Chump Change

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Greendale Village Life
November 20, 2003
Rosemary Karnowski

A couple of weeks ago I told you about a film called "Chump Change," which was written and directed by a former Greendale resident, Stephen Burrows, who also starred in the independent film, received a large amount of local publicity recently, both on radio and in print, prior to the screening of his piece as part of the 2003 Milwaukee International Film Festival.

Some of the filming was done in Wisconsin, with some vitally important scenes filmed right here in Greendale. Coupled with this knowledge, which I obtained from my interview with Burrows' mother Judie, I knew this film would be a must-see.

Now, I don't profess to be a film critic, nor am I an expert on comedy. However, I think that "Chump Change" is a comedic piece of art that should be viewed by anyone with an appreciation of intellectual comedy, or who just wants to see his or her hometown up on a really big movie screen.

So, on a very cold Friday night in November, I headed down to the Oriental Theater for the viewing of this film with 1,075 of my closest friends and neighbors. Upon arriving at the theater an hour prior to show time, I encountered a growing line of poor souls patiently waiting outside the theater, clinging to the hope that the owner of a pre-purchased ticket might not show up so that they could get in.

That's right, the show was sold out. And by the way, this was the first time the Oriental has sold out since its renovation in 1987. So, those of us in attendance that night made history in more ways than one.

Since one man's comedy could well be another man's torture, I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about what I was going to sit through for the next hour and a half. After all, we've all had the experience of seeing a "comedy" - and found that it wasn't worthy of anything more boisterous than a chuckle. I hoped this was not going to be one of those experiences. Well, I learned shortly after entering the theater lobby that I was not going to be let down in the humor department.

At each entrance to the main theater stood two individuals (promotions people), each holding a basket full of four-inch-long film remnants. "Have a piece of "Chump Change," they would say to each person heading in to find a seat, while graciously handing the moviegoer a piece of film.

That's a neat idea, I thought to myself as I waited in line to get my souvenir. Except when I reached the front of the line, the promotions person handed me a piece of film and said, "Have a piece of 'Chunk Change.'" Now, I know the two words are pretty close phonetically, but this error was not missed by me. So, I started the night out with a laugh - and an incorrectly labeled souvenir.

The evening progressed well from that point, and I was thrilled to be a part of this unique experience. "Chump Change" is humorous, warm and really enjoyable. It received an R rating due to the "F" bomb being dropped way too many times, but I guess you could say it was used in an artistically representative fashion.

Now, if you missed this big event, don't lose hope. There is talk of a future limited release of "Chump Change" and a possible DVD release. If either one of these two options comes to fruition, take a chance and see the film. And watch for future works from Burrows. He is a very talented man from Greendale - and is destined for greatness.

Rosemary Karnowski is a Greendale resident. Her column appears every other week in the Village Life. She can be reached at (262) 317-8561.

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