Goin' South Reviews
Ostensibly a comedy-western, but not overly funny. Has its moments, but many of the attempts at humour are of a slapstick nature and end up rather silly. Had some potential as a drama, exploring and developing the relationship between Henry and Julia, but this is pretty basic and predictable.
Some pretty big names in the cast: Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen (in her first movie), John Belushi, Christopher Lloyd, Ed Begley Jr and Danny DeVito (in a minor role). Unfortunately the movie does not come close to making full use of their talents. Even Nicholson seems unconvincing, even hammy at times.
Why John Belushi was even in the movie was beyond me - he doesn't have much screen time and his performance mostly consists of insane laughter and ramblings. Considering how he tended to find inspiration, I reckon that, during the filming of the movie, he did more lines off-screen than had lines on-screen...
Belushi's presence might also explain Nicholson's persistent nasally way of talking in the movie...
'Goin' South' will possibly be most remembered as a good quiz question with 'Mary Steenbargen' and 'John Belushi' both having their film débuts here. Nicholson's second attempt at direction shows some good potential, 'Goin South' is a solid enough comedy western that becomes repetitive and a tad boring.
'Nicholson' takes the central role as 'Henry' an off-beat horse thief who has been sentenced to hang only to be saved throw a loop-hole law when 'Julia' agree to marry him. Which comes with the catch of him helping her dig on her property for gold, gold which she is convinced is their. It's quite a lax film things skate along and the jokes are immediately obviously jokes, it tries to blend them easily within conversation. With the odd one either sticking out or not working.
'Nicholson' does great service by using himself as an other wouldn't have made the grimy 'Henry' likeable or fun to watch. The same can be said of most of the cast actually. We know eventually these became household names in the 80s and their ability is on show early here too.
It's not all good it does meander a bit at times with atypical conversations and inevitabilities in terms of story. I think the biggest problem is I'm not entirely convinced this should be classed as a comedy as it's all very muted, not once did it muster a belly laugh or seem to be even intending that.
In the end 'Gouth South' feels safe, its a simple story told well enough and with a great cast. That's more or less the whole lot. Every so often something got a laugh and the mismatch pair make for a nice dynamic early on with their clashes but when things comes to an end and the dust settles it ends a note fitting of the film - ok without much inclination of where the characters are going - maybe Mexico.
But the problem I have is Goin' South isn't ha-ha funny or crazy zany. I get an actual story is being told, and that's fine, but the comic potential is so weighted down it's hard to fully get in to the movie. I wanted to see Nicholson, Lloyd and Belushi go over the top more than they did. Also, Mary Steenburgen is a fine actress. I really like her, but I didn't sense much chemistry between her and Nicholson. That makes sense in the beginning, but even in the end, I wasn't feeling much of a connection between the two.
So while the laughs and the romance might be underwhelming, Goin' South is still worth seeing just to appreciate watching this collection of actors, including Ed Begley Jr., in their primes working to make a good film.
And that's what happens: Julia Tate claims the grateful Moon who soon regrets the arrangement when it's revealed she only really wants to use him as manual labor for a gold mine she swears is on her property. Aside from that, Moon also has problems with the Sheriff. Not only does he not care for Moon to begin with, but he also feels like Moon took Julia away from him, viewing her as "his girl".
Featuring an all star cast, and directed by its star Jack Nicholson, this had potential to be an absolute riot. Unfortunately, while the film starts off strong, it devolves into an uninspired bore and never quite recovers. There are some good moments here and there, but there's not really enough to save this from being a generic "meh" kind of film.
This is a top notch cast who, besides Nicholson includes the likes of John Belushi and Mary Steenburgen in their film debuts, he as a deputy, she as Julia, and CHristopher Lloyd as the sheriff. There's also appearance by Ed Begley, Jr., Veronica Cartwright, and Danny DeVito.
Nicholson and Belushi really ham it up and appear to be having a lot of fun, but Lloyd, while okay, could have been even better. I like Mary Steenburgen alright, but she's not all that good hear. Granted, it is her first film, but still, she's kinda awful. At least we get a brief glimpse of her nipples through a wet shirt...
I really wanted to like this movie, and, even though I did enjoy it in parts, as a whole, it's a real disappointment. Unless you're a completist for anyone in the cast, I don't really recommend this.
I think " The Man who knew too Little" and "Rat Race" are a couple of the funnies movies ever, and I haven't seen them on any top 25 list. For Duster comedies, I find this, second only to Support Your Local Sheriff". "Cat Ballou" comes in 3rd.