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Toronto 2010: “Everything Must Go,” Reviewed

Toronto 2010: “Everything Must Go,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

It didn’t take long to start pondering the irony of writer/director Dan Rush’s surname while watching “Everything Must Go,” an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story that would’ve been best left that way. Instead, it is a 95-minute opportunity wasted as Will Ferrell mopes around the front lawn of his home waiting for an epiphany that never arrives.

Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a sadsack regional VP who is fired from his corporate gig, primarily comprised of giving inspirational speeches, and left by his wife on the same day. Although a return of Halsey’s battle with alcoholism is cited as the reason why the missus left, no such excuse is giving for laying out all of his stuff in front and not wanting to return. She may’ve had enough of him, but the only reasonable explanation is it provides the set up for one of those seriocomic examinations of middle age and suburban life, complete with a wry, hopeful score, elegant but subdued cinematography and an actor who would like to be known for more than comedy.

As far as the latter is concerned, Ferrell is a believable everyman, but morose to the point of indifference (not his, but ours). Since Halsey loses his job mere minutes into the film, he’s understandably deflated, and the additional indignities of losing his wallet and subsequently, his car to repossession push him back into drinking, which Rush doesn’t play for laughs, instead using the beer cans for angry outbursts where something needs to be thrown. Naturally, Ferrell can do the big emotions, but he appears a little less comfortable expressing the smaller ones unless it’s the punchline for a joke (and in fact a simple smirk provides one of the film’s bigger laughs). After plunging a Swiss Army knife engraved with his name into the tire of his former boss at work, the film’s energy seems to go out with the air. Unfortunately, that’s just five minutes in.

09112010_WillFerrellEverythingMustGo2.jpgEven though his unseen wife can’t be around him, he is far less offensive to the hot pregnant neighbor (Rebecca Hall) across the street and a young pudgy African-American kid (Christopher “C.J.” Wallace, who shares the effortless charisma of his late real-life father, the Notorious B.I.G.) who rides his bike down the block. The latter helps him with his eventual yard sale, which serves as his excuse to keep the cops at bay as he lives on the street, while the former gives him someone closer in age to talk to with problems of her own, serving the roles of a surrogate son and wife when Halsey has no one else, except an AA sponsor (Michael Pena) who one could hardly call a friend, having once arresting him during his day job as a cop for breaking into his own house while intoxicated.

One can tell the script for “Everything Must Go” must’ve been good, not only by the impressive cast that Rush assembled as a first-time writer/director, but in bits and spurts of cleverly devised dialogue throughout. Though one can feel the weight of every conversation in the film as having some profound meaning that the film can’t always deliver on, Rush has a light enough touch to not make it feel oppressive, even though as a director he needs to develop a better sense of picking up the pace. Ultimately, “Everything Must Go” isn’t a bad film, just an unnecessary one given all the other high-minded films that have ruminated on the perils of suburbia and the messed-up people who live in track housing. It’s even set in Arizona, so the desert is not just a metaphorical one for Halsey, but a literal one and speaking only for myself, it left me parched.

“Everything Must Go” does not yet have U.S. distribution.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…