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Duluth is Horrible Kickstarter

This February (maybe), filmmaker Vincent Gargiulo will be coming to Duluth to film a short movie titled Duluth is Horrible. Chip into the Kickstarter here, and/or follow the news on their blog.

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79 Comment(s)

  1. Thank you for the plug! I appreciate any support. I know Duluthians probably aren’t thrilled with the title but it’s not really about Duluth. It’s just a backdrop and the title is a sentiment from one of the characters. I look forward to visiting, filming, and meeting people in the city. Sincerely,
    Vincent Gargiulo

    VincentGargiulo | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  2. That’s the dumbest movie title ever. If the film is really going to be comedic or thought-provoking, about regret and depression with lonely characters, etc. in the cold of a northern winter, then “Duluth is Beautiful” would be more effective and have much deeper meaning in an “American Beauty” kind of way.

    These are things you won’t find people rushing to support around here (fill in the blank):
    “I’m going to contribute to that ‘___ is Horrible’ project.”
    “Hey, let’s go see that ‘___is Horrible’ movie!”

    That’s just this character’s sentiment, though. The first sentence is just a backdrop to this comment.

    Shane Bauer | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  3. After seeing the title and then reading your blog, I’m going to have to pass. It seems to me that you really don’t have a clue about life outside California.

    Do you know Duluth? Or was it the first place that came to mind when you decided that you needed a winter landscape?

    Your own writings and how you see Duluth in them is what has me saying no to contributing to this. Get someone else to buy your equipment for you.

    Jadiaz | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  4. I think the movie sounds great, and those people up there have no sense of humor.

    I don’t, however, have any money, because making money in Duluth is horrible. I hope your California friends can make it happen.

    (I love Duluth. It is also horrible. And fabulous. And horrible.)

    hbh1 | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  5. Kickstarter is horrible.

    nicolai | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  6. If someone like Carrie Rossow Boberg or Jason Page were the brains behind this proposed movie, I’d be much more receptive, because I’ve seen their work and they actually live here, so they don’t have this patronizing and condescending attitude that Duluth “is horrible,” and that the filmmaker is making this huge sacrifice, leaving Stockton, Ca. for Duluth in February, in pursuit of his “art.” Plus, they’d brilliantly incorporate the landscape into their movie, like they did with “The Life of Riley.”

    Mr. Gargiulo, I have the feeling that you — like many of the Californians I grew up with who still live there-- have probably never visited the Midwest for any period of time, except to change planes in Chicago or Minneapolis. Please do visit Duluth in February. And be prepared to have all of your preconceptions about how “horrible” it is here and what yokels we are blown to smithereens. It’s cold here, yes, but I would never call this landscape “bleak.”

    I suggest, if you want to save on travel and on a new wardrobe, and you want to film a movie about lonely people searching for connections in a bleak landscape, you might want to consider filming in Salinas. I’ve never been to a more desolate place in my life — and the fact that the city almost closed its libraries a few years ago merely strengthened my belief that Salinas is horrible. And, being a Californian, you wouldn’t be such a fish out of water there.

    Claire | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  7. It’s funny that this shows up on PDD right before the DNT runs the story about the IRRRB trying to attract fiilmmakers.

    “Hibbing is Horrible” … doesn’t that sound better?

    brian | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  8. Salinas Sucks would be a great title for a movie. I do like Hibbing is Horrible, though, Brian.

    Claire | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  9. Taking things out of context, having no sense of humor, and refusing to help people solely on the basis that they aren’t from here. These are not good ways to prove that Duluth isn’t horrible.

    Barrett Chase | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  10. Welcome to Duluth: we bite.

    BadCat! | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  11. Ha! Yeah, man. Way to represent, Duluth.

    Come on up to Duluth and let our special community of uppity blogger fuck-tards get all mukluk on your ass.

    “I’m going to have to pass.” Hahahahaha!

    I’d give this kid 20 bucks just to keep the hate hive buzzing on PDD. This shit is priceless.

    Henry Brick | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  12. Maybe “Duluth is Irritable” would be a better working title.

    Some of you guys should switch to decaf.

    Chris Julin | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  13. I want a “Duluth is Horrible” T-shirt.

    Ramos | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  14. I’m picturing Telly Savales with “Duluth, who hates ya baby!”

    BadCat! | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  15. If anyone does a Salinas Sucks! movie… IT WAS MY IDEA. Don’t forget that.

