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I caught this at the London Film Festival and thought it was the best
film I'd seen all year, or in quite a few years, for that matter,
though I've yet to see Social Network. I'm partial to small, low-key
movies where you have to kind of fill in the blanks for yourself. This
is one of those movies, and I like its honest approach, refusing to
ingratiate itself with potential audiences that like their dramas
"gut-wrenching" and "captivating" (translation: over-acted and on the
The cast is great, Will Ferrell is just spot-on, as good as I've ever seen him, including Stranger Than Fiction (well, maybe he'll never top Ron Burgundy, which is pure genius, but this is a whole different thing, obviously): funny, moving, serious... And yet he does very little, and the rest of the cast follow his lead: they just inhabit these characters and let the writing do its job. There are no big, Oscar-bait turns in this film, despite its boasting an "award-friendly" theme, so to speak. There are just these small, honest gestures that speak volumes for themselves. There's no need to amp them up over the top with a sappy score, huge fights, people falling apart, crying and screaming... The film successfully takes it down a notch, and I for one appreciate that.
To sum up, it was fresh, honest, funny, moving. I think its humanity will connect with people who are willing to seek this out, and I think they'll be pleasantly surprised if they do.
Trivia side note: In the print that was screened at the London Film Festival, Will Ferrell's character was called Nick Porter in the end credits. That was the character's original name, but apparently they couldn't clear it because there was a Nick Porter living in the area, where they were literally about to start shooting that day, or the next. So they had to consider a long list of names before Halsey was finally approved, but they didn't have time to change it in the credits in time for the festival release. This according to writer/director Dan Rush, who was there for a Q&A.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is not a movie for the masses. Will Ferrell fans who liked Melinda
and Melinda and Stranger Than Fiction will not be surprised by his
performance as Nick Halsey in this movie. He does comedy so well, many
of his devoted fans may not realize that he is a good dramatic actor as
Ferrell's supporting actors, especially Christopher Jordan Wallace, are also very good. The story moves at a slow and deliberate pace which will bore all but serious moviegoers. However, the acting is excellent along the way, and in the end, the movie has synergy and leaves you with a positive feeling about Nick's future.
If you like deliberately paced independent films, go see this movie. It won't be around long.
I really enjoyed Stranger than Fiction and, since I had heard Will Ferrell's performance in that movie compared favorably to the one in Everything Must Go, was excited to see EMG. I walked away after seeing EMG a little unsure of whether I truly enjoyed the movie or just merely appreciated the quality of the director's vision and execution. Everything Must Go is the story of Nick Halsey (Ferrell), a struggling alcoholic who, in the first 10 minutes of the movie, has been laid of from his job and kicked out of his house by his wife, all within the same day. The rest of the movie looks at Halsey's attempt to manage the tension between wanting what he once had and trying to pursue a life that he desires, even though he isn't entirely sure of what that looks like. I will start by saying I thought the acting of everyone involved, especially Will Ferrell and Christopher Jordan Wallace, was superb and a highlight of the movie. I thought the music and visuals added significantly to the feel of the movie, especially how so much of the movie occurred in the front yard with the records of his father occasionally playing in the background. Now I knew to expect a story that was not a happy-go-lucky comedy (is there one about an alcoholic struggling with sobriety), but was hoping for some more lightheartedness. I did particularly enjoy watching the relationship between Nick Halsey and Wallace's "Kenny Loftus", and thought that the filmmakers did a good job pairing the two actors up. A couple of things with which I walked away: first, I found it interesting how the director decided to show Halsey's eventual growth in the way that he let go of certain things, and to whom he left them. Afterwards, a friend of mine and I discussed how difficult these acts would have been, but thought it appropriate for someone trying to move beyond such a serious issue as alcoholism. I also found it interesting that such a pivotal character, like Halsey's wife, has no screen time at all, save for her voice in one scene. It is as if the filmmakers want us to see how much damage one person has managed to do by simply stepping out of another's life. Overall, I do believe that the movie was well made, with an interesting story and fantastic acting, but the mood of the film was a little heavier than what I was looking for.
Everything Must Go is probably Will Ferrell's first truly well done
film in years. The Other Guys was pretty good, Step Brothers was funny
in parts, but this one totally takes the cake for being a great drama,
and schools anyone who thinks Will Ferrell can't do anything but
comedy. Though I doubt fans of Old School will think highly of this.
The plot isn't too much, but it sustains a film. Will Ferrell is Nick Halsey, an alcoholic who has had one too many alcohol-related episodes and has finally lost his job. He returns home to find out his wife has changed all the locks on the house, and has moved all of his belongings to the front yard. Frustrated and hopeless, he decides to life on his front lawn, and make the best out of a horrible situation.
