Saturday, April 10, 2010

Carried Away- He Said

Carried Away is the directorial debut from writer and Ft. Worth native Tom Huckabee. It is a charming if not a predictable movie about a family going through troubles. I feel that this threads familiar territory and even if the plot doesn’t hold up well, the relationship between Ed Franklin (Gabriel Horn) and his Granny (Juli Erickson) holds the movie together. The movie starts with Granny escaping through a field with a walker; we later learn it is one of her many attempts to leave her nursing home. This establishes the theme of escapism, which is one of the common threads that hold the characters together.

The movie quickly reveals the quirks of each character. The father Rex (Mark Walters) is distant, the mother Jean (Morgana Shaw) is a pushover, Davy (Tyler Cory) the youngest is going to trial for selling drugs, while older brother Steve (Bryan Massey) is an all around jerk. Ed is visiting the family for the holidays, and after witnessing what he considers atrocities being committed against Granny, he decides to break her out of the nursing home as well and takes her with him to Los Angeles. Frankly, this part of the movie feels rushed, mostly used as a plot device to get them to go on their adventures. If you have seen a quirky indie film with family issues, then you have seen most of this movie. Where this movie shines is in its characters’ relationships with one another.

I found the way that Granny and Ed got along very moving and endearing; you can tell he truly cares for her and vice versa. I have to say that Granny was way too reminiscent of Grandpa Edwin from Little Miss Sunshine. They’re both outspoken seniors who probably won’t change. Edwin was a druggie; Granny is a racist. And I think this is where the enjoyment of the movie went downhill for me, due to many similarities to the aforementioned movie.

Mr. Huckabee takes full advantage of the roadtrip scenario by shooting some of the most beautiful terrain footage of Texas and the Southwest I have ever seen on film. As they get closer to California the terrain becomes more vast This is when Ed finds Sarah, an old flame he never quite forgot about, who lives in a desert community, and I really enjoyed the believability of the relationship. There is some true love here, even if it was never meant to be. It is during this part of the movie where Ed comes to realize the bigger truth behind his motive with Granny.

Unfortunately, the last part of the movie slightly ruins the relationships between the characters in a rather cliché way. It was truly a shame to see the movie wrap up the way it did. While I did not enjoy the movie too much due to the almost overtly quirky situations that the characters get into. I do have great hope for Mr. Huckabee. He writes and directs great characters that feel truly different from other movies even if the plot does not.

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