Grand Theft Parsons (2003) Poster

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so hot
jmex21 November 2017
I wrote ten out of ten because there is no eleven, Christina Applegate's character is so hot. I just wish you could see more of her. You're burning and melting, the melting is burning. The scene forty-five minutes into the movie when she's driving and the other chick's hot too. To paraphrase one of her favorite movies spinal tap it's like how much more hot could she be and the answer is none more hot. This goes to 11. The blonde always causes drooling while she's driving in movies like The Sweetest Thing. So hot. Great acting and dialogue too, wouldn't you luv to be in a movie with her one time?
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Odd, quirky, sometimes dull dramedy, but Christina Applegate is a plus
Wuchak31 August 2014
Released in 2003, this obscure movie is based on the weird events after country rocker Gram Parsons died just shy of his 27th birthday in 1973. He and his buddy, Phil Kaufman had a pact that if one died before the other the survivor would spread the other's cremains at Joshua Tree National Monument, a place Parsons loved. A couple of months after they made the pact Parsons' died and Kaufman felt duty-bound to carry out the pledge. So he steals Gram's body from the L.A. Airport and goes to Joshua Tree to carry out his promise. Of course, the authorities catch wind of the theft and are on the case; others too.

Johnny Knoxville is a solid protagonist as Phil Kaufmen and Michael Shannon is amusing as the hippie with a flowered hearse that Kaufman hires to transport the body. Christina Applegate plays Kaufman's ex-girlfriend and Marley Shelton his current girlfriend, both joining the chase. Robert Forster plays Parsons' aloof dad who feels bad about not being closer to Gram.

This all sounds more entertaining than it actually is. There are too many dull stretches (like the overlong airport sequence), but Knoxville and Shannon play well together and Applegate is always a pleasure to behold (she has such a striking look), not to mention the authentic locations. So it's nothing great, but it's worthwhile if you like the folk rock of the late 60s/early 70s and have a taste for quirky, unique independent movies.

The film runs 88 minutes, but feels longer.

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"Grand Theft Parsons" is a sweet, funny and emotional little film, telling a loose-adaptation of a truly strange tale...
MaximumMadness14 July 2012
Please take note, I know nothing of Gram Parsons, nor do I know the details of the story which served as the basis for this film. I was recommended this film several years ago, and I completely enjoyed it for what it is- a highly-fictionalized, apparently "loose adaptation" of a true story that takes many liberties. So I am judging this film strictly on its own merits, without knowing the music of Parsons or the man himself.

Please take the film for what it is, not how accurate it is to the truth. (Of which I've heard varying accounts, although from what I understand the basics of this film are true, but many of the details and secondary-characters are false/created) Johnny Knoxville of "Jackass" fame stars in this adaptation of a bizarre true story about the events that transpired shortly after the death of famed musician Gram Parsons.

Knoxville portrays Phil Kaufman, Parson's road manager and best friend. When he was still alive, Parsons and Kaufman made a pact of sorts- the first to die would be taken to Joshua Tree and cremated by the surviving friend, in order to "set their spirit free." When Parsons suddenly dies from an apparent overdose, Kaufman enlists the help of a hippie named Larry (Michael Shannon), whom owns a bright yellow hearse, to steal the body and transport it. Kaufman is able to convince the hippie that it is not Parson's body through various increasingly humorous lies.

At the same time, Gram's father (Robert Forster) and psychotic ex-girlfriend (Christina Applegate) pursue Kaufman to get the body for their own reasons. Gram's father simply wants to give his son a traditional burial, and ex-Barbara needs the body for a convoluted scheme by which she wants to inherit his money and recording master-tapes for her personal benefit. Marley Shelton plays Kaufman's girlfriend, who tags along with Barbara to find out what Kaufman's up to.

Despite some negative reviews and mixed critical reception, I found the film very well made. The acting is fantastic. Knoxville surprises and shocks as Kaufman, giving a strong, emotional performance. A complete 180 turn from his hapless reality-persona on "Jackass." Forster is great as a grieving father. Shannon is good as a clueless, drug-addled hippie. Applegate is conniving and fun as Barbara. And Shelton is sympathetic and likable as Phil's girlfriend.

