Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Everything Must Go

USA, 2010
Running Time: 97 minutes
Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern
Director: Dan Rush
Screenplay: Dan Rush – based on a story by Raymond Carver
Cinematography: Benjamin Echazaretta

Based on a four page short story by Raymond Carver, Everything Must Go showcases Will Ferrell’s dramatic side.  He plays Nick Halsey, a sales executive who is fired after one too many drunken incidents on the job.  After leaving his parting gift- a Swiss army knife – in his boss’s tire, he stocks up on beer and heads home.  When he gets there, he finds his belongings strewn across the lawn, the locks and alarm codes changed, and his wife gone.  All he wants is a drink.

After consuming his dozen beers, Nick collapses into his favorite armchair on the lawn, and sleeps.

The neighbors are, for obvious reasons, not pleased to find this drunken man living on his lawn in plain view.  The cops are called, but Nick manages to get a respite because his AA sponsor is a cop.  He’s told he can keep his stuff there for 3 days under the auspices of a yard sale.

With the help of a latch-key kid from down the road, Nick sets up his yard sale, guiding his young protégé in the art of sales.  The kid is good, and soon Nick finds that he can let go of his possessions, that without them, he can free himself from the life he’s been trapped in.

This is a subtly funny film with wonderful moments.  A scene in which Nick goes to visit an old high-school friend is achingly poignant as both recognize that they have not become the people everyone expected them to.  The relationship between Nick and his pregnant neighbor, and with the aimless Kenny are both finely drawn and complex, hinting at things that never quite come to fruition.  Ferrell’s usual machine-gun pace is languid here, drawn out to an almost glacial pace, but this just heightens the dramatic possibilities of this man’s plight. 

I liked the fact this film didn’t make the obvious choices.  Relationships do not pan out the way you would expect, and the ending is anything but Hollywood.


  1. If his wife is gone, I'm at a loss as to why he didn't just have the locks changed again and move back in. It's his house. He has as much right to it as she does.

  2. Huh, I don't remember hearing about this one. I've also never seen Will Ferrell in a dramatic role, so that might be interesting.

  3. I will hopefully watch this one at some point! Ferrell has underrated chops.

  4. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Never heard of this movie.

  5. I love it when comic actors go out of their comfort zones and really go for it. Like Steve Carell in Little Miss Sunshine, or Ben Stiller in Permanent Midnight or Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine or The Number 23. For whatever reason, comedic actors seem much more suited to crossing the divide into dramatic roles, than the other way around. Good choice today

    1. That's because comedic acting requires a different skill set than does dramatic acting, and comedy is actually much harder to act than drama is. It takes talent and skill to act dramatically and not come across as a ham. It takes more talent and skill to act comedically and not come across as a hammy buffoon. Many dramatic-only actors don't have what it takes to transition to comedy, but nearly all comedic actors have got what it takes to do drama well, if they ever get the chance. And yes, I have acted on stage, and used to hang out with actors off-stage, as well.

  6. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

  7. This sounds like an interesting film, I'd love to read the story too.

  8. This sounds like a film I need to see. :-) I love it when comedic actors are given the opportunity to do a straight dramatic part! I love seeing them putting paid to the rumors they can only do the funny stuff, that they're not real actors because they don't do drama. Too many people in viewing audiences don't understand how much harder it is to do comedy right than it is to do drama! They just figure, oh, this guy's okay, but he only does comedy, so he's not a great actor. If they only knew and understood! That's why I love seeing 'funny' actors getting the chance to really shine in dramatic roles, too!

  9. I'm so loving the sound of this!! Also. GO YOU FOR A to Z!!!