Arizona indie ‘The Big Something’ a big hit

Lewis is a down on his luck, vinyl aficionado. He’s broke, lives out of the record store he works in, and now he’s the prime suspect in the murder of his boss and friend, Marcus. Poor guy can’t catch a break. Luckily, the prime suspect label doesn’t last long.

One morning Lewis comes home to the record store to find his boss dead with a bullet shot to the head. Two of Arizona’s dumbest cops quickly apprehend Lewis and hand him off to the most casually dressed detective you’ll ever see. After a brief chat about Travis Tritt, the detective declares Lewis innocent and the death of the record store owner to be an obvious suicide. Case closed. Lewis knows better though. 

Convinced his boss was the happiest person he knew and would in no way kill himself, Lewis sets off to unravel the case in The BIG Something, the record store who-dun-it and debut feature length film from Arizona director Travis Mills.

To help aid him in solving the murder mystery, Lewis, played brilliantly by Michael Coleman, enlist the help of his drunk and at times down right bitchy co-worker, April (Mina Mirkhah). Together the two head out on a wild goose chase throughout the Valley making clues out of everything and anything they find to discover what really happened to their boss.

Along the way they come into all sorts of quirky characters from a justice seeking bum to a creepy record collector in a wheelchair and even a group of trash eating, bike builders.

The Big Something is a laugh-out-loud, screwball comedy with a Raising Arizona-like charm. Lewis, while at times somewhat dim-witted, is extremely likable and easy to root for. The assortment of oddballs he meets along the way are all weirdly interesting.

One scene in particular has Lewis visiting the Gold Bar Coffee Shop. Lewis is doing some detective work by playing chess with an older gentleman named Buster to get some info on his boss’ friend, Cliff. Buster is played by veteran actor Eddie Jones, who absolutely steals the scene. Jones has a screen presence that really makes this scene stand out as a highlight.

Gold Bar Coffee Shop is just one of the many local Arizona locations and businesses used in the film. Among the others is Tracks In Wax which is the home base for the film as its the record store in which the whole murder mystery begins. Working with virtually no budget on this independent project, director Mills gets the most out of his locations.

Sticking with the low-budget independent theme, the film has a wonderful blues and jazz soundtrack cleverly made up with songs from the public domain. The music is tied into the storyline and helps move the film along at a good pace.

The film marks the promising start of what appears to be a very strong film career for both Travis Mills and the Arizona independent scene. Mills shows you can make a big something, with a little nothing.

For more information on The Big Something, please visit

Chris Coffel

My name is Chris Coffel from Phoenix, Arizona. I love film and the Phoenix Suns. I write movie reviews for Trashwire and write about the Phoenix Suns for Downtown Phoenix Journal. I'm also the co-host of a movie podcast focusing on fringe cinema, the Dark of the Matinee. Please subscribe to my show on iTunes. I write about the Suns here: I make movies here: I talk about movies here:

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