Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Wendell Baker Story (Review)

..."They say you don't know what you have until it's gone...I knew what I had, I just didn't know that it was going to be gone", I think that quote nutshells the premise of The Wendell Baker Story (click header for the official site) which stars Luke Wilson who plays a good-hearted confidence man whose latest scheme gets him a one way ticket to the grey-bar hotel...while inside he distances himself from his girlfriend Doreen (Eva Mendes) and best friend Reyes (Jacob Vargas) and once he serves his time he gets a job working at the Shady Grove Retirement Hotel where he meets a couple of oldsters, Boyd and Skip (Seymoure Cassel and Harry Dean Stanton) who help him find out who he really is and come to terms with the fact that there's nothing wrong with having big dreams but it's not cool to alienate the people who love you unconditionally...

...this is an embellishment from the notes I took while sitting in the dark on the Paramount Lot last night: Written by Luke Wilson, Wendell Baker is the directorial debut for Andrew Wilson (although his baby brother Luke shares directorial creds in the press release )and also features his other sibling Owen as the goateed, ass-hole-on-wheels Neil King as well as comedian/ actor Eddie Griffin as the easily influenced orderly McTeague. I'd say that the better turns go to the older, supporting cast as Seymour Cassel and Harry Dean Stanton cut loose in their respective roles and give the film its heart-- Kris Kristofferson (who plays the hotel resident L.R. Nash does a rockin' reprisal of the role he played in Fast Food Nation) -- Mendes' role in the film is purely aesthetic (but she's looking finer than ever anyway). Will Farrell has a small part too but his character's addition to the whole story is neither here nor there (he does have a couple of nanoseconds of funny though)..."I'm not satisfied and that's EXACTLY why I feel optomistic"...Considering the fact that there are films like Bottle Rocket and the Royal Tannenbaums out there, I'm not going to say that this film is the best-of material from the Wilson brothers' collective body of work but it's not that bad either and the country soundtrack which features obscure cuts from Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings rocks!

The Wendell Baker Story will release nationally on Friday, May 18th...



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