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Funny Bucket

Randy Sparks’ new dark comedy stinks â€" and that’s a good thing

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I have to go.

This thought emerges as I look upon row after polished row of Honey Buckets. What cinematic mischief has driven me from a warm bed this chilly November morning to Puyallup’s premiere receptacle repository? Today this lot of loos serves as a worthy backdrop for filmmaker Randy Sparks’ It Don’t Rain on Sunny Days. I guess one person’s waste is another’s inspiration.

The genuinely funny script — rare for an independent comedy — centers around Jason Feldman (played by Sunny’s co-producer Joe Rosati), a thirty-something going nowhere in life. He spends his days scrubbing out portable toilets and taking abuse from his hot-tempered boss Mr. Cross (Seattle comedian Rod Long), and Cross’s burly, brownnosing lackey Andre (Jason McKibbin). But when Jason wins the lottery, things REALLY start going down the drain.

The hilarious scene shot today involves a newly-confident Jason quitting his (literally) crappy job, then taking his frustrations out on a port-a-potty — with his ex-boss trapped inside. Director Justin Peterson (All About Haggarty, from last year’s Tacoma Film Festival) and his DP spent half the morning conceptualizing each shot of the sledgehammerin’ sequence.

A man familiar with the entertainment world, Sparks has assembled an eclectic and easygoing team of volunteers, most of whom he met on previous projects. Makeup gal Kari Baumann enjoys the networking opportunities that filmmaking provides. Bates graduate Nate Ranes doesn’t even consider his role as cameraman work. “I’m pretty much just hanging out with friends,” he says. 

Veterans of the industry round out the crew. Longtime performer Teddy Haggarty (the subject of Peterson’s documentary) occasionally stands in for Alec Baldwin, and his brother Leonard served as assistant director on the upcoming Jennifer Aniston vehicle Traveling. Rod Long, sauntering around the set in a grey suit tucked inside crusty boots, kept the crew in a giggly mood with his improvised shtick.

Sparks managed to involve the community as well. Earlier this year he united local musicians and comedians for several benefit concerts at venues including Jazzbones and The Swiss.

Sunny, with its nods to local landmarks, is partly a celebration of Sparks’ neigborhood. “We want to make movies,” he says, “and we’re excited about Tacoma anyway.” Rosati appreciates the community support and buzz generating around his film. “There’s definitely a synergy to this [project] that’s been amazing. …We want to include the community as we make this thing.”


Sadly I left the set before seeing Andre smash Cross’s foot for a cut of Jason’s winnings (trust me, it makes sense). When greed — and poo — are involved, people can be real stinkers.

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