Monday, December 5, 2011

Everything Must Go

Have you ever had a bad day? I mean a really bad day. Maybe you lost your job. Or, perhaps, you came home to discover your wife or husband has left you. Those are the challenges facing Nick Halsey, played by Will Ferrell, in the new film, Everything Must Go. Ferrell portrays a man whose life is imploding as he struggles to battle alcoholism.

First time director/writer Dan Rush has skillfully woven a story that combines both comedy and drama. The writing is thought-provoking and intelligent. Rush seems to understand the inner workings of the human condition and its frailties. Although the comedy can be dark at times, the overall message is hopeful.

After losing his job due a recent event on a business trip in Denver, Nick comes home to find all of his belongings spread across his front lawn. To make matters worse, his wife changed the security codes and locks on their suburban home. However, Nick’s problems don’t stop there as his wife, whom we actually never see in the movie, puts a hold on the bank account and the ATM card. Without money and a place to stay, Nick’s options are limited.

He decides to park himself in his favorite recliner on his front lawn with a chest full of his favorite alcoholic beverage. There doesn’t seem to be anything left except to get plastered. As I said, it was a really bad day. Is there hope for Nick? How do you come back from that kind of circumstances?

Soon the next door neighbor complains about the mess on Nick’s lawn. The police show up threatening to arrest him if he doesn’t clear off the lawn. Detective Frank Garcia (Michael PinĂ ) buys him a few extra days by obtaining a lawn sale permit, which gives Nick five days to get his act together. Frank is also his friend and AA sponsor. So what does Nick do?

As people show up and want to buy items, Nick doesn’t want to part with his stuff. In fact, he has an intense attachment to all of items in the yard. What makes Everything Must Go such an interesting movie is what these objects actually represent. And it’s something we all will face at one point in our lives. Can we let go of the things that we seem to put too much value on? Nick’s stuff is more than just material things. They serve as a metaphor for when life had more meaning and value—things that represent the good memories of his past. But the only way Nick is going to find redemption and any hope for a future will be his willingness to let go of his past.

Helping Nick is Kenny the neighbor kid (Christopher Gordon Wallace), who is a natural born salesman. During the process of selling Nick’s goods, they develop a bond and friendship. One of the most important scenes in the film occurs when Nick discovers his old high school year book and decides to look up Delilah (Laura Dern) whose comment in his high school year book had touched him. Delilah realizes that he’s hurting but doesn’t pry. She tells him something very profound that starts a change in Nick’s life. She says, “You have a good heart, and that doesn’t change”. It’s something that Nick had forgotten. Can Nick find the person he used to be?

What I like about Everything Must Go is that it feels authentic and real. We may never come home and find our stuff on our front lawn; however, life does have a way of beating us up from time to time. Just like Nick, we have to find our way back to the person we’re meant to be. Healing takes time. For Nick, it will take time for him to get his life back together.

This film is a great example of independent filmmaking at its best. Who would ever think that a bunch of stuff setting on a lawn could be interesting? But every object has a story. In fact, the people who live in the other suburban homes also have a story. Nick asks what exactly is normal when he’s confronted by his new neighbor, Samantha (Rebecca Hall), whose life seems anything but routine as she faces a pregnancy with an absentee husband.

Will Farrell does an outstanding job portraying Nick. Just like in one of his recent films, Stranger Than Fiction, Will Farrell has what it takes to be a serious actor. He’s played in countless stupid and lame movies; however, if he chooses his parts wisely, he has the potential to move up and become one of Hollywood’s top actors.

Everything Must Go is worth your time. The material is thought-provoking and offers a redemptive theme. However, the film is rated R for language and some suggestive materiel. Therefore, Everything Must Go is suggested for adults only.

No comments:

Post a Comment