The direction and writing is also very solid, if not a bit simplistic. Helmer David Caffrey does a good job with the material. And the music (including many songs by Parsons and a score by Richard G. Mitchell) is top-notch.

I found this film to be a fun, heartfelt, enjoyable journey. It's touching and will put a smile on your face. Sure, it might not be 100% accurate, but it's a good time. 8 out of 10.
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A Mellow Road Movie, A Black Comedy, A True Story
trinity-destler7 December 2010
A quiet little black comedy which manages to be distantly satiric and genuinely moving without ever indulging itself. It feels very close and personal with its few characters and fewer set pieces. The only major flaws are Christina Appelgate, who hinders enjoyment every moment she's on screen but she far from ruins the film, and the thin, slightly saccharine character of Gram's father who nevertheless is instrumental in the film's best scene. Be forewarned it does require a little patience, as the film is mellow, not in a hurry, never melodramatic, and is definitely better on second viewing. If you like unobtrusive indie strangeness (or if you even know what kind of film I mean by that), it will definitely appeal.
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Fictionalized account of a real occurrence, yet with little history of--or appreciation for--the deceased
moonspinner5527 October 2010
After musician Gram Parsons overdosed in a Joshua Tree motel room in September 1973 (later dying in a Yucca Valley hospital), his best friend and road manager Phil Kaufman intercepted the body at the airport and took the remains back out to the desert for a celebratory cremation. Director David Caffrey, working from a rather slim screenplay from Jeremy Drysdale (which Caffrey also worked on in the developing stages), has apparently done his research on this true incident, and yet he hardly shines any light on the legend of Parsons (we aren't even given a hint as to Parsons' final hours). Caffrey's foremost goal is to play up the comic chaos surrounding the stealing of a corpse (this is most likely what got the production funded in the first place). With Parsons' frazzled girlfriend in hot pursuit--hoping to get her hands on the money Gram promised her in a scribbled note--and Parsons' father wanting to take his son back to New Orleans for a proper burial, Caffrey leaves no time to theorize why an immensely talented artist would want to obliterate himself. It's a movie made up of mercenaries. Caffrey's token gesture of good will, to include Gram Parsons' music on the soundtrack, fails to transcend the general feeling that nobody was there for Parsons in life or in death. *1/2 from ****
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Hilarious but maybe not a film for Gram Parsons fans
rooprect12 September 2010
Let's get three common misconceptions out of the way...

(1) This is NOT a Gram Parsons biopic.

(2) This does NOT feature a lot of Gram Parsons music (only 2 songs, I think).

(3) Quentin Tarantino had nothing to do with this movie, even though you may have gotten it in your "Touch of Tarantino" DVD box set.

So, you ask, what the heck IS this movie? Answer: It's a black comedy about the 2 days following Gram's death, based on the recollections of Gram's road manager Phil Kaufman. In that respect, it stays very close to Mr. Kaufman's account (he gives an interview on the DVD where he tells the story, basically reiterating everything that happens in the movie verbatim). So if it deviates from the truth, don't blame the filmmakers. Blame Phil Kaufman for not telling it like it was.

Really, though, the accuracy shouldn't make any difference. If we want facts, we'd be watching a documentary, not a movie. So in the same way AMADEUS took wild liberties with the truth and still made for great cinema, GRAND THEFT PARSONS should also be enjoyed purely for its entertainment value.

I don't know the first thing about Gram Parsons, his music or the bizarre circumstances following his death. But I can tell you I loved this movie. It's basically about a bunch of people fighting over a corpse. But don't expect a madcap comedy like "Weekend at Bernies". This has a very subtle style of humour, more like the deadpan comedies "Midnight Run" or "Groundhog Day". It's also a bit of a road movie, carrying a vibe much like "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas".

Some of the gags had me laughing out loud. It wasn't so much what they said as how they said it. With great acting all around, not a moment went by that I wasn't enjoying the show.

