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I went into this film with high expectations considering the amazing
cast and wasn't disappointed. It was consistently entertaining -- and
often explosively funny.
Sometimes it felt like a throwback screwball comedy other times the comedy was more subtle and nuanced but it was always fun. Looked like it was gonna get a touch overly sentimental at the end but managed to bleach the saccharin out of the most "emotional" moments. A welcomed little performance piece film full of nice little moments.
If Hollywood stopped making films about dysfunctional families there'd
be a real drought in the theaters and on DVD shelves. "Eulogy" is a
pretty conventional tale but it's well-acted.
The paterfamilias, grandfather, is dead, apparently by his own hand, and the family - immediate and extended - arrives at the grieving widow's home to prepare for the funeral immediately resuming hostilities over well-aged feuds and hurts. Nothing surprising here.
Zooey Deschanel as Kate is a college student who seems to be the most normal member of an eclectic and eccentric crew. Her grandmother is Piper Laurie and, have no fear, those who remember the beautiful young actress of an earlier Silver Screen age won't recognize her here. How the mighty have...aged.
Hank Azaria has a fun(ny) role as a loser with a heart.
Deborah Winger turns in a first-rate performance as Kate's shrewish Aunt Alice who exudes homophobia at a sister who arrives with her fiancé (or fiancée), a sharp, observant woman. Alice, is married to a drone who without barely a word smiles ceaselessly and seems on the verge of drooling.
Their three kids are also silent, probably disturbed big time. And two nasty pre-teen twins of Alice's brother make Dennis the Menace a choir boy by comparison.
No character here that hasn't been seen in many movies and TV sitcoms. But there's a thread of drama with the zany comedy that makes "Eulogy" a mite different if whacked out family stories intrigue you.
It's an ensemble production - see the IMDb.com main page for the full cast. But Ms. Deschanel, with her dark eyes and sharp takes at her family members' antics, is the acting center of the flick.
8/10 (barely but I laughed a lot).
This film started off our 2004 Film Festival. And you thought YOUR family was dysfunctional? It's hard to laugh about death but the performances here were literally first rate. A MUST SEE!!! Piper Laurie's performance alone is worth the price of admission, and D. Winger is in a whole new kind of role, as is Ray Romano. The twins who play Romano's sons would almost have stolen the picture if the other performances hadn't been so strong. It's a perfect picture of how "old stuff" comes back to haunt you in families and how in some ways we never grow up, we just grow older. This has just the right combination of serious stuff to think about and laugh out loud amazing humor to make a great entertainment experience.
I work for a large video chain. I see so much product come on a weekly basis. And quite frankly, a lot of it is crap! I try to choose carefully. I look at the cover art, I read synopsis, I follow film production. I took this home and ended up watching it at 10:30 at night thinking I'll check it out a bit then go to bed. I ended up watching the whole thing. Now look, I'm not a film critic, a journalist, or pretentious film snob. I just know when I like something and if it works. I laughed my @*% off. That cast was a dream. Piper Laurie was wonderful as the matriarch of this goof ball family. I sat watching matching up personalities with my own family members. It's impossible not to. I won't go into story details. Just check it out. I think you will be glad you did.
Lately I have not seen many films at all that I really like or can honestly recommend. Then, as if from nowhere, my friend saw Eulogy on the stand at a movie rental place and said it sounded good. As soon as the rented DVD was in my DVD player and on the main menu it was hilarious! It's not usual that I have such an optimistic approach to movies before I even see them, so I knew I was in for something good. During the movie there were several parts where we laughed so hard that we continuously had to rewind and catch up on parts that we laughed through. It's cynical, tongue-in-cheek, and good-natured. It has the sense of humor and attitude that real people have, and that's what's great about it. One thing that's rare in movies is something real. When you watch the movie you get the feel that you're dealing with real people, which is why this film is so easy to enjoy. It's like watching real people in hilarious situations. I've now recommended this film to dozens of people. Yes, Eulogy is an automatic favorite.
Film Review: EULOGY
Directed & Written by: Michael Clancy. Produced by: Steven Haft, Richard B. Lewis & Kirk D'Amico. Director of Photography: Michael Chapman. Edited by: Richard Halsey. Music by: George S. Clinton. Released by: Lions Gate. Country of Origin: USA/UK/Germany. 85 min. Rated: R. With: Hank Azaria, Zooey Deschanel, Glenne Headly, Piper Laurie, Kelly Preson, Ray Romano, Rip Torn & Debra Winger.
It takes a much more dire occasion than a holiday to force the Collins family together. The death of Grandpa Collins (Rip Torn) finally brings the embittered family members under the same roof. Kate (Zooey Deschanel) and her has-been actor father (Hank Azaria) find themselves stuck with Uncle Skip (Ray Romano), a sleazy lawyer who has raised two sons so equally vulgar that their own mother has abandoned them. His sister Lucy (Kelly Preston) arrives with her lesbian lover Judy, announcing they're to wed; this sets off uptight Aunt Alice (Debra Winger) on a rampage. The family's bickering turns into an all-out brawl, with every possible insult and betrayal coming out of the wood work. And as if the constant feuding weren't enough, Grandma Collins (Piper Laurie) seems bent on offing herself with increasingly creative methods. By the time the funeral rolls around the plot has taken dozens of bizarre twists.
