Igby Goes Down
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A ne’er do well rich teenager, Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin), having survived a childhood with an absent father and bitchy mom, begins rebelling like never before, in the hopes of finding some direction in his life that makes sense. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as he’d thought because as he puts it: ”I’m drowning in assholes!”
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Well it’s official, you can’t count these Culkin kids on one hand anymore. This movie has at least 2 of them in roles and both deliver great performances in a story that has elements reminiscent of the movie THE GRADUATE and J.D. Salinger’s classic book “The Catcher in the Rye”. It doesn’t come close to being as good as either of those tales, mind you, but does manage to be a fairly original comedy/drama with solid performances by the entire cast. The screenplay, written by the director Burr Steers (“flock of seagulls” from PULP FICTION), is sharp and manages to often show the tender and human sides of the characters who are, for the most part, very despicable and unsympathetic. They could have very easily been one-dimensional cretins, but the director fleshes most of them out quite well and makes you care for them in the process.
I’ve always been a secret Bill Pullman fan and now it’s time for me to come out with it. The man gives a very convincing performance of a guy who’s gone completely off the deep end; he conveys humor, pain, love and hopelessness without batting an eye. His role is a small but very important one and Bill makes it count. Give my man an Oscar nod. The other stand-outs are Jared Harris as a pretentious performance artist and the always refreshing Jeff Goldblum playing Igby’s godfather. A rich but harmless creep, he’s the only character who truly feels comfortable with who he is. Finally, we're graced with the presence of the great Claire Danes. My Mama once told me that if I can’t say anything nice about someone, then I should shut my pie-hole. Fine, I’ll let it be for this one time only. Oh yeah, my Mama also told me that Claire Danes is a very annoying actress, who despite usually giving a good performance, always manages to get under my skin, um, her skin. Well, she wasn’t enough to sink this movie, as it’s a very thoughtful and sweet coming of age tale about a boy momentarily lost in the world.
You got yourselves a 16-minute featurette called "In Search of Igby”, in which the cast and director take the time to comment on their experience working with one another. Pretty interesting stuff except not a word is mentioned about Mr.Pullman (???). My favorite were the 9 deleted scenes available with or without Burr’s comments though. A lot of these scenes are gems (the flashback scenes, in particular), and a couple would even have made the picture better. They also dumped a useless theatrical trailer of IGBY GOES DOWN in here, as well as a couple of other MGM trailers (YAWN!).
There’s an audio commentary with Kieran Culkin and the director available as well, which if you liked the movie, should please. They both have laughs, speak very regularly throughout and really get into interesting tidbits about making the film. Finally, they also added a pointless photo gallery; mostly stills from the movie that if you really wanted to see...you’d simply push pause while watching the film!
Drive by the local video store this week, pay your late fee and rent this sucker because it’s been a while since the last original comedy/drama hit the shelves. The pacing is fast and the extras give real good insight into the project. It’ll make you smile, shed a tear maybe; hell, who knows...you might like it so much that it won’t make a difference that her majesty Claire Danes is in it. Oops, sorry mom.