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After seeing the trailer for this movie and checking out the cast and
filmmakers I made this a must see at this years Sundance Film Festival.
The combination of Alexander Payne (Sideways,Election,About Schmidt)
producing and Michael Douglas playing wacky gives hope for another
great dramedy along the lines of Little Miss Sunsine and Sideways. King
of California easily meets those hopes and for many it will be much
more enjoyable then those former films. The movie features Douglas as
Charlie a recently released mental patient with a whimsical fascination
for buried Spanish treasure. While Charlie has been away his 16 year
old daughter Miranda played by Evan Racheal Wood has managed to avoid
child services, dropped out of school and support herself and their
home by working full-time at Mcdonalds. Upon Charlies arrival home
Miranda finds that life was much easier without Charlie around, not
only does she have to support their home but now she has to take care
of her unstable father. Persitent with his intent to search for a
mythical buried Spanish treasure Miranda begrudgingly agrees to help
him. The movie finds its humor and warmth in the moments shared between
Charlie and Miranda during their treasure hunting through developed
suburbia that leads them to a unlikely final destination. In the end
the real treasure may not be the gold after all but the love between a
daughter and father.
The ever developing Evan Racheal Wood is solid in the role of Miranda, the whole movie develops through her narration and her acting is effortlessly touching. Michael Douglas is outstanding and in true form here, from start to finish he's a joy to watch, this is easily his best performance since Wonder Boys. This will definitely be one of the best movies in 2007, expect praise a plenty for Douglas come awards time.
King Of California is best described as a wacky but sweet comedy.
Michael Douglas is really delightful and that's reason enough to check
out this film. He plays one of the most likable characters I've seen in
a long time. The plot is so 'out there' I don't even know how to write
a plot summary without making it sound like a silly kids movie. When in
fact, it's a mature movie, dealing with real issues without ever
Some people have posted threads here on IMDb asking: Is this a comedy? Well, I'm not saying it's a typical American in your face comedy but it sure is funny to me.
Some complaints: Evan Rachel Wood is not really that great of an actress (yet). Of course she's talented but I mean...she was talented four years ago. Now I'm like...when is she finally gonna deliver. To be fair, I haven't seen all of her movies so maybe I should check out some other ones before spewing criticism.
Also, King Of California is one of those movies that left me feeling indifferent. That's not a flaw, it's just the kind of movie KOC is. I like movies that confront me or get me thinking.
I wouldn't recommend it to most of my friends, since I predict about half the people are really gonna like it, and half are gonna find it boring. I would recommend it to more mature people, who like independent films.
It was too easy to expect a rug-chewing performance from Michael
Douglas as a crazy person, and an exasperated, eye-rolling
two-dimensional "oh I'm so put-upon by the world" job from Evan Rachel
Thankfully, those clichés were avoided in this poignant and ultimately joyful and uplifting (thank God!) story of quiet nobility, personal vision and purpose, and underlying love and strength amongst otherwise "broken" people.
It's refreshing to go into a theatre not expecting much and coming out enlightened by the combined vision of the actors, writer, director, and cinematographer.
Bravo to all involved, and here's hoping to see a strong presence at the Academy Awards.
Fifteen-year old Miranda(Evan Rachel Wood,luminescent!!) has had to
grow up fast,since her mother left her and her father and said
father,Charlie(Michael Douglass,in a word:WOW!) was institutionalized
for reasons not entirely made clear but discernible through
observation. When Charlie is de-institutionalized,he returns to his
daughter with a grand plan to find gold in the hills along the Pacific
Coast Highway. She is,in a word,skeptical.
Director and writer Mike Cahill makes a movie that is both at once full of quirk and melancholy,with the daughter as somewhat of a de facto narrator. The quest for finding the treasure,while ridiculous and unquestionably irresponsible,is still almost noble and pure. Wood and Douglass shine very nicely as the estranged,mentally delicate father and daughter duo who haven't stopped loving each other,even if they get each other even less than they did before. A simple story,framed by quirky music(jazz?folk?) and a nearly poetic filming of contemporary California coastline as it contrasts the 16th century maps that Charlie references. Lost in the sea of fall releases from last year,this film is a very pleasant find on the rental shelves.
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
I absolutely loved "King of California." It is sweet and really funny.
The characters are flawed, but lovable.
There are basically two characters in the film. Michael Douglas plays Charlie who has just spent 2 years in a mental institution. Apparently the entire time he was there he was in the library researching lost buried treasure from the Spanish missionaries that was left in Ventura, California.
