by Mike Pomaro
a film I’m thankful for. In it, I discussed my many attempts and eventual failures of making a movie of my own. I’m happy to say that this year’s Movie I’m Thankful For deals with the same topic, but from a different point of view.
Over the past two years, I overcame all of my self-doubt and self-destruction and I wrote, produced, and directed a short film. It’s not Citizen Kane, or even The Room, but it has a beginning, middle and end, and it’s mine. I’m proud of it. This has been one of the most satisfying and meaningful summers of my life, thanks to not only finally making a short, but because the unbelievable support I’ve received along the way was humbling and overwhelming. That leads me to Wheelman.
If I was creatively stuck, I put on Wheelman. If I was frustrated, I put on Wheelman. Bad day, Wheelman. Tired, Wheelman. Inspired, Wheelman. Before I knew it, and for reasons I’ll probably never fully understand, Wheelman became the soundtrack to this time in my life.
Anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written for the site or heard me on a podcast knows that articulating why something works or doesn’t work for me is not always simple, but allow me to try. First and foremost, this is hands down my favorite Frank Grillo performance, and I’m a big fan of his. He manages to make me afraid of him one moment, and then afraid for him the next. I feel his frustrations and anger and fear throughout. It’s a truly layered performance that he manages to pull off while acting alongside his cell phone for most of the movie.
Speaking of the wheelman’s daughter, in addition to the comfort Wheelman brought me when I felt stuck artistically, the relationship between Mr. Grillo and his daughter, Katie (played by the impressive Caitlin Carmichael), brought me a different kind of comfort. In a time when I go to bed every night worried about my own daughters, when Mr. Grillo’s concern for his daughters safety becomes palpable, I’m right in that car with him. Then at the end of the day, lessons he has taught her, combined with her own instincts, aid her in saving the day. I can’t express how much that hits me.
So for all of the above reasons, and more I’m sure, this holiday season I’m thankful for Wheelman.
I’m thankful to Frank Grillo for giving my favorite performance over the last year.
I’m thankful to Joe Carnahan for giving filmmakers like Jeremy Rush opportunities to make movies.
I’m thankful for the Blair Brothers for writing a score that makes me feel like a wheelman when I’m listening to it while driving (as a bonus, I therefore feel like Frank Grillo, which is the only time I could ever feel like Frank Grillo).
I’m thankful to Jeremy Rush, for not only writing and directing a movie I love, but for being kind to me when he didn’t have to, and for helping me let go of my fears and to embrace what was ahead of me.
Finally, I’m thankful for everyone who has reached out to me with words of support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you.