The Good

An interesting story of a man coming to terms with his past, present and future.

The Bad

A lot of the main actors in this film seem like they are acting how they think the kinds of people they are portraying act, rather than how they really are.

Daltry Calhoun is one of those films that didn’t really work for me. I know that I was supposed to be taken with the story of a man, Daltry Calhoun, (miscast here as Johnny Knoxville), reconnecting with his daughter but I never bought Knoxville in this role. In fact, aside from Flora (Juliette Lewis) and June (Sophie Traub), all the other actors seemed like LA transplants who were told they were going to be playing people from Ducktown, Tennessee. Even Elizabeth Banks (who plays the character of May) wasn’t that convincing.

I am trying to pinpoint where this movie went wrong with me. I guess I just genuinely never felt engaged with any of the characters. The subject matter of this film seems to be perfect for an independent film. Essentially, Daltry Calhoun a loser who got his life together, and in doing so left a wife and child behind. This film deals with him coming to terms with that and with the fact that as a hometown hero (he has made a lot of money in the grass business) the business he built is also faltering.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Daltry Calhoun is a bad movie, it just never grabbed me and made me believe I was watching a story. I always saw the person behind the curtain pulling the strings.

Features

Feature Commentary

This is a commentary track with writer/ director Katrina Holden Bronson, Danielle Renfrew and Quentin Tarantino. This is a track that is filled with a lot of sass. Try as he might, Tarantino can’t help but take over and dominate this thing. However, he does give Bronson and Renfrew their moments and at the end of the day, this film probably wouldn’t be getting any kind of notice if he wasn’t involved. So can you really get on him for talking too much?

Deleted Scenes

These deleted scenes also come with an optional commentary track by all the people in the feature commentary track. There are five in total and some of their titles are “Frankie Comes to Town” and “Mean Makes You Ugly.” Bronson discusses the “hows” and “whys” of why these things were cut, and only then does Tarantino seem to give his take on it as well. While I appreciate the extra effort, I don’t know that this audio track was necessary.

Making Of

Titled Hollywood Comes to Tennessee: The Making of Daltry Calhoun, this is a fairly standard segment about how this movie got made. The director talks about wanting to make a film that dealt with a father/daughter relationship, and all the actors, producers, etc. discuss why they wanted to be a part of this movie. It really seems like everyone had a very good time working together and that the result of that good time is this film.

The B Team

This is a group of people led by Juliette Lewis who felt snubbed when they showed up to the set of Daltry Calhoun, and found out that people like Johnny Knoxville, Sophie Traub and the director had already bonded. Feeling left out, she and cast members like David Koechner formed their own club called “The B Team.” They even made up hats for their group to show their solidarity.

Blooper Reel

This is set to some Daltry Calhoun-esque music, and we see the actors and the crew reveling in the art of messing up a scene. If you want a good, quick laugh you should certainly watch this.

Blue Mother Tupelo Music Video

This is a video for the song “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and it’s done by Blue Mother Tupelo. Featuring shots of the group performing the song, mixed with shots from the movie, I would say watch this music video if A) you like music videos and B) you like this kind of music.

Video

Widescreen (2.35:1) - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This movie seemed like a distant cousin of both Raising Arizona and the films of Danny Boyle. It is sparse in terms of what it chooses to put in the frame, but what is in the frame very much contrasts off one another in a color sense. In fact, that is a big part of this movie’s charm. Sadly, I just felt that the actors placed in the frame didn’t do their surroundings justice.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - Spanish Subtitles. I really wish I was able to get into this movie more, because I loved the way Sophie Traub did her voiceover. This carried throughout the film and helped keep me as a viewer oriented within the story. All told the audio was fine. I never had a problem hearing what the actors were saying, and I didn’t even have to turn my TV up that high. Overall, I just didn’t buy the majority of the performances.

Package

The packaging features a shot of Johnny Knoxville sporting a simple suit with buttons of the main characters stuck on him. Behind him is the American flag (in different colors) in grass. The back cover features shots from the movie, a description of what it’s about, a “Bonus Features”/Technical Specs listing and a cast list. There is an earnestness to this cover that I appreciate, even if I don’t think that it fully translates to the film.

Final Word

I happen to think that many of the actors in this movie are going to go on and do really big things. I think Elizabeth Banks is going to emerge as the next Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts. I think Sophie Traub has a very bright future ahead of her and I think Juliette Lewis is also going to rise above her current status. I even think that Johnny Knoxville will become a very bankable leading man. In fact, I am willing to bet that in 5 to 10 years he becomes John Knoxville and starts to take on even more adult roles. This seems to be the direction he’s headed anyway.

While I may not be that big a fan of this movie, I certainly am not going to tell people not to see it. Daltry Calhoun will work differently for everyone who sees it. Judge for yourself.