As some of you may know, the movie FAMILY, which has some extremely strong Juggalo influences (just look at that fresh ass movie poster!), premiered just under two weeks ago at SXSW. While it was shown over the week a few times, the director, some of the cast, and some crew members were present for the actual premiere on Sunday, March 11th.
Since then, there were several reviews of the movie…most overwhelmingly positive! Don’t worry, director Laura Steinel made Juggalos look AWESOME in the movie! Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope even made cameo appearances in it!
Two reviews that we haven’t covered yet can be seen below.
Steinel Embraces The Love Of Juggalos Everywhere In Family
SXSW is the top premiere spot to showcase a new film coming to the big screen in North America. With this year’s festival having a record number of films premiering, there was considerable buzz generated around Laura Steinel’s “Family.” Now I was a bit partial to this film. Sometime last year, a decent amount of people I knew were cast as “Juggalo” extras in this film. A good handful of those friends and even myself were invited to the red carpet screening at the Stateside Theater. It indeed was an honor to be a fly on the wall for such an event. Thank you Scotty D and Laura Steinel for inviting us all out.
“Family” is a comedy-drama that focuses on a young teenager, Maddie,(Byrn Vale) looking for acceptance and love. A borrowed concept from the timeless John Candy classic, “Uncle Buck.” Kate(Taylor Schilling) is asked to care for Maddie while her parents go out of town to care for a dying family member. Kate is by no means fit to watch over anyone’s child, much less herself.
Kate is so self-absorbed and blunt in every minute of her day, she does not have the first idea of how to relate to Maddie. When she comes to find out she is being bullied at school, Kate relates from her own childhood. It is at that point the walls she has built around herself slowly begin to chip away. What was originally only supposed to be one night watching Maddie becomes a full week. This takes Kate entirely out of her comfort zone at work. This unexpected change causes her to start neglecting the details to land a huge new client.
Kate is known in the office to be cutthroat, but now that she is distracted trying to care for Maddie, and it begins to backfire on her. A younger and ambitiously hungry young woman named Erin (Jessie Ennis) begins to take a page out of Kate’s playbook. Kate’s focus begins to separate as she begins to focus less on work and more on caring for Maddie. The more she leans towards the nurturing side, the more Kate’s calloused exterior shell starts to crack away.
In the middle of Kate’s failed efforts, Maddie ends up going missing and finds her identity within the Juggalo family. At some point during the search for Maddie, Kate learns that she has made her way to the Gathering of the Juggalos. The Gathering is a music festival which has gained some notoriety and continues to be a topic of discussion in today’s pop culture.
The series of events proposes a moral decision of what is more important to Kate, working on her career or building a relationship with Maddie. By the end of the movie, you will find yourself in the feels. This production was brilliantly put together and structured. It made me quite happy to see Steinel portray Juggalos at their core, which compliments the storyline so well.
When most people think of Juggalos and the whole subculture that surrounds it, many people are quick to pass judgment on them. What most people fail to realize is that most Juggalos can identify with the subject matter of the film. They can relate to people looking down on them. Juggalos have found love and acceptance within each other when the world tosses them aside.
One of the things I adore about this film is how that very same love and acceptance from the Juggalos is captured in this comedy gold classic. This movie captures the essence of family, not only by blood but also by bonds. Leaving the theater left me feeling thankful and cherishing all of the friends who were able to make it out to the premiere and beyond. Furthermore, it was an incredible experience hanging out with Laura Steinel and the rest of the cast. I look forward to seeing this one again. Whoop Whoop!
‘Family’: Film Review | SXSW 2018
Taylor Schilling plays a woman stuck caring for a misfit 11-year-old in Laura Steinel’s comic debut.
A self-improvement-through-childcare comedy exposing the hitherto unknown potential of the Insane Clown Posse to enable young girls’ emotional growth, Laura Steinel’s Family introduces an 11-year-old girl ready to run off and join the Juggalos. Playing the career-minded jerk stuck temporarily with caring for the kid, Taylor Schilling colors within the lines of the Bad Fill-in-the-Blankmisbehavior genre, with a performance that is less debauched than self-centered to the point of criminal negligence. Enjoyable despite its familiarity, the pic has commercial appeal well beyond the Faygo-guzzling demographic.
