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Everything Must Go


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#1 Christian

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 04:41 PM

I won't tell you Will Ferrell's new film -- an adaptation of Raymond Carver's story "Why Don't You Dance?" -- is a must-see, but I also don't want to sell the film short. I've seen a few 3-star reviews -- about right, I think -- but also some 2-star type reviews. I understand that the story isn't everyone's cup of tea, and the differences between a 2-star film and a 3-star film aren't too stark. But it's the difference between a film I'd recommend seeing, and one I wouldn't, so I thought it might be worth going to bat for Everything Must Go. It's not essential big-screen viewing, but it rises or falls on Will Ferrell's performance -- one that I think is better than average, maybe much better.

The story's premise is somewhat slight, and I think this is the crux of some of the detractors' critiques. But others have a problem with Ferrell. They seem perplexed that Ferrell has some moments of humor here in what is otherwise a grim story about a man whose life is bottoming out. Is it drama or comedy? Some folks are bothered that it's not one of the other. Or, to be charitable, they don't think a right balance is acheived in this film.

I wasn't comfortable entirely with the resolution of the story, but I think my knowledge of the source material, and of Carver's other stories, biased me against some of the plot turns in the screenplay. I guess I could accuse the film of being not just an affront to the orignal story, but too predictable in its character arc. Except I rather like the way the story develops here, as familiar as some of the beats are. I like the supporting actors. And I like those images of Nick riding Kenny's bike. And of all that furniture on Nick's front lawn.

I liked this movie.

Edited by Christian, 14 May 2011 - 04:42 PM.


#2 M. Leary

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:45 AM

I liked this movie.


Same here.

#3 Overstreet

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:39 AM

Thanks for the reminder. I need to see it.

#4 Tyler

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:11 PM

Everything Must Go is streaming on Netflix.

Link to Raymond Carver's "Why Don't You Dance?" I think it's better to say Everything Must Go is inspired by the Carver story than to call it an adaptation; the premise is the same (sort of), but the developments of the plot really aren't. I liked the movie a lot, though.

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to call this Ferrell's Punch-Drunk Love. He's playing the same kind of character he always does, but it's a much different performance and effect in the movie. It's a very interior performance, which is something I wasn't sure Ferrell could pull off.

Fun fact: The actor who plays Kenny (the kid with the bike) is the son of The Notorious BIG and Faith Evans.

Edited by Tyler, 21 April 2012 - 07:42 PM.


#5 kenmorefield

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 08:10 PM

Don't see as I ever posted a link to my review, but here is the take of someone who teaches Carver's short fiction fairly regularly and is ambivalent about his work.

#6 Christopher Lake

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:31 PM

I genuinely loved this one. It's definitely a much darker film than anything that Will Ferrell has starred in previously, but there are light moments too. Significantly though, they are not what one would usually think of as "Ferrell-type" light moments. In any event, he is pitch-perfect in this role. Very understated, but that only makes the emotions beneath his exterior more poignant.

This may sound strange... but I think that, perhaps, one of the reasons I connected with this movie so strongly is that, in 2010, when I returned to the Catholic Church (after several years as a rather strongly anti-Catholic Calvinist), I lost both a potential, hoped-for career in Protestant ministry (which had been in gestation for quite some time) and most of my Christian friends... who were, at that time, simply, most of my friends. In one way, that trajectory is obviously very, very far that of Ferrell's character.... and, in another way, it is quite relatable. I know how it feels to be persona non grata to most of the (formerly close) people in one's life.

Tyler likened this to Adam Sandler in "Punch Drunk Love." I actually liked Ferrell's performance, and this entire film, much more than PDL. I'm glad it's streaming on Netflix, and I might even buy it (which would be a just a bit ironic, for anyone who has seen it!). A pained yet beautiful, human, work. One of the best things (to me) that I've seen on NF in a while. The kid on the bike is great.

#7 Persona

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:01 AM

Speaking as someone who knows this subject a little too well, and as someone who lives with and knows countless other people who know this subject too well, I can tell you that the idea of a man sitting in his yard with only his belongings and his addiction, when he cannot enter his own home, really isn't that much of a stretch. Scenarios like these happen every day. I appreciated the tone of this film - there are certain realities that are comic and tragic at play, and that is indeed true to life - but found the neighbor across the street too kind, and the little black boy helper a character that simply wouldn't have made an entrance into this man's life. And the tidy ending seemed to suggest that one can sort of fumble themselves right out of addiction. It doesn't really work that way. In reality, a better ending would have been this tortured man ending up in jail, his stuff still sitting on the front lawn.

I have the same sort of reaction to Crazy Heart, but it seems that movie brought him much more into and out of the gaping hole he had to deal with. I guess the masterpiece in the alcoholic genre, to me anyway, remains Tender Mercies, which I was introduced to thru our very own Top 100.