The F*ckin Black Sheep: Odd Thomas (2013)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Odd Thomas (2013)
Directed by Stephen Sommers

“ A small budget – even one with plenty of special effects like this one – means Sommers had to be more inventive and actually develop his characters.”

Here’s a sad thing to say, but people die all the time. It sucks, but it’s just a matter of life. However, unless it’s someone we know, most of us aren’t affected. That’s why the death of a celebrity seems tragic for so many.

This week, 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin died in a freak car accident. No, he wasn’t a household name, but he was a talented guy who most likely had a long career ahead of him. He played a young Kyle Reese in TERMINATOR SALVATION (he was one of the better parts of that movie). He played opposite Colin Farell in the FRIGHT NIGHT remake. And, of course, he forever will be remembered for being Chekov in the new STAR TREK flicks. To pay tribute, it seems like the proper time to revisit the underseen ODD THOMAS.

I have to admit one of the stranger things about watching ODD THOMAS comes from the fact that he plays a guy named Odd Thomas…who can see dead people. This means the entire plot revolves around Yelchin discussing and conversing about either the already departed or the soon to be departed, and delivers lines like, “The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” This makes the first 15 minutes or so a little awkward to watch right now, to say the least, but I won’t dwell on it.

Beyond the Yelchin factor, what makes ODD THOMAS a curious movie comes from the writer/director factor: Stephen Sommers. The man reinvented a huge franchise in THE MUMMY (I’m actually surprised Universal didn’t contact him about creating that shared universe they seem desperate to create) and gave Brendan Fraser a brief flirtation with super stardom. Anyway, after two not so good movies in VAN HELSING and G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (both budgeted at $170 million +), he disappeared for four years and then returned with something much smaller in the $27 million ODD THOMAS.

Quite a move down, but probably a good choice. A small budget – even one with plenty of special effects like this one – means Sommers had to be more inventive and actually develop his characters. And that’s a good thing here as Yelchin more or less plays a cook/guy-who-sees-the-dead-and-plays-private-eye. He works alongside his ice cream serving girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin) and Chief Wyatt Porter (the always dependable Willem Dafoe). Oh and he drives his moped from case to case. The actual case isn’t all that interesting, but Yelchin and Timlin have good chemistry, and they look like they’re having fun, which is all we can ask of actors in this type of film. If they appear to enjoy themselves, the audience usually does too.

Based on the novel by Dean Kootnz, ODD THOMAS works not only because it’s more or less a ghost detective movie (complete with narration by Yelchin), but it walks that fine line between horror and comedy that Sommers mastered with THE MUMMY. No, this movie didn’t change the genre or anything like that, but it’s fully entertaining with Yelchin very good in the lead. This isn’t the type of movie that defines his legacy, but it’s a hell of a project to showcase where his career could have went.



Extra Tidbit: Are you a fan of ODD THOMAS?



Latest Movie News Headlines