WELCOME TO THE RILEYS
First thought I had entering this screening: Kristen Stewart was promised for a Q&A, and looking around, I would profile a good half of this crowd as Twi-hards who couldn’t care less about a James Gandolfini movie. Second thought: When it’s announced upfront that there will be no talent appearances, I’m amazed more people don’t walk out and demand refunds.
Third thought, as movie begins: Dear God, Gandolfini’s attempting a Southern accent? This isn’t good. And his character lives in Indiana, so why? As it will turn out, the accent comes and goes throughout the movie, and isn’t too distracting an issue.
Fourth thought: why does the festival program call this Jake (son of Ridley) Scott’s first feature, since he’s made two prior, and I’m pretty sure PLUNKETT & MACLEANE, which came out a decade ago, was made first.
Fifth thought: this numbering gimmick of mine is getting tiresome, but I’m locked into it now, and must fully commit, as they taught me in improv classes. Drat. Maybe should make rest of review one big run-on sentence to keep it at what could technically be considered a sole thought. Okay, so…
Sixth thought: Kristen Stewart is a much better actress in this than she was in NEW MOON, and I’m not saying that because she plays a scantily clad stripper in high heels, though foot fetishists (which I ain’t, but Quentin Tarantino and “LexG” are) will dig that, and maybe she’s better at this character because she’s a grown up child star, and that’s a path fraught with the same kind of potential degradation suffered here, and oh yeah, the plot’s about Gandolfini as a guy who’s teenage daughter is dead, so when he encounters Stewart at a convention in New Orleans, he decides to stick around and be a surrogate father; meanwhile, wife Melissa Leo back in Indiana is an agoraphobe, and Leo’s physical bits in this are freakin’ excellent; a scene where she tries to figure out the automated controls in her own car ran very true to me, as I’ve only ever driven old-school stick-shift non-electric-everything vehicle since that’s what my dad buys…also, this movie was pretty good, and the fact that Leo’s character was named Lois made me think Gandolfini could star in a live-action FAMILY GUY movie, probably with Leo again.