Feeling Good? So Good!: Chatting With the Director and the Star of Feels So Good

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Brendan Robinson and Josh Stolberg. Maybe you know the names, maybe you don’t. But there is definitely a movie they can point to and say, “Not only is this entertaining, it’s a heartfelt story that people will actually remember.” It doesn’t hurt that it’s full of memorable characters portrayed by the likes of comedienne Lisa Ann Walter, an understated Jamie Kennedy, and the irrepressible Stephen Root.

You should also know that director Stolberg is a big fan of South Louisiana culture, especially the food. And the music. And the culture.

I could make a pun about how it feels so good to see the film Feels So Good, but I just did. And it does! I laughed out loud at this teen comedy. You could use phrases like “sex comedy” or “coming of age” to describe this, but that is only the proverbial tip.

Of the iceberg.

I could make a pun about how it feels so good to see the film Feels So Good, but I just did. And it does!

I got the opportunity talk with one of the stars and the director of Feels So Good, a film now available on the Hulu Plus (I think that’s what the kids are calling it). Robinson plays Alan, the high school loser cursed with virginity along with a few other pariah-inducing characteristics. Early on in the film, he’s introduced to his new neighbor Zach (played by Matt Shively), who’s an over-the-top wildman who gives the impression of John Bender with ADHD. The two go on to have a memorable time together of rambunctious hijinks, dangerous shenanigans, and awkwardly entertaining events.

Talking to Robinson (Lucas from Pretty Little Liars [I still haven’t seen it. Sorry, Brendan! Although I don’t think I’m in the target demographic.]), I learned much about the actor, the character of Alan, and the spirit that went into making this movie. Robinson talked about how he and his co-star Shively had great chemistry: “If we weren’t friends offscreen, I think you’d able to tell. Everything worked out really great.” And it was true with the rest of the cast as well: “Everybody was awesome!”

Director Josh Stolberg and Jamie Kennedy
Director Josh Stolberg and Jamie Kennedy

But there was more to our conversation than that.

There was lots of fun to be had on the set. Discussing Lisa Ann Walter, who plays Alan’s mother: “I ruined so many takes. Just because she’s hilarious. She’s a stand-up comedienne … and she just a had a straight face through the whole thing and I couldn’t do it – and I had to turn around. There were a couple of times where I had to turn around, she had to look at my back, because if I looked at her I would (start laughing and) ruin the take.”

About Stephen Root, whom you may know from his role as Milton “Where’s my stapler?” Waddams in Office Space (and who has a surprisingly fabulous IMDb picture): “I was starstruck, actually, because I’m a big Office Space fan.”

Aren’t we all? But anyway, go on, Brendan.

“I was trying to play it cool. I was restraining myself from asking Office Space questions, or any of the other stuff that he’s done. He’s incredible. Knowing his work and seeing him come in and do this part, I’m convinced that he can do anything.”

What part does Root play? I’ll have to let you see the film to answer that one. He is most assuredly entertaining.

I asked if he’d use the term “bromantic comedy,” and Stolberg said he would. I wish I could take credit for coining that phrase. I’d patent it in a heartbeat.

As the director for Feels So Good, Stolberg brought in some inspiration from his youth. Movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Say Anything were some of his favorites growing up, so he jumped at the chance to shoot the script for a teen comedy like Feels So Good.

“I had pitched (production company) Vuguru a horror thriller project called Crawlspace, and we made it. We had a really great time together. I love their system of putting movies together. There are so many stop signs when you’re trying to get a movie made in Hollywood, and they just pulled up the stop signs and said ‘Let’s make a movie!’

“They had a script, and they were looking for a director. They asked me to do it. This was a genre that I hadn’t done as a director, and I said, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s have some fun!’”

Both Robinson and Stolberg agree – and I concur – that this isn’t your typical “teen sex comedy.”

Zack (Matt Shively) and Allan (Brendan Robinson) redefine Baby Elephantine Walk
Zack (Matt Shively) and Allan (Brendan Robinson) redefine Baby Elephantine Walk

Stolberg says: “I always like to approach projects from a character place. And even as crazy and silly as they can get sometimes, it’s always nice to find characters, the personalities in the movies that you respond to. I really got into the relationship between this loser kid – who is much deeper and much richer inside than he thinks he is – with this crazy, over-the-top psycho who in many ways is just like him, because he’s hiding from something, too. The whole movie is building toward this one scene at the end where the two characters have their heart-to-heart. You realize that, as different as they seem over the course of the movie, they are actually in a way soul mates.

“Yes, it’s a sex comedy, and yes, it’s got over-the-top humor and sexual gags and that kind of stuff, but I think, like a lot of the movies of this generation, the buddy movie, it’s almost a romantic comedy between the two guys. It’s about friendship.”

I asked if he’d use the term “bromantic comedy,” and Stolberg said he would. I wish I could take credit for coining that phrase. I’d patent it in a heartbeat.

And what of Robinson? How does he feel this one compares to the normal run of teen sex movies? “It’s a different dynamic,” he says. “The dynamic between Alan and Zach puts them on a different arc. The two characters learn from each other in a way that you don’t see in most of these other movies.”

Any movie that has a character listed in the credits as “Hairy Naked Guy” can’t be all bad.

I asked him what his favorite moment was in the process of making this movie. He laughed before telling me the story of how, while shooting on location at a house that features prominently in the film, he had to fall into freezing water.

“Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles gets really cold. In the winter, it gets cold at night. It was probably 1 or 2 in the morning. It was 45 degrees outside, which really isn’t that cold, but when you don’t have any clothes on and you’re wet, it makes a difference. There’s a scene where I’m doing a striptease and I fall backwards into a pool. We were doing the scene and I paused. Josh (the director – yeah, same guy) says, ‘You’re supposed to fall in the pool!’

“So I fell in, and it was like the Kate Winslet moment in Titanic where she hits the water. It was so cold I thought I was going to drown. I couldn’t breathe. The scene (in the movie Feels So Good) where I’m like ‘Araarhahghaarghga,’ that’s all real!

“So we finish this scene, we go all the way through. I get out and get into the hot tub. And Josh says, ‘OK, let’s set up to do that again!’

“Even though that scene was excruciatingly painful, I’d have to say that it was my favorite part of making (the film), definitely my most memorable.”

For the record, he only had to fall in twice.

There was lots of fun being had on set. It comes out in the movie, most certainly. Personally, my favorite scene involves the word “Mango!” being shouted multiple times.

The rest of the movie is well worth watching, with discussions about ficus care, strip clubs, the hypocorism of “disaster,” and cockfighting. I watched it with an open mind, and somewhere along the way, I went from kinda liking it to being a real fan of it. I encourage you to check it out.

And come on, any movie that has a character listed in the credits as “Hairy Naked Guy” can’t be all bad, right? Right?!

RedShtick-Top-ColumnStopCheck out the trailer for Feels So Good on Hulu.

About James Brown

James Brown
James Brown is not related, affiliated, or representative to or of the estate of the Godfather of Soul. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

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