14 November 2016 | texshelters
Occupy Texas: embarrassing acting, a terrible script and loads of schmalz.
Occupy Texas: This Encampment Should be Broken Up
"Occupy Texas" starts on a promising note in New York City as Occupy Wall Street is fading away and Uncle Nolan comes to take Beau, Texas's least favorite son, home. His parents died in an accident, one of the most overused plot devices in modern entertainment history, and he has to go home. What might have made a more interesting movie was his refusal to go back because he hated Texas and his family. Unfortunately, he goes back and we never do learn why he left Texas for New York in the first place.
The film slides inexorably downhill when Lorelei Linklater, Claire Baker, pouts her way onto the screen. From there, the film is a series of pout fest between Beau and Claire. I'm on team Claire; she clearly has advanced training in pouting from her years filming "Boyhood." If there is ever a film made called The Big Pout, make sure to hire the daughter of director Richard Linklater, Lorelei. I was going to suggest a crowdfunding campaign to keep her out of films, but that would be cruel.
The lead Occupier of the Baker clan is older brother, Beau Baker, played by Gene Gallerano. The script is so bad in the final third of the film that I can't tell whether his acting is ham-fisted or that he is not good enough to overcome a terrible script.
Beau is about ten years older than Claire and fourteen years older than sister Arden, played by the more naturally gifted actor, Catherine Elvir. Certainly, the script makes a difference, but when Claire is called on to shout, complain, or have any emotion other than pouting, she is stiff, unnatural and over the top. Perhaps we can pair her up with Keanu Reeves in a remake of Gone with the Wind.
As for the other actors, I already mentioned that Catherine Elvir does a good job with the little the script has to offer. Peri Gilpin as Aunt Uma does decent work until she gets shrill in one of the worst endings to a film ever on the big screen. Oh, and Uncle Nolan is well portrayed by Reed Birney, but he isn't in the film long enough to have his reputation ruined.
The whiny male lead, Beau, stood for nothing and couldn't defend Occupy. It was a sad indictment of our education system. I imagine a bunch white bankers who looked down on Occupy Wall Street from their offices wrote this script as a final up yours to the idea of people working together in hard economic times.
I also imagine the film will appeal to middle aged white women who never saw a man, Beau in this case, that they didn't try to seduce. He's good looking enough, but the trampy white divorcée played by Janine Turner is just another cliché that takes us away from real emotions that the film avoids. It's one thing for a film to portray characters who are avoiding emotional trauma, but the film itself should not be void of emotions.
No one reacts in a human way. It's as if the film was written by a marketing team at the film company trying to be hip with hipster language. Moreover, the script writers apparently think teenagers in 2016 have lost the ability to use complete sentences. Even Beau tried to talk all hipster so that he could fit in with the teen girls from Texas. It's ridic, capiche?
Beau's ex-girlfriend is pretty, and she's not the worst actress in the film, but the dialogue takes us out of any heartfelt moments. With her lines like, "I couldn't breath I loved you so much," (paraphrase) one wonders what those white Wall Street writers thought of romance.
There were so many times that the characters could have come forward and shared themselves. The writers missed it. And there was no genuine exchange of thoughts in the film. It's a superficial view of a challenging situation. For more believable family drama, watch reruns of the Brady Bunch.
Seriously, the coming of age genre is difficult enough without a back to school special plot and script.
Rating: I want my money back. Hey, at least they had one black character in it, unlike Boyhood.
If you want to watch an excellent coming of age film, see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Or gosh, have some fun and rewatch Napoleon Dynamite or see it for the first time.
Peace, Tex Shelters