out of hand and several scenes at the end of the film are played completely straight (no pun intended) despite the rest of the film being comedically driven. These two things made the end of the movie a little bit harder to track with than the beginning, but the movie is undoubtedly worth seeing regardless.

See it to laugh. See it to star-watch. See it to be glad that your family isn’t quite as dysfunctional as Lauren’s. But whatever you do, definitely see it.

Q&A with filmmaker Jenna Laurenzo

Interview questions courtesy of Holly Peterson

1. Is this movie at all based on real life? I feel like I have to ask when the lead character is named Lauren and your last name is Laurenzo. 

I can’t believe you are the first person to ask about the Lauren – Laurenzo connection! The original character’s name was “Katie.” I used the name Katie in the character I played in Girl Night Stand and had planned to carry it over in Lez Bomb. But when Girl Night Stand went viral and there was interest in potentially developing it as a show, Girl Night Stand became separate to Lez Bomb, and I had to changed my name in the script. Since everyone has always accidentally called me Lauren, because of my last name, I thought I would continue to encourage the confusion and just go with it for Lez Bomb. All that aside, yes, there is so much based on my real life in Lez Bomb. How much so? Depends on who is asking. If my family is asking, I say “loosely based upon…” ha!

2. What was the casting process like for this film? There are so many great actors involved! 

Mia Cusumano is my casting director and guardian angel. Her and Meghan Rafferty cast the film and they did a spectacular job. Mia has been my biggest teammate and support net from the beginning and her enthusiasm has helped drive this project home! In fact, she’s who got the script into our producer’s hands. We spoke endlessly about the family feeling familiar and the importance of the family chemistry and all those dysfunctional family comedy dynamics that would pop and help heighten the comedy. When Kevin Pollak first said yes, I near fell over in my seat. I rewatched The Usual Suspects before he called to get in the Kevin Pollak zone. When he said, “I’ll see you in a month running around the motel in the freezing cold” (that’s a script reference) I was so beyond grateful.

3. What was it like to write, direct, and star in your film? 

It was a lot of work, though I had an incredible support team. From the crew to the cast, there was endless support and collaboration. We had such a tight shooting schedule we had to be precise with every shot. I worked with my acting coach before stepping on set to make sure I knew where I was emotionally each moment, and this allowed the necessary time to focus on the directing. People always ask if I’d do it all again, and I generally say no. But, ask me again in a year when I’ve slept, and it might be a totally different story. I had the opportunity to act in Peter Farrelly’s Green Book which is also out this November. That was an amazing set to be on. In future projects the dream is to act in other’s pieces, and then direct my own scripts.

4. What do you hope people leave this film thinking and feeling? 

I want people leaving the theater on a high note, feeling uplifted, and hopefully with a greater scope of compassion and empathy, but also with a sore stomach from laughing. Can I hope for all that?

5. What was the best part of this process for you?

Showing my family the finished film. Steve Guttenberg plays my uncle in the film, and my uncle sadly passed unexpectedly a few months ago. The last time I saw him was last Thanksgiving, showing him Lez Bomb. I am so happy he got to see the film.

TCFF Screening Date:

Friday October 26th, 2018 7:45 PM

Thanks so much Jenna for chatting with FlixChatter!

Everybody’s Chattin’ – Thanksgiving 2012 Edition

The parking lot in my office is much more sparse today as people are probably already on the road or up in the air on their way to their Thanksgiving celebration. Well, as we’re all about giving thanks this week, I thought I’d take the time to give thanks to EVERYONE who’s been a loyal supporter to FlixChatter!

I’m grateful that in my third year of blogging I’ve ‘met’ a lot of wonderful folks from all over the globe, some of whom I’ve actually met in person, too! Blogging has become so much a part of my life, in fact if you ask my hubby, it seems to have taken over my life, ahah. I really enjoy writing and chatting about movies and making connections with fellow movie lovers, so THANK YOU for every ‘LIKE’ that you’ve given me and every single comment you’ve dropped on each post. As you know I try to respond to every one of them and you know I truly appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to comment!

Special thanks to: Michael, Josh, Sati, Mark, and Fernando who not only comment regularly but have kindly give shout outs to my blog either on their own blog or via Twitter.

I also want to give a shout out to Allied Integrated Marketing, especially the Minneapolis Director Katie Stroup for admitting me to their Press List. That means more advanced screenings in the future, yay!

Now it’s time for links!

My pal Michael has a plethora of awesome blog series on his blog It Rains… You Get Wet. As you know his TMT one is my favorite, but my second fave is his Same Song, Different Movie series. This time he chose Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart, one of the most beautiful aria that makes your heart soar and eyes well up with tears. I’ve only seen the one film he mentioned but I might give The Great Raid a try.

Fernando of Committed to Celluloid recently reviewed a Mexican drama that’s been submitted as Best Foreign Language Film for the 2013 Oscar, called After Lucia (Después de Lucía). It deals with a tough topic of severe bullying, but sounds like the performances are really worth a look.

I LOVE posts about Scene Spotlight and nobody does it better than Lady Sati! The combination of gorgeous photography and animated GIFs are so lovely. I LOVE this recent Scene of the Week in The Dark Knight Rises. I love that scene despite the logic-defying circumstances (but hey, it’s a comic-book movie after all), but I do have more questions after Bruce made the jump.

I mean, how in the world did Bruce make it back to the heavily-guarded Gotham full of Bane’s army with no money, no shoes, and worse of all no Alfred! Nolan has some ‘splainin’ to do in the DVD/Blu-ray feature! 🙂

Being a Movie Trivia aficionado, I LOVE Mark’s Tuesday Trivia Tidbits he started a few months ago. There’s always a few you haven’t heard of, certainly I was surprised by one on my favorite super spy and his famous Walter PPK. So take a look if you haven’t already!

The ever-so-prolific Josh at Cinematic Spectacle watches a bunch of movies week after week. Perhaps he has 36 hours in a day instead of 24? 😉 Well, he recently gave us a viewing update on 12 films he’s catching up on before year’s end. There’s a lot on there I haven’t seen, including the indie dramedy Your Sister’s Sister starring Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt. I should give that one a watch just for those two lovely ladies!

Last but not least… my pal Terrence always has such a timely poll in his weekly Time to Vote Tuesday. I LOVE that he actually dedicated a poll for my boy Gerry Butler last week to commemorate his birthday!

This week his theme is on Holiday Shopping, so vote for THREE (3) movies that has your favorite shopping scenes! Sorry to hear you have to work on Black Friday, my friend, but here’s wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

So, what are your Thanksgiving viewing plans this weekend? If you’re one of those traveling today, enjoy and be safe. I pray that you won’t end up like these two 😀