Skip to content

Nice Guy Johnny – by Edward Burns – Starz Denver Film Festival

 The divorce rate in this country is over 50%. If only those who settled, who scarified themselves for the life of marital bliss, had a spiritual or universe-related intervention that Johnny Rizzo (Max Baker) experienced, the pain, years and cost of those marital mistakes could have been avoided.

Edward Burns latest feature film, written, directed and funded on a shoe-string budget, “Nice Guy Johnny” is the story of Rizzo, a fanatic for sports who’s living his dream job in the early morning slot on Oakland’s KSPT sports talk radio show.

He’s also engaged to Claire, who comes from money and a family of means in New York City. Saying “I Do” comes with dropping his loser, low-paying gig and getting a “real job” to support his fiancé and the life she’s accustomed to by working for her father at his cardboard manufacturing company. You can see where this is going.

Making the trip to NYC to interview with the soon-to-be father-in-law brings him to the bar in Manhattan, one owned and operated by his Uncle Terry. This is where Rizzo’s destiny changes, and Terry takes him on a weekend adventure to The Hamptons to rethink his plans and rediscover what he really wants in life. Along the way, destiny comes to play through a chance meeting with a tall, blonde, free spirit Brooke (Kerry Bishe), who also challenges him to ask some hard questions of himself while the sparks between them fly off the charts.

Bishe, an up and coming actress, spoke at the screening, explaining the simple yet effective process by which this film was made. Burns did it old school, taking what was supposed to be a short film and writing on-site, turning it into a full-length feature, lowering the catering budget by frying up burgers at the home where the film was made.

This is not only another lively and entertaining chapter in Burn’s filmmaking career, but “Nice Guy Johnny” is going the DIY way in film that music makers have been paving for the past 15 years. No distributors. Available directly through iTunes along with promo packages that include special additions to the DVD, promoted all through social media.


Nice Guy Johnny at the Starz Denver Film Festival


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox