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"Wendy and Lucy"

Directed by Kelly Reichardt.
Written by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond.
Starring Michelle Williams and somebody's fucking dog.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  2/1/09


Wow, I REALLY missed the boat on indie fave "Wendy and Lucy."  Why?  Because I thought this movie really, really fucking sucked.

I mean, total dogshit.  After ten minutes, I knew it was going to be slow-going, but terrible-going?  I didn't see that coming.  "Wendy and Lucy" is about Wendy (Michelle Williams), a young woman from Illinois who is currently in Oregon, slowly making her way to Alaska along with her dog Lucy.  Down on her luck, Wendy tries to steal dog food from a local grocery store but gets caught, and while waiting to pay bail at the local jailhouse, Lucy goes missing, and we spend the rest of the film watching Wendy try to get her car fixed and find her dog.  This takes 80 minutes, then it ends badly (in terms of my happiness with its ending).


This is the height of what makes "independent film" so bad.  You get a B-list star and give her the chance to show street cred by ragging her out a bit (Williams looks terrible throughout) and then showing "raw human emotion" by having a couple of scenes where she breaks into tears.  Uhh, no.  "Wendy and Lucy" is consistently terrible; the camera lingers after meaningless sequences, there are no other real actors of note here save for a brief cameo by Will Patton, and there is zero character development in this movie.  I saw this at noon and was wide awake and nearly fell asleep at least four times.


Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 02/01/09