By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 14, 2002 at 6:03 AM

Coming soon to a theater near you, "Milwaukee, Minnesota." That's not a typo. Rather, it's the title of a movie that wrapped up filming in Milwaukee this weekend. The cast and crew were in various Bay View locations to put the finishing touches on the nearly completed film.

The film stars Randy Quaid, Bruce Dern, Troy Garity ("Bandits"), Debra Monk ("NYPD Blue"), Alison Folland ("Boys Don't Cry") and Hank Harris (TV's "Popular"). Only Garity and Monk were on location, as the rest of the cast has finished shooting their scenes.

Written by Michigan-born Richard Murphy, the plot revolves around a young man named Albert (Garity). Albert is a little slow, but he's a master ice fisherman. He wins every ice-fishing tournament he enters and has accumulated a lot of prize money.

Albert lives with his mother Edna (Monk). She is cruel and overprotective, feeling that somehow she's been cursed because of the way her son turned out. She also had an affair with Sean (Dern), Albert's boss at a print shop, who is actually Albert's father.

Also figuring into things are bad guy Jerry James (Quaid) and a couple of drifters (Folland and Harris). Josh Brolin also spent a day filming a role as a thug who beats up Albert.

A majority of the day Saturday was spent on Homer St., off Kinnickinnic Ave. A snow machine covered one side of the street white with a shaving foam-like substance. No one could have expected a January in Wisconsin without snow.

"That's been the only real problem," said Milwaukee resident Kurt Egner, the production coordinator. "Other than that, everything's gone fine."

The scene being filmed has Albert and Monk walking down Homer toward KK. She is berating him for not handing over a phone number that a young lady has given him. The actors rehearsed two takes of walking down the street, and then filmed two more takes with dialogue. Everything seemed to go according to plan.

Later on, filming was scheduled to take place on the corner of Stewart and Hilbert Streets, also in Bay View. Fake snow already carpeted the area.

Most of the movie was filmed last winter, including all of the scenes with Quaid and Dern. Two days were spent in Canada and a small portion was filmed in Oshkosh, but the remainder was shot here in a number of South Side locations, as well as a scene with the two drifters approaching the city from west and passing Miller Brewing Company.

According to Egner, the support from people in the community has been phenomenal.

"Everyone we've come across has been so cooperative," he said. "People have been more than willing to do whatever they can to help."

The crew has been just as wonderful, according to Egner, who added that the filming, "has been a great experience."


Observing the set for a couple hours, it wasn't difficult to believe him. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, despite the bitter cold.

For Garity, who received critical accolades for stealing the show from Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton in "Bandits," it was a chance to rediscover his roots.

"Both of my grandparents are from Milwaukee," said the actor. In fact, some of his family members visited him at the set.

He said that without everyone in the community's cooperation, the film would have never been made.

The chance to take part in a smaller production, compared to the big budget "Bandits," has also been good for Garity. "It's humbling and more exciting," he said. "I get to do a lot more."

When you can see the dark comedy? That isn't quite clear yet. Egner said that a final cut will be completed shortly, and that after that they hope to shop it off to film festivals (including Cannes) and distributors.

Keep your eyes peeled for more about "Milwaukee, Minnesota," which could be coming to a theater near you later this year.