Saturday, January 30, 2016


Directed By: Jared Hess 
Written By: Jared Hess & Jerusha Hess 
Cinematography By: Munn Powell 
Editor: Yuka Ruell 

Cast: Michael Angarano , Jemaine Clement, Sam Rockwell, Jennifer Coolidge, Josh Pais, Mike White, Halley Feiffer, Hector Jiminez, Clive Revill, John Pleshette

*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review*

Benjamin, home-schooled by his eccentric mother, is a loner whose passion for writing leads him on an journey as his story first gets ripped off by the legendary fantasy novelist, Ronald Chevalier, and then is adapted into a disastrous movie by the small town's most prolific homespun filmmaker.

The filmmakers are like a successful one hit wonder band. Their first album/film was good and popular. It Charmed the masses. They even tried to wring some more success out of it by adding a delete scene after the film was in release and a surprise hit. So trying to get the loyal audience to double dip.

Their next film was highly anticipated and funded by studio money. The same tone only with a star and trying broader humor. It failed in comparison. It maintained the same style and spirit only bigger.

This film their third tries to go back to their roots (though a feature they produced THE SASQUATCH GANG fared better at finding that original spirit though to much less fanfare. It is truly an excellent film. That seemed like it would have been a natural follow-up for themselves)

The only problem is it's like they forgot all the notes and instead of going off instincts, they seem to pick what either what they only think is funny or what they think the audience wants. It feels like they are pandering and second guessing themselves. Rather than telling a story.

Now this film has it's moments as did NACHO LIBRE. But in the end it doesn't feel like a worthwhile whole. So it's like the scenes are great singles stuck on a sub-par album.

I give the filmmakers credit for sticking to their simple low budget formula and style. I also appreciate them producing that undiscovered film (THE SASQUATCH GANG that again came and went with little fanfare on home video and in theaters, it's better than you would think and usually relegated to repeats on Comedy Central it deserves much better than that)

The film has a wacky dead-pan humor and has inspire character performances by Jemaine Clement who is winning in all of his scenes as an pathetically ego driven diva of a sci-fi author and Sam Rockwell, who plays the hero of the novel they are fighting over authorship of and he plays the hero in both the different iterations of creativity they have for him. Leading to hilarious results.

The character of Chevalier is based on Utah based science fiction and fantasy writer Dave Farland, who also writes under the name Dave Wolverton, and who conducts popular novel writing workshops and seminars. The "Yeast Lords" is a take off on his popular and best selling books, The Runelords.

The artwork in the opening credits is by acclaimed fantasy and science fiction artists Kelly Freas and David Lee Anderson.

The film also has a full arsenal of strange side characters. Who seem only there to be gags rather than necessary. As it feels like a film that has all the background needed, but needs more of a story and motivation to move forward.

This film has it's moments. I wish it just wasn't so short. So that the film and it's characters had more time to ruminate with the audience. So we got to get to know them and their weird world. I think for once it would have worked of the filmmakers actually indulged.

Grade: C

By: Jeff Gallashaw

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