Monday, March 14, 2011

3/14/11 Poker Comedy Has Groundswell Support: Releases DVD


Joe Boyd
Rebel Pilgrim Productions


March 14, 2011

Poker Comedy Has Groundswell Support: Releases DVD

The independent poker-themed comedy Hitting the Nuts is going to be released on DVD April 15, 2011. You probably have never heard of it. But thousands of people have. The rumor in the poker community is that this could be the first good poker movie since Rounders. (To “hit the nuts” in a poker game is to hold the best possible hand in a given scenario.)

The story of Hitting the Nuts is the exact opposite of how Hollywood manufactures a blockbuster. No name actors. (They are all unknown improvisers pulled from NY, LA and Chicago comedy clubs.) No budget to speak of. (Less than $200,000 total.) No famous director. (Turns out the director is actually a pastor from Ohio.) So what gives?

“We made a ridiculous movie on purpose,” says Joe Boyd, the pastor turned director who also plays Ezekiel Yoder, an Amish farmer in the movie. (Did we mention that Pastor Boyd was once an amateur poker player in Las Vegas? The story behind the movie is almost as ridiculous as the movie itself.) “The poker community has been burnt by a series of unpopular, terrible movies over the last five years,” says Boyd. “I think people like this movie so much because it takes nothing seriously. It’s a complete silly farce. It’s like the movie Airplane…if Airplane was a fake documentary about poker.”

The movie has the feel of a documentary and is reminiscent of movies like This is Spinal Tap and Best in Show. It also has a Saturday Night Live vibe to the comedy, which makes sense considering the actors were pulled from the historically popular SNL farm systems of The Second City and The Groundlings. “It’s not exactly a typical indie art house movie,” says Boyd.

Which makes the film’s critical success even more unexpected. It has won the only two film festivals it has entered, taking home the Best Feature Film awards in the 2011 Derby City Film Festival and the 2010 Cincinnati International Film Festival.

So why isn’t this sleeping giant in theaters yet?

“We aren’t ready for theaters,” says Boyd. “I think it will get there. What we are attempting to do here only happens with a comedy every few years. We made a great movie with no money or name actors. It’s on its way to being a Napoleon Dynamite kind of success story. But it is a slow rise from the ground up.” With the film industry in relative chaos as it tries to transition from the traditional market to a more web-based digital delivery system, it is hard to know what to do with a movie like Hitting the Nuts. “In the old days distributers wanted a movie that had never been offered before. These days they want more of a sales track record. To be honest, we’ve turned down some bad deals to wait for a better one.”

Boyd and his company, Rebel Pilgrim Productions, have decided to self-distribute a limited amount of DVD’s on the film’s website at Pre-orders for the April 15th release begin March 16th.  “We’re going to sell a bunch of DVD’s to the thousands of people who have been asking us for the movie. Then we’re going to take the data to a distributer and get this thing out to the world. I have no doubts.” Boyd seems confident…as if he himself has “hit the nuts” on this one. Only time will tell, but at this trajectory, we wouldn’t bet against it.

For more information on the movie visit the official site at

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