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it could have been quite a little gem with a little less scmaltz from Usher Morgan. He needs to watch some really good films and drop his mimicry. This effort was a clear rip off of Elmore Leonard's Justfied down to using Dixie Mafia and Michigan in it. If you are going to rip someone off, may as well be the best so that was actually a positive. The issues come in with the lame attempt to copy Frank Millers Sin City graphic novel style at times. Usher isn't sophiscated enought to pull this off (or he was lazy-take your pick). The 3 dames? Really? Usher you were really pretty close but you cheesed this up with that stuff. The two bit mobsters who can only say do you know who I am repeatedly was clever, the first ten time but it did get kind of tiresoem along with the worst acting in the movie. What saved this was Elyse Price who, given some better material might actually show us something. Her brother character's wardrobe may have been the silliest part of the whole movie sae for the silk scarf our mob guy wore. Usher, if you had stole more Elmore, lost the Miller and didn't writie like Uwe Boll on Prozacl and had hired villians who can act you would have had a real movie that would have been 20 times better than this and I actually watched this and didn't hate it despite those major flaws.
This was such a corny movie...i don't know where to start- the ridiculous coyboy hat brother who looked like he was from a different era; the awful mother letting her children hang out in a tacky bar- including her teenage daughter and young kids. Then they live in this mansion..wot the heck. Particularly loved when the whole family were at the bar-young girl all alone cashing up at 1am- hasn't locked the bar so the thugs just walk in.
The children all witness the subsequent massacre. Much later the young son is awake in his bed and his mother- dressed like a prostitute - says its getting late you better get to sleep. Late? it must have been around 4am! haha. Trash.
Wow...where to start, better yet where to stop. I'm just going to say this, this movie is a clear example of the director struggling with what he or she wants the end result to be. For an unknown but yet slightly known director Usher Morgan rips off Tarantino so bad that it comes across as not being a nod, but rather lacking vision. It makes you wonder if his other success was because of the Seinfield experience of his main writer. The struggle is so real that it has tainted my ability to write something meaningful with anything other than the first words that pop into my pathetically throbbing mind..omg where's the Advil. On a positive note post production visual stylings are good. I think I can say this experience is now over for me...maybe.
PICKINGS is a VERY low-budget film, and as such, I was willing to make some allowances. I figured it would feel small, and lack some of the zip and verve that seems to come from movies with more resources. And I'll give director & writer (& producer) Usher Morgan some credit for having a nice visual style and for coming up with some amusing post-production flourishes. But it's all in the service of some a Tarantino rip-off.
It tells the story of a single mom, who, along with her kids (from grown-up Scarlett, down to a little girl) are just trying to get along in their new home in Michigan by running a neighborhood bar. They all have southern accents, because they've come up from Tennessee or somewhere, and this also means they have to keep wearing clothes that make them look like refugees from a bad Western. The only other characters in the film are the local gangsters, who look like refugees from every bad mob movie of the '80s. Thick accents that are NOT from New York. Each virtually indistinguishable from another. (One of them, cleverly, is always shown in black & white...fun but calls out SIN CITY all too easily.) Well, it turns out the mobsters are messing with the wrong single mom, cuz she's got quite a back story of her own, and is NOT inclined to work with these thugs. Slowly paced mayhem ensues, none of it particularly exciting, and none of it giving the visceral thrill of Tarantino's best work, because the budget isn't there for truly glorious violence.
The call-outs to Tarantino are everywhere. Lengthy speeches from characters when one or two works would suffice. Bad ass women getting revenge. Even close ups of walking bare female feet. The feeling of mashing up genres to serve the story...even if the mash-ups here feel more forced than fun.
The performances are all merely so-so at best. But these inexperienced actors are hampered by a truly awful script. Wooden dialogue. Nonsensical motivations. The inability to express grief when called for, or to truly find humor when desired. Morgan probably has some skills as a director, and with more resources, he might be able to muster up a fun movie (hence my willingness to give two stars). But he should never write for himself again. The plot is deadly familiar, yet oddly, a bit disjointed and hard to follow (there's jumping around in time, another Tarantino quality). The "banter" is unconvincing. A passably entertaining movie has morphed into something barely watchable.
I'd say keep an eye out for Usher Morgan, but don't bother watching THIS particular film.
Combining two of the great genres of cinema is not an easy feat, and though Morgan's film is uneven, it is at least an indication that he could be someone to look out for in the future.
A love letter to Indie Films, Film Noir and Westerns.
As a low budget independent film, "Pickings" has no problem emptying the chambers and delivering a solid action piece. It's all just good ol' fashioned fun to watch that old story play out one more time before your eyes. But that's not all there is here. I write about tried and true methods and story, and somehow "Pickings" still manages to be somewhat fresh and unique. For sure, you can see the influences but Morgan manages to put a slightly different spin on the familiar characters and setting. The back story of the Lee-Haywood/Pickens family fits the movie perfectly, and good ol' uncle Boon (Joel Bernard) was an awesome addition to the story - and action of the film. The lone-ish gunslinger who is both completely out of place, and makes total sense at the same time. The entire family feels like your average suburban unit, complete with the crazy aunts and uncles. A credit to the supporting cast. When it comes to the bad guys of the film, there are a lot to list. Yaron Urbas as Sam Barone and Emil Ferzola as Leo Devitto, both deliver a very cool rendition of the main bad guys. Even though I would have loved to have seen more of Ferzola. But even the numerous other bad guys, and there are a lot, felt right in the film. Read the full review at www.indyred.com
This Movie is so kicK Ass
A fantastic film. Smartly done. Innovative, funny, challenging and vivid. Really worth a watch.
Quite possibly the worst movie i've ever seen.