    Claire | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  16. Ah, Henry, I don’t hate the guy. I dislike his pitch and how he comes off, but that doesn’t mean I hate the guy. Clearly no one should ever critique or give feedback to a person pleading for others to give them their hard earned money. But keep feeling superior to those of us who don’t like this idea or the filmed/written opinions of the person behind it.

    Jadiaz | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  17. Agreed, Chris. Some of you should switch to Sanka. Sheesh.

    Shane Bauer | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  18. But part of our charm is our distrust of California and their silly (warm) weather. Oh, we also hate smugness- except our own. You need it to survive the long, cold winters…

    TimK | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  19. I blame my irritability on my Seasonal Affective Attitude Disorder.

    And, Jadiaz, I totally agree with you on this one.

    Claire | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  20. I seem to have ahem, struck a nerve. It’s all completely true that I’ve not been to Duluth, nor know all that much about it. But that’s why I want to go. I honestly didn’t expect Duluthians to be that willing to help and I’m sorry to upset anyone. It’s just a comedy. If I made “Salinas Is Horrible”, then Salinas would be mad at me.

    I’m just a small independent filmmaker doing his thing. I might not make my Kickstarter goal but I’m gonna try. And if I fail, I’ll make the film anyway. And the reason Duluth is horrible in the film, is because the lead character’s girlfriend dumps him there. Anywhere is horrible if you have a broken heart.

    So Duluth, I’m sorry and I hope you’ll forgive me in time.

    VincentGargiulo | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  21. I can’t even count the times in my life I’ve done something that I thought would be uneventful and benign, and somehow have it end it controversy…

    So please come to Duluth, hang out, get to know us (and bring a parka -- it’s February you crazy fuck!). We’re not angry people, we just have a strong bit of “self-preservation” that tends to erupt whenever we feel threatened.

    BadCat! | Dec 12, 2012 | New Comment
  22. You’ll be fine here, Vincent. Just know it doesn’t take much to strike a nerve online. It’s much safer on the street. That probably applies to a lot of places these days. Email me at when you get here and I would enjoy showing you a couple very interesting places. I’ll buy you a burger and a beer for my part.

    My sense of humor is still somewhat intact (I think) but that really is just a weak movie title IMHO. I don’t think a lot of people will give it a chance and you obviously want to get it in front of as many people as possible. A film about human vulnerability can be a beautiful thing. Comedy is always good. The beer is awesome here.

    Shane Bauer | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  23. Didn’t someone do this last year, more or less? | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  24. rhetoricguy, you’re probably referring to Adam Carr, who did a “January in Duluth” radio / media project earlier this year, back in … January.

    brian | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  25. You could be onto something Vince.

    Shane, you’re thinking about taking him to the Saratoga huh? I don’t know if he’s ready yet. Or the Owls — a nice place for young men to grow old before their time. Just don’t ring the bell.

    Possible homemade T-shirts to give away on arrival:

    “Duluthian, Proud as Fuck, Don’t tell me it Sucks.”

    “You’ve Already said Duluth is Great Six Times Today, Shut up about it Already.”

    Yah, the weather sucks, city officials are corrupt, and there’s no mountains, but you can always get beer, except Sundays! Or in half the town. And you might get killed trying, if only by gravity.

    Herzog | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  26. Vincent, I just read your latest blog post, and I think you are getting the wrong idea out of Duluth here. If you are basing all of Duluth’s opinions on a comment thread then Duluth may seem like a place with some cranky people in it(while actually it seems like more people on this thread support you than dislike the project, the people that don’t like it have just been a little more lengthy in their opinions).

    In fact, it may just be that we aren’t overly thrilled every time someone from out of town comes in and films something in Duluth just because of its “bleak landscape,” (trust me, you aren’t the first) when we, as locals, think of the area as anything but bleak. A lot of us live here because we absolutely love it, even in the winter, which might possibly be confusing for your California-heat-loving-self, so we get a bit defensive when someone from outside comes in and calls our beautiful town bleak or talks about how awful the cold might be, or straight up calls our town horrible (I get it, it’s a joke, others might not).

    There are 86,000 people in Duluth, and there are currently five saying they’re not into your idea. That’s .000058 percent. Let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

    wskyline | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  27. People here need to understand that this is not a documentary. It’s fiction. How difficult is that to grasp?

    If you want to film something bleak, Duluth is a great location to do so, especially in February. Not everything is an awesome view of Lake Superior on a sunny day. Go walk down one of the downtown alleys right now if you disagree. Hell, even Lake Superior is bleak if you look at it in the right way on the right day.