Gram Parsons fans, don't expect a movie about Gram. But at the same time, if I were a hardcore GP fan, I think I would get a real kick out of this movie, seeing that Gram raised hell not only in life, but even in death.
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Surprisingly enjoyable
Mike Kiker8 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This was a really decent film. I, of course, was led to it by being a big fan of Gram Parsons. I did hear about the craziness that surrounded his death and burial, and was delighted to hear that they made a movie about it. As with most films that are based on a true story, a lot of people were bothered by the liberties taken in the plot and the characters. However, they do warn you at the beginning of the film. So, it's just like those uptight parents that write letters to the FCC, if you don't like it, change the channel (or in this case, walk out of the theater, or turn off your TiVo or DVR, or throw away the DVD). A lot of people were bothered that this film was not focused on Gram's life. Well, if you want that, watch the "Fallen Angel" documentary. Either way, you were warned, so stop complaining and just enjoy this film already.

Good, I feel better now that I've got that out of the way.

First off, this film is superbly acted. Johnny Knoxville as Parsons' "road mangler" Phil Kaufman, Michael Shannon as Larry Oster-burg, the stoned-out hippie owner of the psychedelic hearse, and Christina Applegate as Parsons' psychotic ex-girlfriend after his money, all breathe so much life into their characters, even if you want to hate all 3 of them for various reasons, at various points in the film.

Gabriel Macht, whom every movie buff would remember from the god-awful 'The Spirit', was the perfect choice to play Gram. Compare any photo of Macht to the photo of Gram Parsons on the cover of the 'Grievous Angel' album. It's uncanny, I tell ya!

Although some jokes are fairly obvious, there is plenty of subtlety. This film definitely warrants repeated viewings, because you definitely won't get all of the jokes the first time around.

One of the funniest scenes is when the hearse hits a road sign and the two are met by a state trooper, who then toys with the two by describing that he's looking for "2 guys in a bright yellow hearse, with a coffin in the back". Even though it's quite obvious to Phil and the cop that they're as good as screwed, the Hippie still tries his best to convince the cop otherwise, all the while still trying to remain oblivious to the fact that they just hit a road sign! Priceless!

The film has a lot of heart, yet somehow keeping the comedy front-and-center while the most emotionally gut-wrenching of scenes take place. If this film can be summed up, it's grief over a loss, yet finding laughter in the darkest of places. The exchange between Phil and Stanley, Gram's father, meeting up at the Joshua Tree Motel is a perfect example. They both share their mutual guilt for not being there for Gram, which prompts a slightly off-the-wall speech from the Hippie that ends with a heart-warming revelation about the whole situation.

But the real tearjerker moment is when Phil brings Gram to his final resting place, and as soon as Phil lights the fire, Gram's "A Song For You" starts playing over the soundtrack. Absolutely brilliant synthesis of music and film that encapsulates all of the feelings of this film in one single blaze of glory! A few minutes of lamentation and joy later, and then with another burst of flame, we're brought back to earth in an instant. Gram having the last laugh from beyond the desert bonfire.

Which brings me to another point. Some films relating to musical figures tend not to use their music for certain reasons. Shoestring budgets, unable to get permission or licensing, among other reasons. This film seems more authentic because they went the extra mile and got some of Gram's songs ("$1000 Wedding", "Return of the Grievous Angel", "A Song For You", among others, as well as a superb cover version of "Hot Burrito #2" by Starsailor). The soundtrack is also peppered with some other great music of the time (Country Joe & The Fish, Eddie Floyd, Rory Gallagher), as well as some other music that may be newer, but actually fit the film really well (Bruce Springsteen's tune "Blood Brothers" was made in 1996, as well as contributions by newer bands Primal Scream, Soundtrack of our Lives, and of course the aforementioned Flying Burrito Brothers cover by Starsailor).

