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Quint sees Justin Theroux's black comedy DEDICATION starring Billy Crudup and Adrienne Shelly's WAITRESS!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I feel extremely guilty. I only saw 2 films yesterday due to a crazy interview schedule. I was able to catch a Slamdance movie called WEIRDSVILLE (review pending) on a screener DVD, so I guess 3 movies and 5 interviews isn't too bad. Let's cover the two films I saw theatrically yesterday, both thematically and tonally similar, however executed rather differently. DEDICATION So, picture Billy Bob Thornton's BAD SANTA character in his youth. Cynical, mean... and just a horrible person, but somehow still likable. Billy Crudup plays Henry, who has a huge chip on his shoulder, hardly any friends, but a lot of talent as a children's book author. A foul-mouthed children's book author that bases his characters on pornos, including his most popular character, Marty the Beaver. His best and only friend is Tom Wilkenson, his business partner. Wilkenson is the only person who can deal with Henry's shit and inspire him to work. A third of the way into the movie Wilkenson steps into the background, forcing Henry to deal with a new artist. Henry, of course, is resistant when his publisher forces a new partner on him to do a follow-up Marty the Beaver book. This artist is played by Mandy Moore, somehow still adorable in a ratty wig, who is promised a huge bonus if she can get Henry out of his shell and create a new book before Christmas. Crudup is great in this. In fact, everybody is great in this, but the film rests on Crudup's shoulders. If wasn't likable and just a mean asshole, then the film would have been intolerable. But you see his heart and the romance that happens feels not only real, but needed. You like watching Crudup tell little girls who worship his character that Beaver means vagina and Santa Claus doesn't exist. It's very funny and wrong, but you also don't miss that side of him when he comes to discover his humanity again. Moore is sweet and huggable, a factor I very much believe is a must in romantic comedies, even romantic black comedies. I find they work for me personally when the girl in the movie is the kind you just want to get out of your seat, step into the film and just hug, protect them from the world they're in. In Woody Allen's best there's that factor. In movies as recent as GARDEN STATE you have that factor. And you have it in DEDICATION, too. Also in the film, in smaller roles, are Martin Freeman (THE OFFICE -UK) as Moore's ex-flame, an author who is bizarrely both douchey and sincere. Also great is Dianne Wiest as Moore's slightly insane mother/landlord. She's a riot and so great in her little screentime. I also loved Wilkenson in the movie. He's the perfect balance to Crudup's Henry, his soul, his conscience. Wilkenson is one of my favorite working actors. The movie is fantastic. The more I think about it, the more I love it. I believe the Weinstein Co. just picked this one up. WAITRESS WAITRESS has a lot of buzz around it being the last movie Adrienne Shelly directed and starred in before she was murdered last year. The screening was packed. At times like this I was worried there would be a sort of bullet-proof shield around the movie if it wasn't any good. People will want it to be good just out of respect for Shelly, which would mean, if the movie was bad, I would have to keep my mouth shut around people gushing about it. Luckily for me, the movie was not only decent, it was really good. Awkwardness averted. The flick is about a waitress (believe it or not) at a little diner/coffee house type place. Keri Russell plays Jenna, the lead. She's miserable in her marriage to an absolutely despicable Jeremy Sisto. He's the worst kind of man, controlling, full of himself, insecure, abusive. Jenna's only escape is her pie-making. She invents pies and gives them names appropriate to her life. At the very beginning of the movie she finds out she's pregnant and immediately thinks up a "I don't want a baby" pie. Nathon Fillion pops up as the charming, funny and loving Dr. Pomatter. Of course, being the polar opposite of her husband, Jenna falls for the (married) doctor and sparks fly. She discovers a side of her life she thought was dead. Cheryl Hines and Shelly herself co-star as Jenna's friends and co-workers and they're all quirky and good. However, the bright shining bit of casting in the movie lies with the owner of the diner, Old Joe. Andy Griffith. I can't put into words how great it was seeing him in this movie. He's a full blown supporting character, not just a day-player. And damn is he funny and sharp. He's a bit crotchety and has an edge to him, which I didn't expect when I saw his name pop up in the opening credits. The flick is entertaining, tragic, but hopeful. It really swings from lightheartedness to some really dark material. It's a good final movie and it's a shame we, as movie-goers, won't get to see more. I've been asked to put a link up to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, so give it a look if you feel so inclined. -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Dedication sounds promising...

