Gentlemen Broncos Reviews
A teenager attends a fantasy writers' convention where he discovers his idea has been stolen by an established novelist.
Expand your mind and ignite the plasma-fires of your four dimensional imaginations, my juvescent readers. It is time to reflect, to ponder, to review the woefully neglected film entitled "Gentlemen Broncos." The latest endeavour from visionary director Jared Hess is a bold exploration into the limitless expanses of outer space, and the infinite potential for awkward comedy in human interaction.
To summarize the narrative, Benjamin is a young man who writes a sci-fi novel called "Yeast Lords." When he goes to a teen writer's camp the story is stolen by his favorite author, the inimitable (although you will try) Ronald Chevalier. Before the book is published he is sweet talked into selling the story to a manipulative girl who attempts to make an amateur movie out of the book.
Through the magic technology of special effects (yes, there were special effects) we see the novel unfold on screen. We meet Bronco, the rough-around-the-edges "Yeast Lord" protagonist who is not a Centaur, and does not shapeshift into equine form. Ever. If you thought Avatar was an epic of fantastic adventure, then you have never seen armies of Cyclops and "Surveillance Does" firing massive laser turrets at flying "Battle Stags." Epic.
Bronco, portrayed by Sam Rockwell, delivers some truly hilarious lines of dialog with a completely straight face. If you laughed when Napoleon asked "Do the chickens have large talons?" then you will appreciate Bronco's statement that "I can smell a cache of yeast cakes forty miles off!" The pinnacle of this cinematic saga is Mr. Ronald Chevalier, the pretentious deep voiced author of novels like "Brutus & Balzac," "The Cyborg Harpy Trilogy," and "Moon Fetus." Jemaine Clement (the taller half of the Flight of the Conchords duo) improvises some of the funniest lines. There is a scene where he argues with a twelve year old girl about what to name the Troll in her story. It reminded me of Jack Black in School of Rock, filled with righteous indignation because the students at his private school hadn't heard of Motorhead. While School of Rock had rock music as an easily accessible theme, Gentlemen Broncos plays on the pomposity of science fiction books, something less familiar to many people. If you have read or even browsed science fiction books and marveled at the strangeness of them, you will probably "get" this movie.
Ben attends a writer's workshop where his idol, the eccentric Dr. Ronald Chevalier, gives a hilarious lecture about sci-fi naming conventions. Chevalier's leather get-up and Star Trek-inspired ear-thing are only the icing on the cake of a performance by Jemaine Clement. Ben decides to enter his story, Yeast Lords: The Bronco Years, into Chevalier's contest in the hopes of winning a coveted original cover artwork. With his publishing deal holding on by a thread, Chevalier privately decides to steal Ben's idea, although he adapts it to his own style. This is where the movie gets its more ridiculous scenes. The embarrassingly bad story of Yeast Lords is told in snippets through outtakes from the inevitable big budget movie adaptations -- both from Ben's original story and Chevalier's tweaked rewrite -- starring Sam Rockwell in the lead role.
Meanwhile Ben gets encouragement from Tabatha, a budding romance novelist and film maker he meets at the workshop, to film a low budget home movie version of his story. Once again we see clips of Yeast Lords as told through Tabatha's scriptment. The supporting cast, including Ben's mother, are all a little freaky but vaguely familiar. Eventually Chevalier finally publishes the plagiarized story, and the crap hits the fan when Ben realizes what's up.
Like Napolean Dynamite, I'm not convinced Gentlemen Broncos will hold up to repeat viewings, but these oddball Americana slice-of-life movies are possibly worth checking out at least once if you're willing to go there. One can't help but feel that the story would have been better served if Ben had been an aspiring comic book artist or film maker. I liked it ok but the film was a total commercial and critical failure, making it hard to recommend regardless of what I personally thought of it. You have to be in the mood to watch a movie with several scenes that are deliberately bad for comedic effect.
To say that Jarad Hess was unique, would be an understatement but I in no way can fault a man who wants to bring something like this to the big screen.
sam rockwell is kinda funny as a tranny in space though.
2008 Movies: 165