He spends his day sucking down Blue Ribbons beers, until he is met by a chubby adolescent named Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace, the son of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.). Kenny's mom takes care of an elderly woman, leaving him free to roam the streets on his bike. Kenny and Nick strike up an odd, but warm relationship with each other and when Nick is informed by his AA sponsor (Pena) that he must move all his stuff off his lawn in three days, he works with Kenny to help them hold a big yard sale.
A sub-plot involves Nick getting acquainted with the woman across the street who has just moved to the neighborhood and is awaiting her husband's arrival. The relationship isn't as strong or as well-crafted as the relationship between Nick and Kenny, but it is still a solid one.
It's also noteworthy that we never see Nick's wife or the woman's husband anywhere in the film. We don't need to, though. The plot works fine without them, and I believe that if we saw Nick's wife in the film we'd get too many arguments between the two which may result in (a) believability being low and (b) a possibility for Ferrell's comedy side to sneak in. We don't need comedy here. We get it, but in tiny, miniscule doses. There is almost nothing funny about this situation.
Once again, this proves that Will Ferrell is a great character actor, and doesn't have to get drunk, shout his lines, or get in goofy fights to be successful. Unfortunately, Everything Must Go's overall performance wasn't impressive, and it may be a long time before Ferrell does something like this ever again.
Not everything here is perfect. The worst flaw is the ending because there is no emotional payoff, and nothing to make our experience anymore than just enjoyable. I wanted more than enjoyable. I haven't read the short story "Why Don't You Dance?" by Raymond Carver, so I'm not sure of any similarities both this and the story share. Everything Must Go is a good film in general, but a great film in terms of Ferrell, who is essentially putting on a one-man-show for more than half the film.
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern, and Michael Pena. Directed by: Dan Rush.
Will Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, who arrives home from being fired from
his job to find all his belongings on his front lawn. Nick finds a note
on his door from his wife letting him know that she has decided to
Rapt with despair Nick, who is a recovering alcoholic, starts drinking heavily and camps out on his front with all his possessions. Eventually, Nick befriends one of the kids in his neighborhood, and together they hold a yard sale on his front lawn to sell off everything that he owns.
This is really a story about hitting rock bottom and figuring out a way to start over again. Nick selling off all his belongings becomes cathartic for him as he lets go of his past.
Will Ferrell shows some excellent depth in this film. This was huge departure from his normal roles. He may not have nailed it but I admire the fact that he took so much risk with this role. The movie could worth checking out for that alone.
I really enjoyed Rebecca Hall as the next door neighbor that helps Nick on his path to redemption. She impressed me in Vicky Christina Barcelona and The Town and she does an excellent job on this film as well. I look forward to seeing some of the movies she has coming out next year.
This movie is far from perfect, The pacing is pretty slow, the ending is too abrupt and it lacked some of the emotional punch that it seemed to be striving for. It was an interesting watch however and its worth checking out.
"Good without the bad ain't no good at all." After Nick (Ferrell) gets
fired from his job of 16 years he comes home to find his wife has
changed the locks on his doors and all of his stuff is on the lawn.
Thinking the best way to fix things is to stay at home Nick begins his
new life, living outside. This is a very very good movie and a very
different role for Will Ferrell. While not quite as good as Adam
Sandler in "Reign Over Me", Ferrell still shows he has what it takes to
be a good dramatic actor. There are a few funny parts in this but this
is not a comedy. It's a drama with a lot of heart and while the movie
is depressing at times it is a joy to watch. Ferrell does have some
funny scenes with his own style of humor that adds to the character and
watching him with the actor that plays Kenny is a treat. This is not a
typical Will Ferrell movie, but being a huge fan I loved it and look
forward to more roles like this from him. I highly recommend this.
Overall, if you like Ferrell you will like this, if you don't give this
a shot still. You may like the change. I give it an A.
Would I watch again? - I think I would.
*Also try - Barney's Version
Everything Must Go is an art movie. Maybe that wasn't the director's
intention but that's how I'll classify it.
I give it 3 stars out of 4.
Just a very simple, and ultimately touching, story about a man who's life is falling apart and it is purely his own fault.
It is nice to see Will Ferrell ACT and not play his normal over the top persona in comedies.
This is a QUIET movie. Just a mellow ride with some humor, some drama, a pleasant setting, good cinematography and production values and interesting characters. One of the better films I've seen this year! I might even be tempted to give it 3 and 1/2 stars! It is like hanging out in a museum for the day or a quiet afternoon enjoying a good bottle of wine. Not something you'd want to do everyday but for an afternoon it is a nice diversion from the mad, mad, crazy world we live in.
And no, it is NOT a guilty pleasure. It is a good film but not for everyone. Somehow I think this might have worked better as a UK or French film.
