Bruce Campbell: Will Highly Functional ever see the light of day?


Bruce Campbell has a movie that his fans may never get to see and that is a shame. Highly Functional is a comedy drama with an impressive cast and a unique story. Will it ever find a distributor?

Bruce Campbell has a film that he would love his fans to see but, in his words, “it may just wind up in the strange, little random movie museum.” The work in question is Highly Functional.

Directed by Marc Forby (executive producer on Prom Night) and written by Tom Dibble, it is a quirky road trip movie about Bobby (James Frecheville), an autistic young man whose guardian, Dan (G.W. Bailey) is dying. Wanting to give him a reason to live, he sets off on a cross country trek to retrieve Chili Youngfield (Bruce Campbell), Dan’s favorite country singer for a personal performance.

Along the way, he meets up with a motley crew of assorted personalities played by Annabeth Gish, Missi Pyle and Judge Reinhold. The cast is incredibly gifted and Bruce playing against type as a kind of George Jones performer on the downside of his career should guarantee this film’s success on VOD or even streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.

Last year, while I was covering the Ash vs Evil Dead press junket, I had the chance to sit down with Campbell to discuss his labor of love. It is clear that he thoroughly enjoyed his experience on this production. He is very proud of his performance and says that it is “completely different from pretty much anything I have done.”

Bruce Campbell – Highly Functional poster 1- Courtesy of Headlong Entertainment, Zed Filmworks, Eggplant Pictures

What is frustrating for Bruce and for his fans is that this could be his Tender Mercies or Crazy Heart and we might never know that! Plus, he sings in the film. With the knowledge that there is a market out there for Highly Functional then why can’t it find a distributor? Unfortunately, the tale is all too familiar for indie filmmakers.

According to Campbell:

"“It was financed in a very strange manner. The director was fired the week I was done with my filming. Then the producer quit. It was set up in such a way that a couple of personalities didn’t get along. However, two years later, something got resolved and the funding continued.”"

Which was a good thing because apparently, they could finish post production. Marc Forby came back and completed the edit. The actor did get to see the final product which he enjoyed. In his words, what “bums him out” is because of the way Highly Functional was set up, there isn’t a studio to push it.

Bruce Campbell – Chili Youngfield 4 – Courtesy of Bruce Campbell Twitter

At the time we spoke, Bruce was working on teaming the producers up with Alamo Drafthouse. That way, screenings could be set up and critics could see the movie. Harkening back to his early years, he called it going completely “grass roots.”

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Highly Functional has so many redeeming qualities. James Frecheville is very good in it. Maybe it will see the light of day.” We hope so, Bruce. Because it deserves to be seen.

Have you heard of Highly Functional? Would you like to see this film? Let us know in the comments. We want to hear from you.