Everything Must Go: Will Ferrell Sobers Up in Arcadia
When New Times blogger Michelle Martinez and her partner, musician E.J. Rodriguez, are not watching movies, they're talking about them.They've even been known to stop a movie to discuss it.
E.J.: For the longest time I thought of Will Ferrell as an overexposed actor who stretched his SNL skits out into shitty movies. When we saw him in Stranger Than Fiction, I thought he was really great, but it had lots of great actors in it. His character is the center of Everything Must Go, and he is amazing in it.
Michelle: I became a fan after Talladega Nights, and then Stranger Than Fiction, and now, I mean, he helps us empathize with this guy who is a total mess. He plays the lead in a way we believe him. He's funny, sad, awkward, a little mean, and extremely tender all in one. I actually loved watching the scenes where he is peddling that bike all over the canal trails throughout Phoenix. It's hard to tell exactly where he is though.
E.J.: I thought I recognized several places throughout the film, but it was never exactly clear. That's the way the film is shot; the places help tell the story rather than distract you with locations.
Michelle: They mention the house being in Arcardia in the dialogue. I recognized the stack of boulders where North Scottsdale becomes Carefree, but it happens fast. At one point he is in Arizona Federal Bank. There is Aunt Chilada's scene, where the dickweed boss refers to as downtown.
E.J.: It is interesting that once Ferrell's character, Nick, is living outside of his house on his front lawn, he becomes more aware of what he was missing out on inside of the house. He seems to be in denial at first and through his interactions with the kid from up the block and the pregnant neighbor just moving in, he unpacks his life out onto the front lawn, literally.
Michelle: I've read the short story it is based on by Raymond Carver, "Why Don't You Dance?", it is short and minimal. There are only three characters in it. The two most important characters don't have names, and it seems a little darker than this. The comedic part in Everything Must Go is how he acts and reacts to things, it helps lighten an otherwise somber subject: alcoholism. The essence of the story is definitely in there, though. My favorite scene is when he is projecting home movies from when he was a kid onto the garage door. It is visually interesting and becomes a major turning point in the story.
E.J.: This is a quiet film without being boring. The other stand-out performance was the kid, Kenny. He is played by Biggie Smalls' son, C.J. Wallace. He is smart, and he and Nick learn a lot from each other. The characters are engaging, and you want the best for them all, except maybe the dickweed boss.
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