7 Chinese Brothers
Directed by Bob Byington
Starring Jason Schwartzman, Stephen Root, Olympia Dukakis, Alex Karpovsky and Jonathan Togo
Larry is an unqualified, unemployable, inebriated prankster who rides a tide of booze onto the glorious shores of an undiscriminating Quick-Lube. Taking a part-time job vacuuming and washing windshields, Larry finds himself mixed up with hostile co-workers and unsatisfied customers, while also finding himself smitten with his lovely boss, Lupe Torrez. Will Larry keep it together long enough to win the girl, provide for man's best friend (his dog Arrow), and do his grandmother proud?
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★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
Dog of the year, for sure.
★★★★ review by Wood on Letterboxd
I will watch anything with Jason Schwartzman.
This movie is basically my life.
★★★½ review by nictate on Letterboxd
Closest a movie has come to making me feel like I was hanging out with @JesseKnight, which = a content, relaxed state enjoying an original, hilarious point-of-view on life. Jason nestles into it. His (IRL) bulldog is a perfect straight man. More Eleanore Pienta, please.
★★★½ review by Rachael on Letterboxd
I first saw Bob Byington in Alex Ross Perry's 'The Color Wheel' and honestly have not seen him in anything or seen any of his films since then. So I wasn't sure direction wise how this would go. Altogether I quite enjoyed this, and it is not because Jason Schwartzman was the lead role. (Or the fact that I met him after the screening and hugged him and touched his beard with my cheek...ok I'm done)
Jason Scwhartzman gets typecast in these roles where the character is dealing with some kind personal issue in life. Usually I moan and groan about this sort of thing, but I think he nails these roles so well that I'm fine with him acting them. His character, Larry, is dealing with what seems like a drinking issue, getting fired from his job, and taking care of the only relative he has left - his grandmom. (Played with ease by Olympia Dukakis)
My problem with the character of Larry is that we don't get enough back story to him. We're thrown into this situation in his opening scene and have to piece things together on our own. He even asks about his history, yet the film doesn't tap into it.
My other issue with the film was that the soundtrack and the score didn't flow together well at all. It felt like a score from Napoleon Dynamite or some quirky film like that with a soundtrack from some high school coming of age movie set in the 90's. Not cohesive enough for my liking.
The script flowed really well. During the Q&A session afterwards, Byington revealed that some of the lines became improvised while filming. You could tell by their delivery, and I enjoyed it. It was equal parts sad yet funny.
I'd like to see more of Bob's work because I really enjoyed this despite my few qualms.
★★★★ review by Gustaf Ottosson on Letterboxd
Nr 101 on All Films I Saw 2015 (Ranked)
Part of Stockholm Film Festival 2015
The second film of this years movie marathon at the Stockholm Film Festival was the long awaited 7 Chinese Brothers by one of my favourite American directors: Bob Byington. Just as in his previous films this one utilises a sense of humour that is definitely not for everyone. Out of the 100 paying movie goers me and my friend was the two who laughed the most. I get why many people don't understand Byington's subtle humour. Often what makes a scene funny is a small hesitation from one of the characters that one easily can miss.
7 Chinese Brothers appealed greatly to me and as usual watching Byington's creations I was entertained all the way through, but I still consider this to be one of his weakest films, purely because it "only" made me laugh out loud sporadically, whereas RSO had be on a constant string of laughs all the way through.
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