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Odds are that “Gentlemen Broncos” is probably a movie that you’ve never heard of. It’s another movie from the strange mind of Jared Hess, and may be the craziest movie you’ll ever see. But does that make it worth watching, or has Hess lost his comedic touch?
IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH JARED HESS DOUBLE-TAKE REVIEW: What the heck did I just watch? Yikes. “Gentlemen Broncos” is without a doubt the most bizarre and outlandish film I have ever viewed, bar none. I had never even heard of “Gentlemen Broncos” until my friend Juicy Reviewer told me about it. Thanks, I think. The story revolves around Benjamin, a shy, budding science fiction author who’s home schooled by his eccentric loving mother. Money is tight, but she finds a way to send Benjamin to the Cletus Festival, an amateur sci-fi writers camp. While there Benjamin meets his literary hero, Ronald Chavalier, a famous fantasy writer who will be judging a writing competition for the camps attendees. Benjamin hopefully submits his novella, “Yeast Lords”, for consideration. Later, back at Chavalier’s room, we learn that he has fallen on hard times and is warned by his publisher that he will be fired unless he creates a new blockbuster idea soon. Desperate Chavalier does the unthinkable and steals Benjamin’s book. this is the first step on a wacky journey into utter cinematic madness. What happens next is not for the faint of heart.
Where the heck do I start? “Gentlemen Broncos” is the toughest movie I’ve ever tried to review, and is truly unlike any film I have ever seen. By now everyone is familiar with director Jared Hess and his infamously quirky style, and “Gentlemen Broncos” is quirky on steroids. Basically this is a coming of age story that shares screen time with crazy vignettes taken from Benjamin’s book, “Yeast Lords”. Benjamin’s story line is strange enough, but the vignettes are beyond absurd and left me feeling as though I had fallen down the rabbit hole. But honestly, I couldn’t look away. The entire cast’s acting is amazing, and definitely memorable. Angarano as Benjamin, is relatably believable, and he may be the only sane person in this story. Jimenez’s (Donaho) performance is so awkwardly creepy that it’s hard to watch at times, especially disturbing are his cross-dressing scenes. Sam Rockwell, as Bronco, is extraordinary. In one of his crazy scenes we find him piloting a “battle stag” with side mounted missiles and a huge butt cannon. Yeah you heard me right, this is some crazy stuff. Somehow Rockwell finds a way to make it work though, stealing the show. And finally, Clement as Chavalier is simply astounding. Listening to the nutty dialogue delivered in his deep mono-toned cadence is mesmerizing and helps carry this movie. Other notable oddball scenes include cyclopses, mammary cannons, defecating snakes, and stolen gonads. Wow. The cheesy special effects used in the fantasy vignettes are so atrocious that it only adds to the hilariosity of these scenes. There’s a constant fixation on yeast that’s baffling, along with some gross moments that almost made me gag. Hess has deftly created an odd, musty, 80’s feel here, which actually works quite well. “Gentlemen Broncos” is so disgustingly bad that it’s good, and it’s been universally panned by critics for it’s crazy story and juvenile humor, so I’m a little reluctant to admit that I laughed like a mental patient during much of this movie. People who dislike Hess’ work will probably loathe “Gentlemen Broncos”. It’s not “Citizen Kane”, far from it, but it is a bizarre trip with tons of peculiar dialogue and kooky performances that you won’t soon forget. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re the adventurous type give it a shot. “Gentlemen Broncos” has as many laughs as there is yeast in a well guarded yeast factory. FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here’s the trailer:
Michael Angarano- Benjamin
Sam Rockwell- Bronco/Brutus
Jermaine Clement- Chavalier
Jennifer Coolidge- Judith
Mike White- Dusty
Hector Jimenez- Lonnie Donaho
Halley Feiffer- Tabatha
Edgar Oliver- Duncan/Lord Daysius