    “Bleak landscape” refers to the feel of what is filmed. It doesn’t mean every image that comes into your eyes every moment that you look around this city.

    What’s with the inferiority complex? All this because someone said the word “horrible” in a tongue-in-cheek manner? If it’s so great, you’d think people would have more confidence.

    Barrett Chase | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  28. OK, this is weird… but this morning, on the Today Show, during the weather segment when they select one city and randomly anywhere in the USA — today’s selected city was SALINAS, CALIFORNIA. It was 56 degrees. What even are the odds? Now I am convinced that someone should make a film called Salinas Sucks! It just might be me.

    Maybe Mr. Gargiulo should make a series of films based on the theme of bleakness and abandonment and loneliness and film them around the country. That’d be cool.

    Claire | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  29. Lake Superior is ridiculous.

    Ramos | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  30. baci | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  31. BTW, As a veteran of many outdoor winter shoots, get a small six-pack cooler for your batteries. Toss one of those chem-warm packs in there and you’ll get something nearer to actual life out of them.

    baci | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  32. C’mon up. Bring some good boots. And your drinking pants. There are cultural ambassadors everywhere.

    adam | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  33. I would bring lots of pairs of warm socks too. You might want to just wait until you get here though. I don’t think anyone in Cali sells Smartwool socks.

    Claire | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  34. havington | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  35. I’ll definitely be contacting some of you when it gets closer to fruition. First things first, get the money to do the project. Thanks to everyone’s help & tips.

    VincentGargiulo | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  36. Add this to the Upset Duluth file.

    The Big E | Dec 13, 2012 | New Comment
  37. Has anyone else noticed that film and television have become obsessed with cold and snow since global warming became a topic/reality?

    Carla | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  38. No, I have not noticed that. Not at all.

    vicarious | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  39. I love the idea. I love the pitch. I love the name. I dropped a few bucks into the hat.

    Haters gonna hate.

    Lawrence Lee | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  40. Vincent,

    We of course welcome you to Duluth -- I think you’ll enjoy your time and we’ll be happy to assist in your project. If you called it the “untitled Duluth project,” you’d probably find a number of Duluth folks willing to contribute -- that’s your priority, right?

    After your visit, if you still want to call it “Duluth is Horrible,” well hey, you’re the artist and that’s your choice.

    I guess I’m encouraging you to come to Duluth with an open mind. Adam Carr’s January in Duluth project is illustrative. Here’s a big city guy in search of mid-winter desolation to inspire his art. He ends up finding both a cold, stark landscape and an interesting, authentic, eclectic community.

    Sure, Duluth can be stark -- especially mid-winter -- but that experience also shapes a community in a more interesting way than you’d find in a southern suburban sub-division that doesn’t experience winter.

    I don’t keep up on the trends, so I don’t know if its fashionable for west-coast hipster indie filmmakers to drink beer. But if it is and if you do, then I’d be happy to buy you one on your first day in town. Please don’t take offense to my ignorance, I just don’t know anything about the trends of west coast indie filmmakers. But, I will assume you’re not horrible.

    February is coming soon -- we look forward to meeting you!


    Don Ness | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  41. Even though Havington has demonstrated that one can indeed buy Smartwool socks in California, let’s not forget there’s a sales tax on clothing in California, something in the 8% range, I believe. There is no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota. If Vincent makes his way to Duluth in February, I will buy him a pair of Smartwool socks. As I told Baby Claire the other day, after she complained about my once giving her books and socks for Christmas, it all boils down to having something great to read and warm feet on cold days.

    Claire | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  42. Vincent,

    It’s irritating when people take everything so seriously that the slightest negative mention of our community, no matter how funny or ironically meant, inspires a crop of deathly sincere testimonials about how wonderful we are.

    My opinion carries a lot of weight around here, and I think “Duluth is Horrible” is a great title for a movie. In addition to being horrible, Duluth is also wretched, bummed-out and deplorable. I see the potential for many sequels.

    I don’t know if it’s fashionable for west-coast hipster indie filmmakers to smoke large quantities of synthetic incense for days on end, but if it is, I’d be happy to buy you several grams to get you started on your first day in town.

    We look forward to meeting you!

    Chief Trendsetter

    Ramos | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  43. I hope they get the cold, harsh weather they’re hoping for. And lighten up, people. They only mock us ’cause they care.

    DaVe | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  44. Vincent,

    The title is what made me watch your video … hold strong to that. I definitely don’t think Duluth is horrible, but I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) your goal is to belittle our city. It sounds like a fun, creative project. As a creative Duluthian and fellow filmmaker, I say go for it. You have a great opportunity to show what Duluth is really all about and your outside perspective will be refreshing.

