The blind squirrel is very happy to report that another acorn has been found!
Everything Must Go is a fascinating, dramatic, and deeply moving character study of Nick Halsey, a man who has literally thrown his entire life away because of his addiction to alcohol. In the first 5 minutes of the film, we see him fired from his job because of it and, when he goes home, his wife has left him, locked him out of their home, and strewn all his belongings on the front lawn. In despair, he starts drinking again after 6 months of sobriety.
Oh, just in case you’re wondering, the movie is incredibly life-affirming, warm, poignant, and mesmerizing.
Will Ferrel (yes, Will Ferrell) is utterly brilliant, playing Nick with a deep sense of humility, humanity, and heartbreaking honesty. No one who saw Mr. Ferrell’s wonderful dramatic turn in Stranger Than Fiction will be surprised to see how marvelous he is here but many may be wondering how someone who is known mostly for broad comedy can slip so easily into a completely different persona.
As the great W..C. Fields supposedly said near the end of his life. “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” We should not be surprised then that cinema has a rich history of great comic actors who have also given indelible dramatic performances. For example, Jackie Gleason was nominated for an Academy Award for his brilliant portrayal of Minnesota Fats in The Hustler. In recent years, Jim Carrey was utterly brilliant in both The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and Adam Sandler gave a beyond brilliant (and complete under-appreciated) performance in Reign Over Me.
Will Ferrell continues that tradition in Everything Must Go as he tries to regain his equilibrium after his entire life has caved in on him. Forced to live on his own front lawn for 5 days, Nick encounters a new neighbor (Rebecca Hall), an old friend (Laura Dern), his AA sponsor (Michael Pena) and most particularly a young boy (a brilliant young actor named Christopher Jordan Wallace) who change his perspective on life itself.
Amazingly, Everything Must Go is writer/director Dan Rush’s very first film and it is an auspicious debut, to say the least. Impeccably written, cast, and directed, Mr. Rush and his actors create complex characters and situations that engross, entertain, and move us emotionally. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Rush does next and can only hope that he is up to resisting the temptations that the New Hollywood will lay before him. In other words, I hope he isn’t lured by the dark side of The Force and we next find him writing and directing Fast 6!
Everything Must Go is a really wonderful and absorbing film that has much to say about who we are as human beings. In addition, it is mostly playing in independent theaters that so desperately need our support as filmgoers. If it’s playing near you, I think you’ll find it to be a wonderful alternative to many of the films now playing at your local multiplex.
I look forward to hearing and reading your own responses to the film.