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I was one of the lucky ones that got to see Pickin' & Grinnin' at the
Lone Star Film Festival this past weekend. I was a little disappointed
that Jon Gries wasn't in attendance, as 'Real Genius' is one of my
favorite films, but my disappointment didn't last long, as this movie
is laugh out loud funny.
Like Cheech & Chong meets Napolean Dynamite with guitars, the Johnson brothers are used to the "family heirloom of failure". After Milo gets his heart broken by his girlfriend, he goes into a deep, trance like depression. Milo's brother, Johnny Jake Johnson - sees this an opportunity to take to the road in, "Gomer" the family Winnebago, in hopes of traveling cross country to Nashville, with dreams of winning the "Sing-A-Ling" championship.
I'll be the first to say that the road movie genre is well traveled territory, but when a movie has characters that are this interesting, and a story that zigs when you think it will zag, you get Pickin' & Grinnin'.
This must be how people felt like when they saw Napolean Dynamite before it hit theaters. I feel like I just saw a great band that hasn't hit the radio yet. Can't wait to see it again!
I wanted to adopt the Johnson brothers by the time this movie ended. The main characters were well meaning misfits you have to love and the villains were the bullies you've always hated. The clever cameos make you feel like you are part of the "inside joke" especially the campy devotion to Kenny Loggins. Although this story has been told a million times, the acting, direction, hilarious original score and production nuances made this one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in awhile. Kudos, to all involved and can't wait to see this again. Can't wait for it's release and I'm dying to purchase the soundtrack, the lyrics still make me giggle.
Funny adventurous movie that takes you on a ride with interesting
characters and a few surprise celebrities and cameos,it has a good
soundtrack,must see this film.
The characters are likable beer drinking red neck types many can relate to but they are original.
Lots of eye candy especially the blonde in the bikini in the beginning scenes.
I would go see this movie a second time.
You will see why its done well on the independent film showings after watching it.
Cant wait for the sequel to see what happens next!
I saw this little GEM of a movie on a rainy night in Los Angeles, at
the Hollywood Film Festival. A friend of mine had an extra ticket, so I
figured, "what could it hurt?" If the movie was terrible, I could
always hit the bar at the Arclight.
Fortunately for my liver, there was no hitting the bar, as this movie delivered something that Hollywood rarely provides anymore - originality. After sitting through an almost comically long opening credit sequence (and not funny in a good way), I found myself immediately taken in by the film's two lead characters - Milo and Johnny Jake Johnson. If ever the term "loveable Loser" fit, it would be with these two guys.
I'm not going to write a synopsis of the film, as I'm not a film reviewer and I will leave that to the professionals. I will take a moment to write that director Jon Gries (Uncle Rico in Napolean Dynamite) is fighting the good fight, by bringing an old school road comedy like this to the big screen. Kudos to you Mr. Gries for rolling up your sleeves and making a film that the studios would never touch!
There are so many consistently funny moments and just a great ensemble performance, with several of my favorite character actors sprinkled throughout. I'm not sure how Gries and the producers got some of these well traveled character actors (Geoffrey Lewis and Garrett Morris to name a couple), but I was really won over by the heart of this movie.
Great direction, story, music and performances make up this indie sleeper. One of the better experiences I've had at the movies in a long, long time...and not just because it was free.
My girlfriend and I (I'm a filmmaker at UT and she's a theatre major)
went to see Pickin' & Grinnin' on the recommendation of a friend of
ours who was working the festival and saw it at the Saturday screening.
We loved this movie and I have to say, what a great job the DP did with the red camera. This film gave me hope that an indie film could have a 1970's film look, if shot on the red.
A road comedy with original music, that follows two down and out brothers trying to make one last gasp at fame, via a cable access talent show - "The Sing-A-Ling". Traveling cross country in the family Winnebago, they pick up a rag tag group of passengers, all of whom contribute to the journey in one comic way, or another.
I talked to director and Lost actor - Jon Gries after the screening and he was very supportive and friendly. The cast was great and gave an honest and entertaining Q&A after the film. They even signed a poster for my girlfriend, which was a nice touch.
We look forward to sharing this film with our friends, but for now we are taking credit for discovering this one.
Thanks for the poster and the great screening. Oh, and I can play this game as long as you can, with over 1,500 people on the facebook page numb nuts.