Rich with laugh-inducing dialogue and eccentric characters, this is a madcap comedy at its blackest. Ray Romano proves to be funnier as a slimy creep than as his nice-guy sitcom persona, and deadpan Zooey Deschanel shines as the film's central character. The cast as a whole makes the careful balance of comedic timing and delivery seem like second nature. While the film often falls short on logic, it succeeds in laughs.
Eulogy is centered around the death of a family patriarch, Edmund
Collins (Rip Torn). After the death comes the funeral, which is where
this story takes place, from the time of his death up until the
funeral, where this quite dysfunctional family has to live together for
the next few days. An ordinary cast could not have done the job that
this one did. They turned what seemed to be a regular movie into a
pretty funny movie. I guess it was supposed to be a dark comedy, but it
was not all that dark to me. The character development was quite good,
for a movie that featured so many key players, it manages to let you
get to know just about everyone pretty well.
Kate Collins (Zooey Deschanel) is the granddaughter of Edmund and is asked by her grandmother to deliver the eulogy, something she was hesitant about doing, considering she really knew very little about the man. Despite her constant asking, her family could not come up with any nice stories about her grandfather to tell. Zooey is pretty much the straight (wo)man in this comedy.
Daniel Collins (Hank Azaria) is Edmund's son and Kate's father. Daniel was a child actor whose big fame came when he coined a catch phrase in a peanut butter commercial, making him Edmund's favorite son. He and Skip Collins (Ray Romano) were my favorite characters.
Skip Collins is Edmund's son and Kate's uncle. Skip was the son who was always trying to get his father's attention and felt he was the unloved one because of Daniel's success. He was probably the funniest character in the movie, along with his twin sons and Daniel.
The twin sons of Skip are named Fred and Ted Collins (Curtis and Keith Garcia). They are at that age where pretty much everything turns them on, so when their aunt and her "lifemate" showed up, it was all fun for them.
There are many more characters and dysfunctional family situations here that I could not get to them all in a short review, but this movie turned out better than I would have thought and is worth watching at least once. 7/10
For all the sour, lemon faced people out there who thought this movie
was pointless, plot less and laugh-less, obviously you weren't watching
the same movie as I was.
This movie is smart and funny, with an amazing cast. Anyone watching will feel connected on a personal level to at least one of the characters. Will it be the caring, normal granddaughter, the suicidal grandmother, the control freak sister, the black-sheep brother, the lesbian sister or her hilarious lesbian lover, or maybe it'll be the pot smoking ex-actor? Who knows, but trust me you will find solice in one of these people.
I highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a laugh at something a bit morbid.
We've seen this kind of thing before -- The Dysfunctional Family Get-Together, Black-Comedy Division -- but this one has a cast to die for and a bitter poignancy that imparts the sly and frequently mean-spirited wit with genuine feeling. Edmund Collins (Rip Torn: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) has died, leaving behind a suicidal widow (Piper Laurie: The Faculty), a handful of neurotic offspring, and their spouses and kids, most of whom have had the Collins craziness rub off on them in the worst possible way. Only college student Kate (the luminous and sharp-edged Zooey Deschanel: Elf) has her head on straight, but even that won't help her write Grandpa's eulogy when no one has a kind word to say about him. Sure, this is one of those thank-god-your-own-family-ain't-this-bad movies, but I dare you not to find yourself really kind of wishing you could hang out with Hank Azaria's (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) Daniel, a washed-up former child star (and Kate's dad), and Famke Janssen's (X2: X-Men United) Judy, lesbian lover to Collins daughter Lucy (Kelly Preston: The Cat in the Hat), who delights in tweaking her future sister-in-law Alice's (a deliciously disturbed Debra Winger: Radio) homophobia. And Glenne Headly is always a treat, here as an old family friend who finds herself putting out emotional fires... and restarting an old one. Writer/director Michael Clancy makes a promising debut here, adroitly juggling diverse, expansive characters, and not only does he never let them descend into the cartoonish, he gets us to really care about them, psychoses and all.
No spoilers here. Regardless of what others say, the film is great.
It's creative and brilliant. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes
intelligent, witty irony with a twist of twisted thrown in for good
measure. Zooey Deschanel delivers an amazing performance. The
characters are deeply disturbed in enduring and charming ways. Black
humor is a beautiful thing and they did a wonderful job of getting
laughs from a macabre situation.
The cast of character actors rounds out a well-written film. Ray Romano and Hank Azaria deliver priceless performances. Generally kid actors are more noise than comedy, but in this flick the kids have been given primo comedy. Rene Auberjenois' cameo was a bonus.
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