Absolutely charming and hilarious. Jason Schwartzman is pitch perfect as Larry, a slacker who gets fired from his job in a restaurant at the beginning of the film, sipping through a straw from his Big Gulp. Schwartzman isn't the only tour de force in the film, his dog Arrow makes the perfect comedic counterpart, exasperated and non-plussed at many of Larry's diatribes and philosophies. Bob Byington deserves a lot of credit as well, his previous film Somebody Up There Likes Me is equally hilarious, but 7 Chinese Brothers is less surreal and more rooted in character and pathos. 7CB has <more>
lots of mainstream appeal and will undoubtedly be listed in with other iconic Schartzman roles. 7CB is always surprising, always pushing at the edges of conventional narratives. The film works so well because it is coming from a very unique voice of storytelling and sense of humor. It's exciting to see a film come out like this and almost instantly feel like a comedy classic. Do yourself a favor and get a big gulp of 7 Chinese Brothers.
This is not a complex movie! It's a nice simple story of a basic slacker biding his time in anticipation of an inheritance. In the mean time we see and experience his daily life.Director/writer Bob Byington brings us a story of 'Larry' Jason Schwartzman who feels no need to do something with his life because he is the sole survivor in his grandmothers family. His grandmother Olympia Dukakis resides in an assisted living retirement center. Larry occasionally visits, mostly when he needs cash. He knows his grandmother is wealthy and he is confident he will inherit all because he <more>
is the only 'family' she has. Larry is comfortable with his dog Arrow and a bottle of booze and job at a quick lube auto service.The day arrives when he learns his grandmother has passed away and Larry makes a move which turns out to be a big mistake! And in his rush to know what his inheritance will be he botches the memorial service. The estate lawyer explains to Larry how 'the will' is portioned out. At this point Larry realizes his past has caught up with him and there's nothing he can do about it now.This is a charming quirky film that is funny and lighthearted. Any indie cinema buff will enjoy this fine production and acting by some well known actors.
Bob Byington has a following. No doubt about it. They flocked to the IFC in New York to see 'Seven Chinese Brothers'. And after the showing, to quiz Byington on his film. As everyone who has seen the film discovers that the narrative is thin gruel. Jason Bateman is plays the 'nebbish' Larry, who drinks his life away in small doses. A loner, he finds companionship with his dog Arrow. Talented that he is, he should never play against a dog nor a child. Olympia Dukakis does a cameo as his grandmother, who leaves him a spanking almost new Mercedes, but not her million dollars that <more>
goes to Larry's buddy Major, an aide at the nursing home grandma resides. She knows her Larry who won't make much of his life. In the end, Larry find a life of sorts at a lube shop with a pretty manager whom he has a thing for. But, will it work out, we cannot say for sure. One thing, Byington lets us in on is that in the end, Larry has found a sober zen moment with Arrow as this film ends after 75 minutes. What about the title? 'Seven Chinese Brothers' is a well known children's book. by Claire Huchet Bishop in 1938. Still in print today, it is a standard in library children's room. Bishop retells simply a story of seven Chinese brothers whose collective strength put a check on an evil emperor who cannot escape his downfall. No hit of a hero in Larry. Quite the contrary. Some posit, Byington had a kung fu in mind. Sorry old darlings. The nearest to a Kurosawa that 'Seven Chinese Brothers' comes to that genre is that Larry is a loner...a ronin, a masterless samurai. Forget about that thought. If the film has any strength it's Arrow and Bateman who a much underrated actor and la grande dame that is Olympia Dukakis. Wait till the DVD comes out, for the price of admission is not worth opening your wallet.
