movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: Retarded guy gets released from mental hospital and integrates back into society — which in this case is an ass-backwards poor redneck town in Arkansas.

HAIKU REVIEW: Don’t go full retard!
Tropic Thunder taught us this…
Thorton won’t listen!

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Full retard recidivism.

PEOPLE: Written, Directed, and Starring Billy Bob Thorton — who is much less recognizable in this film than in most. His performance is excellent, and he went all in: He put broken glass in his shoes to make his walk more awkward!

Dwight Yoakam?! Whoa. And John Ritter (who we KNEW was familiar, but couldn’t place, and had to look up in IMDB mid-film). This time he IS gay, and not just pretending to be gay like in Three’s Company. Lucas Black as Frank the kid. Natalie Canerday as the mom. Strangely, her character’s name in Biloxi Blues is the same as her real name. Weird.

QUIRKS: Rednecks. Drunk assholes. Redneck homophobia. Childhood friendship. Mental retardation.

VISUALS: Apparently Thorton insisted that no red be shown in the movie, as he hates red in movies (unless they are about the Revolutionary War). We did not notice this.

MORALS: There’s a lot of interesting moral issues in this movie. Pseudo-spoilers ahead: Karl’s character did what he did for good reasons, and in a way leveraged his mental disability in such a way as to escape the harsher punishment anyone else would have gotten for his actions. And he improved the lives of those around him. The punitive justice junkies will say this is why anyone who takes a life should be kept in prison indefinitely, and that this movie is an example of why. However, I view this movie as an example of why you DON’T throw away a human life just because they took one. When Karl was released, it was pretty clear he wasn’t going to be a threat. And he only did what he did at the end because he knew it would improve everyone’s lives. And it did. Yeah, if someone murdered Carolyn, I’d murder them. I’d want them dead. Personally. But I don’t think society would actually benefit from either of us being kept in prison after we are reformed. The largest prison population on the planet does little to deter murder, which is unfortunately part of the human condition.

BAD STUFF: Sloooooooooooow drama. Loooooooooong and sloooooow. It was actually supposed to be 20 minutes longer. Wow.

CONCLUSION: Definitely a touching and interesting story — but slow-moving, long dramas aren’t quite our thing. Billy Bob Thorton’s performance was possibly his best ever, but that doesn’t stop us from rating this a mere 3 stars — lower than every single Netflix friend who rated it. This is still a “must see” of a movie, however, as it is referenced and spoofed in many other works.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. Carolyn was amazed at his “opening monologue” explanation of his past misdeeds, and how it was mostly one long take with no cut whatsoever.
The native public rating for this movie is Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (3.3/5 stars for people who rate like me), IMDB: 8.0/10.

RECOMMENDATION: This is an important movie to check out, simply to see Billy Bob Thorton’s performance. Plus, it is spoofed/referenced a lot: South Park (Cartman quotes lines in S5E08: Towelie), Family Guy (Stewie parodies Thorton in S4E17), Scream 3, Me Myself & Irene, Bring It On, 30 Rock, Doctor Doolittle, and more. Anything referenced that much really needs to be watched by comedy fans so as to get the comedy. I’m glad we did, even though it wasn’t especially enjoyable for us.

SIMILAR MOVIES: This is a remake of a short film by Thorton called Some Folks Call It A Sling Blade. It has a 7.7 IMDB rating compared to 8.0 for this one. Apparently it has overtones of To Kill A Mockingbird, but I wouldn’t know. I might have seen that when I was 10. Netflix recommends Rain Man for people who liked this movie.

MOVIE QUOTE: Karl: I like them French fried potaters.

Karl: There were these two fellars standin’ on a bridge, a-goin’ to the bathroom. One fellar said, “The water’s cold” and the other fellar said, “The water’s deep”. I believe one fella come from Arkansas. Get it?

Karl: I don’t think anything bad ought to happen to children. I think the bad stuff should be saved up for the people whose grown up. That’s the way I see it.

Karl: Some folks call it a sling blade, I call it a Kaiser blade.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Tatiana loved it. Ian, Dad, Susan, Christian, Benj, and even Glen really liked it. Looks like Carolyn & I are the only ones among our Netflix friends to give this only 3 stars.

Mood: full
Music: Pixies – The Holiday Song