This is one of the funniest movies I have seen in many years. Gritty and simple it still brings to life the complexity of love and the pursuit of one's dreams. Unlike many comedies that bring you to laughter in the first half of the movie and then taper off...this movie will make you laugh from start to finish. The two male stars are the perfect casting in what is a very well written and directed picture. There are cameos from several stars that just add to the laughter and entertainment of this picture. I recommend for anyone who has grown tired of CGI films with characters you don't care about and action sequences that could never happen. Could be the funniest movie I have seen since Caddy Shack or Airplane.
I was so excited to see this film in Austin at AFF. I was also very thrilled to see a banjo in a movie at the same time as a Winnebego. Thanks for reminding me that Real American music can intersect with Real American Filmmaking in the road-trip genre. I sure hope that Jon Gries gets to direct more films. The cast was really cool at the Q&A. There were some technical problems with the theater but by the second screening the great AFF people had brought in a new projector and you guys were real gentlemen and answered every question. Thanks as well for signing a poster for my daughter who's new idea for summer vacation is an RV ride down Route 66. You guys stuck the dismount for a perfect 10 !!! Where and when can I get the soundtrack. Please post on the FB or website when it is available.
I saw P&G on a rainy night in HFF, drove 40 miles to see this film. I
started laughing in just under 3 minutes into the movie. There are
numerous of scenes throughout the movie made me laugh so hard that I
had happy tears. If they had a laughing meter in the theater, it would
be in the RED ZONE...seriously!!
P&G has a great comedic story...well written, humorously coherent. The dialogues grab my attention. Although I'm usually not a big fan of country music, but the music and songs here were beautiful tunes to my ears. Excellent choices of wardrobes/costumes...suitable for the characters. Terrific cast! Perfect editing!
Over all, VERY WELL DIRECTED!!! I could watch this movie over and over. It is one of the funniest movies that I have seen, and I would have to say it's as funny as Steve Martin or Chevy Chase's!!
I can't wait for the DVD to come out. Please inform when it will be out on DVDs. WHAT A GREAT PRODUCTION!!!
I seriously can't wait for this on DVD. I laughed so hard the people in
front of me in the theater moved rows away. The entire cast is just
amazing. The story is a true testament to slack jawed yokels
everywhere. When directors and producers have a vision as true to
life,as pathetic as it may be, only good can come from it. Cheers, no
Great music, phenomenal story and script. I seriously love this cast. I can only pray to Uncle Rico that he uses Johnny and Garret in a Smokey and the Bandit remake....I will die happy if this happens. MUST SEE Pickin' and Grinnin'.
When amateur country plucker Milo, played by Garret Mathany,
accidentally runs over a desert rabbit and a chicken (don't worry,
they're hilariously fake), he decides his touring days are over. As if
vehicular poultrycide isn't bad enough, he comes home to learn that his
girlfriend has dumped him, and suddenly he realizes that his entire
family was, is, and always shall be doomed to failure. Offset by his
absurdly optimistic brother Johnny Jake, played by Johnny Dowers, what
follows is a bizarre and very entertaining road movie with some of the
oddest characters since Peewee's Big Adventure.
And I'll let you in on a little secret. Among the bizarre characters are the great Billy Gibbons (guitarist for ZZ Top, if you don't recognize his face you're sure to recognize his beard & "cheap sunglasses") and Mr. Footloose himself Kenny Loggins who appears as a weird hallucination in Milo's delusional fantasies.
As Milo and his brother Johnny Jake travel across the country in their Winnebago playing lame gigs to earn gas money, they pick up the oddest passengers and stumble into the oddest situations which I won't even try to explain.
The story is a lot of fun, and believe it or not there's a nice message to it which materializes at the end when Johnny Jake delivers his big monologue. I'm a big fan of underdog stories especially when they present an interesting new spin, and "Pickin & Grinnin" definitely does that. The music is even pretty good, even if you're not a fan of country/folk. The actors wrote and played the music themselves, and there's some mean mandolin playing by Two-Pint (played by David E. Lane).
If you like funny road movies and comedies about musicians, be sure to check out this flick. Also worth checking out are "Thunderstruck" (2004) about a bunch of aging AC/DC fans who attempt to travel across Australia to bury their buddy next to Bon Scott, and "Grand Theft Parsons" (2003) the supposedly true and definitely funny story about two guys who steal the body of singer Gram Parsons and drive him all through the desert.
And it goes without saying that you must see the Christopher Guest classics: "This Is Spinal Tap" (funniest heavy metal movie ever) and "A Mighty Wind" (funniest folk music movie ever).
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