IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH JARED HESS DOUBLE-TAKE REVIEW: “Gentlemen Broncos” stars Michael Angarano (Almost Famous, Sky High), Jermaine Clement (Men in Black 3, Rio), Sam Rockwell (The Way Way Back, Moon), Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde, American Pie), Halley Feiffer (He’s Way More Famous Than You, The Squid and the Whale), Héctor Jiménez (Nacho Libre, Wild Hogs), Clive Revill (Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back, Avanti!), Suzanne May (Suspicion, The Scenesters), and Mike White (School of Rock, The Good Girl). It is directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Don Verdean), who also co-wrote it with Jerusha Hess (Nacho Libre, Austenland). Benjamin (Angarano) is a kid with a big imagination. After writing a new story about his fictional character, Bronco (Rockwell), he decides to attend a writing convention led by his idol: the famous fantasy writer, Ronald Chevalier (Clement). He plans to enter his book into a contest, with Chevalier being one of the judges, in an attempt to get reward money and his story published. But when Chevalier himself is struggling to get a new book made, he steals Benjamin’s story and alters it a little in order to become successful again. When Benjamin catches onto this, he will do whatever it takes to reveal Chevalier for the liar that he truly is.
Pushing away from the “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” spotlight is the third Jared Hess film, “Gentlemen Broncos.” I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of it, and that’s understandable, because I haven’t either until last year. While looking up Jared Hess, I was skimming through his list of works (which is rather small) for one I haven’t seen. “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” are classics, but I wanted to see something new, especially from the guy who brought such a new flavor of cinema. I stumbled upon this movie, and since I saw the trailer I made it clear that I wanted to see it sometime soon. Yeah, the trailer boasts an outlandish and insane feel that shouldn’t be taken seriously, but it’s Jared Hess. That’s all I needed to draw me in. So, I got this for Christmas from my good pal Captain Critic, who has seen it before me and told me how crazy it is. After viewing this film, I agree, 100%. This is the most bizarre picture that I have ever seen in my life. Read that sentence again. Not a moment in this outrageous film did a feel safe from insanity. The more a watched, the lower my IQ became. Nothing can be taken seriously in this, NOTHING. It’s complete madness, and there is nothing to be retained from this experience. But…it is incredibly hilarious. From the beginning until the end of this feature I laughed hysterically. It’s not the witty comedy with good jokes, but rather the stupid “Dumb and Dumber” comedy that I love to watch just as much. There wasn’t a dull moment in this. I was entertained for its entirety and I enjoyed this movie! Now, you may be thinking (for those of you who have seen this), “what are you thinking man, this film was a load of crap!” Well, although this story may not be anywhere close to Oscar-worthy or Movie of the Year worthy, it sure did put on a show! It isn’t a “Napoleon Dynamite” or a “Nacho Libre,” I know that. It doesn’t even come close to their level. But understand this: Jared Hess never loses his style, and that is why I love these movies. Most of this film was improvised. From the behind the scenes features I have seen, there wasn’t much of a script to go by. Heck, I saw Jared Hess writing ideas for what happens in the next scene on a small piece of paper before they shot the scene! You can tell in the plot of this movie. It’s jumbled and all over the place, going from one point to the other in such a loose way that I can never collect my thoughts. I was shocked. But the atmosphere and directing is what saves this film. Although there are a ton of things that can’t happen in real life that lie in this movie, it has a realistic feel, like Hess’s previous films. It’s Indie vibe is one a crave for and this one doesn’t let it up. Even though the story is silly it is one of the most original things I have seen. It spoofs fantasy/sci-fi book writers and filmmakers alike, and in doing so it actually provides a lesson. Yes, you heard me, a lesson. More so an observation. The observation is how much one person’s idea can be filtered into something completely different once sold. Our main character’s dilemma was that his story was being ripped to shreds by other people. Wanting to go into the film industry myself, it kind of made me think about how someone could take one of my works and mold it into something different and crappy. It’s the only thing I can take from this peculiar creation. Besides that, let’s talk about other aspects of this weird story. The characters are interesting in their own way, some being memorable. Jermaine Clement was hilarious in this, his deep monotone voice making me laugh with everything he said. Sam Rockwell didn’t have as big of a part as I wanted him to, but whenever he showed up on-screen he put on a funny performance. Others including Michael Angarano provided strong roles on a comedy level. In Jared Hess fashion, they all shared characteristics that made them incapable of showing heavy emotion (besides the mom) and that made me laugh as well. The special effects were on an Indie film level, with a mixture of practical and green screen, some of which were fun to watch and provided a great sense of humor. Everything involving the Yeast Lords, altered and not altered, were the best parts because of how zany and epic they were. It made fun of sci-fi and fantasy films, my favorite genres, but I loved it anyway. And it’s so funny! I’m sorry, I’ve written that too much, but come on. A villain who takes our hero’s gonads to build an army tickles me like nothing else. Oddly enough, when Bronco rode out on a battle stag to shoot missiles at enemies to the song “In the Year 2525” I felt awesome. It was too cool of a scene. This is such a different and likable release that I couldn’t help but give it a good score. It’s not great, don’t worry, I’m smart here, but it isn’t bad. I will vouch that for this film. It has several issues for just being what it is, which brings the score to be what it is listed. But you have to think, Jared Hess knew what he was doing. He wanted to create a nutty film. So he got what he wished for. It’s like what I said about “Airplane!,” if the writers and directors got what they wanted, is it really a failure? He didn’t want it to be taken seriously, and that’s the feel I want for this review. I enjoyed watching this, it gave me a good laugh, and I implore any Indie or Jared Hess fan to watch it, you will have fun! FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: