Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland
Plot: Two young boys discover a man on the run hiding on a small island. They decide to help the man repair a shipwrecked boat that is also on the Island so that he can escape down the river.
Rate It: (0 – 3 Guys)
So what did you think?
Adam – Wow what a great movie. This struck me as sort of mix of Stand By Me and Beasts of the Southern Wild but with a great performance by Matthew McConaughey, who is quickly becoming much more than an actor whose name I can’t spell without double checking IMDB.
Scotty - Mud was a nice vacation from the summer blockbuster with solid character development and a solid story. The young actors in this film stole the show although McConaughey was good he was outshined by Sheridan and Lofland in this coming of age tale that gets you involved emotionally, it also is a decent chase film with the sheriff on the hunt. Overall enjoyed my time at the theater and director Nichols continues to impress with this touching film.
Griff – One of the better coming of age movies I have seen in a long time. Very strong performances by everyone involved and McConaughey continues to impress. This could be one of the best films I have seen so far this year.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – What kind of film can get 99% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes? I had seen a few bloggers singing this films praises but I had tried not to read any of the reviews so as to not ruin the film. Was really glad we got a chance to check this one out at what passes for an art house theater in these parts.
Scotty - I was hoping for a diamond in the independent rough.
Griff – I had heard nothing but good things about this movie and it did not disappoint.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam - In a film era marked by the belief you can never have enough explosions, excessive CGI or Will Smith’s mutant looking child in movie, this was a refreshing change of pace. A film that has an actual narrative and assumes that the audience is more evolved than a troglodyte, imagine that.
Scotty - The film was not innovative and it felt and looked like a mix between Huck Finn and Stand By Me, this is a story told many times, but Nichols and all the actors and actresses did a great job bringing this story to life.
Griff – This was a nice little break from the explosion and CGI filled summer movies. It was a classic coming of age tale with a few nice twists.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – O yeah, picture a classic boys adventure tale, along the lines of a present day Mark Twain. A great coming of age tale about a young boy, Ellis finding his place in the world and learning about his abilities and limitations. Writer Director Jeff Nichols continues head in the right direction with this wonderful Southern gothic film.
Scotty – I thought script was the best part of the film, the characters are familiar and endearing. The story moved along nicely and it did not seem rushed or forced.
Griff - Very well written. I was little bit critical of Jeff Nichols for his ambiguous ending of Take Shelter. Things all tie up nicely to a satisfying conclusion in the one.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – So nice to see McConaughey, stop simply cashing checks in lame films recently. He really brings his A game in this one. However, the two actors who impressed me most were two young actors Tye Sheridan (Ellis) and Jacob Lofland (Neckbone).
Scotty – I thought Tye Sheridan was great but as I said earlier the cast was well positioned and well directed, all of them. My only issue is with the look of McConaughey, his teeth are far too white for this role and there could have been more “I’m all in” from him.
Griff - McConaughey is on a really nice run right now and this is no exception. Excellent performance. Arguably his best yet. The two young boys were great as well (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland). I have to give some props to Sam Shepard for his role in this one as well.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – The film had an original score by David Wingo that blended seamlessly with the action on the screen.
Scotty - “Take you Away” by Lucero
Griff - Great score by David Wingo but I don’t remember a song in particular.
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “This river brings a lot of trash down, you gotta know what’s worth keeping and what’s worth letting go” Galen
Scotty – “This River brings a lot of trash; you need to know what’s worth keeping and what’s not.”
Griff – “This river brings a lot of trash down, you gotta know what’s worth keeping and what’s worth letting go.”
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - I don’t know how you could make this film better. Well ok maybe if we got a look at Reese Witherspoon’s dueling banjos.
Scotty – I have very little here, I really liked the movie but McConaughey needs to look the part a little more.
Griff - This was pretty close to a perfect. I guess you could complain that they went for the feel good ending but I wasn’t really bothered by it.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - Start up your outboard motor and steer your boat down to the theater as quick as you can. This is a film folks are going to be talking about during Oscar season.
Scotty – No need to see it in the theater but I did not feel ripped off, it was a really good movie but this could be enjoyed in your own home.
Griff – It’s a very well shot film and think everyone should see it but I don’t think you will lose a ton by seeing this one at home if you miss it in the theater.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – Well I already mentioned two good films worth checking out. However, lets stick with films that take place on a river, Deliverance and A River Runs Through It are both personal favorites.
Scotty – Stand by Me and A Perfect World
Griff - If you have never seen Stand By Me it’s a must see. How about some classic picks? Rebel Without a Cause or The Graduate would be two good choices.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam - So this film is currently at the number two spot in my favorite films of the year ranking. If it is playing anywhere near you please do yourself a favor and check it out.
Scotty – Writer/Director Jeff Nichols has made two films I have seen and I enjoyed them both this one and Take Shelter. The cast was well put together and well directed and I cannot say enough about Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, they made the film in my opinion. I also liked Nichols favorite actor Michael Shannon’s role, although small. I really enjoyed the break from explosions and special effects.
Griff - This movie along with Place Beyond the Pines are two very well acted dramas that surprised me with their release dates. Both were really well done and seemed like movies that would have been better served being released during the more serious fall movie run.