Snooki (yes, Snooki) gave birth twice that weekend. Once in Livingston, N.J. at 3 a.m. on Sunday–to her much anticipated, little bundle of deeply tanned euphoria. Once a few hours earlier–to a lethal, golden Guido–amidst ample laughter at the world premiere of Bernie & Ges. On the real Jersey Shore.
“It wasn’t about how many tickets we sold. Sitting in the crowd, amongst people, and listening to them and how well it was received–I think we did a good job,” Alex DePhillipo said after the screening of his latest project. As he stepped away and dispossessed a champagne bottle of its cork, Mike Anthony (the voice of Bernie) said he was amazed that Alex and Ges called him to work on the film.
“It was really, really fun. I guess it showed, how much work we really put into it. He’s working 24 hours a day,” he said, gesturing to Alex, who moved quickly around the soundproofed room and distributed red Solo cups of bubbly as T.S.O.L. performed a wall away. “The turnout wasn’t as great as we wanted it to be, but the way that everybody responded really meant a lot.”
Earlier, Ges said the premiere may have suffered from unfortunate calendar placement: school’s nearly back in session and lots of the local surfers are (or were very recently) down in Virginia for the East Coast Surfing Championships. The massive Music Hall at Atlantic City’s House of Blues admittedly looked a little deserted at 8:30 on Saturday night, a half hour to show time. Ticket holders had stealthily trickled in and congregated in the balcony, and yeah, okay, if the audience had done a wave, it would have been sectiony. But when the lights went out, the place was alive with that energy… you know, that energy that emanates from dedicated watermen stuffed into theaters. Repeat viewers and loyal supporters and… family.
“I think that it was received really well and I think the project has really good legs. I’m grateful to have been able to show the project here at the House of Blues, in front of everybody who really supports us and hopefully, we can grow that.” Gesler said, as Alex and Mike stood nearby, conspicuously not drinking from the cups in their hands.
Bernie & Ges was well-received. The 25-minute episode is packed with South Park-esque parodies and locals-only humor: fist-pumping zombies who speak their own language and don pec-emphasizing Ed Hardly tees, the blinged-out ghost of a beached whale, and a governor who backs up his tough talk with baseball bats and brass knuckles, “for New Jersey.” It’s all good stuff.
The great stuff, however, is in the surfing sections. Supermans in the snow and endless barrels. Gorgeous color, composition, and flow. Some surf films are watched in quiet appreciation. Alex DePhillipo does not make those films. His editing is provocative and the audience embraced it and filled the vacant theater space with hoots of approval.
Backstage, Ges continued, “The time we’ve spent on this project has been really fun and I just want to keep having fun.”
Alex finally lifted his cup and said, “Cheers to that!”
For clips and more info on Bernie & Ges, head over to BernieandGes.com.