So, it may not be a film for everybody, but for everybody who "gets it", this will be highly enjoyable. But if you don't "get it", that's fine too. This may not be your cup of tea. Unfortunately, I don't know any other films quite like this one. This is a very unique story, done in a very unique way.
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Something Different
whpratt12 August 2008
This film starts out with Johnny Knoxville, (Phil Kaufman) who was the personal manager and good friend to Gram Parsons, (Gabriel Macht) is trying to obtain the dead body of Gram Parsons. Phil manages to get help in order for him to steal the body in order to cremate his remains per the request from Gram Parsons. Christina Applegate, (Barbara) does not want the body to be burned, because she wants a death certificate in order to obtain Parson's entire estate. The entire picture dwells with obtaining the body and there is lots of humor and also a drama in this very unusual film which is a true story and if you like great pictures of the desert this is the film for you. Enjoy
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The Angel's Last Ride
strangerdave-217 October 2007
"Grand Theft Parsons" is the story of the kidnapping of Gram Parsons' body by Phil Kaufman, his friend and road manager, to fulfill the country music legend's wish to be cremated in the California desert. Thanks in large part to terrific performances by Johnny Knoxville (as Kaufman), Christina Applegate, and Michael Shannon, and side splitting cameos by Mary Pat Gleason, Jonathan Slavin, and Clint Culp, writer Jeremy Drysdale and director David Caffrey manage to pull off the rarest of feats – a factually based black comedy that not only succeeds, but triumphs, hilariously yet tastefully.

The tale begins with Parsons' drug overdose in the cheap motel in Joshua Tree, California. Kaufman dupes the reluctant Larry Osterberg (Shannon), a drug addled, yoga practicing hippie, to drive the latter's psychedelic hearse to the LA airport to pick up what Osterberg thinks is an empty coffin. The comedic chemistry between these two, as they encounter crisis after crisis trying to snatch the body and bring it back to Joshua Tree, is perfect - reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy. Among the obstacles they have to contend with are Parsons' gold digging ex-girlfriend (Applegate), who needs a death certificate to cash in on an informal will leaving her everything, and Parsons' father (Robert Forster), who has flown from New Orleans to pick up the body.

The movie is not without flaws. The Applegate role is purely fictional, and Parsons' real father died when he was a boy. But these characters add humor to the plot and depth to the characterization of Parsons (like all 70s rock stars, he was considered something of a womanizer), so they can easily be overlooked in the name of artistic license. And, there are some parts of the story that are not credible at all. I doubt that a body could be loaded for transport without a valid death certificate, and I've never seen a hotel bathroom that could be locked from the outside. But these are minor cavils.

Whether you're a Parsons devotee (like me), or have never heard of him (like my father, with whom I watched the film), I can just about guarantee that you'll enjoy "Grand Theft Parsons".
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It is actually pretty good. Get over it.
badtothebono27 April 2007
When so many big budget Hollywood shells get voted 8 or better here, I am amazed that so many can hate a film just because it doesn't take itself seriously, or according to one film-school dropout "failed to explore anything". And then what about the "fan of Gram Parsons for a long time" who complains that "when i found out they were making a film about him i was very exited ... was sickened by what i saw, This film wasn't about his life, it was about the aftermath of his death. I thought it would be a descent film about Grams Life and Music". So this one hates the film because he didn't bother to take the time to find out what it was about prior to watching it. Well duh! Do not be scared off by the low rating. The obvious reason all the Gram-fans have to vote it down is because as we all know "true fans" always take the object of their fandom seriously, and this film doesn't take itself seriously. It is very low-key, except Applegate, who as usual, is eye-candy. Speaking of Applegate, wasn't she in Anchorman? Now there was a film I saw only half of. Let me put it this way; if you loved Anchorman, you probably won't like this. If you're an uber-Gram-fan, you probably will hate this. If you just want a few chuckles, and are willing to laugh at stereotypes like a mellow, stoned hippie, a red-neck cop (though what a red-neck cop is doing in LA, I'm not sure), a little tugging at your inner yin-yang, then watch this. And no, absolutely contrary to the gram-fans, this isn't slapstick. It is actually the opposite. It is actually almost too mellow, and the best lines come out of nowhere.
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Sweet, but not as satisfying as it might have been
groening-28 January 2007
Movie trivia fanatics will remember the play Dustin Hoffman's character wanted to stage in "Tootsie." Written by his roommate (played by Bill Murray), it was called "Return to Love Canal," about the (apparently) true story of a couple who returned to live near the toxic waste site, knowing what was there. "It really happened," Hoffman's character says earnestly to anyone who will listen.

