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I Kind of Like to Watch (Not So Instantly): Source Code, Everything Must Go

Random movies new to DVD because Netflix got stingy


Source Code (2011)

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright

Ever since Netflix decided to charge us for the "Watch Instantly" feature (which I promptly cancelled—greedy capitalists), I've spent a lot more time watching actual DVDs. I've also started listening to vinyl and bought a rocking chair for my front porch. Come to think of it, I just had another birthday—maybe I'm getting old.

Anyway, one such DVD I watched the other night was Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal (hate spelling that guy’s name). Nothing special. In a mashup of Avatar and half of the Tony Scott movies ever made (see: Unstoppable, Deja Vu), pretty boy Jake plays a mutilated soldier whose mind is used as a vessel to stop terrorist explosions from happening. The best thing about the movie is that Jake is sent back into the same situation about ten times, which means we get to see a lot of explosions. And explosions, as we all know, never get old. Unlike me.

Stare at this picture of Raymond Carver long enough and you’ll want to start drinking, too.
Stare at this picture of Raymond Carver long enough and you’ll want to start drinking, too.

Everything Must Go (2011)

Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern

Then there's Everything Must Go with Will Ferrell. Meant to catch this one in theaters, but didn't for some reason. It purports to be based on Raymond Carver's short story "Why Don't You Dance?", but the similarities pretty much stop with the fact that the lead character is an alcoholic who drinks outdoors, which occurs in a lot of Carver's stories.

I'm a big fan of Ray Carver, by the way, which is why I wanted to catch this one in theaters.

The basic plot is that Ferrell's life falls apart because he is an alky, and he ends up camping out on his lawn and drinking Pabst for several days while selling all his old junk. To Hollywood-ize the film, Ferrell meets a couple of quirky-but-inspiring oddballs who make him realize that life is really worth living. That kind of mushy indie crap would not fly in a Ray Carver story. And don't get me started on all the new-age goofy xylophone music that serves as a "soundtrack." But there are some good one liners:

Will Ferrell to a down-on-her-luck inspirational oddball neighbor: “You need to put up some curtains.”

Inspirational oddball neighbor: “Why? So I don't have some drunk staring at me all day?”

Ferrell: “No, so you don't have to look at your future.”

Ha. Good one, Will.

Moral of the story: Both movies were decent, but given the option I'd recommend sitting on one's front porch and drinking beer while watching things explode. And playing some vinyl. Preferably something with no xylophones in it.

Everything Must Go

Will Ferrell adds more serio than comic to this seriocomic tale of suburban angst. It's based on a short story by Raymond Carver, who also inspired Robert Altman's intermittently great Short Cuts. Ferrell is an alcoholic salesman whose life hits rock bottom when he's fired by his boss and divorced by his wife on the same day. Since the wife has thrown out all his belongings and changed the locks on the house, our protagonist takes up residence on the front lawn. The story is whisper thin, but first-time writer-director Dan Rush finds the right indie film tone for it all. 96 minutes R.

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