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Going into "Daltry Calhoun", I really didn't know what to expect. I've been a long time fan of it's star, the likable Johnny Knoxville, and knew it was something of a comedy, but that was about it. I surely wasn't expecting the type of movie that I got, but it was by no means a let down either. "Daltry Calhoun", While named after Knoxville's character, is actually more the coming of age story of Calhoun's daughter, June, as she's reunited with her father. The story is told from her point of view and is very pleasant, heartwarming and damn near a "family" type of film, save for a bit of bad language (probably the only time you'll hear "family" describing a film with Quentin Tarantino's name on the cover). It almost reminded me of a more contemporary and far less cheesy version of "My Girl", which will leave most of it's audience going "awww." as oppose to "haha". But for the kind of movie it was, a light sentimental comedy, I found it quite enjoyable.
"Daltry Calhoun" is a tall refreshing drink of pure spring water in the sewage that's spilling out of Hollywood today. A beautiful, poignant, sweet character drama about a father who reunites with his 14 year old prodigy daughter. Johnny Knoxville is both funny, sweet, and endearing, but the real star is Sophie (I forget her last name) who plays June. Her performance is so powerful, funny, and magentic that you feel you're watching someone who will be a major star in a few years. Katrina Bronson's script and direction has that delicate but surehanded touch that I felt when I first saw "Lost in Translation." If you want to go to a movie to feel good and have something truly tug at your heartstrings, go see it.
Johnny Knoxville gets slammed for his acting, and it would be fair to
say he isn't the best actor in the world, nor is he ever likely to be -
this coming from someone who is a massive fan of his. But this film
proves, certainly more than the 'actually better than it should be'
Dukes of Hazzard that he can actually act.
This movie didn't do much for me on the first viewing - Which doesn't sound like much of a recommendation - but I would urge people to give it a chance. I found with each subsequent viewing, it just gets better and better. Everyone is the cast, from Knoxville to the supporting cast members, plays their parts brilliantly and makes their characters believable. For me, Knoxville really shines when in his scenes with Sophie Traub who plays June. There is a very endearing awkwardness to his character and he is very likable in this role. The other actors - especially the aforementioned Traub and the criminally underrated Juliette Lewis help to round out a solid cast. I would say that there do seem to be rather too many plot threads going on at one time, and perhaps the film would benefit from a few of them being trimmed and the film just concentrating on Daltry and June's relationship, but other than that, this film is actually well worth your time and effort to watch.
This isn't the best film in the world, nor is it ever likely to become so, but if you just want to see a sweet, well acted 'Sunday afternoon' type movie then give it a chance. Not every film has to be 'The Godfather', not every film has to change your life or make a difference. Sometimes all you want is to be entertained, and this film certainly does that.
I am writing because the only person, so far, who has posted a comment was clearly a man. It is so easy for someone to dismiss this movie as a "chick flick," but it only falls into that category if you are the kind of man who is totally out of touch emotionally. Yes, that is the norm, but still. I would highly recommend this film to anyone. Mothers will cry and young women will relate to the wonderful young actress who stars in the movie. Johnny Knoxville is surprisingly good as the unwitting father, and there are some very sweet father/daughter scenes. Juliette Lewis is, as always, fun to watch, and she handles her small role perfectly.
This is a wonderful, sweet, and (to me)spiritual movie about people needing each other, and coming together to help each other heal. If you're looking for car chases or moronic dialogue, this isn't the movie for you. Daltry Calhoun is in some ways reminiscent of "To Kill A Mockingbird", (a book the character June happens to be reading in one scene). Lots of subtle playbacks and references,(Johnny Cash, Charlotte's Web) and it's funny too. I have a great deal of respect for Johnny Knoxville, who, as a father himself, chose a vehicle that his own daughter will be proud to watch. He had great credibility as a father. Juliette Lewis was likable and believable as a woman falling in love after the loss of her husband.I liked the fact this movie didn't have gratuitous sex and showed people developing relationships, all in a humble, non-preachy way. The plot unfolded slowly and with subtleness. It made you work, and made you think more deeply, which to me, is what an indy film should do. I liked the subtle, yet impactful emphasis on values and spirituality. The main characters in this film, including Knoxville's and Lewis' characters were just plain, decent people. This might be the kiss of death in reviewing it, but you could show this film to a church group, and have plenty to discuss. Plus, it is funny, and has a kick-ass soundtrack. And, while this isn't a selling point for everyone, I find Johnny Knoxville someone who, despite all the fun (and rapier wit)of Jackass and Wildboyz, appears to be a deep thinker, with intelligence, and, dare I say, the desire to make a nice family film with a moral message. I loved it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know honestly i thought this movie was going to be a piece of junk when i first got it, but i was curious to see how bad Knoxville was as an actor outside of Walking Tall, personally i think he does an amazing job, not just for someone who's not really an actor, but for anyone in general, not saying that i think he should continue his acting career, but this was a damn good notch in his acting belt. Johnny Knoxville plays Daltry as only i believe he could, his awkward movement and facial expressions couldn't be faked and i couldn't imagine anyone else playing this part. Another great performance in this movie goes to David Koechner aka Doyle, he serves up a heartwarming and very believable performance, this commonly casted funny man really stretches his talents and delivers a great job. All in all a great movie, depressing, but great in the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not having a clue about "Daltry Calhoun", we decided to give it a try.
