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When three generations of a deliciously dysfunctional family gather to bury the family patriarch, the beloved granddaughter (Zooey Deschanel) of the deceased is given the task of delivering the eulogy. In the days leading up to the funeral, dozens of family secrets are revealed, old grudges resurface, covert relationships are exposed and the household erupts with renewed vigor. Co-starring Hank Azaria, Kelly Preston, Famke Janssen, Ray Romano, Piper Laurie, Rip Torn, Glenne Headly, Jesse Bradford and Debra Winger. A black comedy about last rites and last words from writer/director Michael Clancy, in his feature debut.
 

 The Letter

It was a sweltering June Saturday in Queens. Seventh grade. Nobody had the kind of family that made plans for the weekends so about thirteen of us decided to hop an express bus and head out to Jones Beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t get seats because we were greeted by hundreds of others with the same idea. The bus was so overcrowded and so unairconditioned. We packed that old fuming bus like a human sausage. Every inhale was a blend of everyone else’s exhales. It was a miserable ride that would somehow last the rest of my life.

The following Monday at school, John Lynch (one of the other victims) brought in a letter he had written to the bus company. I’ll never know whether he sent it or not, but I’ll always remember the day he read it to all of us. In the middle of homeroom, twenty kids crowded around a twelve-year-old boy whose writing had so perfectly captured the humor of our misery that I can still hear the bunch of us howling with laughter. That was it. I had fallen hard for writing. Sometimes I think everything I work on is an attempt to capture the power of those two pages that made us laugh so much.

I’ve always loved laughter. I love the sound of it. The way people blurt it out when they don’t expect to laugh. There is something so uncontrollable about it. Something that often surprises the laugher. You can’t make yourself laugh, I mean really laugh. You can fake the sound, but you can’t fake that sense of recognition and surprise that overtakes your mind and body and triggers an overload similar to the way a pinball machine generally loses control of its sounds and lights when a player gets an extra ball. Laughter (or sense of humor) describes how a particular mind works, the way it has been wired. It’s much more accurate than an IQ test or a personality profile.

So it’s no surprise that my first film (Eulogy) is a comedy. Or at least I hope it is. Much of its humor stems from the way family members refuse to let each other stray from their original job descriptions. No, if you were the stupid one at six years old don’t think that curing a disease is going to buy you any points at forty. Your family knows who you really are. But I guess buried under the comedy of Eulogy is a quiet plea for acceptance. Will there come a point when we try to accept each other, more than we judge each other? Is there any way to stop ourselves from trying to fix each other? Which of course makes me a hypocrite. You see, in my plea for acceptance I can tell that I am not so accepting of those who don’t accept others. Which in itself is kind of funny.