Yesterday was a really tough day.
My knee that I was complaining about froze up somehow, so I was downing Ibuprofen in the hopes that I could ignore the pain and concentrate on work. And of course we were coming back from a three day weekend which followed a week where most businesses were closed, so I was insanely busy. By the time I made it home, I was hurting, I was exhausted, and all I really wanted to do was go to bed.
But my cats would be wanting dinner in two hours, so going to bed wasn't an option.
And so I decided to see if there was a comedy playing on Amazon Freevee. It had to be a comedy because I just couldn't handle anything else.
For some reason, this movie caught my eye...
Two guys running with a goat. How serious could that be? Probably stupid, but I'll put it on while I catch up on the internet and such.
I was not even remotely prepared for this.
It's a comedy alright... but that's just a part of it.
The film also has some of the most gut-wrenching emotional beats I've ever seen. And they're brought to life by incredible performances. No kidding. I'd put Juan Pablo Espinosa's emotional arc up against anybody. And the half-brothers casting of Luis Gerardo Méndez, whose facial reactions carry the movie... and Connor del Rio, whose craziness would sink the film if he wasn't able to balance it with a deep hurting that's in contrast to how his character acts... it's just inspired stuff. Movies with budgets that are hundreds of times bigger would be lucky to have this kind of talent in front of the camera.
But that's not even the half of it. There's thoughtful commentary on immigration that hits hard, and it all comes from what you see... nobody is lecturing you about anything. There's stereotypes examined on both sides of the border that get dismantled in very good ways. There's themes of acceptance and kindness that feel like they should be grossly out of place, and yet they work.
After watching the ending... which is flawless... the first thing I did after I managed to put myself back together was to see what score it had over at Rotten Tomatoes...
Critics had no love for the film. But that audience score is very respectable. Which means the people who watched it just to be entertained were moved by it.
I had never heard of this film when it was released in 2020. Of course this was prime pandemic season, so I guess that tracks. But I never heard of it when it was released to video either. I then tracked down the trailer on YouTube, which is great... if you've seen the film. But given the complex nature of how it's constructed, no trailer was ever going to do it justice. How could it? It was promoted as a kind of slapstick buddy comedy...
Yeah, this wasn't the movie I wanted, but it ended up being the movie I needed.
I got the comedy I was looking for, it just so happens that it's sandwiched in-between emotional punches to the gut. One minute you're dying because the bed-jumping scene through the window of the motel is so hilarious... then the movie pivots on a dime, and suddenly there's a note of tragedy that makes you forget you were laughing at the same character just seconds before.
So, yeah. Highest possible recommendation. And it's free to watch on Amazon Freevee.
I loved the movie so much that I ended up paying the $15 to buy it on Apple's iTunes store because there were deleted and extended scenes... and a director's commentary. At which point I watched the movie all over again so I could hear Luke Greenfield talk about how it all came together. Turns out a lot of thought went into every shot... including how colors were used to help tell the story. But the biggest takeaway was how difficult the movie was to make because they had no money. Everything was shot on a shoestring. The road scenes were all shot on the same stretch of roads because they couldn't afford to go anywhere else. Some scenes were directed over video calls because they couldn't afford the expense of having the director on-set. Different locations were the same locations shot from different directions. But despite it all, you'd never know it while watching the film.
It has me wondering how many other wonderful movies are out there that I don't know about.