At the time of Giuseppe Andrews’ debut feature “Touch Me in the Morning”, the inspired young actor had Hollywood at his feet but instead chose to tell stories from the heart. Armed with a Mini-DV camera (which at the time he did not know how to switch to color) and employing a cast of fascinating trailer park misfits, Andrews’ proceeds to show his audience the real undiscovered America.
“Touch Me in the Morning” is the result of Giuseppe Andrews showing director Adam Rifkin a short documentary he made on trailer park resident Bill Nowlin, after which he offered Andrews, $1,000 to make a feature film.
Coney Island (Giuseppe Andrews) is a young man who appears to be immune to the jaded scepticism that fills every corner of society. Coney is a change-of-life baby which means his parents were really old when they had him. His father Daddy Bill (Bill Nowlin) has just been released from prison, charged with the rape and murder of a homeless woman which he was later acquitted of after a DNA test proved that it was in fact bull’s semen. His mother Momma Ruth (Ruth Estes) is divorced from his father and suffers from dementia and wants nothing to do with her son. Coney is a good natured kid whose time is filled with singing songs of hope to the disenfranchised elderly who have little else in their lives and also loves to play in the park.
With the mind of a child, Coney has a lot of questions about life and it is then that his father Bill shows him the way the real world works and is the only figure in his life that is not whimsical even if he is exceedingly atypical. Coney goes on a journey of self-discovery in a world where there is plenty to learn about oneself.
“Touch Me in the Morning” is what I imagine “Stand by Me” (1986) would have been like if it was directed by John Waters circa 1972. You can’t help but fall in love with these wildly perverse and eccentric characters even if at times you do reach for the ‘gag bag’. Filmed employing mainly unbroken wide angle takes which I think works well aesthetically with this particular subject matter. These people are poor and down to their bottom dollar, so it wouldn’t feel right to make this type of film on 35mm with a budget of $5million.
Unprofessional actor Bill Nowlin in his debut performance is inherently awe-inspiring. He has great comical timing and exceptional delivery. A great discovery! Andrews’ character is quite introverted which allows Nowlin the space to steal the show and upstage him.
When I first started watching the work of Giuseppe Andrews, I really didn’t care for it. As the days followed I found myself thinking more and more about his unique characters and filmmaking style, and soon his films started to grow on me.
“Touch Me in the Morning” is more coherent than “Trailer Town” even though at times the film is a little disjointed. A solidly polished no-budget underground film that reads candidly avant-garde. If anyone wishes to attest to Andrews’ unrefined genius and unrelenting filmmaking rebellion, then watch this film as it is the product of a guy who loves to own his freedom of _expression. I mean where else will you find a coke addicted geriatric women, a guy stomping his s**t down the drain of a sink and a guy showering in his socks all in the same movie?
The DVD extras include a trilogy of short films from Giuseppe Andrews collectively entitled “After School Specials” which are wild and wacky, an in depth interview with Bill Nowlin and Giuseppe Andrews as well as trailers for “Trailer Town” (2003) and “In Our Garden” (2002). The latter is being released by Troma as part of a Giuseppe Andrews collection entitled “Bath Robe Home School Box Set”.