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GRAND THEFT PARSONS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Christina Applegate, Robert Forster, Michael Shannon, Marley Shelton
Director: David Caffrey
Video: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: October 26, 2004

Film **

What do you get, when you’ve got one dead singing legend, a psycho ex-girlfriend, and the cops breathing down your neck?  Grand Theft Parsons, of course!

Gram Parsons was a rock ‘n’ roll legend, emphasis on the, “was,” portion of that statement, due to the fact that he is now dead!   Phil Kaufman, is a hard-drinking, motorcycle-riding, rock ‘n’ roll manager.   He parties harder than the rockers he represents. 

When Gram kicks the bucket, Phil kicks it into high gear and steals the body in order to make sure that Joshua Tree is Gram’s final resting place.  After all, that is what he promised him he would do, and Kaufman is not about to break any promises! 

This film is very dark from beginning to end.  The comedy flows very well from scene to scene as Phil is chased by not only the police, but also by Gram’s father, and his psycho ex-girlfriend Betty as well! 

Okay, first and foremost, I believe all films should be approached with an open mind.  Along that same vein, I believe that all actors, despite previous film/TV appearances, should be graded by each individual role they take on.  

Case in point, it is not fair to try and compare Anna Paquin from her role in The Piano to the Anna Paquin, playing the part of Rogue in the X-Men movies.   She’s grown as a person, and changed as an actress, so unless I’m grading on a HUGE curve, I have to take each role as it comes and give acting credits and merits when they are due for each individual role!  I can’t let previous films color my opinion of an actor or actress.

So it was with an open mind, that I popped in Grand Theft Parsons.  By the end of this film, I had found Christina Applegate, who by my estimation is ready for that really big leading lady role whenever Hollywood gets its head on straight, and a new perspective on the actor known as Johnny Knoxville. 

I have been watching Christina Applegate for a long time.  Her most memorable/well known role was her part as ditzy bombshell Kelly on the Fox sitcom Married With Children.  However, Christina has 31 guest appearances to her credit, and 34 movie credits, along with some executive producing nods that a lot of people out there might not know about.   She’s run the acting gambit, and has yet to find that one role that will take her out of the shadows and into the spotlight.   I can’t say that Grand Theft Parsons is that film.  However, what I can say is that this movie proves that she’s got the talent, and she’s ready!  So come on Hollywood, give her the nod already!

My only exposure to Johnny Knoxville was to my knowledge in the movie Jackass.  I wasn’t a fan of the movie, and had no real reaction to Mr. Knoxville or his acting abilities.  However, this film shows he does have depth and acting skills that go way beyond what I had seen from him before.  In a few more years, with a few more films under his belt, he will provide us all with some good quality entertainment…I hope!

This movie is, as scary as this might seem, based on a true story.  I can’t even fathom how something this dark, and funny could actually happen, but hey, life, like the movies, is always full of surprises.

Video **

The video quality on this DVD didn’t steal my breath away!  There was quite a bit of visible dirt to the print.   The 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation was nice, but soft around the edges in some scenes.

The overuse of natural shadows for shading some scenes was not (in my humble opinion) the best production decision.

Overall, this DVD could have benefited from better lighting, and a cleaner print. 

Audio **

This movie was featured in Dolby Digital Surround Sound.  This DVD contains a pretty decent mix, with only a few minor flaws.  The audio levels seemed to jump around a bit at first, but they leveled off after a few minutes.  The dialogue was sometimes hard to hear because of sound effects, which could have been caught during the original mix down. All together, not an awesome display of sound quality, but good none the less. 

Features *

Some deleted scenes, along with cast and crew interviews, are the only extras these Parsons left behind!

Summary:

Grand Theft Parsons won’t be stealing any DVD awards, but it is a solid movie, with okay video and decent audio.  Give Johnny & Christina the chance to wow you by taking this DVD for a spin!

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