We like to discover "indies" that might have a different viewpoint,
away from the commercial films coming from Hollywood. The idea behind
the film was the director's own appreciation for Southern culture.
Inexperience might have gotten in the way, as Katrina Holden Bronson,
the director, seems to have her heart in the right place, but the
screen play she wrote is full of chiches about the same quirky
characters she is trying to bring to life in her film.
The best thing in the film is Sophie Traub, a delightful newcomer, as far as this viewer is concerned, who steals the film from the other, more established actors. Ms. Traub plays June, a girl that having grown up without a father, in her environment, turns out quite balanced and with a maturity way beyond her young age. June, who has taken an interest in Doyle Earl, a big lug of a guy who is illiterate, shows her good nature by teaching this man how to read and deal with what life has given him. Sophie Traub is a young actress on her way to bigger and better things, no doubt.
The basic problem with the film is the Daltry Calhoun of Johnny Knoxville. For a man that has made it big in the grass business, he acts as though he is pained to see how far he went with his limited intelligence and resources. The business that started good, suddenly hits a snag as the grass begins producing strange growths. When May reappears in his life, he just doesn't know how to deal with the situation as he reacquaints with June and her mother.
Elizabeth Banks, who is usually an excellent presence in anything she appears, is bogged down by her May, a woman who is suffering an unknown disease and has brought June back to her father. Juliette Lewis has some good moments as Flora, the store owner who loves Daltry, and finds June a good cause to get involved with. David Koechner makes an impression as the somewhat retarded older Doyle Earl.
"Datry Calhoun" is not a total loss and one wishes Ms. Bronson something better for her next time behind the camera.
I like this movie; I really, really liked this movie. Ducktown, where the movie takes place,is a great place to live. This weekend, we're having a "DuckRace" to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club, here in Columbia, TN. (Consider yourselves invited.) We don't really have too many guys that look as great as Johnny Knoxville just knocking about town, or any actresses that can burn up a screen the way Juliette Lewis does in this movie; but it is beautiful, here. I'm grateful to Quentin Tarantino and Katrina Holden Bronson (daughter of Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland, the writer and director)for making us look so good. David Koechner turns in a touching performance in the film, as well. Sophie Traub, as June is a real discovery. I understand that she is not a south paw, as she plays in the film: it makes it easier to understand why she has such a hard time playing convincing air guitar, at the end. Her vulnerability will TOTALLY intimidate you traditional Johnny Knoxville fans out there, so PLEASE, just stay away if you've got a closed mind. Her next film with Russell Crowe, "Tenderness" should be out in November. This movie is such a breath of fresh air that many people will not be able to inhale it. I think it's a sleeper that is truly visionary.
...which was not nearly as funny as it (the ringer) could have been.
But I, unlike some, enjoy when actors come out of their shell. Also,
what is wrong with having a movie that just has heart. I am not a
simpering watery eyed girlie man but i like "its a wonderful life", and
every now and again i like to watch a movie that doesn't require a
whole lot of effort and just leaves you feeling good.
Secondly I would like to point out that Johnny Knoxville is showing his range and that one day people will tire of jackass (of which I am a big fan) and he will fade away unless he strives to break out into other roles. As for Juliette Lewis, who has amazing range(Natural Born Killers to The Other Sister) I totally believed her character. I have met people like that in the South and in California where I am from.
We have become so used to sophomoric comedy and explosions that we fail to recognize a good movie that just leaves you with a smile.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't be fooled by the names. This movie is a victim of bad
merchandising, at least here in Europe. The box that I got the DVD in
couldn't be more misleading. In the biggest type that would fit it said
"QUENTIN Tarantino" and "JOHNNY KNOXVILLE" and in smaller print
"Daltry" (not even the full name of the movie). The name of the
director (Katrina Holden Bronson) is completely buried in the small
print on the back. And then the tag-line: 'Spreading his seed all over
America'. Never was a tag-line less appropriate.
'Jackass' and 'Pulp Fiction' couldn't be farther away. Clearly a case where a movie company wants to cash in on the popularity of two of the people involved. Sure, Tarantino will have made the movie financially possible, so what he says goes, I suppose, but I just find it hard to accept that potential viewers are given wrong expectations.
Actually the movie is a kind-hearted story about the hardships of a fourteen year old girl that is about to loose her mother and find her father (not a spoiler; we are told so in the opening sequence). Knoxville plays the father, Daltry Calhoun, and does so adequately. His acting doesn't stand out, nor is it irritatingly bad. The same can be said of the other actors. Julliette Lewis gives her character, the young widow Flora Flick, the right mix of ignorance and cleverness to be convincing. It's a pity that the part doesn't offer her enough room to show all her qualities. More caricature than character, I'd say.
The person that lifts the entire movie to a higher level is young actress Sophie Traub. She is the smart, friendly teenager June that is struggling with some very grown-up problems. She manages to make you feel sympathy for her without getting melodramatic. The scene in which she tries to get her father's young associate Frankie (Kick Gurry) to tell her everything about French kissing is NOT sleazy, it's plain funny.
This is also a feel-good movie, but not such a lame, predictable one. Okay, the stroke of good luck that her father has, that will make all the problems go away, may not come as a surprise and of course the ugly duckling turns into a pretty swan, but hey, she deserves it.
In short, a movie that was overlooked in the theaters and really deserves a second chance as the endearing dramatic comedy that it is. And as for Sophie Traub; may her acting career be long and fruitful.
Holland, November 2006
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