Brolin With the Homies is a Patreon-funded series wherein Kristen Lopez watches the final six Josh Brolin movies she’s yet to see.
I’m only in the second of these six movies and I’m ready to throw my hands up and say, “Nope, he just made WAY too many bad decisions.” Watching Picnic was worthwhile because it was so weird and I enjoyed the original source material, but All the Rage is just plain bad. It’s easy to see why information on this movie is all but invisible. The DVD copy I had to pay $5 for Amazon – yes, I paid for this – had Spanish-language warning labels so I’m not even convinced this got a U.S. release. The best way to describe All the Rage is it’s Crash, if the topic was gun control instead of racism. Oh, and if Crash was terrible. (Yes, I understand the debate on Crash is divisive, but trust me, we could ALL come together and say this is utter dreck.)
Where to begin with a movie whose message includes “guns are bad,” “women are pretty terrible” and “you know what’s cool? Ennis House!” Let’s start with the plot: The film follows nine different people grappling with love and life, and guns. You have Warren Harding – because adding a “G” would have been too funny – played by Jeff Daniels who opens the film by murdering his business partner. Warren’s wife, Helen (Joan Allen) leaves him in the process, taking a job for the eccentric, Howard Hughes-esque millionaire, Morgan (Gary Sinise). Morgan’s last employee, Tennel (Josh fucking Brolin) decides to quit in order to work at a video store where he meets Annabel Lee (Anna Paquin), who’s brother (Giovanni Ribisi) is crazy. There are like 20 other characters, suffice it to say they’re equally horrific human beings and they all have guns.
The immediate problem is this movie has absolutely no clue what it wants to be. Happy bouncy music and home movies of kids with toy guns seems to imply a Michael Moore sensibility about our interest in weaponry, but it’s presented with the credits having the same font as Men in Black so are we getting a serious drama or a Barry Sonnenfeld comedic buddy movie? The entire movie is 97 minutes of “what the fuck am I watching?” If this is a movie about the issues inherent in people owning handguns, maybe some of them should be sane in order to make some type of argument. The movie’s only conceit seems to be that crazy people have guns. Crazy people shouldn’t have guns. That’s it, that’s the script’s Stephen Hawking-level analysis of a crisis we’re still facing nearly twenty years since this movie came out.
Really, the majority of my issues with this movie are irrelevant to the purposes of this series. Let’s just say everyone sucks, women die, and that includes the man of the hour. Like most of the information on this movie, finding when this was filmed is impossible. I get the sneaking suspicion this was filmed earlier and only released in 1999 because this same year Brolin was in the terrible adaptation of The Mod Squad (which I’ve seen…..a few times) and he did not look like the sweaty, heavyset mess he is in this movie.
Brolin’s attempts at making comedy is scattershot, and here he seems to be prepping to play the fall foliage guy he play in Saturday Night Live. (Look up the episode on Hulu and you’ll know what I’m talking about.) His character is completely ill-defined short of mama’s boy with absolutely no direction in life. And what’s sad is this character should be right up my alley. Tennel, who works in a video store, spends a lot of time watching old movies. But as soon as he meets the acerbic, and incredibly underage, Annabel Lee he seems to think she’s the equivalent of Carole Lombard? I’m sorry, has the screenwriter actually WATCHED a Lombard movie because Paquin doesn’t give me Lombard vibes, let alone when she’s screeching, throwing things around, and talking like a ferret on crack. And let’s not forget, she’s underage! Yet Tennel starts mooning over her like she’s the Lolita to his Humbert. Again, none of this would bother me immediately, but no one ever talks about it! The man quotes Edgar Allen Poe and it did nothing but make my skin crawl. Hard pass, Brolin, hard fucking pass.
I will never make fun of a Justin Theroux movie again because I’d have endured several of them to make this nightmare end. I certainly had “all the rage” this movie could muster. The movie is 97 minutes, thank god, but it just reminded me that I have four more of these to watch and they could theoretically be worse. Pray for me.