Making the Grades
Friends since attending an art high school, filmmakers John Hines and John Newcombe were determined to do something together. In 1998 after visiting Hines' family in Indiana, Newcombe decided he had found the perfect location for this, his first feature film. With the pair writing together and playing the two leads, the Best Man In Grass Creek was born.
A sort of Runaway Bride from the opposite perspective, Newcombe's character Adam is stood-up-at-the-alter in front of a church full of people. Three years later the abandoned groom is well into another relationship with the compassionate and patient Holly (Grace Phillips), but the old wound still makes it impossible for him to attend other weddings, or consider marriage. Consequentially, the new girlfriend is amazed when Adam agrees to be the best man for Jimmy (Hines), a prospective client who he has just met.
In exchange for his help, the somewhat nerdy and obviously desperate newspaper editor promises to save the salesman's career by purchasing the comic strip he is flogging. But after arriving in Grass Creek, Adam quickly discovers a fictitious reputation has preceded him. Filling the shoes of best man was hard enough, but now Adam must live up to Jimmy's stories of being a child-rescuing football hero with a glass eye. Meanwhile he's also dealing with Holly's increasing demands for a permanent relationship.
These filmmakers deserve a pat for implying that Adam and Holly are not having a sexual relationship. The separate beds attitude leaves only a tense situation involving an old flame with a shotgun and a handful of profanities for families to consider before enjoying this movie together. While this sometimes-slow film does have its flaws - the greatest being the inability of the comedic characters to gain empathy from the audience, it offers positive messages of working through disappointments and making commitments.
Like many "unknown" movies, this one was made on a shoestring budget with crew and "stars" staying with families in the town during the shoot. And with all the heart this movie has, it's more than appropriate that it won Indiana's Heartland Film Festival's Crystal Heart Award.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Best Man In Grass Creek.
What does Jimmy’s need to lie about Adam tell you about his own self-esteem? What are some positive ways we can build true personal confidence? How may Jimmy’s need to make himself feel important affect his future marriage?