    One of the reasons many people live in Duluth is because of the cold, stillness of winter … we love it. I can find a pick up hockey game any night of the week, go skiing, snowboarding, dog-sledding, you name it. Something to consider when framing your narrative : )

    Good luck,
    David Cowardin Editor

    David Cowardin | Dec 14, 2012 | New Comment
  45. Vince, I just thought of the greatest scene for your movie. A homeless incense addict is plummeting down a steep hill on his rental bike, not riding it, just sliding down the hill on his back down the sidewalk with the bike, holding his 40 like he’s headed into the endzone, nothing else matters, as he takes out your protagonist who is carrying a big bag of fresh groceries, head over heels, only to then go home and have their heart broken upon discovering their best friend in bed with their lover. That’s real.

    You can have it dude, free.

    Herzog | Dec 15, 2012 | New Comment
  46. And Don, February is not coming soon, its six fucking weeks away. That’s a coons age dude. Its enough freeze/thaw time in our new modern paradigm to start our winter tomatoes and harvest the mold off our porch droppings.

    Herzog | Dec 15, 2012 | New Comment
  47. Everyone that jumped down your throat over the title will be lined up to see their city in a movie. I hope it gets made and hope you check out Duluth.

    Every city is horrible to at least one of its inhabitants. Sorry that our pretentiois website gave your the defensive welcome wagon.

    If you were Tarantino, everyone here would be offering up a cot in their living room for you.

    Duluh is actually pretty cool.

    Hot Shot | Dec 16, 2012 | New Comment
  48. Also, you’ll be hearing those three original songs from your trailer being wrotten and re-written for the Homegrown Music Festival.

    In all seriousness, I think a lot of Duluth-made music will make for a great soundtrack. The music is representativeof the people and the attitudes.

    Hot Shot | Dec 16, 2012 | New Comment
  49. vicarious | Dec 16, 2012 | New Comment
  50. Herzog, dude … or whatever … you need to come up from the basement and have something to eat.

    Give the kid form Cali a chance, folks. | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  51. Isn’t “Fargo” instructive in this case?

    Do people from Fargo express gratitude for the Coen brothers’ attention? | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  52. I just hope this guy does a better job than the “Hollywood director” who was behind the film meant to entice Google to Duluth, but kind of made Duluth look like an icky place to live.

    Claire | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  53. Oh god, don’t bring that up again! We’ll have that guy’s wife back on here insulting us again for being too stupid to appreciate art.

    BadCat! | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  54. Oh, god, you are right, Bad Cat. Sorry!

    Claire | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  55. Yeah, she was pretty crazy-town.

    Sorry, if you’re making something that is for public consumption, you have to assume that some people won’t like it and suck it up when you hear those comments.

    BadCat! | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  56. I think not taking personally criticism of one’s work that is for public consumption is what divides the professionals from the the dilettantes.

    I just hope we all get to see Duluth is Horrible!

    Claire | Dec 18, 2012 | New Comment
  57. Thanks to everyone for their pledges, woolsocks, beer, and support!! I’m not a Hollywood studio. I’m just me and I definitely appreciate it. After the initial outburst, it seems the comments here have been more semi-favorable. So far the most offensive comment has been the mayor calling me a hipster. That’s cold but touchĂ© Mr. Mayor.

    I couldn’t get everyone to participate in “untitled Duluth movie” and then change the name later to “Duluth Is Horrible.” That really wouldn’t go over well. I much rather be upfront and honest. I stand by the title because I feel fits the mood of the film and is provocative. Plus it’s a short song too. If anybody really hates the title, for a $2500 pledge, I’ll change it.

    I created a new pitch video. Just me talking to the camera with some clips of my most famous work. The link at the top should be it. I’m making progress but we’re a ways to go. So I hope some of you who haven’t backed the project, will consider it. Thanks again!!!!

    West Coast Hipster Indie Filmmaker

    VincentGargiulo | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  58. If someone pledges, alternate title should probably be…

    Oh Come on! Duluth Isn’t that Bad.

    Herzog | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  59. Not just wool socks, Vince, SMARTWOOL socks!

