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May 2, 2015

Movie Review: King of Herrings (2013)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Directed by Eddie Jemison and Sean Richardson

Friends are like a crab bucket. A bucket is full of happy crabs, but once one of them tries to climb above the stale camaraderie, all the other crab will stretch out their claws to pull the more ambitious ones down to their level. This truism is very noticeable in the new indie comedy, King of Herrings. Lensed in deep black-and-whites, King of Herrings has garnered favorable comparisons to Woody Allen. This reviewer sees hints of director Martin Scorsese and playwright Paddy Chayefsky as well …

King of Herrings focuses on a group of working-class Joes who bond together in dive bars and coffee shops in a less-than glamorous part of New Orleans. Ditch (Eddie Jemison) is the group’s leader, a manic prick with a terminal case of small man complex. He bullies and berates his friends mercilessly, and they love him for it. The gang is a motley group of losers: Leon (Wayne Pere), known as “the Robot” speaks through an electronic voice box. Gat (David Jensen) is pushing 60 years of age but dresses like a twenty-something hipster. Into this circular dead-end world of semi-employment and cars with $100 bluebook value are two very desirable women: Evie (Andrea Frankle), rushing into marriage to make her forthcoming child legitimate, and the angelic Mary (Laura Lamson), a hopelessly romantic, na├»ve seamstress. When one of the gang, the Professor (Joe Chrest) begins his sexual advances on Mary, by ostensibly trying to sell her “magazine subscriptions,” the sparks begin to fly …



“The trigger in the film is a fight over the paltry sum of nine dollars …. But it’s not the nine dollars that matter, it’s what the nine dollar represent,” star and co-director Jemison has said about the film. “Respect. That is what these people fight for, because – like all of us, who, in the end, really have nothing – respect is the ultimate currency.”

King of Herrings was going for brutal realism, and it succeeded. The characters’ psyches are all stripped raw, and the comedic element is eventually drowned out by harrowing emotional honesty. This film is not for sissies. King of Herrings is recommended for those in the mood for a gritty comedy of bad manners, performed by an ensemble cast going full throttle.

You can check out the film’s Web site by going here.

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