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I just can't believe the poor rap this movie gets. I watch a great deal of movies and this is in my top 5 favorite movies. This is a movie that I can always watch. It's a smart stony movie that always delivers. There is a ton of very subtle, incredibly funny humor. Jack Black's role is very funny, and this is my favorite of all of Luke Wilson's movies. In my opinion this movie may take a few viewings to fully appreciate. The movie does sometimes have an odd feel to it due to it's being adapted from a novel. The movie skips and omits a lot from the novel, as movies do, and they fail to tie in essential concepts from the book that would make the movie's plot a little more cohesive. If you have not seen this movie, watch it. If you have, watch it again.
Well I may have just indicated my past with this summary. Oh well. If you live in the NW of USA than you either know a stoner, are a stoner or are soon to be one. This movie is just as the title Bongwater says for stoners. It has some big name actors and they play the paranoid stoner role very well. This film is not an Oscar winner by any means but instead has a somewhat sad and mellow. It is a movie about lots of people that live in this part of the country. Just people that are lost and have no real future to look forward to. There only real joy is getting stoned or high on LSD in the woods. Not really a comedy more like a statement about a certain lifestyle. Problems abound and psycho women galore. Poor Luke Wilson the head stoner does a great job as your likable, lonely stoner. Jack Black plays a decent waster that would have been at all the Grateful Dead concerts. Brittany Murphy plays a rather horny psycho girl which is probably not far from the truth. Andy Dick and his gay partner have some pretty funny parts to add to the plot. It just is not a very happy movie though. Kinda like a stoners life it's just there and goes on until the cops or fire department shake things up. Crazy women and stoner dudes what a mellow life.
It seems like most of the other reviews are hit or miss. That's okay -- I LOVE it! In fact, everyone I show it to also loves it. Contrary to popular belief, you don't even need to be under the influence of anything to enjoy a classic like 'Bong Water' although I'm sure it doesn't hurt. The music, writing and production quality are good but the cast is the real show- stopper for me. It's a hilarious opportunity to see some of my favorite stars in a role you might not normally expect. You've got Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Andy Dick, Brittany Murphy, Jamie Kennedy, Scoot Caan and Kyle Gass together on one screen, in a movie about pot. I highly recommend giving this movie a chance!
Watching this film now, 5 years after it was built and after the massive
collapse of the previous carefree era of Fun and only Fun, it seemed a
hilarious satire of the self-absorptive allure of a particular flavor of
substance saturated post-college scene. It reminded me of an updated Repo
Man in many ways -- a celebration as well as a repudiation of hedonistic
You have to enjoy a certain flavor of bludgeoningly subtle pointlessness to enjoy this movie. Personally, I thought it was great.
The title notwithstanding, this drug-laden laugh trip is more Reality Bites than Up in Smoke. David (a sweetly earnest Wilson) is a pot dealer with half-baked ambitions of becoming an artist; Serena (Witt)is his nuttily domineering love interest. Though the pair's lack of real chemistry makes the cuddly ending feel tacked on, the hysterical drug-buddy performances of Brittany Murphy, Andy Dick, and Jack Black really make this joint roll. This isn't a fast-paced broad comedy, it requires some patience. You gotta sit back, and let it envelop you. Let life slow down and enjoy the quirkiness and absurdity of the plot and characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Movie is all over the place, chilling just watching tube with a bunch of
stoners, acid trip in the woods with some hardcore crunchers, an
acquaintance rape in NYC at a shishi euro-party, an absurd art show, gay
porn...by the end your apt to have forgotten a lot of what happened in the
beginning. If you do remember, you might ask what was the point? Its focuses
on the life and times of a pot dealer and his harmless crew, in Portland
Oregon. And there's really not much else to say about the plot. Its how a
stoner might find true love perhaps? But I found it engaging, completely
non-cohesive, but in the end, damn entertaining. In fact, I've re-watched it
more than once now, because I find some of the scenes and lines absolutely
hilarious. Alicia Witt and Amy Locane are hot, and Wilson is an extremely
likeable lead. On the nay side, Britany Murphy I cant take. She's only
acting, I know, and she's playing a real annoying and unlikable character,
but its her I always find distracting. Could that be because she's always
playing an annoying and unlikable character, and playing them exactly the
same annoying and unlikable way? Who knows. I want to see Tim Burton redo
His Girl Friday and feature Britany and Leguizamo in the leads. Back to this
film, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a shot, especially if you can
handle "out there" material. You will definitely laugh.
