Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
A Secret Service agent is framed as the mole in an assassination attempt on the President. He must clear his name and foil another assassination attempt while on the run from a Secret Service Protective Intelligence Division agent.
A fresh-out-of-the-mental institution father and his emancipated teenage daughter venture together on a quest for an ancient Spanish treasure buried beneath their local Costco in this take on the modern family and the American dream. Written by
A Tired Script but a Platform for the Skillful Acting of Douglas and Wood
KING OF California may not break any records for innovation of thought or script but it is a tightly made little film that allows veteran actor Michael Douglas a lollipop of a wacky role to remind us that he does have comedic talent! It also gives 20-year old Evan Rachel Wood the opportunity to compete with a Pro and come out an equal - quite a feat for such a young actress. Written and directed by Mike Cahill the story does have appeal, especially since it is set in Santa Clarita, California, a rapidly developing 'hinterland' that is suffering from the effects of too rapid industrialization, changing from a picturesque remnant of California raw beauty into yet another perky little town.
Charlie (Michael Douglas) has been in and out of mental institutions for his wacky behavior. His life as a jazz bassist and entrepreneur has always veered off the map, leaving him alone with his only daughter Miranda who has survived her father's irresponsible life by keeping the old family home (in the midst of a huge housing development) with the money she makes double shifting at the local MacDonalds. When Charlie is released his focus is on discovering the gold left behind by Catholic priests in the mid 1600s, a fact he has researched while hospitalized, on the Internet, and from the journal of one of the priests. Miranda slowly buys into Charlie's madcap scheme and adventure as a gold hunter and the caper results in a bonding between father and daughter that has been teetering on the brink of disaster for years. The manner in which Charlie, Miranda, and an old ex-con friend Pepper (Willis Burks II) go after the treasure provides most of the energy of the film.
Yes, there are bits and pieces of this project that have been done many times before (and often better), but the pleasure of KING OF California lies in the bravura and touching performances by Douglas and Wood. This is a pleasant excursion of a movie, worth an evening's gander. Grady Harp
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