Going into this movie you probably need to be aware of a few things:
1 – this is based off of a book published by McSweeney’s. If you’re not familiar with McSweeney’s, they used to be a small periodical that published relatively unknown authors a couple of times a year, sometimes more well known folks like David Foster Wallace and his “Guy on a Train with a Suitcase full of Spiders” brilliance and then branched out into theme issues containing Pulpy Fiction and books by Robert Coover, Salvador Plascencia and even Harry Stephen Keeler of all people. I can only guess how everything unfolded but eventually they got SO political and left winged that the stories were all the same (we hate Bush! over and over and over and over and over) and unknown authors like Michael Cera of all fucking people started showing up and the joke got really old. I unsubscribed years ago so I don’t know if they keep saying the same things repeatedly and lightning keeps striking for them but, there’s that.
2 – this is adapted and directed by your favorite Disarming Smile, Wisecracking Millennial Clark Duke, wearing what I would describe as thrift shop clothes, wispy long hair and a thin moustache that I would imagine only his fellow Disarming Smile, Thin Legged Millennial Michael Cera would admire (and condone). I, myself, am a hairy man with a full lip of hair so maybe I’m just prejudiced – and maybe I should go start a quarterly magazine railing against wispy ‘staches month after month.
3 – all of the music in this movie is performed by The Flaming Lips (who, if you are not familiar, are not a band of men advocating fuzzy, caterpillar facial hair). Even though I come from the same town they do, I am not and have never been particularly fond of them. Maybe it’s because my friends made me listen to them against my will and then go their live shows in shitty bars before they became big and famous but I’ve never been a Flaming Lipster or whatever they call themselves these days.
With those points out there and my certain displeasure to be had – I really liked this thing. (and the music)
Along with The Flaming Lips theme of being close to home, this focuses on the dangerous and somehow dry-witted drug industry in the U.S. south, particularly the state of Arkansas. Being a state adjoining mine, we find it normal and customary to always tell stories about those inbred Arkansian hillbillies who fuck each other constantly, marry among their families and grease out inbred babies without a tooth to their name or, at the very least, sport blue skin like those poor fucks you might have read about in Pennsylvania. I’ve never dabbled in drugs too much aside from Grass and even that got too fucking strong for me a few years ago when everything went “Medicinal” and I couldn’t just smoke a bong and drink beer all night like I used to without becoming a mindless piece of shit.
I guess, in this one, they’re slinging coke or something because at the end there’s a cautionary warning that “Oklahoma is all meth these days” and to “stay away from there” but Duke and the more doe-y eyed Hemsworth do a pretty good job (to me) as not super smart guys who might be in over their heads and are just doing their best to stay alive. Maybe, maybe not. I’ve never hung out with any shit-eating Arkansas shitbirds. Oh wait. Maybe I have – I think I have some relatives from there. FUCK and GODDAMN! I mean – they’re great!
This also has Vince Vaughn in it in a significant role but that doesn’t bother me – I still like him, even though he – hmmm – shitbirdded it up in True Detective Season 2, but, let’s be honest, who didn’t with that fucking writing? He may or may not be a drug dealer named Frog (which is an irritating name but I guess that’s what they name their kids in Arkansas) (“Where’d you come from? Yo daddy stuck his little ding dong down in me right down at the Frog Holler in the Mud Patch. That’s where. By the by, yo daddy is also yo nephew. HOO HAW! Shucks! Gimme some sugar.”) What the fuck just happened here? This is a true miasma of compelling writing on display.
I think my thing about this, aside from the believable acting by Hemsworth and Vaughn, is the way they edited it together. I guess Duke will get the credit for being the director and telling the editor what he’s looking for under his direction, but – hey – good job! Give me some sugar, editors. “Your editor daddy did just right into yo editor mommy under the Rabbit Cages that afternoon. ” Also showcasing John Malkovich in one of his less irritating roles, Vivica A Fox as a woman named “Her” and one of James Brolin’s seed as a character I really liked.
We’ll file this under: THEY ALMOST MADE IT TO THE HAPPY FINISH, complain about thin moustaches and too much keyboard and move on.
Oh, I guess, if you thought this was bad, you should research Harry Stephen Keeler. Really, McSweeney’s? Was this before you learned how to use the internet?