The Send-Off Review: A Psychological Drama That We All Deserve

Posted 2022/04/21 23 0


Veteran editor, producer, and writer/director John-Michael Powell has been involved in developing award-winning feature films, commercials, and music videos during his career. He is currently best known for his editing work on Dear White People at Netflix and won Best Editing at the Ouray International Film Festival for his work on Women is Losers. Most recently, John-Michael Powell had officially directed his first feature film titled, The Send-Off. You can check out the official trailer below.

The Send-Off is an American psychological drama that is written and directed by John-Michael Powell. The film is produced by Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Undine Buka (The Reunited States), and Don Ohmer. Alongside John-Michael Powell, Cathy Fegan-Kim, Alex Kim, Sabrina Powell, and Vincent Sieber (The Chronicles of Narnia) all serve as executive producers.

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“The film is a wild ride that manages to balance the wackiness of a night out at your typical Hollywood Hills party while sparking a broader conversation about groupthink, masculinity, and the way we sometimes unknowingly prop up power structures within Hollywood,” states director John-Michael Powell.

The Send-Off stars Zachary Ray Sherman (Under the Banner of Heaven, Cuck) as Dan Richards, Lena Drake (Kidding, The High Note) as Alexis Peroni, Sean Harrison Jones (The Papers, Drake & Josh) as Clayton Rhodes, Devere Rogers (My Spy, Will & Grace) as Niko Spivey, Rory Uphold (Bodied, This is Why We’re Single) as Tanya Hirsh, Ben York Jones (Like Crazy, Newness) as Arnie Ludlow, Michael Rishawn (Mama’s Boy, The Jump Off) as Craig O’Bannon, Rhian Rees (Halloween) as Mara Tremblay, Teresa Lee (I Think She Likes You, Take My Wife) as Micky Park, Scott Kuza (Young Hearts, Feed Your Muse) as Anthony ‘Jug’ Juggerson, Damian Gomez (La La Land, Home Economics) as Dean ‘Delano’ Alvarez, Rosie Kreider (The Papers) as Kimberly Slater, Brayden Dalmazzone (Ding Dong I’m Gay, Girl Falling) as Lee ‘Cry Baby’ Younger, Ryan Stone (West Virginia Stories, Marvin’s Lament) as Rudie Rocket, Angela K. Thomas (96 souls, Criminal Minds) as Harriet Gabriel, and Brad Barnes (Sex Guaranteed, The Locksmith) as Colin Smith.

Producer Glenn Howerton Reveals His Excitement for The Send-Off

Producer Glenn Howerton states, “The Send-Off is a rollercoaster of a film. Literally a rollercoaster in that it takes the viewer for a ride thrusting them from exhilaration to laughter to horror. It encapsulates beautifully our tendency to worship entertainers and how those entertainers handle idolization when they don’t even like themselves. The disconnect between hating yourself and being adored is almost impossible to reconcile. To me, this is the heart of the film, and the thing John-Michael Powell has captured so well. It’s funny, scary, surreal, and ultimately heartbreaking.”

The film starts off with the lead character Dan Richards (who is a famous award-winning actor) at his home in Hollywood, where he receives a devastating phone call. He is told by a medical professional that he has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer and doesn’t have much time left to live. After being interrupted by a phone call from his mother during a suicide attempt, Dan Richards decides to throw himself a farewell party with his closest friends. Upon the arrival of his large group of friends and his ex-girlfriend, all things seem to be routinely normal during the party. However, once Dan decides to make the official announcement to everyone that he has been diagnosed with cancer, things take a dark and interesting turn of events.

As the night continues, secrets are revealed between the group of friends, as well as an even darker secret between Dan Richards and his ex-girlfriend, Alexis Peroni. The Send-Off reveals the many things that some celebrities may go through in their private lives that aren’t shown to the world. The entire cast overall manages to pull off an amazing performance throughout the film, especially Zachary Ray Sherman. John-Michael Powell continues to prove that he can do it all between editing, producing, writing, and directing.

The official synopsis for The Send-Off reads as follows, when Emmy Award-winning actor, Dan Richards, throws an impromptu soirée at his Hollywood home, with only his closest friends in attendance, a fun evening devolves into something much darker after he makes an unexpected announcement to the group.

Director John-Michael Powell’s Personal Connection to The Send-Off

“Hello! You may hear stories about how hard it is to get your first feature made. I promise you nobody has worked harder than me to get my first film made. It’s been a fifteen-year long journey to get here. One that has led me through development hell at various studios, big producers making empty promises, getting a project funded by a studio — only to fall apart a week before principal photography — to walking away from the studio system entirely to fund this movie myself and make my first film come hell or high water. And if you can believe the second we finished shooting this movie, I was diagnosed with cancer.

So yeah. It’s been a journey. And it’s one I’m still plowing ahead on. But I’m determined to get this movie off the ground and hopefully share it with people. To spark a conversation about Hollywood, our role in the industry, and how we, as a microcosmic bubble, play a part in perpetuating toxic masculinity. I know how stacked the odds are. But more than anything… I just hope our film makes you feel something and gives you a moment to think about Hollywood in a bigger way… even wrapped in a tiny package like The-Send Off.”

Where to Watch The Send-Off

The Send-Off already ran virtually online through Cinequest’s New Vision program from April 1-17. The film will premiere in-person in San Jose, CA starting from August 16-29. The film was lensed by Elijah Guess and edited by Mark Gasparo. Key Art was designed by Nic Ferrari. The Send-Off was filmed over the span of 12 days with a budget total of $50,000. With a successful directional debut coming from John-Michael Powell, it will be certainly interesting to see where his upcoming projects go from here.

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