Family

Bomb Rating: 

I AM NOT GENE SHALIT!

Note: This movie premieres at Cannes in May and was sent to Mr. Cranky for review (note to directors: bad idea. Mr. Cranky is not Gene Shalit.)

I loved this movie so much. It made me want to travel to the director's house, knock on his door, and blow him... oh, wait. I forgot. Sorry. I AM NOT GENE SHALIT!! Bad Mr. Cranky.

In every screenwriting book I've ever read, writers discuss avoiding the talking head shot like the plague. According to those writers, a prime example of this sort of thing involves two people talking in a car. Cut those scenes out of "Family" and the only things left are the end credits. I guess director J.M. Logan and writer Hudson Shock don't bother with screenwriting books.

I suppose if you're a despicable criminal who robs people at knifepoint, you don't really worry about hitchhiking. After all, what are the odds you're going to get in a car with somebody who's even lower on the moral food chain than you? Unfortunately, that's precisely what happens to Jean (Renee Humphrey) who takes a ride with Eldon (Boyd Kestner) and his son, Cole (Tanner Richie) and discovers, through lots of talking - filmed in slow, dull talk-o-vision - that Eldon is a freak and that Eldon's little family trip isn't what it seems.

Incidentally, the fact that I had to watch this movie and "R.V." in the same week proves, incontrovertibly, that there is no god. And where was my Kristy McNichol cameo? Huh?

As Eldon begins to lose it, Jean is pushed closer and closer to making a decision that actually a moral choice. Ironically, her choice was not unlike my choice as the movie pushed me into an ethical quandary as the longer it went along, the harder it was for me to keep watching. I could just shut the thing down after a little while and tell the director the DVD must have got lost in the mail, or I could finish the movie, write the review, and suck every last shred of self-respect from a first-time director with my scathing review.

Actually, I guess that's no decision at all.

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