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Garthwaite: A Film by Ben Kurns

USA 2023
produced by
J.G. Murphy, Nolan Pugh, Tammy Matta (executive) for TMK Pictures
directed by J.G. Murphy, Nolan Pugh
starring Maxwell Myers, Jennifer Johnson, Adam Whittington, Donald Russell, Kyle LaCross II, Timothy Portnoy, Alexis Arletta Jones, Paige Gallagher, K.C. Peña, Michael Owens, Blake Everett, TJ Wong, Sionne Elise, Jonathon Lamer, Nolan Pugh, Ben Cohn, Meghan D. Coates, J.G. Murphy, Aaron Seeks, Harrison Xu, Jayme Andrews, narration by Gregory Glaser
written by Nolan Pugh, J.G. Murphy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Rufus Garthwaite (Nolan Pugh) was without a doubt the shortest-serving president of the USA, his official presidency in 1921 lasting a mere 7 minutes - which is why he's nowadays by and large forgotten by the history books. His story is an interesting one though: Being born as second son to railroad tycoon Randolph Beauregard Garthwaite (Jonathon Lamer), his father never showed him the same affection he did to his firstborn Reginald, and when Reginald died in a freak accident, young Rufus was swiftly shipped away to military school - where he, a weirdo and loner, did not fit in at all ... until he met young Tacitus Clements (J.G. Murphy), who would become his lifelong friend. Later in college, he would "invent" the principles of both the sports mascot and hazing. Yet later he would fall in love with and marrry Beatrice Fairweather (Meghan D. Coates), daughter of a sugar tycoon, but both his and her family would cut them off financial support, so he'd join the army even if totally unfit for service, and by mistake win the Spanish-American War of 1898 almost single-handedly. Beatrice died on tuberculosis soon after that, but Rufus got married (and divorced) 11 more times - sand remaining childless through all of this - while he would finally be welcomed into the Fairweather sugar empire, and used the company to financially wreck his own father. Ultimately though, the heirs of old man Fairweather forced him out of the company, and Tacitus Clements, who by now lived with him, suggested there was only one road forward, that to presidency of the USA ...

Rufus Garthwaite's story is told the talking heads way, with most of the experts showing not so much actual expertise as trying to further their own agenda, including a historian and Garthwaite admirer (Adam Whittington), a descendant of the Fairweather clan (Timothy Portnoy) that has never really accepted Garthwaite, a conspiracy theorist (Jennifer Johnson), a woman claiming to be an illegitimate descendant of Garthwaite (Paige Gallagher), a somewhat clueless educator (Donald Russell), and an actor desperately wanting to play Garthwaite (Kyle LaCross II) - and all of them are trying not to address the elephant in the room, that Rufus Garthwaite was more likely than not bi- or homosexual ...


Of course, there was never a 7 minute president of the USA called Rufus Garthwaite, his story is entirely made up, and all the experts are actors, but nevertheless filmmakers J.G. Murphy and Nolan Pugh have managed to create a very engaging mockumentary that works quite so well because the actors all give on-the-point "expertise" and really portray a very eclectic set of characters while the story, while set more than a century ago, has a definite satirical edge to it, and some really good punchlines on top of it. In all, definitely worth a watch - and quite a few chuckles.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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directed by
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written by
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