Middletown native’s movie gets boost from indie film legend

Josh Roush’s ‘Wrong Reasons’' is coming to the Neon; ‘Clerks’ director is executive producer.



Punk rocker Kat Oden is mired in drug addiction and a relationship with a toxic lover but she never expected to wake up chained to a bed, towered over by a man in an animal mask. That is just one of the riveting scenes in the new film, “Wrong Reasons,” making its Ohio premiere at The Neon in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 4.

The independent film is the first narrative feature from Josh Roush, a Middletown native living in California. It was executive produced by filmmaker Kevin Smith (”Clerks,” “Mallrats,“ “Chasing Amy” and “Jersey Girl”) who also appears as a cameraman for the television news. The cast of “Wrong Reasons” includes Ralph Garman, Teresa Ruiz and David Koechner, who had the recurring role of Todd Packer on NBC’s “The Office.” Liv Roush, the wife of the Los Angeles transplant, stars as Oden and James Parks is James Winandi, a kidnapper with an unusual motive.

“I always wondered what life would’ve been like if somebody would’ve stepped in with Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and people like that who are on a downward spiral,” said Roush, who wrote, directed and edited the film. “If somebody did that, would it be appropriate? Would it be the right thing to do? That was the genesis of the general idea and as far as the film itself, Liv wanted to act.

“She starred in a short from ‘Holidays,’ an anthology Kevin Smith did,” Roush continued. “She had voiced interest in doing more and when I saw how much she prepped and how good she was in that, I was blown away. I started writing this piece I had in the back of mind for a long while and Liv took it and ran. She didn’t know how to play guitar before. Not only did she learn guitar, but she also formed a band and we used most of their music in the movie itself.”

Like her husband, Liv wore many hats on the film.

“She’s one of those type-A personalities that can’t do anything halfway,” Roush said. “She orchestrated the whole thing. Not only was Liv acting in it, when the camera was off, she was producing. When she wasn’t producing, she was organizing the testing. She’s the real hero of this movie.”



Silent Bob, film patron

Another hero on “Wrong Reasons” was Smith, who Roush first met at a card game many years ago. They became friends and eventually he started working for the independent filmmaker and podcaster.

“I’ve worked with Kevin in various capacities for over 13 years,” Roush said. “I’ve been his daughter’s driver and bodyguard. I’ve been his assistant and I’ve shot behind-the-scenes footage on some of his films. Liv and I just finished as tour managers for the ‘Clerks III’ tour.”

In addition to promoting “Wrong Reasons,” Roush has multiple projects in the works. He is shooting footage for an unannounced documentary, wrapping up his documentary on actor Michael Parks and prepping his next narrative film, which Liv has written.

Smith became a benefactor for “Wrong Reasons” when Roush and Liv tour managed the earlier “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow” in 2019.

“We spent a lot of time in close confines together,” Roush said. “Rather than flying the entire tour, we opted to get in the car and do the entire thing like a punk rock band in a van. Over the course of that, Kevin asked what we were working on. We started telling him our idea and how I had written a script at various budget levels.

“We told him we got it down to something that was manageable and we could actually get investors for and he came to bat,” Roush continued. “Kevin introduced us to David Shapiro, who gave us half of our budget up front.”

The filmmaker also helped raise part of the indie film’s modest $92,000 budget in a more grassroots, Kevin Smith way.

“Kevin, the sweetheart that he is, did these things called Kevieos,” Roush said. “They’re like Cameos, but we discovered Cameo takes like 15 percent. We’re like, ‘Screw that, we can do it ourselves.’ We essentially sold these video clips of Kevin. I put it on the teleprompter and he read over 250 different personalized messages for people to raise funds for the flick.”

In addition to that, Smith signed on to act in the film.

“That part was definitely originally in the script,” Roush said. “Essentially, Kevin plays me. I put him in camo shorts and a vest. If he hadn’t been involved, I would’ve done that role but I’m glad it was him. Kevin is so good at saying so much with so little. He also says so much with so much, don’t get me wrong, but with the Silent Bob in him, he doesn’t have to say a lot to get a lot across, which is important to the film.”



Indie film roadshow

Much like with Smith’s recent film tours, Roush is personally taking “Wrong Reasons” to cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco rather than doing a traditional theatrical release. He took this approach at the suggestion of Eric Wilkinson, director of acquisitions and sales at MVD Entertainment Group, which is releasing the film later this year on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming.

“Eric from MVD approached me and said he’d love to put it out,” Roush said. “He’s like, ‘We could do theatrical rights but honestly with the luxury you have of Kevin’s social media network, you’re going to pull in way more if we don’t take a cut off the top.’ He said: ‘We’ll handle domestic digital, and we’ll handle domestic physical but, honestly, in my opinion, just do it yourself.’ We took Eric’s advice.”

“Wrong Reasons” is screening at The Neon at noon Saturday, with a remote introduction from Smith. The celebration continues with a Q&A and signing at Blind Rage Records in Belmont at 4 p.m. and an after party at Blind Bob’s with Nightbeast, Clemmer and Radar at 8:30 p.m.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or donthrasher100@gmail.com.


What: “Wrong Reasons”

Where: The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton

When: noon Saturday, Feb. 4

Cost: $12.50

More info: 937-222-7469 or www.neonmovies.com

Artist info: findkatoden.com

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