Nelson and Brockhohn

Les Nelson and Jim Brockhohn wrote the movie "Murphy's Law," which was shown at the Forest City Theatre June 29.

“Murphy’s Law” is the story of a man who thought things couldn’t get any worse, so he tries to have a series of near-death experiences. 

Film writers Jim Brockhohn, owner of Brockhohn Productions, and Les Nelson, owner of Marketplace Media Company, made the film shortly after the premier of their previous movie, “Rise of the Sea Urchins,” in 2015.

Brockhohn and Nelson were sitting in a restaurant, when Brockhohn said he had an idea for a movie.

“What if somebody was down on his luck so bad, all he wanted to do was have a near-death experience so he’d feel better? I see things on television, talk shows and stuff where somebody says, ‘Oh, I almost died’ or ‘I did die and I came back’ and all this,” Brockhohn said. “Then they start feeling better about themselves and the next day they don’t worry about the little things.”

Brockhohn said he and Nelson then started coming up with near-death experiences.

The two said they wanted to do a short film because short films are pretty popular. The two also enjoy participating in film festivals.

The film, about 17.5 minutes long, took six days of shooting in July 2018, at nine different locations, with six in Forest City – from Taco Jerry’s and Borderline Pizza to Goldy’s to Ay Jalisco to Waldorf University – to Mitchell County Regional Health Center, Ollenburg Motors, Inc. and Rockford.

The film has a total of 47 actors, 14 of whom are main characters.

Brockhohn said he started writing the script in August 2015 and got together with Nelson in May 2018 to finish, edit and refine it.

Brockhohn and Nelson were heavily involved in the movie, being producers, writers, directors, editors along with being in charge of locations and props.

Both agreed the movie is more of a dark comedy. Nelson said he’s had some blowback from people who know someone who’s attempted to take their own life.

“It’s a very serious age and I like making comedy…” Nelson said. “Comedy is a genre of a people that are free, because if you’re not free, you’re intensely serious. You don’t want anybody laughing at you. You take yourself too seriously and anybody making fun or anything is taken with deep, personal offense.

"But comedy is actually, at its deepest core, self-reflection and seeing how stupid we really are.”

Brockhohn said he’s been an actor for 25 years and has been in more than 90 productions from small films to Hollywood films, commercials, and movies. He has worked with the Coen brothers twice.

Nelson said Forest City has a lot of people who have been involved in acting and movies and “get film” while most people don’t “get film.”

“Most people, they think of community theatre as being essential and organic and part of the community fabric…” Nelson said. “A lot of towns have a good, vibrant community theatre, but very few towns actually get film, where film is actually basically very similar, only what you end up with you can watch over and over and over again.”

Up until a few years ago, it was cost prohibitive for people like Nelson and Brockhohn to make films on their own, but Nelson said it’s not that way anymore. 

People can make a feature-length film on a budget of $17,000, which is how much Nelson said he personally funded “Rise of the Sea Urchins.”

“Murphy’s Law” was shown in Forest City this past June and at the film festival in Clear Lake at the beginning of September. Nelson said they’ll probably keep entering the film in more comedy film festivals.

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