I love a slam bang movie like Kick-Ass or Inglourious Basterds or Oldboy as much as the next cat. But this isn't that movie.
Like I said, it is a quiet art movie. Like The Music of Chance starring James Spader from back in the 90s.
Writer-director Dan Rush did a very good job. Especially since this is his FIRST film and first Internet Movie Database credit! It is almost like something Hal Hartley might have done but less quirky.
'EVERYTHING MUST GO': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Will Ferrell tries his hand at more serious comedy-drama again (after the likes of 2006's 'STRANGER THAN FICTION') with this tale of a relapsed alcoholic who loses his job and wife on the same day and resorts to living on his front lawn. It's based on the short story 'Why Don't You Dance' by Raymond Carver and is written and directed by first time filmmaker Dan Rush. It co-stars Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Stephen Root, Laura Dern and Christopher Jordan Wallace (the son of Faith Evans and the late rapper 'The Notorious B.I.G.') in his second film. The movie is funny as well as depressing and emotional. It's a nice step in Ferrell's career, for exploring broader range.
Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, an alcoholic who's recently fell off the wagon. As the film opens he's fired from his job for apparently having an affair with a new employee and then left by his wife for the same reason. He's also locked out of his home (after his wife changes the locks), with all of his belongings left on the front lawn. His credit cards have all been canceled as well and his company car is repossessed by his former employers. With no money and no place to go he decides to camp out on his front lawn with all his stuff. His neighbors complain of him being a public nuisance though and he's reported to the police. Thanks to city law his cop buddy Frank (Pena) is able to give him five days to hold a yard sale before he has to kick him off the property. While trying to sell his stuff Nick befriends a new neighbor across the street (Hall) and a local neighborhood kid (Wallace).
Like I said the movie is surprisingly dramatic for a Will Ferrell movie and he pulls off his performance impressively. The material isn't too much of a stretch for him given that it's still pretty comedic but it's definitely honest and set in reality (unlike the majority of his films, which are mostly slapstick) and there's some pretty hard hitting drama at times as well, especially towards the end. The movie still has a sizable amount of laughs though so traditional Ferrell fans shouldn't be disappointed. That's why the movie is the perfect step for Ferrell (to test out his range). A gigantic leap in to serious drama would be to sudden and the film works perfectly as is. A smart move for Ferrell and a decent film results because of it.
Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEq_X_axUaU
Dan Rush's modestly paced 'Everything Must Go' pretty much takes a look at the worst day of Nick Halsey's life and the days that follow where he's left stranded in his lawn. The theme is quite refreshing but even though the movie is tagged a comedy, the humour here is very dry (it does draw a few chuckles) and it felt more like an intense human drama than a comedy. Halsey's situation is depressing and it really makes the viewer want to hate Catherine, even though, the writer tries to make the point that she was justified in treating him that way. But anyway, this is Halsey's story and perhaps to balance the intensity, Rush could have added more quirks. The pacing is quite slow at times but there was never a boring moment. I liked how the director and Ferrell depict Halsey's struggle with alcoholism. However, I felt that the story and characters (especially the supporting ones) could have been further developed. Will Ferrell is excellently restrained which makes Halsey all the more human and easier to relate to. Rebecca Hall is brilliant. Laura Dern has about one scene and she shows the viewer how one scene alone can make an actor stand out. Overall, I wouldn't recommend 'Everything Must Go' to those looking for a comedy. It is an intense humour drama about a man who once had everything and is now forced out of his house and how he struggles and attempts to deal with his problems one step at a time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Everything Must Go" is a wonderful film. Taken from a short story by
Raymond Carver, it is a simple idea, but richly textured so the viewer
must look under the layers of simplicity for the story to open up. The
short story is only a few pages long and it is very simple on the
surface. The writing is sparse, but it still makes you think and this
idea goes into the film as well.
Will Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, the ex-Vice President of a Regional Sales Office. We catch him on his last day of work, downing a flask and reminiscing on the meeting where he was recently terminated after falling off the wagon one too many times. After getting beer, Nick arrives home to see all of his stuff in his front yard and the locks changed. His credit cards and bank account are frozen and he's left with the money on his wallet and the stuff on his lawn.
Ferrell gives a very wonderfully subtle performance. Carver would be proud. It seems to me that the main complaint that people have voiced with this film was that there was no big payoff. I disagree. I think there was a big payoff, just not in the sense that there was this huge change in the character. The change is subtle, but it is there. Ferrell goes back to his dramatic abilities to show us the story of a man in crisis, struggling to get out and he does it well. My fear is that this movie will be misunderstood by fans of Ferrell's comedy.
It is a depressing movie, but it is a simple story of finding hope as well with comedy sprinkled throughout. My advice would be to give it a chance and be rewarded by seeing Ferrell's abilities.
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