    Claire | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  60. And long underwear.

    adam | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  61. Don’t worry Vince, Don Ness is a North coast inde hipster mayor, it’s all good!

    baci | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  62. Smartwool socks are for crap…Bridgedale and Thorlo are the only durable socks to buy. | Dec 20, 2012 | New Comment
  63. IMHO it sounds like you are going to great lengths to take an iffy story an go through an expensive lesson on how to make a better film. I would gather some real life experiences in Duluth before proceeding and maybe send that script out for input from what is a pretty creative community in Duluth for feedback. I mean why spend the time and cash to make a indie sleeper when you can do something extraodinary? Besides this open critique, I say go for it, just please have a good story!

    BigBen | Dec 27, 2012 | New Comment
  64. To be specific the main character getting dumped as the set up for the rest of the story sounds maybe a little weak, like we are going to dumb down the potential for a really good film. Just saying if you are plunking down $10,000 and your reputation you may want to work out a film that is different than say “Between Stations.” Maybe posting an online script for input is a logical step for you Vincent.

    BigBen | Dec 27, 2012 | New Comment
  65. Hi Vincent,
    You are welcome to stay with our family. You’ll have your own room, bathroom, and the family room. My husband is from Ukiah, CA, my brother used to live in Hayward and if you can convince me that Duluth is Horrible I will be amazed. (we lived in Crescent City, Ca for a time too) Reach out to my brother Doug in Burlingame for his take on growing up in Duluth. Look forward to hearing from you. Call our State Farm office.

    BarbaraCarr | Dec 27, 2012 | New Comment
  66. We should have a big welcome party for Vincent when he comes to town — and the California expatriates can give him advice on how best to acclimate to Duluth.

    Claire | Dec 27, 2012 | New Comment
  67. “Duluth is (adjective)” is only $60 away from being funded. If you still want to chip in, the deadline is in two days.

    BadCat! | Jan 3, 2013 | New Comment
  68. Vincent, you’ll be happy to know we have a wonderful indie theater here, Zinema 2, that serves beer and is showing “Wake in Fright” -- starts this week. And I tried out the newest brew pub last week, so I can officially take you to the best beer in Duluth. (It’s not at the new pub, but they do have great beer there too).

    Shane Bauer | Jan 4, 2013 | New Comment
  69. BadCat, I think you meant $600 dollars away, as I just checked and they are still just over $300 dollars away this morning. Still time to donate for anyone that might want to.

    wskyline | Jan 4, 2013 | New Comment
  70. Doh -- math fail! Thanks for the update.

    BadCat! | Jan 4, 2013 | New Comment
  71. Your camera batteries will suffer a quick and painful death. Be prepared.

    ben boylan | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  72. Boooooooooo! Don’t expect a warm welcome Vincent Gargiulo.

    TG | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  73. iron ferrite handwarmers for fingers and batteries… | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  74. OK you have your funding and that is great! I am wanting to help on this film even though I was critical of the premise (insert foot into mouth) wouldn’t be the first time.

    I have UPM experience in Hollywood independent movies some of which have been recognized with awards and I have a good grasp of locations and talent here in Duluth. If you need permits and craft service details worked out I can also help with that. If you want a good go-to guy on your crew who is resourceful and reliable I can be that for “Duluth is Horrible.” Let me know 218-491-4604 for resume. Thanks Vincent and congrats!

    BigBen | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  75. Yay! Just got notification that funding went through! I, for one, am happy. Haters gonna hate.

    Lawrence Lee | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  76. To either your pleasure or dismay, I have indeed secured the funds and I will be coming to town to make the film. I definitely will be contacting a few of you and take you up on your offers of help, advice, housing, beer, & friendship.

    I will be arriving late Jan.26 and staying until mid-Feb as I need to be back for a film festival. I believe I’ll get everything I need done in my almost 3 weeks.

    I’ve actually received quite a warm welcome since this whole thing started with more locals than I count willing to help out in some way. I’m less & less worried about finding talent & locations. I will be posting a casting call and a location list hopefully before I arrive.

    Thank you again and I’ll see you soon!

    VincentGargiulo | Jan 5, 2013 | New Comment
  77. Vincent, I feel like I kinda screwed up too. By supplying you with the backbone to your story, and as your leading man, I’m worried there’s going to be tension when I become ‘popular’ with a few of the leading ladies. I mean, are we going to be adults about this, or what?

    Herzog | Jan 8, 2013 | New Comment
  78. I, for one, love the idea! ‘Course, I’m from across the bay, and it’s nice to see some of the Duluth hipsters get their due after being on the receiving end for, like, forever.

    cnollet | Feb 6, 2013 | New Comment
  79. I know someone who gave money just because they live in Superior and are sick of hearing about how Duluth is awesome all of the time.

    BadCat! | Feb 7, 2013 | New Comment

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