Long Island native D.B. Sweeney knew a lot of people in Manhattan on Sept. 11th, 2001. Some of his friends were New York City firefighters, who went through a particular kind of hell in the months that followed. Funerals of fallen comrades went on for months not only because of raw logistics but also because of the overwhelming desire to make sure that each of the heroes was fully and properly honored.
Sweeney spent time visiting these friends during those dark months and saw the ongoing toll that was being taken on those that had already lost so much in the attacks. Experiencing firsthand how much of that pain was being drowned in alcohol, he suggested one night that maybe an alternative escape could be found, like going to a movie. One of the firefighters gave a derisive chortle and said, “Movies?! They don’t make movies for guys like us anymore!”
Although he had never considered the writer/director route, D.B. decided this was a moment to try to help out some guys who could really use it. He teamed up with Brian Currie to write a script and came up with Two Tickets To Paradise. The script sparked quite a bit of interest in Hollywood and Sweeney was initially offered a decent budget from a major studio to make the movie but was told it was a no-go unless two “political” lines were removed from the script. One of the lines in question concerned praising a guy because he was a Veteran. Sweeney decided to forgo the studio checkbook and use his own cash and credit to make sure the movie was made properly. He was ultimately able to complete the movie for a fraction of the cost while still get ting great actors like John C. McGinley, Moira Kelly, Pat Hingle and Ed Harris to star.
A buddy/road trip movie with just the right balance of humor and poignancy, Two Tickets to Paradise has become something of a cult classic for movie lovers around the world.
A passionate cinephile, D.B. peppered the film with homages to some of his favorite films, including Midnight Run, Going Places, Diner and even 2001, A Space Odyssey. The soundtrack is a remarkable story unto itself, featuring hits from Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Emmy Lou Harris and many more. Along with Sweeney, the movie stars John C. McGinley, Ed Harris and Paul Hipp as three high school pals wondering where all the youthful promise went. While attempting to outrun the perils of adulthood, the three men revert to some memorable adolescent hijinx. Sweeney’s focus on a “guys like us” experience makes it memorable on both comic and dramatic levels and ironically, studio testing revealed the movie scored even higher with women, which was an unexpected bonus.
The film became a sensation at film festivals winning over a dozen major awards and Sweeney never lost his original desire to “get this movie into the hands of people who need it”. Accordingly, the film has played in many firehouses as well as on military installations across America, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan and memorably, on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the middle of the South Pacific. Crack a cold one, and savor a visit with old friends in Two Tickets to Paradise!