Schilling’s Kate is her workplace’s requisite pariah — the one who says what she thinks without checking to see who might be standing behind her. Her tactlessness is so extreme she isn’t even welcome at office celebrations (though the call of cake is too strong for her to ignore).
She’s the kind of career striver who has not only rejected the notion of starting her own family but has practically deleted siblings from her memory banks as well. When she gets an emergency call from her nearby brother (Eric Edelstein), she has to be reminded where he lives, and she certainly doesn’t remember the name of his pre-teen Maddie (Bryn Vale). But Maddie’s grandmother is dying, and her parents need one day to go move her into hospice; though Kate puts up a fight, she agrees to watch Maddie for the night while they’re away.
Even the briefest stay away from her tidy apartment life requires suburban compromises Kate is unwilling to make: She can’t bring herself to shut the garage door at the request of the family’s next-door neighbor Jill, the kind of capital-M Mom who has the neighborhood association’s bylaws memorized. (A high-strung Kate McKinnon is ideal here, over-friendly with an undercurrent of I will rip your eyes out.)
Kate is late to pick Maddie up from ballet, of course, and catches the stout child, in her ballerina garb, practicing kicks in the dojo next door. Sensei Pete (Brian Tyree Henry) has been happy to have her as an unofficial karate student for weeks; over dinner, Maddie explains that her parents are pushing her to be more feminine and fit in at school, where she is bullied.
This is a topic on which Kate can commiserate without feeling she has made an emotional investment. Asking to see pictures of the girls who torment her, Kate has fun eviscerating them: This one has boobs but will be fat before long; that one has a lazy eye — who the hell are they to mock a chubby nonconformist?! Cautiously questioned by the girl, who admires this confidence but feels nothing of the sort herself, Kate reveals a baseline truth: “I hate myself, but I still feel like I’m better than everybody else.”
When this overnight babysitting gig stretches out to a week, Kate has to juggle watching the kid with her work responsibilities, seeing for the first time what life is like for the colleagues she disdains. Steinel succinctly justifies some of Kate’s antisocial behaviors with scenes at the office: When she invents a “family emergency” to excuse being late for a meeting, the men in the room look sideways at her, as if she might be about to go baby-crazy on them; and an enthusiastic young hire who wants Kate to mentor her (Jessie Ennis) is all too ready to go drinking with clients if Kate needs to meet with Maddie’s teacher at school.
One of Kate’s neglectful moments leaves Maddie in the company of a kid (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido) who calls himself Baby Joker and loves the Insane Clown Posse. As he tells her about the Juggalos, who have formed an entire society-rejecting lifestyle around the band, Maddie decides she has found her people. Soon she’s putting on scary facepaint and doing tricks with spit.
Vale has a plainspoken stubbornness that highlights the unreasonableness of the rules Maddie’s expected to live by, making it easy for Schilling to connect the kid’s plight to Kate’s. Their quick but incomplete bond is easier to buy than the adult/kid pairings in some similar films, and Steinel doesn’t push it until a climax set at the infamous Gathering of the Juggalos. There, the film has fun with the subculture’s notoriety in funny if credibility-stretching ways, concluding that, whatever their outward signs of mayhem, “once you get past all that, they’re really kind of sweet.” Mini-interviews with real-life Juggalos over the closing credits cements the film’s obvious message: When the world treats you poorly, Family is wherever you find it.
Production company: Naegle Ink
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Bryn Vale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jessie Ennis, Blair Beeken, Matt Walsh, Allison Tolman, Eric Edelstein, Kate McKinnon, Fabrizio Guido
Director-screenwriter: Laura Steinel
Producers: Sue Naegle, Kit Giordano
Executive producers: Laura Steinel, Dan Kaplow, Taylor Schilling, Jeremy Garelick, Viviana Zarragoitia, Ali Jazayeri
Director of photography: Michael Simmonds
Production designer: Jennifer Klide
Costume designer: Lorraine Coppin
Editor: Glenn Garland
Composer: Jeremy Turner
Casting director: Amey Rene
Venue: SXSW Film Festival (Narrative Feature Competition)