Respectable critics respect Michael Bay’s latest, Ambulance; how the acclaimed Everything Everywhere All at Once started in a garage; meet the Bruce Willis lookalike who has stood in for Willis in 13 films. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: Margeaux Sippell writes about how one of Massachusetts’ most notorious crimes actually began in Florida. Elle Fanning stars in Hulu’s The Girl From Plainville, the true story of a teenager convicted of encouraging a close friend to kill himself.
Daniels in the Garage: You’ve probably heard that Amazon and Google started out in a garage, and so did the acclaimed new film Everything Everywhere All at Once, from the celebrated directing duo known as Daniels. Caleb Hammond talked with the film’s editor, Paul Rogers, who explained how Daniels (aka Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) acted out the entire film for him in their garage-office, with help from a white board that included phrases like “hot dog fingers.” Here is the trailer of the film, out nationwide tonight:
97 Percent: Is the current Rotten Tomatoes rating for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Boom: Michael Bay’s Ambulance is also in theaters tonight, and while few people care what critics think of a Bay-directed movie, this one has a 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — pretty good for Bay. If you drill down on the reviews and only pay attention to the critics whose opinions you respect — this is how we all use Rotten Tomatoes, right? — you’ll find some fairly positive words from the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, who calls it “a return to form for this auteur of vehicular mayhem and muscular bombast.” The Washington Post‘s Pat Padua is effusive: “Essentially a feature-length car chase through the streets of Los Angeles, the movie, on paper, would seem to appeal primarily to lower-level brain function. But it’s such efficient stimulation, it rises to a higher level of art.”
Also of Note: Padua lists the film’s budget at $40 million, which is of course huge for indie filmmakers, but low for a Bay film.
Michael Bay and the Critics: I was under the impression that critics revile all Bay-directed movies — too much lady-ogling and stuff-exploding — so I was surprised to see he scored a very solid 82 percent for 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. His best-reviewed movie, I was pleased to see, is The Rock, which stars Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery and is gripping and zingy and deserves its 85 percent. Between Bay’s Ambulance and Cage starring in next week’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, I have a feeling The Rock might get a lot of rewatches.
Book Recommendation: I’m late to Bob Odenkirk’s refreshingly blunt Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir but bought it in anticipation of Better Call Saul returning April 18. I just got to the part where he writes the van-down-by-the-river sketch for Chris Farley and frankly had to pull myself away from the book to write this newsletter.
More Odenkirk: Variety reports that he is attached to star in a new dramedy series at AMC when his current AMC series, Saul, comes to an end. The new series, Straight Man, is based on the Richard Russo novel of the same name and follows the chairman of an English department at an underfunded Rust Belt college in Pennsylvania.
Comment of the Day: Yesterday we asked you what movies changed your life. The best answer is from David Hollingsworth: “I think I have to say The Seventh Seal changed my life. I saw all the limitless possibilities of film and how so many rules can be broken.” I’m biased, but I also loved my mom’s answer: “Moonstruck, because it’s realistic about how people are, but also optimistic.”
Not Bruce Willis: The Washington Post has this timely story about Eric Buarque, who has doubled for Bruce Willis in 13 movies. When he realized he looked a lot like Bruce Willis, the Maryland resident subscribed to The Hollywood Reporter and began tracking Willis’ films so he could apply to double for him. He eventually landed a job when Willis came to Baltimore in 2006 for Live Free or Die Hard. Here he is in a car commercial parodying Willis’ The Sixth Sense:
Main image: Jake Gyllenhaal in Ambulance, directed by Michael Bay.