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Buffalo Bill's Defunct: Stories from the New West (2004)

Will Bill be able to tear down his garage with a winch and 100' of cable? And if so, will it make a big crash? Watch as Bill's garage and family are deconstructed plank by plank.



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Cast overview:
Earl V. Prebezac ...
Frances Hearn ...
Keith Fox ...
Martha Strickland Cagley ...
Michael White ...
David N. Donihue ...
Jennifer Estes ...
Wiley W. Wilkins ...
Christopher Lloyd ...


Buffalo Bill rallies his sissy-fied clan to the old-fashioned task of pulling down their dilapidated shed with a winch and 100' of cable; a half-baked decision influenced heavily by the fact that he accidentally blasted through the garage door with his truck. As Bill's daughter and grandchildren prepare the shed for razing, they excavate rusted family artifacts, uncovering interfamilial tensions. In their own words, Bill's ensemble gossips about each other, most of the time revealing more about the person talking than the subject. The film spills the guts of this American family through stories of Bill's seeds floating through the world on their own unique, but parallel narratives. "Buffalo Bill's Defunct" is a poem to the entanglement of family, casting a vigil light on inheritance. The relationships are cluttered, muddled and imperfect, but perfectly functional. Written by Jaime Keeling

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29 May 2004 (USA)  »

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Seattle times review
21 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

Dismantling the past: "Buffalo Bill's Defunct"

An ambitious and often moving feature, produced locally and directed by Seattle's Matt Wilkins, "Buffalo Bill's Defunct" is both shrewd and sophisticated film-making.

Essentially a collection of poignant short tales about the grown children and grandchildren of ornery but magnanimous "Buffalo" Bill (Earl V. Prebezac, co-founder of Edmonds' Driftwood Players), the action begins when Bill accidentally rams his truck through a wall of his dilapidated shed.

Deciding it's time to demolish the rustic hut, widower Bill enlists his kin in removing its family paraphernalia from bygone years. This dismantling of the past becomes a catalyst for learning more about Bill's kids (and their kids) through spare vignettes that have been compared, with good reason, to stories of the late Port Angeles writer Raymond Carver.

One of the best pieces stars Keith Fox as an emotionally reckless and taciturn father whose grown daughter (Frances Hearn) reluctantly bonds with him while humiliating her drunken boyfriend (Michael White).

Improvising dialog and behavior, the entire cast and Wilkins find a quiet if urgent soulfulness somewhat obscured at times by overly busy editing.

— Tom Keogh, Special to The Seattle Times

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