"Grand Theft Parsons" is also based on a true story, one equally bizarre and yet compelling -- after country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons died in 1973, his road manager and buddy Phil Kaufman stole the corpse to cremate it in the desert, as part of a pact the two made in life. But just like "Return To Love Canal," "Grand Theft Parsons" does not have a leg up on being great drama simply because it is based in fact.

The film works hard at building momentum and dramatic tension by bringing in former girlfriends, Parsons' father and the inevitable cop or two, but none of these elements really have much to do with the heart of the story. In the end, "Grand Theft Parsons" succeeds modestly in making us feel the emotions that accompany friendship between men who have been on a long, strange trip together. And actually, we get two versions of that kind of friendship: the bond between Parsons and Kaufman, and the Butch-and-Sundance partnership that emerges between Kaufman and the drug-addled hippie who supplies the hearse used in the body heist.

There's a sweetness to "Grand Theft Parsons," but it's not as satisfying as it might have been if more of the back-story had been told.
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Close enough for me.
jwryan4 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Through a 30 year prism this might be closer to what happened than even the principals believe. They know some details were altered, some were created, etc.

I enjoyed this movie. The full body belly laughs are in the second half, as well as what little pathos the movie contained. That may be the part they came the closest to getting exactly right. After someone wastes their life at the age of 27 is not the time to grieve. Surely better to set them free.

If you weren't around for the late sixties, early seventies you might not believe the characters in this film.

I probably knew 20 guys just like both of them.
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Like Gram...Mostly Myth....
Dennis Deja6 November 2006
Parsons was mythical in his own right. Sure, he was the father of country-rock and hung around the stones....etc...etc...

The movie is mythical in it's own right. Being as Phil Kaufman was the only one to really know who/what/why/when/how...I think it does alright by his accounts of the events. Heck, he was one of the producers of the movie! Knoxville and Shannon play off each other well. Applegate is always a pleasure to watch!Macht really does look like Parsons! The soundtrack and score are awesome. The filming locations seem accurate...the point is this....if you are looking for a reverent account of the death and last wishes of an icon, forget it! If you want good Saturday afternoon escapism that has a rock-n-roll lineage, this movie more than fits the role Sit back and enjoy...I have more than once!
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What would Gram do?
bmeister7 June 2006
I cringed all the way through this movie. First of all, the idiotic plot has little to do with Parson's own story. Hollywood has attempted to create a kind of comedy car chase movie. Imagine "Englebert Sings Hendrix".

Do not take anything about this movie to be accurate. The name Parsons in the title and stealing of his body is just used as springboard for a low budget chase movie, a blatant attempt to grab a few bucks from the Parsons legacy and his fan base. Gram's father had long since been dead in 1973, the other global characters are fictional, none of this has anything to do with Grams life or death.

If you are a Gram fan, I advise you to not see this movie. I wish I hadn't. It's saddening to see something special be treated as such disgracing fodder. I'd swear I could hear Gram turning in his grave while the movie was playing. If you are not familiar with Gram's life and legacy, do not take anything in this movie as being representative of Gram.

