Sunday, January 2, 2011

Leaves of Grass

Yes, it's another film review.  This is what happens when I have copious amounts of time off from work- I watch an inordinate amount of movies.  

Okay, check out this trailer and then I'll give you my opinion on whether or not you should devote time to this film:

Here's the first thing you should know about this movie:  most people dislike it.  As you can see from the trailer the storyline is walking that fine line between quirky and stupid, which most dramedies tend to do.  So if you have problems with peculiar idiosyncrasies in films such as likable grandpas addicted to heroin (Little Miss Sunshine) or voice-overs of hilariously egocentric letters written to a newly adopted African child named Ndugu (About Schmidt) then this is not the movie for you.  

I read a ton of reviews on IMDB after watching Leaves of Grass and saw everything from "profound, poignant and hilarious . . . the best regional film since Fargo" to "there are so many things wrong with this movie I don't know where to begin."  

I loved this film.  I think the exceptionally creative screenplay must be responsible for drawing such a talented cast which includes Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, and Keri Russell. You should also be on the lookout for the delightful Melanie Lynskey and the spectacular Steve Earle who I feel were both underutilized.  Tim Blake Nelson wrote the script with Ed Norton in mind, and if you have any doubts about Ed's ability to play two characters in one film you've obviously never seen Primal Fear.  I've read some complaints about Norton's Oklahoma accent, and while it's not perfect I wouldn't say it's terrible.  His character has an exaggerated accent, but it's believable for that particular character.  

This leads me to the topic of regional stereotypes.  People always get bent out of shape over regional stereotypes.  Generally it's exclusively when their particular region is 'the victim.'  To these people I say: get over it.  While you might be above your particular region's stereotype these formulas don't just pop up out of nowhere, and every state has one.  If you're feeling victimized by a regional stereotype you won't get any sympathy from me.  I'm from Texas.  

I hope I've given you a good idea of whether or not this film will appeal to you.  If you think you can handle a movie that involves Socrates, hydroponic marijuana production, Walt Whitman, catfish noodling, premature nursing home residency, and a Jewish philanthropist with drug ties- you are in for a real treat!

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