Interview with Jeff Garlin from "Dealin' with Idiots"

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Faced with the absurd competitiveness surrounding his son's youth league baseball team, Max Morris, a famous comedian, decides to get to know the colorful parents and coaches of the team better in an attempt to find the inspiration for his next movie.

Photo Credit: HBO Films
July 23rd, 2013

Comedian/Actor Jeff Garlin has had countless memorable roles including playing himself on the HBO hit show “Curb Your Enthusiasm", Disney’s “WALL-E", “ParaNorman", “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With", and dozens more.  Movie Room Reviews got a chance to talk to the brilliant comedian about his new film in which he wrote and directed called “Dealin’ with Idiots". 

Nick Leyland from Movie Room Reviews:  Hey, Jeff, how are you doing?

Jeff:  I'm great. How are you?

MRR:  Great. It's so nice to talk to you.

Jeff:  My pleasure.

MRR:  I've been a big fan a great veteran actor. Obviously, people know you from "Curb" and "WALL-E" and stuff like that, but this new film you wrote and directed and starred in. It's called "Dealin' With Idiots." You star as Max Morris, a famous comedian who decides to get to know the colorful parents and coaches of his kid’s little league team in an attempt to find the inspiration for his next movie.

MRR:  What are your thoughts on the film, then? What do you have to say about it?

Jeff:  It's a masterpiece.

MRR:  It's a masterpiece?

Jeff:  Yes. It might be the greatest movie ever made.

MRR:  [laughs] The cast in it is amazing.  It includes Steve Agee, Fred Willard, Bob Odenkirk, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz, Gina Gershon, and many more.

Jeff:  That is true, my friend.

MRR:  How'd you hook up with all those guys?

Jeff:  Most of them are friends of mine. The ones that aren't friends are acquaintances. So I just asked them.

MRR:  There was no auditioning going on, you just called them up and that's it, huh?

Jeff:  The kids auditioned for the children's roles, but the adults did not audition.

MRR:  You wrote the film with all these great actors. There had to have been a lot of improv going on, right?

Jeff:  To be honest, I wrote an outline, and that was for myself and the production. I never showed the actors anything on paper. I just told them before each scene what was going to happen.

MRR:  Really?

Jeff:  Yeah.

MRR:  I love the scene with Coach Jimbo played by Bob Odenkirk in the printing store.

Jeff:  That's my favorite scene, too, my friend.

MRR:  [laughs] Is it? Bob is a really funny guy.

Jeff:  Yes, he's great.

MRR:  The funniest thing about your character I think is how confused he seems all the time, you know?

Jeff:  Thanks. I am confused.

MRR:  [laughs] Is that how you view people these days?

Jeff:  What, with a sense of confusion?

MRR:  Yeah.

Jeff:  Yeah, when I'm in situations like that, definitely.

MRR:  I think that there are tons of people in this world that would love to write this movie. They've all been sick of dealing with idiots.

Jeff:  Oh, yeah. I think that's true.

MRR:  When doing a movie like this, I guess one of the perks is being able to bring in girls like Hope (Dworaczyk), huh?

Jeff:  By the way, any time you spend time with Hope Dworaczyk, it is a wonderful thing. But I don't necessarily refer to that as a perk, although I have to say it wasn't painful filming any of the scenes with her.

MRR:  No, I bet not. When you wrote this movie, did you just go to a little league game one day and see the insanity, and the movie just wrote itself or what?

Jeff:  No, I experienced it because my children play sports.

MRR:  Oh yeah?

Jeff:  Yeah.

MRR:  And you had to deal with all the parents there?

Jeff:  I had to deal with the idiots, yes.

MRR:  One scene in the movie that I want you to clarify for me is the scenes that you had with...I'm assuming your father.

Jeff:  The scenes with Timothy Olyphant.

MRR:  Yeah.

Jeff:  Yeah, that's my dead father.

MRR:  OK. What's the significance behind those scenes?

Jeff:  My father died, and I thought it would be cool to have some scenes where I was trying to get perspective on it, and I was just thinking about imagining talking to him.

MRR:  Oh yeah? I thought those scenes were great. I think they're brilliantly placed in the movie.

Jeff:  Thank you.

MRR:  Who was the crazy guy in the uniform that runs around? Please tell me that guy was based on someone in real life.

Jeff:  He was based on someone in real life. Not somebody I've ever known, though, but someone I saw. That's Dave Sheridan who's a wonderful character actor. Did you ever see "Ghost World"?

MRR:  No I haven’t.

Jeff:  He was in “Ghost World”.

MRR:  He was hilarious in this film.

MRR: What baseball movie...Because this is obviously a film about baseball, and I love baseball films. What are some of the best baseball films that you think of?

Jeff:  Baseball films? I love "The Natural." I love "Bad News Bears," "Bang the Drum Slowly."

MRR:  What about "Field of Dreams"?

Jeff:  Field of Dreams, yes. There you go.

MRR:  Who's your team, by the way?

Jeff:  Chicago Cubs.

MRR:  Chicago. I'm a Midwestern man.

Jeff:  Who's your team?

MRR:  The Detroit Tigers.

Jeff:  Yeah, things are tough, huh?

MRR:  No, they're in first place!

Jeff:  No, I'm making a joke. They've been good for a while now.

MRR:  [laughs] Yeah, I'm a huge Tigers fan. I live in Ohio, actually.

Jeff:  That must be tough being a Tigers fan in Ohio.

MRR: There's probably more Tigers fans where I live.

Jeff:  Than even Reds or Indians fans? Really, how about that?

MRR:  Well I am pretty close to the border of Michigan.

MRR:  This film, it was a great film. I love it so much. It made me laugh so hard. I was wondering what style of comedy makes you really laugh.

Jeff:  You know what I love? I love Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis and pretty much anything they're in makes me happy. I'm really looking forward to the new "Anchorman" movie. But I also love movies like Woody Allen makes, which are grounded. Television-wise, my favorite thing is "South Park."

MRR:  Oh really?

Jeff:  Mm-hmm.

MRR:  Are they still making new South Park episodes?

Jeff:  They haven't lately, but I believe they are. Their whole next season is about a doctor at UCLA.

MRR:  One serious question I wanted to ask you about the film was, after watching it, do you think that there is too much pressure on kids these days, especially sports and stuff like that?

Jeff:  I do think that parents...It's not as much as a matter of pressure as it is parents smother their children and don't let them live.

MRR:  Right, and you breech that subject in the film.

Jeff:  Yes, I do.

MRR:  It's a great film. You can almost make sequels of this dealing with jerks, dealing with douche bags. [laughs]

Jeff:  Yeah, I think this will be just it for me. I don't want to deal with anyone anymore.

MRR:  Hey, thank you so much for talking with me. The movie comes out today, right? The 19th on VOD?

Jeff:  Yes, it's video on demand, on iTunes, on Amazon.

MRR:  Thanks so much. What are you planning for the future?

Jeff:  A nice nap.

MRR:  [laughs] I don't blame you. You've done a really good job.

Jeff:  Thank you.

MRR:  Have a good day.

Jeff:  Thank you.

- Click here to watch the trailer for "Dealin' with Idiots"