I cannot say enough bad things about this movie. If Gram were alive and saw this movie, he would kill himself. Then again, maybe he'd be afraid to if he knew this movie were to result.
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A shame - Why treat the truth like that? What's it ever done to you?
derryjordan2 January 2006
First of all, this movie isn't a complete disaster. If you had never heard of the real story of Gram Parsons then it might seem a reasonably entertaining diversion. Johnny Knoxville can't really be criticised for his performance as Phil Kaufman - he's pretty good at looking laid-back and down to earth and you can sort of root for his long-suffering everyman. Michael Shannon is due credit for pretty much the same reasons, except he's a hippy stoner. There are some good individual comedic scenes - the hippy-hearse crashing into the airport hanger door stands out. But that's where the good things end, and we begin to see the aspects that make this movie so truly disappointing. The character of Robert Forster as Gram's actual father is an invention so disgraceful as to cast a taint over the entire film. We all know his real father committed suicide when he was young - something that could surely be compared to Gram's life on the edge by a better film-maker. Having Forster as his supposed real father, and not his step-father would be bad enough, if not for the well known difficulties Gram had with the man who actually flew to collect his body. It has been suggested that his step father had admitted to providing Gram's mother with alcohol as she lay dying and that this enraged Gram when he later found out about it. Also the controversy over where Gram's body was buried would surely be reason enough not to invent a benevolent made-up father who actually catches up to the duo and their hearse, but then allows them to go ahead with the burning. Whatever the truth about the man who Gram got the name Parsons from, he certainly bore no resemblance to Forster's character here, and it is hard to see why this role was written. Then there's the addition of Christina Applegate as a greedy chick (yet very pretty of course) who wants Gram's body back so that she can begin to cash in on his estate. Her character, and her acting are non-existent and one wonders why the director didn't just go the whole hog and include a lesbo scene between her and the chick who plays Kaufman's girlfriend(it wouldn't have lowered the tone a whole lot more). When you think of the ingredients that could have been used in a good movie about Parsons, the shortcomings of this film are easily apparent. Country music being changed by a young, polite, southern gentleman - who was also long haired, drug loving, popular with the ladies and ultimately self destructive. Real events like the hanger door crash and the painted hearse and friends like Keith Richards. Instead of these things we have to concentrate wholly on Kaufman's input into Gram's life. Kaufman is obviously still lapping up the cult status he received for what he did (he certainly is a little cult). From interviews it is obvious that he's delighted with the attention. Remember this is the man who made a remark about the genitalia of the naked corpse of Gram Parsons as he was preparing to set it alight. What he did was not an act of great loyalty, but a doped up alcoholic escapade. Looking at Knoxville and the director in interviews, a few things become clear also. It's obvious that they have no real grasp of the story of Gram's life, nor do they wish to have. They want a hit movie about an event that is infamous and crazy. It was an amazing life with a strange end. That the end is the only thing covered by this movie shows how limited an understanding of Gram Parsons the makers had.
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A crappy film with nothing to do with Gram
Fear_and_Loathing_6230 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was a real disappointment to me. I have been a fan of Gram Parsons for a long time, and when i found out they were making a film about him i was very exited, I got the movie on VHS when it came out, and was sickened by what i saw, This film wasn't about his life, it was about the aftermath of his death. I thought it would be a descent film about Grams Life and Music, but they had to make a film about his death. I am tired of hearing about his deaths in books and movies, i wanted a film about his life, not his infamous death. I was very Disappointed. I wish people would look at his life, more then his death. The only thing good about this film was its soundtrack. This film is a disappointment to any Gram Parsons Fan.
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Got the facts......but lacked the soul of the story
meattree22222 October 2005
I recently fell in love with Gram Parsons music and was excited to find there were movies made about him. This one left me so dry and dissatisfied. They covered a really great story about a great person, but told very very little about him. If you had no idea who he was before you saw this film, you knew only a hair more about him afterward. They really should have constructed a better picture of who he was and given a lot more attention to the depth of his character rather than the mere outline of his funeral. Johnny Knoxville's performance was Luke warm and Christina Applegate failed to move me to believe she ever had a single feeling about the man. What I found particularly sad, was the interviews with the director and screen writer when they talked it all up as if it were the "greatest story ever told". Well, it could have been if they had any real love or appreciation for the man they were making it about. BOOOOOOOOOOO
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Could have been much better
jc1305us9 October 2005
"GTP" introduces us to (In a very limited way) to Gram Parsons and his friend/ manager Phil Kaufman who in an interesting story, has made a pact with singer/ songwriter Parsons to cremate his body in Joshua Tree, CA should he pass away. Well, you guessed it, Parsons dies from a drug overdose and Kaufman sets off with a hippie stoner in a yellow hearse to fulfill his friends wishes. (All the while trying to stay ahead of the law and Parsons' father played by a strong Robert Forster) Johnny Knoxville in I believe his first starring role, is excellent. It's not to much of a stretch to play a rock and roller/cowboy for him, but he does add some depth to the role. Christina Applegate plays the ex-girlfriend of Parsons, a malicious, catty, gold digger intent on getting her hands on Parson's' estate, a character who was apparently created for the screenplay. She really was unnecessary in this movie. In what could have been a touching buddy/road trip movie, she really brings nothing to the story. What this movie is missing, is the friendship between Parsons and Kaufman, I would have been more touching knowing the bond between these two men, and how this pact came to be. Along with some musical montages , this would have made a more effective movie in my opinion. Instead the director and screenwriter, chose to go a somewhat hokey route with odd ball characters, and some (very) creative license. All in all a good story, but improperly handled. Its a shame, because it could have been excellent.
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A delightful little film
mark-188314 July 2005
This is a great "indie" film. OK, it's not about Gram Parson, per se. So what? It isn't supposed to be; it's about friendship, and general world class weirdness. If you went through those times---even as a casual observer---you'll probably love it. I did. At times it even moved me to some slight tears...while making me laugh out loud at the same moment. Not a bad little metaphor for life, if you ask me.