Another Jason Schwartzman Gem - Must See (by Melissa_Antoinette_Garza)
I had heard about this movie a couple months ago and kept it on my radar ever since. 7 Chinese Brothers stars Jason Schwartzman, who I've always been a big fan of. He has an undeniable likability that he has carried with him ever since Rushmore 1998 and it never shines so brighter as it does in this film.The film opens with Larry Schwartzman getting fired for taking $5.00 of a $10.00 tip from his job as a bartender. He goes out the way anyone who has left a job under bad circumstances wants to go out. He loudly tells everyone he was fired and takes a bottle of tequila.He goes home to <more>
his adorable dog Arrow which is arguably the most significant relationship in his life. Not that he doesn't have people in his life. His only surviving relative is his grandmother Olympia Dukakis who he certainly cares about but like most family dynamics the unconditional love is far more complicated than with Arrow. He asks his grandma for money and though she has it, she refuses; and with good reason. She asks him how he would feel if someone consistently showed up with they needed something. Her hope is that he stand on his own two feet, learn Spanish, and find someone to be with.His closest friend is Major Tunde Adebimpe who works at his grandmother's senior facility. He's nice, sincerely cares about Larry and sells him prescription drugs at a low fee. Beyond the scripts, he takes, Larry also drinks way too much. Rest easy, we're not going down the depressing spiral that is Leaving Las Vegas 1995 . This isn't a movie about an addict or addiction. It's a movie about a guy who is nice and funny but just doesn't know what he wants or where to go to get it.He manages to get a job at a Quick Lube where he instantly develops an attraction to his boss Lupe Eleanore Pienta . Upon meeting her, Major develops feelings for her as well. The two men never really fight and though Larry definitely feels inadequate in many ways compared to his friend, they remain very close.Once again, this movie takes a very high-road. In so many lesser films there's an all out war between best friends who fight to the death for the person they both desire. Aside from a moment of small sabotage where Larry lies about Major having a prosthetic leg, he doesn't try to keep the two apart. Even when Larry lies to Lupe it fits with the character completely and when confronted about the lie, there's is a big blowout or fight. There's just an honest explanation as to why he felt the need to tell her that.Lupe plays a pivotal role that is refreshingly unique. She isn't treated like some prize to win nor do they follow the trope of having her accuse the men of sexism while playing a woman all-to- willing to be fought over. This movie is smarter than that and far more realistic. More often than not, when two friends who are both generally good people have affection for the same individual life just goes on. There's a discussion about it, but overall everyone tries to be careful and wary of the other's feelings which is what good people do. They're honest as much as they can be. They certainly fall victim to pride or jealousy once in awhile, but overall rationale takes over and things work out in whatever way they do. Most human beings accept that and it's great to see a movie which acknowledges that aspect of behavior.Lupe doesn't play the victim at all. She doesn't pit the men against one another. She like everyone else is trying to figure their life out. She's a mother who works with her ex-husband. She's strong, self-sufficient and enjoys her job. She also isn't instantly charmed with Larry's quirky jokes. Some make her laugh and some make her roll her eyes which again is so real. She isn't a doe-eyed gal put there for eye-candy as merely a romantic interest. She has a real solid role in the film being both a good friend who tries to watch out for her employees and a good person overall.Major life events trigger something in Larry that changes his perspective and reignites an ambition within him. It's not like there's a 180 on the character, but more-so just a comfortability in his own skin. Schwartzman portrays it brilliantly ensuring every moment comes across as genuine and real.The entire cast is fantastic and adds so much to the production. Arrow is just an adorable French Bulldog that I want to hug and take home with me, but being that it is really Jason Schwartzman's dog, I don't think he's up for adoption.Another key component of the film is the the music. From the start when Larry gets fired and all the way up until the last song, the music helps set the tone and the mood. They are all perfectly well selected and great tunes by great artists.I would certainly suggest purchasing this one immediately. It's a smart movie for smart people and is all heart. Don't waste time or money renting, as with most of Scwartzman's work this is definitely one to own.
Great film - don't get the title though (by mbtownplanning)
Reading some reviews I half expected a slacker film as in something a bit like American Pie but with slackers . But this was good - I like films that are realistic like this one. That is the main thing I liked - not big high stakes drama or clichés or tilting towards a message.The character was not pointless - the character does grow.I didn't really understand the title though. I like REM I was really into them as a young adult - probably too much . But whilst the song might have an interpretation that makes sense in the context of the movie, it surely doesn't enough to name the <more>
film after it. A kind of random incidental-ism is fine, but it should make some sense.