Tallywacker Image


By Bobby LePire | June 21, 2024

DANCES WITH FILMS 2024 REVIEW! Written and directed by Brendan Boogie, Tallywacker follows the musicians in the titular band. Aleister (Jeremy Dubs) and Emmett (Chris Goodwin) are offered the chance to play at a local bar. Aleister says he doesn’t think they should take it because they aren’t ready. Emmett insists that they do. This back-and-forth happens every time they are asked to play there. Well, after Tallywacker’s gig this time, Aleister hits it off with the bartender Scarlett (Adwoa Duncan Williams), who is an aspiring photographer.

Then luck strikes: thanks to a video of the band performing taken by Scarlett, they are approached to be the opening band for rock star Carly Major (Rivera Reese). Despite being an adult, Aleister’s pill-popping, alcohol-abusing mom, Bonnie (Laurie Hamfeldt Mahoney), is vehemently against this idea as he suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta. Said condition, commonly reffered to as brittle bone disease, left Aleister with many broken bones growing up, so his legs warpped when he grew up. This left him confined to a wheelchair. But Tallywacker goes on tour, getting a taste of the rock ‘n roll life they wish for. Aleister is soon called up to the big leagues as Carly’s guitarist bails, so he fills in. Does this success lead to further opportunities for Tallywacker? Is Emmett correct, and fans only see Aleister as a novelty, not a real artist?

“…Tallywacker goes on tour, getting a taste of the rock ‘n roll life they wish for.”

Tallywacker is at its best when Dubs and Goodwin are riffing off of each other. Their chemistry is instant, they harmonize well, and feel like real-life friends. Dubs pulls off the drama and humor with ease, especially during an intense fight with Emmett. Goodwin excels as the sidelined best friend. His frustrations feel genuine, and his comedic timing is superb. For her part, Williams is sweet and affectionate. Reese is excellent as the rocker with so many issues it’s dizzying. When she demands Aleister strum something sad on his guitar, it is intense while highlighting her trust in his abilities.

The plot indeed hits almost every expected beat, but elements are given new weight due to Aleister’s condition. A running theme of the film is how much “more difficult” everything is for him. While that might be true, Aleister fails to realize that he has more going for him than he thinks. Whether or not he learns to accept this is his arc, which is wrapped up sweetly. Admittedly, Aleister is the only one with such a defined arc, but the others still feel realistic and three-dimensional.

Tallywacker is a unique blend of sweetness, comedy, and drama. The cast delivers a strong performance, and the original songs by the titular band are catchy and very funny. The pacing is tight, and while the plot may follow some familiar beats, it’s the fresh angles that truly make it stand out.

Tallywacker will have its West Coast premiere at the 2024 Dances With Films. For more information, visit the Tallywacker linktree.

Tallywacker (2024)

Directed and Written: Brendan Boogie

Starring: Jeremy Dubs, Chris Goodwin, Adwoa Duncan Williams, Rivera Reese, Laurie Hamfeldt Mahoney, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Tallywacker Image

"…a unique blend of sweetness, comedy, and drama."

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