The Go-Getter

No one stands on a car in this movie.
"Life doesn't come with a roadmap."

As promised this week will be all about movies that are not considered big Hollywood. Don't be fooled though! That only means that they're small Hollywood! While it might be considered a minor project released at the Sundance Festival, let me put things into perspective. The Go-Getter stars Lou Taylor Pucci (I would guess he is best known for his performance in The Chumscrubber if you know him at all) opposite Zooey Deschanel (currently she stars on the TV show New Girl but she's appeared in a variety of other movies, including (500) Days of Summer and Elf to name a few) and Jena Malone (probably best remembered as Gretchin Ross in Donnie Darko). The movie ran for only 3 days and grossed over 11 million. That's not exactly mom and pop, and director Martin Hynes spent around 23,000 dollars just on establishing and location shots (large sections of the movie are actually shot on location, which is a pretty big deal because it is a road trip movie).

Look how cool he is in his cowboy hat...
So now you have the vitals of the movie, but what's it about? Mercer (Pucci) steals a car from a car wash where he lives in Eugene, Oregon, and goes on a trip in search of his half brother Arlen, so he can tell him that their mother is dead. The car turns out to belong to Kate (Deschanel) who for her own reasons doesn't report it stolen, and talks to Mercer via the phone in the car while he drives. Along the way Mercer is waylaid when he stops to visit his middle school crush Joely (Malone) in Nevada. The whole story essentially breaks down into segments of Mercer making mistakes and getting the shit kicked out of him by a revolving door of individuals. Often he is met with violence for no reason other than that he announces that he is related to his brother, who we must assume is the biggest dickbag in the whole world. Well that's not entirely true, because as Mercer follows the trail of ill will Arlen has left in his wake, we learn all about what a dickbag Arlen is. Then Mercer meets him, and gets curb stomped by him so bad that he passes out with what I assumed was a concussion, in the Mexico sun. Best brother ever.

I don't trust her and neither should you.
The focus of the movie is mostly Mercer coming to terms with his own situation, which is pretty crap. He has no family (he lives with his music teacher? That's pretty weird.) other than his half brother, who makes it pretty clear with his fists and boots that he is cool with having no brother. He doesn't seem to have any real friends (I guess he borrows some dude's shirt, but no one comes looking when he disappears.) The only person who seems to care about what happens to him is Kate, who we can assume is about as broken a person as Mercer is, and who we discover has had a long distance crush on him. I personally thought Mercer was ok, but he sort of just goes along with things, and that made him seem alternately like a weak character and a strong character. I think that impression was probably a result of some spotty writing on the part of the director, I feel like Mercer is actually written a little inconsistently. Joely on the other hand is written consistently as a scumbag who talks Mercer into doing some E and then tripping out, and later uses him to drive her cousin and his creepy almost gay rapist friend out into the middle of the desert, where they leave Mercer. Don't worry, he finds a guy with a gun to help him get his car back, while he is hitchhiking through the desert.

He looks about this beat up for most of the movie.
Major downsides to this movie included the dialogue, which I found at times to be really hokey or stagey. There are points where I stepped back thinking "this just is not how people talk" The music is good if you like M Ward. He provides the bulk of the music for the movie, and his collaboration in it with Zooey Deschanel was what led to them forming the musical duo known as She & Him. I think the movie has a lot of positive qualities though, including a more or less likable main character who really learns something from the things that happen to him, and unlike so many movies classified as 'indie' an actual honest to god ending. A lot of directors, writers, and other charlatans like to use an excuse like "life isn't neat, and doesn't give you a wrapped up ending, so I was trying to capture that," which is code for "I'm a sloppy writer, and I thought up this excuse and momentarily thought I was the cleverest person in the whole world." So very wrong folks. Your movie just has a stupid ending.

If you enjoy movies where the journey is at least as important as the destination, or just like to watch wienery losers get the snot beat out of them, this is a good time. Also you get to see Zooey in her underwear, and also Jena in her underwear, so if that's your thing you might also want to check it out. Even if it isn't still give it a watch. There's something elusively charming about it.

On Thursday we go into the biohazard/crime scene cleaning business, and throw out a bathtub full of shrimp that's way past its expiration date.
Reach for the sky cowboy.

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