No. 2, "Gentleman Broncos" is the creation of director Jared "My lips hurt real bad!" Hess, mastermind behind the painfully astute and brilliantly cast "Napoleon Dynamite." Hess, who writes scripts with his wife Jerusha, was crowned The Next Big Thing back in 2004. Then he made "Nacho Libre."
It's too bad isn't a little more awful. Then it would qualify as that rare-yet-beloved brand of entertainment: The it's-so-bad-it's-good movie, fit for cult adoration and midnight screenings. Instead, the level of putridity is measured in more pedestrian big-screen badness, such as flat jokes and empty characters. And this is terribly disconcerting for two reasons. No. 1, it plays this weekend at the Cleveland Institute of Art -- bastion of the foreign, the vintage, and the out-of-step strange -- and we like sending people to the Cinematheque. No. 2, "Gentleman Broncos" is the creation of director Jared "My lips hurt real bad!" Hess, mastermind behind the painfully astute and brilliantly cast "Napoleon Dynamite." Hess, who writes scripts with his wife Jerusha, was crowned The Next Big Thing back in 2004. Then he made "Nacho Libre." "Gentleman Broncos" was supposed to arrive here last fall. But Fox Searchlight, usually the savviest film company in America, pulled the plug on a wide release. And now we know why. This send-up of sci-fi fans follows the home-schooled Benjamin (Michael Angarano), who dreams of being a sci-fi writer while encouraging his mother's designer-dreams of selling her hideous line of clothing. Benjamin enters his novella, "Yeast Lords: The Bronco Years," in a contest at a sci-fi/fantasy festival, where it is promptly plagiarized by one of the judges, a struggling legend named Dr. Chevalier (Jemaine Clement). The film's finest moments are spent with Clement, who plays the shady Chevalier with unctuous delight, as he advises his young admirers in the fine art of character-naming, and Sam Rockwell, who appears in cheesy incarnations as the novella's main character. As with the failed "Nacho Libre," the Hesses have clever ideas and sharp eyes for the absurd humor in everyday dreariness. But they are not feature-length ideas.
Photo credit: Seth Smoot for Fox Searchlight
The Amelia poster came from and the Gentlemen Broncos poster came from . Technically I saw them both first at a website that rhymes with Shmumming Shmoon, but they obnoxiously splashed them with their atrocious little watermark in a sad attempt to claim ownership of something that was simultaneously emailed to at least a dozen other websites.
I have no idea what Gentlemen Broncos is about, but I’m already skipping it. I haven’t completely written off Amelia yet because I like the talent involved, but I’ve been skeptical about it since .