As opposed to the comment on the front page, this movie is no doubt ingenious. While, admittedly, I STILL don't know what the hell was going on in the movie, I watch it often with a select group of friends under special circumstances no doubt. You can't watch a movie like this and get the full enjoyment unless your state of mind is..."tuned" for it. Under correct circumstances, this movie will have you asking all your friends "WTF was that?...." Somebody that watches this movie didn't decide to watch it based on the cover, They decided to watch it based on the title....In other words, If your a part of the "stoner" culture, this movie is a must-see....
I have a soft spot for the Stoner genre - I can't help it. And, unlike
of the posters about this film, I really enjoyed "Half-Baked" - it was
good-natured and humble. Though the cover for "Bongwater" gave me
impression of those indie movies given a shamelessly misleading
"angle" by companies eager to earn back even a third of the money they
on it, I took a chance because I like Jack Black and Luke Wilson and
always room for one more stoner movie. Bad idea. Not a stoner movie
drug sequences are uniformly embarrassing), not a comedy, and never
affecting, "Bongwater" stinks; blighted with a strained script, unfocused
direction, and the kind of nebulous yet righteously sadistic morality
belongs in a Joel Schumacher opus, not an indie film. Even more
this movie shook up my opinions about actors I'd always thought I liked.
Luke Wilson, so laconically charming in Wes Anderson's movies, is wooden
here, the usually amusing Andy Dick is boring, and comic god Jack Black
appears in only one scene that even begins to make proper use of him.
then there's Alicia Witt - I liked her OK in "Cecil B. Demented," but her
performance in "Bongwater" is so excruciatingly pretentious, bratty, and
shrill (she must have attended the Liza Minelli school of acting) that I
pledge to never again watch another movie in which she appears.
Bottom line: I'd take the most braindead of stoner comedies over this tone-deaf, small-minded, and almost utterly unfunny movie. Even if you're a Tenacious D completist, think hard before you spend money on "Bongwater."
Bongwater, although its title misleads many people to think of it as a stoner film, is a solid drama/comedy title in the vein of films like Drugstore Cowboy, an 80's film featuring Matt Dillon, or Trainspotting, except with less drug use and more sexual promiscuity - Bongwater, in short, is not a drug-centric movie. However, it is interesting because of its cast. Its obviously bare-bones script requires careful acting from its stars to give it a little extra life. Overall, maybe not enough of that extra energy is awarded to the by-the-rules directing style, but ultimately, what comes out is a solid, engaging flick, worth watching all the way through.
I had very low expectations when I rented this, but I was pleasantly
surprised and amused. So many of the characters in it were heightened
versions of people I've known, hence I do wonder if it portrays an
older generation of "stoner." It also portrays regional scenes from NYC
and the NW that may not appeal to people elsewhere; others probably
won't see the humor in the film. Although it's a comedy, it doesn't
present side-splitting jokes with setups; the comedy is in the life the
people are leading and the turmoil that follows in their wake.
The plot is haphazard if not absurd, which almost demands the ridiculous ending and opening scenes and provided me with a relief from typical formulaic stories. The plot doesn't drive the story, and you sort of just wander into each scene following the impulsive whims of the character featured in it.
I thought that the vacillating chemistry between Witt and Wilson really worked for the film; their lack of direction in life is totally reflected in their attraction, jealousy, and ambivalence towards each other, and their subsequent attempts to use each other to fill that void.
Alicia Witt's character is much richer than, say, "Two Weeks Notice," and almost as bizarre as her role in Twin Peaks. She's totally unpredictable and never does what you'd expect someone in her position to do. Cases in point: the scenes when they leave the NY party, and the scenes where we first meet her and then, unbelievably find her flirting with Wilson. Amy Locane, on the other hand, doesn't have a role that gives her much depth to work with.
Brittany Murphy and Luke Wilson have an oppositional chemistry that really let their talents play off each other. Hard to believe Jack Black is the same guy who later starred in King Kong! His is a small part in the film, but unforgettable, and the interlude with him really captures the spirit of the NW wilderness hippies I've met.
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