Fowl Play in Fallbrook

There are lots of local film festivals, but Fallbrook’s is my favorite. This year’s second annual started on Thursday, April 23, but it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that my girlfriend and I made it.

We walked down Main Avenue and loved all the little shops and bakeries. It reminded me of Julian and made me wonder why so many people travel there and never bother with Fallbrook.

We stopped at a restaurant called the Lace Apron and had a delicious lunch before heading to the Mission Theatre to see some films.

We were just in time to watch a documentary called Surfing 50 States. It was about two surfers from Australia who wanted to travel to each state and surf. They had to get creative. In Idaho, they took their surfboards down a mountain of potatoes. In Nebraska, they had tractors pull them through cornfields.

The surfers were able to score sponsorship from Hurley, which basically meant the surf-apparel company provided a vehicle — an old ice cream truck that kept breaking down. They were on the hook for all the repairs, which included two new engines. The repairs also made it tough to execute the film’s concept, which was to surf 50 states in 50 days.

The next movie was called Fowl Play. It dealt with animal cruelty in the egg industry. We decided to pass on that one.

We were surprised to see one of the surfers from the movie in the lobby. Because a few of the surfboards got thrashed going down stairs, I asked how many boards they had. I was surprised they were able to put around ten of them in their vehicle, which was stuffed with other things.

He said most of the surfers they encountered were nice, but a few of the hardcores sent nasty emails.

An award was given to Dick Ziker, a Hollywood stuntman who has done films such as Lethal Weapon, Herbie, Disturbia, Clear and Present Danger, and Smokey and the Bandit.

When clips were shown of all his movies, I leaned into my girlfriend and said, “If it wasn’t for Steven Seagal, this guy might not have a career.”

I talked with Ziker as we walked to the reception. I first said, “I notice you have a limp. Is that from your years of stunt work?” He replied, “I don’t have a limp!” His wife laughed and said, “Yeah, he does.” He smiled and said, “My knees are bone on bone.”

I asked what other injuries he’s had. The list included breaking his back twice, broken ribs and other bones. He once had his eye pop out. I didn’t know if it would be bad etiquette to ask how they put your eyeball back in without damaging it.

I told Ziker I read a book on Hollywood that said stuntmen never complain of injuries because then it’s hard for them to get work, which he confirmed.

I asked, “How well does Hollywood portray stuntmen? I remember as a kid watching the movie Hooper, and…”

He interrupted to say, “I was in that! I was the first stuntman that used computers!”

Ziker talked a little about Burt Reynolds, and we eventually talked about Kurt Russell’s performance in the last Tarantino film.

My girlfriend asked, “Were you one of those kids that was always doing crazy stuff?”

He said, “Not really. Well, in high school… I grew up in Wyoming, and we didn’t have TV. I had to create my own fun.”

When she mentioned Jackass, he said he thought those guys were jackasses. He said, “Stuntmen feel the same way about Evel Knievel, too.”

I grabbed a glass of wine, which was provided by Thornton Winery. I only remember that because they were there last year, when I swiped a few of their wine glasses.

I got some Mexican food from La Caseta, one of the restaurants serving up grub.

I saw the surfer again. He had a big smile on his face, taking it all in. Since nobody was talking to him, we went up and asked a few more questions about the movie. He told us his latest picture involved teaching Mexican orphans how to surf.

I overheard a few filmmakers talking about technical stuff such as camera angles and lighting.

I was anxious to speak with actor Fred Willard. At first, he wasn’t too swamped by people. When he was given an award, he mentioned the stuntman and how much hard work they do. I overheard someone say to Ziker, “We’re pleased you’re here.” To which he responded, “With some of the things I did…I’m pleased to be here.”

I asked Willard a few questions about working with Martin Mull on the show Fernwood 2 Night. He thanked me when I mentioned how underrated it was.

I told him my parents’ favorite character was his announcer role in Best in Show. He said, “Oh, that’s sweet of them. Tell them thank you.” I asked if he had a favorite character. He said, “Yeah. The one I did in A Mighty Wind.”

There was silence for a few seconds. I then said, “I saw that. I just can’t remember your character.” He said, “I had that really weird hair.” Again, more silence. I then remembered and said, “Oh…you kept saying, ‘Wha’ happened?’ Yeah, that was funny. I didn’t care for the movie much, though.”

He kind of frowned at that point. I said, “You and Ed Begley were the only funny things about it. The songs were kind of catchy, but…”

I wanted to excuse myself and grab another drink.

Luckily, someone came up and asked for a photo with him.

I heard Willard joke with the crowd, “Hey…I came here because there’s free food.” He told a joke that he said came from Robert Forster about doing a play only because they were serving soup in the second act.

An hour later, Willard was autographing a volunteer’s T-shirt. Willard’s wife was asking if they could leave because she was tired of standing. He was swamped by people who wanted autographs and photos.

Somebody asked him how many movies he’s done, and he said, “People sometimes tell me they loved me in something, and I say, ‘I’ve never been in that.’ I forget that I had some really small part. There are just so many movies, I can’t even remember them all.”

I told him he has a look that someone might recognize but not be able to place. I asked who he’s been mistaken for. He looked up and said, “A few times I’ve been mistaken for that guy on WKRP in Cincinnati: Frank Bonner.”

I wondered what ever happened to Bonner, the actor who played salesman Herb Tarlek. I guessed he was somewhere else that was providing free food.

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