Rich Howells

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: Episode 32 – Finding enjoyment in Paul Sorvino’s unintentionally hilarious film ‘The Trouble with Cali’

NEPA SCENE PODCAST: Episode 32 – Finding enjoyment in Paul Sorvino’s unintentionally hilarious film ‘The Trouble with Cali’
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Professionally recorded every Monday at The Stude in TwentyFiveEight Studios in Scranton and released exclusively on every Tuesday, the NEPA Scene Podcast is a free supplement to the website, expanding on the arts and entertainment stories covered on the site and going beyond them to discuss other news and entertainment topics.

Each week, the unedited and uncensored podcast features Rich Howells, NEPA Scene founder and editor; Mark Dennebaum, president and owner of TwentyFiveEight Studios; Lauren Quirolgico, commercial and content strategist at Lavelle Strategy Group and editor at TwentyFiveEight; and in the control room, Jimmy Reynolds, a musician, teacher, and lead audio engineer at TwentyFiveEight. Every episode streams on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and

After the first local screenings of director Paul Sorvino’s “The Trouble with Cali” were held last week at the Scranton Cultural Center, we asked award-winning filmmaker John Mikulak and film critic/columnist Jeff Boam to join us in Episode 32 to review and talk in-depth about the controversial film. We begin with a brief history of how the indie movie was funded using Lackawanna County taxpayer dollars and all the drama that followed before attempting to describe the bewildering “plot” and our respective reactions to it. We all agree that the script, acting, editing, and directing are all awful, yet we also find that it’s so bad it’s good, so we explain why there’s a lot to love about this commercial and critical failure, noting its many unintentionally funny moments and comparing it to other cult classics like “The Room,” “Birdemic,” “Troll 2,” and B-movies by Ed Wood. We also get into Mikulak’s films and how his documentary “The Man Who Would Be Polka King” may become a feature film starring Jack Black.

In The Last Word segment, we read reactions to NEPA Scene’s review of “The Trouble with Cali” and our suggestion to hold annual public screenings in the area.

Read our detailed movie review here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: At 56 minutes in, we enter spoiler territory with fair warning that reveals the ending and a shocking scene that we believe should not have been included in the final film. If you do not want to know the ending of the movie, you can pick it back up at 70:30.

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Photo by Angelo Maruzzelli/TwentyFiveEight Studios