Evan Rachel Wood plays his 16-year-old daughter, Miranda, who had to drop out of school so she could work double shifts at McDonalds to support herself and pay the mortgage to avoid losing the house. She is world weary and bitter at never having a proper childhood and having to be the adult in the relationship.
Eventually Charlie convinces her of the validity of the buried treasure and there is a bonding as they search for the lost treasure that leads them to the depths of a local Costco warehouse.
The performances are great. Michael Douglas is all bug-eyed and crazy. Evan Rachel Wood adds to her "indie cred." Along with "Pretty Persuasion" and "Down in the Valley," she could be the next Parker Posey.
This is one of the best films of 2007. Make sure not to miss it.
The King of Calinfornia features excellent performances and character
development from Michale Douglass and Evan Rachel Wood. Douglass'
character is especially weird and wacky, but respectable. The film is
very slow moving, but enjoyable. The film is definitely not as it
appears to be about the extrinsic treasure hunt. Rather is more of an
intrinsic hunt for the relationship and love between a misguided
father, and his prematurely grown-up daughter.
The film has a great balance of drama and humor, with just a touch of adventurous excitement. Other posts have similar offerings regarding the quality and depth of this film.
"King Of California" is the art house version of "National Treasure" or
"Indiana Jones". It's the story of Charlie (Michael Douglas) who is
released from the mental institution in which he has spent several
years and is reunited with his sixteen year old daughter Miranda (Evan
Rachel Wood). Although he is obviously a few sandwiches short of a
picnic, Charlie manages to convince his daughter to join him in a quest
for buried treasure. Together they move through Southern California
looking for clues leading to the lost doubloons.
If, after reading that description of the plot, you're now expecting these two characters to run through dark tunnels with giant boulders rolling after them then you'd be wrong. "King Of California" is a slow and very quiet movie which focuses more on Charlie and Miranda repairing their relationship than the actual treasure hunt. Miranda has been forced to take a job at McDonalds in order to survive during her father's absence meaning that she is now the rational one whilst Charlie acts as a child. Their search for the treasure takes them to golf courses and busy stores where Charlie sees signs that they're on the right trail whilst Miranda, not fully believing in Charlie's dream, simply wants to spend some time with the father she's lost touch with.
Douglas gives one of his finest performances in recent years as Charlie, managing to make the character seem insane whilst also being totally appealing (witness the way in which he wins arguments by stating absurd facts and telling people to "look it up"). Evan Rachel Wood is also perfect in her role. It may not be as showy a role as Douglas' but Wood convinces you that Miranda absolutely loves her father despite all his faults (and he certainly has a lot).
Although I liked "King Of California", I really can't say that I loved it - the plot was perhaps a little too slow moving for my tastes. I certainly admired its message, however, that you should follow your dreams because dreams give you something to believe in. If you have patience and like character-driven movies which reveal their charms at a very leisurely pace (such as the movies "Sideways" or "Rushmore"), then I'd recommend watching "King Of California" for its superb acting and life-affirming message. Others - like myself - however, who prefer story lines to move along at a much quicker rate may find it a bit boring in places and slightly too whimsical overall.
Make no mistake about it. Evan Rachael Wood is fast becoming a most welcome addition to the rising wave of young stars in films today. I totally admired her work in 'Thirteen' (2003),and 'Running With Scissors'(2006). In this one, she plays the daughter of a recently released mental patient (Michael Douglas,sporting an unkempt beard)who is obsessing over buried treasure somewhere in the suburbs of California. Michael Douglas makes his performance as Charles work nicely, acting like a loony that was released from the home a bit too early, in contrast to Wood's anchor that holds things together. The screenplay does contain a few potholes along the way, but not enough to make this worth avoiding.
This film is about a recently released mental patient who is obsessed
with finding hidden treasure mentioned by a 400 year old journal.
"King of California" is an interesting film. It starts off slow, but it the pace becomes increasingly quick along the way, and at the end the pace is too quick to grasp everything. I cannot not really understand the ending because so much happens within a short amount of time. I like Michael Douglas' portrayal as a psychotic person. He is not over the top, and yet looks and acts crazy enough. His character is likable and goofy. Evan Rachel Wood is also great in the film. This is a good piece of independent cinema. It is inspiring and heart warming I hope it gets more attention than it is having.
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