    by Childe Roland

    ...and Waitress just sounds like it will be a creepy moviegoing experience. Not in that cool Brandon Lee/Crow kind of way, either. In that movie, he was supposed to be undead, so the tragedy lent mystique. Here it will just make me sad and uncomfortable. Oh, well.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Whenever I eat "I don't want a baby" pie

    by BannedOnTheRun

    I keep my "gotta take a shit" mask handy.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I like pie...

    by nomihs

    And Santa exists

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:58 p.m. CST

    MOTHER FUCKERS

    by darthhirsty

    thats just for you four!!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:04 p.m. CST

    I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH BILLY CRUDUP

    by Hella

    AND HE SANG ME TNIY DANCER... i have a recipe for "i dont want a baby" pie 1 part vodka, 1 part clothes-hanger

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:06 p.m. CST

    And does your mother send her regards...

    by Childe Roland

    ...darthhirsty? Or should I just call you "Fifth?"

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Her killer ...

    by riskebiz

    ... has he been tarred, feathered and dropped in the middle of the ocean (hopefully with a flesh wound to draw sharks in) yet? When I heard what he did to her .... a jail cell is too good for him.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:46 p.m. CST

    What? No...

    by ErnieAnderson

    "Andy Griffith's gotta eat!!!"s???<p>I'm disappointed in you lot.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    wow...

    by Lazarus Long

    I was really expecting the "Adrienne Shelly's husband and kid gotta eat!!!" subject line. I guess there's still hope for all of us. I remember the first time I saw The Unbelievable Truth, and it's strange how her and Hartley rose to semi indie-fame and faded away, only to be brought back into the limelight under unfortunate circumstances. It's amazing that Shelly was able to get all these actors with what couldn't have been a very large budget. I'm excited to check this out esp. for Andy Griffith's return (the sheer mention of his name makes me wanna pop in A Face in the Crowd again), and it's very nice to know that this film doesn't suck, which I agree with Quint, would have been pretty damned awkward for everyone.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:14 p.m. CST

    RUNNN!!!!!!

    by Hella

    when i scroll down or up that fuckin ace of cakes chases me!!! wonder if he has any good abortion quiche recipies?

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Andy Griffith: more than Matlock

    by Eternal Watcher

    I also saw "A Face In The Crowd" several times. Whoopi Goldberg was supposed to remake it, and thankfully she didn't. No one could follow what Griffith did as a "home-spun" everyman who became a media star way too fast, and thought he was bigger than TV and everything else. Contrast that to his home-spun sheriff role he's better-known for. The sooner "Waitress" gets to the art house theater near me, the better.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Get that Ace of Cakes ad the fuck out of here

    by CTU Mole

    I know Harry got to eat but as the owner of a website, he has a responsibility to discourage invasive, obnoxious fucking ads like that. <p>If I'm interested in what that bald fuck and his pet marmot have to say, I'll click on it. I don't need that cueball fuck following me all over my screen like impending fucking doom.</p>

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:35 p.m. CST

    "What's with the picture?"...

    by DanielKurland

    Honestly, Theroux's delivery of that in Mulholland Drive is so fucking wonderful.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:40 p.m. CST

    The Ace of Cakes ad is for Harry only

    by white owl

    This is how it went down-<p>Fat Baldy:I'll let you eat my cakes if you let me put my ads on your site<p>Harry: Okay.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Waitress GOTTA EAT....pie

    by oisin5199

    I told myself I'd never use a patented AICN catchphrase. Oh well. Looking forward to seeing this - loved Shelley's stuff in the Hartley films, and I'm looking forward to seeing Capt. Tightpants in a role like this (between this and Drive, which hopefully will last more than 6 episodes, Mr. Fillion's on a roll). I wonder who won the pie-eating contest at Sundance.

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