Btw, I am a great fan of Parson's music; I have been a fan ever since "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Sadly, one of those people who is remembered more for his influence rather than his own music. Also neglected is his sometimes writing partner Chris Hillman. They weren't the first to experiment with Country Rock (Michael Nesmith did that), but they surely were among the major players to bring it to a much larger audience.
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Thoroughly enjoyable
runrig-323 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Seems like the comments range from big Gram fans who think it's "disgraceful to Gram's memory" (and a bad flick to boot) and those that barely/never heard of him who think it's a funny road film. I'm a big fan of Gram's music that says to hell with the facts, it was a funny, enjoyable film. And some say there wasn't enough of Gram's music in the film...well, duh, it's a soundtrack, not a musical, and there can never be enough Gram Parsons music for us fans :-)

And to the ones who complain about how can Gram Parsons' dad be in the movie when he died when Gram was 12, all I can say is I don't think he really was in the movie. He leaves the motel 5 seconds before everyone else, and they say "Where'd he go?", so I think that leaves the door open to say that it was the ghost of Gram's dad there. Everything else before that must have been some sort of Star Trek alternate universe/time-line thing. OK, so I'm willing to suspend my belief more than most :-)

So just sit back, and enjoy the ride. It really is a decent flick. Oh, and go buy the albums...
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Knoxville hits this one out of the park, but Shannon makes the Home Run.
Vincent Rocca21 April 2005
Baseball references have nothing to do with this movie, except to serve as an analogy.

Johnny Knoxville surely has proved himself as a talented actor. Hopefully Hollywood will take note and give him more than Luke Duke. I'm sure he'll shine as a Duke boy, but Knoxville can handle more. I can totally see him taking on the Edward Norton kind of roles.

I knew nothing about Gram Parsons before watching this, but I enjoyed the small lesson. The opening says something to the effect that while it is based on true events, it has been embellished. But in the extras the writer says that is exactly how it happened. I don't buy the latter. There are a few things that just can't happen, but it still makes for one hell of a joyride.

This is a great Weekend discovery. Watch it and you won't be disappointed.
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Nice, fun, cool - and obviously contentious!
limborepublic27 January 2005
I loved this movie, and thought it was both very sweet and very funny, which is an unusual combination.

I do want to point out that this is not a movie about Gram Parsons, which seems to have caused a little confusion with some reviewers here.

The positive reviews are from people who like the film for what it is - a cool buddy road movie with a great soundtrack. The negative reviews are from people who complain about the film's makers changing some of the facts, or not telling enough of Gram Parsons' story, or not treating him with 'respect'.

