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random reviews and other thoughts

“Eulogy” – a quirky comedy you’ve never heard of

My taste in movies is … questionable. No wait, that’s not the right word, erratic, no eclectic. Yeah, let’s go with eclectic. I like big blockbusters, small independents, awarad winners, and the criticallly panned, romance, comedy, even horror. I’ll watch anything, I really will.

The bottom line is, just be entertaining. That’s all I ask.

A while ago a film came up on my Netflix recommendation list that I had never heard of called “Eulogy.” The cast list caught my eye and I checked it out. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it since then but this little film, that NO ONE has ever heard of, never gets old.

Be warned, it’s a dark-comedy and not for everyone. But it’s more than enough for me.

“Eulogy” is about a family coming together when the patriarch of the family (Rip Torn) passes away. The family includes eldest daughter, and control freak, Alice (Debra Winger) and her family, child actor turned porn extra Daniel (Hank Azria) and his daughter Kate (Zooey Deschanel), black sheep of the family Skip (Ray Romano) and his horny pre-teen twins, and baby of the family Lucy (Kelly Preston) and her girlfriend Judy (Famke Janssen). Oh, and I can’t forget the suicidal grandma.

Kate is given the chore of eulogizing her grandfather at his viking-style ceremony and tries to get help from her dysfunctional family. Unfortunately, they all can’t seem to be in a room together for more than five minutes without bickering about the past. They are able to provide a few memories about how their traveling salesman dad protected them from a crazy redhead who jumped through their dining room window one Thanksgiving, and how he’d often give them cute nicknames like Andrea.

Things get even crazier after the service when they sit down together to watch grandpa’s video will. I don’t want to spoil anything but he drops a bombshell on the family that makes a lot sense when you go back on repeat viewings.

Like I said earlier, this kind of humor isn’t to everyone’s taste; I still laugh out loud every time I watch it. It’s witty and a little off and there’s lots quotable lines. And isn’t that a true testament to how good the writing is.

Everyone in the cast does their job too. I believe that these guys grew up together. I love films with big families for some reason. I like studying the relationships between the siblings like in “Home for the Holidays” or “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

The film is full of some weird characters so, smartly, the story is told largely from Kate’s point-of-view. Deschanel, before she was the queen of adorkable, plays the straight woman in a family of crazies. She’s by far the most normal character and the easiest for the audience to identify with.

I love the oddity and absurdness of “Eulogy.” The story is insane, but there’s a realness in the characters. It’s a quirky film with heart, which is the theme in a lot of my favorite films. It’s about family, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, the people you’re stuck with and will always have your back.

If you get the chance, check out “Eulogy” before you check out for good.

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