Monday, March 19, 2012

CASA de mi PADRE… The Insanity of Will Ferrell Continues… Thank Goodness!

I had this whacked out dream; I was watching a Mexican soap opera and Will Ferrell was in it, and he was speaking perfect Spanish (and only Spanish!) Well, that sounds like dream, but actually it’s a real movie… starring, Will Ferrell speaking only Spanish! CASA di me PADRE, is a comedy, mixed with Sam Peckinpah (no make that Robert Rodriguez El Mariachi style violence) and some Sergio Leone close ups. I must admit, the first time I viewed the trailer for this film, I was laughing at Will Ferrell so much, I didn’t even realize that the whole preview was all in Spanish with sub-titles. I just heard about this movie, less than a week ago… but I knew, that I just had to see it! Nobody today makes me laugh harder than Senor Will Ferrell… the guy just kill’s me. I have fondness for comic actors who can say or do the silliest shit, while playing it totally straight (the late Leslie Nielson could do it like that.) But, I don’t think anyone’s ever pushed the envelope this far and did it in another language like this? Since his old SNL days, Big Will Ferrell has always had that commitment when he becomes a character (no matter how ridiculous the circumstance) that even the waterboarding torture of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, I don't think could even break.

In the film, Ferrell plays Armando Alverez the youngest son of rich Mexican rancher played by Pedro Armendariz Jr., who’s not exactly his father’s favorite (the reason is told in a sepia flashback, with Armando as a child. His father ever since he's been hi father's whipping boy and even once gave him away to the circus. Regardless, Armando has a big heart and loves his life as a rancher. But his simple ranching way of life becomes threatened when a drug war makes its way on to his fathers beloved land. To make things worse, one of the drug traffickers is Armando’s own brother, Raul (played by Diego Luna) and who unfortunately for Armando can do no wrong in their father’s eyes.
Pitted against brother Raul, is the stupidly cool, Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal) who's channeling the suave French actor, Alain Delon from the 1970’s, as a white suited drug kingpin who really enjoys smoking two cigarettes’ at once. Onza also has a thing for Raul’s fiancée, Sonia (the seriously caliente, Genesis Rodriguez) who just happens to also be his niece (and the woman, that Armando actually loves) Both Luna and Bernal, became stars ten years ago in the international hit, Y Tu Mama Tambien, really get to do the goofy as these two slick rivals; with the un-slick, Ferrell caught in the middle. I found it funny, how these two smaller sized actors (who seem to be playing parts, ten years older then the actually are) refer to the hulking Ferrell in the story; as “Little Armando.” Like the 70’s iconic hero of past Billy Jack, Ferrell’s Armando, must go on the hero’s journey to become a man... and he does this with the help of a talking animatronic white panther (also called, the Onza.)

Nobody in this film uses a cell phone?
Casa De Mi Padre is a pseudo foreign (it was filmed in Simi Valley, California) and a send up of the telenovela’s and Peckinpah’s, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and to add a dash of authentic Peckinpah-ness, the gravely voice of Kris Kristofferson, gives the audience the heads up that every one's gonna be speaking Spanish in this movie. Plus, it’s a nutty Will Ferrell comedy…and some occasional wild musical numbers... so you’re getting three things for the price of one. You can't say; Will Ferrell doesn't take creative risks!

I joined the Landmark Theater Film Club (it’s free to do) and every once in a while, I’ll read an email they send me… I just happened to read the latest one they sent, announcing an upcoming showing of Casa de mi Padre, featuring a Q & A with the producer & star, Ferrell that was it for me… how could I not? So I went last night (Sunday, March 18th.)
So, let me tell you about the Q & A, while it’s still fresh in my head. The theater was sold out with Ferrell-fanatics. Even the Landmark Theater staff donned burgundy shirts in homage to Ferrell’s famed Anchorman character Ron Burgundy (okay, I’m stretching… but it sounded good.) Ferrell as expected came out to hardy applause, and proceeded to be, Will Ferrell. He did give the audience insight to the production. As well as the tale of his semi-mastering of the Spanish language (Ferrell had three years of high school Spanish, and two semesters at USC.) Farrell also, explained that the major studios passed of this on this movie that was shot in Mexicoscope, and was financed independently. When, Case de Mi Padre was finished, they still couldn’t get a distribution deal with any of the major studios.  He said "they" thought it was a funny picture; but they all took a pass on the films wild concept… no, huevous rancheros. Ferrell said that this picture will have a bigger opening in the Latin market, then here in the U.S..  Part of the fun in the film is it’s purposely meant to look cheap with horrible continuity, bad effects and so on. But some of these silly flaws have a pretty cool surrealness about them. Ferrell said that acting besides, Luna and Bernal was a great experience, and also with the late Armendariz, (who passed away in December) who Ferrell said was like acting with the Mexican Marlon Brando.

Legendary Mexican Actor Pedro Armedariz Jr.'s Final Film.

She's not in the movie... I just put her in here because she Mexican & in a bikini... butt maybe, Casa de mi Padre II?
When the questions were opened up to the audience, one of the best was about the Casa de mi Padre's big passionate love scene, which used a butt double, but for who? I’m not saying, but given Ferrell’s past flair for reckless nude scenes, I’ll just leave it your imagination. Ferrell did joke about telling his wife about the scene (which included giving a woman pleasure doing karate chops on a certain part of the body) “My marriage is on the rocks," he joked. So is Will Ferrell gonna be the next big Latin film star?… well, let's hope so; he’s got the huevous rancheros for it!

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