Back in 2009, the Polish Brothers, Mark and Michael, released two films on the festival circuit: The Smell of Success premiered at Sundance, while Stay Cool opened at Tribeca. Now, two years later, both films are finally getting released in theaters. The Smell of Success just got a very limited opening this month, and Stay Cool will be hitting theaters September 16. A new trailer’s just been released for the latter, and… well, I can see why no one was in a hurry to rush this out.

Stay Cool follows a successful writer named Henry McCarthy (Mark Polish) who returns to his high school as a commencement speaker at the request of Principal Marshall (Chevy Chase). Once Henry arrives, Marshall encourages him to “connect” with the graduating class, which apparently means sitting in on classes and passing notes with students. (I don’t know about you, but I have never had a commencement speaker that did this.) Winona Ryder plays Henry’s high school crush, who’s now a local pharmacist, while Hilary Duff plays a current student who’s got her eye on Henry. Sean Astin, Josh Holloway, and Jon Cryer also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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With an adaptation of Jack Kerouac‘s On The Road currently awaiting release, someone is already stepping up to adapt another of the beat author’s famous works. Michael Polish, the director of Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork and The Astronaut Farmer, has written and begun directing Big Sur, a film based on the Kerouac novel that tells the story of his emotional troubles after gaining fame and fortune. It’ll star Jean-Marc Barr (Dogville) as Kerouac, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady and Kate Bosworth as their female companion Billie. Big Sur will also feature turns from Anthony Edwards, Rahda Mitchell, Balthazar Getty and Henry Thomas. Read more after the break. Read More »

Michael and Mark Polish (Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork, The Astronaut Farmer) return with a new film titled Manure, which is set to premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Téa Leoni, Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle MacLachlan star in a comic tale centered on manure salesmen in the early 1960s. The plot synopsis follows:

When a tragic accident ends the life of Mr. Rose, the genius behind Rose’s Manure Company, the livelihood of its loyal fleet of salesmen threatens to go, as they say, into the toilet. Enter estranged daughter Rosemary (Leoni), a high-class- cosmetics salesgirl, who steps in to take control. She is not sure she has a nose for the family business, but she is determined to make foul into profit. Little does she know that a ruthless, slick-talking fertilizer rep is plotting a takeover. Whether she likes it or not, she must trust her top salesman (Thornton) to devise a plan to regain Rose’s rightful position on top of the heap.”

The film’s tagline is “Sometimes you have to step in it to learn how to avoid it.” Even when I haven’t always loved the stories (Astronaut Farmer), I’ve very much enjoyed the look and tone of the Polish Brothers past film efforts. The early production photos show a beautiful unsaturated classic sepia golden look.

The early teaser trailer is short and sweet, and lack’s the golden look seen in the production photos. I’m guessing the trailer was just for promotional purposes. Sundance programer John Cooper calls the film “a wholly original, decidedly irreverent, yet enchantingly classic comic adventure from the 1960s.”

Manure premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20th 2009.