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Quint hires Wes Bentley to write up his LAST WORDs!

Published at: Feb. 22, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. THE LAST WORD was one of those “maybe” choices at Sundance this year. I liked the cast… Wes Bentley, Ray Romano and Winona Ryder… and I liked the premise (man makes a living writing suicide notes for depressed individuals who want their last words to be poetic), but I had already been burned by SUNSHINE CLEANERS. That was a great premise (a pair of sisters start a crime scene clean-up service) and a great cast (Alan Arkin, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt), but turned out to be a severely flawed movie. So, I guess my expectations were low going in. The first reel didn’t impress me too much. Wes Bentley’s good at playin’ the dark, morose arty guy, of course, but the jokes kinda fell flat and the drama felt forced. But then Ray Romano steps into the picture and it’s as if he inspired the rest of the movie to be better. And this is coming from someone who never really watched EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. I don’t hate the guy or anything, but for whatever reason I just never really followed him much. He makes this movie. He plays one of Wes Bentley’s clients, a suicidal composer who is ready to end his life. He gets no joy out of it anymore, apart from one particular awesome hobby of his involving scaring the shit out of babies when their parents aren’t looking. Romano brings a dry, sarcastic humor to the film that’s desperately needed. I didn’t really like the beginning with Bentley setting up his world and the first sequences with Winona Ryder, playing the grieving sister of one of Bentley’s clients, just kinda fell flat to me. I liked the idea of Bentley essentially letting a young man kill himself only to fall for his sister. And she for him. What eventually comes of that romance is fantastic, but in the early stages it didn’t feel like it was working to me. It might be coincidence, but that storyline turned around exactly when Ray Romano pops up, in a completely different thread of the story. The film plays dark, but still somehow sweet. The relationship between Bentley and Ryder plays out how you’d imagine, following a certain “she doesn’t know his secret” formula, but the two have a real chemistry and they don’t really stick to that formula after a certain dramatic point and that gives it a reality that most romantic dramedies don’t have. So, in THE LAST WORD, you have quirk, pitch black comedy, tragedy and an extremely sarcastic edge to it, thanks to Romano. It’s not a perfect movie… the second two-thirds still don’t make the opening jibe better, but they do make it work roughing out until the film finds its groove. All in all, I really dug the movie and can’t wait for it to see release. -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10 a.m. CST

    First

    by DirkD13"

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10 a.m. CST

    For the fifth time

    by DirkD13"

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:03 a.m. CST

    I rule

    by DirkD13"

    Also, I really shouldn't be on my fifth pint of cider three hours before I start work.............<p>Not a particularly well written review Quint me old son, spell check still exists yeah?

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Why do these quirky black comedies

    by skimn

    always seem to have professions that are dreamt up by screenwriters who want to underline how quirky/wacky they are. He's a hitman for a Lithuanian mob figure who kills the pets of his victims. She's a ski instructor for blind paraplegics.....

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Ray Romano?

    by greyspecter

    a poor man's Tim Allen? He makes this movie good? His performance is understated and compelling? What's that you're smoking, Quint? Must be some good stuff.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 2:39 p.m. CST

    sounds hopeful

    by Darathus

    After Romano had "Eulogy" and Bentley had "American Beauty" and "Weirdsville," I'm kinda hopeful for a good dark comedy. And hell, Wynona Ryder practically teethed on dark comedies. So they have the talent. Just hope that it has the uplifting feel as another downer "Wristcutters: A Love Story."

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 4:36 p.m. CST

    I've always liked Wes Bentley

    by mr.brownstone

    But his agent must suck.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Another one of Romano's character's cool ideas...

    by SkinJob69

    Loved this bit in the film (spoiler)<p> <p> When asked what other career he'd like to have, if not composing, Romano says he'd like to rent an area near a cliff. He'd charge customers to bring in electonic equipment that was pissing them off and throw it off the cliff. He said he would film it for them (for posterity) and 'for an extra charge' he'd rig the discarded device with explosives and blow it up on the way down. <p> Great scene, and great idea. <p> BTW I never really liked Romano's humor much, but I've got to say he was really spontaneously funny at the Q&A. After the movie, and seeing him in person, I have a new appreciation for his talent.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Where has Wes Bentley been?

    by haggardatbest

    About half of Maggie Gyllenhaal's brother's roles could/should have gone to him by now. Sam Mendes could have easily plugged him into Jarhead. What gives?

  • Feb. 24, 2008, 6:01 a.m. CST

    Bentley got tagged as "difficult"

    by JackRabbitSlim

    He supposedly can be quite prickish onset at times. And the few big roles he had before 07 - Four Feathers - Game of Their Lives - The Claim were colossal flops.

  • March 7, 2008, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Yet he's anything but difficult

    by subliminalmonk

    That rumor came from a single GOSSIP rag "Page Six"in 2002 that Harvey Weinstein denied was true and said he'd wotk with Bentley AGAIN. And if you're gonna say he said that for politics you should learn a bit about Harvey and his mouth. Wes is actually a lot of fun on set and keeps the crews in good positive moods. but Page Six ddoesn't "sink" low enough to talk to real people