Saturday, June 20, 2015

HOME FRIES (1998)



Directed By: Dean Pariscot 
Written By: Vince Gilligan 
Cinematography By: Jerry Zielinski 
Editor: Nicholas C. Smith 


Cast: Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson, Daryl Mitchell, Catherine O’Hara, Jake Busey, Shelley Duvall, Jill Parker-Jones, John Hawkes


Hamburger joint waitress Sally Jackson is pregnant. When Beatrice, the wife of the father, finds out about his infidelity, she sends her sons from a previous marriage, military pilots Angus and Dorian Montier, to scare the living daylights out of him. Their gunship does such a good job, without hitting him, that he dies from a heart attack. Worrying about radio interference that night, they investigate who might have heard too much within the fairly empty reception perimeter, and soon discover only Sally could, still ignorant about her affair with his step-dad Henry. Dorian takes a job there to be sure, but soon falls for her himself, while mother-obsessed moron Angus would do anything to anyone for her honor...

This is as down home as a piece of hot apple pie.

The film has a rather offbeat premise that when it works is often subtle, yet darkly comedic, but often the film goes for more of a romantic route. Which then slows the story down.

It helps complicate the situations by giving Luke Wilson's character more of a challenge to overcome adding complexity to the film.

Yet it also stalls the growth of the film and it's plot. So that it only grows only so much. Though it hints at opportunities not taken that had it gone into more of that direction. It could have been more of a heartfelt off beat and honest film.

The film starts with a great yet horrific plan and you indulge with it's more far-fetched sections, but it usually stays grounded.

I wonder if it wasn't a low budget studio film with more recognizable stars and more a film that was purely indie, would it have come off better as though nothing is really technically wrong with it. The film comes off a little dull never indulging in it's wackiness. It barely explores or Just presents and pushes into the background. While the romance and love story take over.

For a film In which sons kill their father in helicopters scaring him to death. Which in itself is pretty powerful and dark. The plan to seduce and kill the woman who is having his child is pretty demented. Though that is our jumping off point. Though one of the sons falling for her is predictable, though sweet in it's presentation. A single man roam acing a pregnant woman is offbeat for films at the time. Though ends kind of predictably. Proving that this film was more about how can we get from point a to point c. Point b was the journey that stood still.

As one of the story lines is watching him work really hard at being a fast food worker to help maintain his mission and keep close to the target.

It is also noteworthy that BREAKING BAD creator Vince Gilligan wrote the screenplay for this film originally in 1989, for a screen-writing class he was taking at New York University. as it does play to his strengths taking place in the middle of desolate lands, off best quirky characters who always make an impression I their own ways and the realization of how human and ordinary they are in the idle of crazy situations and moments.

You could do worse then watch this film, but there is no real reason to seek this film out. Unless looking for a predictable low key romantic film.

This was also made during a time, when Drew Barrymore wasn't quite America's sweetheart but she was popular and a sexy wild child supposedly, who left picking lightweight but more female friendly projects before she had her own production company. Though if anything her charm and the films is what will win you over

She is good here, not quite the box office juggernaut, but she fits here as her quirkiest and charm work well in her performance.

Luke Wilson is o.k., but while he is a nice presence. He lacks the charm to be a lively leading man. instead coming off as if he is trying to be interesting but still bland.

I remember this as one of the first few films to play at the movie theater I had just began working at, Just as I remember this as one of those films that seemed to stick around though at each viewing there would be only 2 to 5 people in the audience. That was usually maximum on a friday or Saturday night


GRADE: C-

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