For the record, this is not about Gram Parsons, but Phil Kaufman. It's not a biopic, but a black comedy. And it's not reverential, but dark, cool, and just a little twisted.

It is, however, great fun. And highly recommended...
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Sadly, it is the worst
cravinbob6 January 2005
I doubt this will ever even be a cult film. I loved Gram Parsons to be sure and I did not expect much out of this film and got even less. What could have been clever and moving was campy. It was devoid of the music that made Gram and had more filler than cheap dog food. There was no background on Gram or the colorful people of that era. The characters shown were not familiar to me even as a fan of Gram's and all the versions of his "afterlife adventures" I have heard. Rock and roll is full of tales, good ones too but they should taken with a grain of salt. They can be great stories even though exaggerated. However, this movie took a good story and turned into tripe. Stealing any dead body and the ensuing implications should never be a dull tale but they made it dull, somehow. I am tempted to steal every copy of Grand Theft Parsons, head out to the desert and burn them all.
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Wouldn't be worth watching in purgatory
rob_formica29 November 2004
Continued controversy about the real Phil Kaufman's actions aside, this could have been a decent movie if it had stayed true to the facts, featured some moral ambiguity, comedic timing, acting ability, etc. Instead they invent a bunch of stupid characters to create some sense of plot that doesn't materialize. So bad I can't even bother to pan it decently. So bad you can't even make fun of it. I have literally seen better acting in high school drama club plays and late-night infomercials. It was like they were reading off of upside-down cue cards drunk. Insulting to the legacy of Gram Parsons. Heck, insulting to the memory of - gee, I dunno, Ed Wood's retarded cousin. Anyone who participated in the production, marketing, or distribution of this smoldering stinking corpse of a movie should be blacklisted.
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Dire, unfunny and shockingly badly executed
thedavidovitch25 November 2004
I'm not sure if users ought to be allowed to review films after only sitting through half, but I'm afraid I just couldn't stand another minute.

If this abject excuse for a film doesn't have the late, great GP spinning like a wheel in his grave, then I doubt anything will.

The excellent review above 'Not a film for Parsons fans' sums up most of my feelings. How dare a (second rate) director and writer attempt something to which they're so clearly incapable of delivering. What were they thinking? Where to start?

THE SCRIPT: I thought I'd be getting a slice of bittersweet Americana. What I got was poorly executed slapstick with no cliché left unturned. Stupid hippy? Check. Stupid fat cop? Check. Awful plot contrivances? Check. Embarrassingly written female characters? Double check. Total disregard for the story which you're trying to portray? Check.

After a while, you realize that what you're watching is a soap and not a very well written one at that. Scene with Knoxville. Scene with Ex girlfriend. Scene with Knoxville which hasn't moved on much. Scene with Ex girlfriend which was a bit like the last one. And so on...

THE DIRECTION: My friends and I decided, after some consideration, that watching this was like watching a bad episode of Quincy, or maybe a particularly poor Dukes of Hazzard. That's how bad the direction was. Terrible jump cuts, awful camera work, clunky ins and outs to scenes. God, it was cringeworthy. And then I discovered the director was an Irishman who's most noteworthy recent work is a really lousy BBC Sunday night drama called Monarch of the Glen (trust me, it's lowest common denominator TV). And then it all made sense...

THE ACTING: Are we now so critical that when some random guy from the TV decides to give acting a go, if he's not so bad, he stinks, we applaud his efforts? Knoxville JUST ABOUT manages to get through every scene. Poor Christina A. has no such luck. Her performance is a car crash (though what you do with those lines, I don't know). The 'hippy' in the hearse: oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Have we not moved on since Cheech and Chong?

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. What I would say is that, as other reviews have mentioned, no one on this film clearly gives a flying damn for The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers or Gram's solo work. They knew nothing about the American road movie and they certainly give a damn about trying to do anything with an admittedly decent story from rock mythology. This film was shallow, failed to explore anything and was jaw droppingly unfunny from beginning to...oh wait, I didn't quite make the end. And I suggest you stay away too.
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