Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

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“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” got its name from a punchline for a cartoon panel that portrays a cowboy posse beside a clear wheelchair in a wilderness. That unabashed non-PC belief epitomizes the sort-of-funny, kind-of-sad shaggy feeling of this biopic about its creator, John Callahan. The Portland-based loafer, lothario and lush forever modified their life in 1972 by allowing Dexter, a fellow drunkard and self-proclaimed “cunnilingus king of Orange County” (Jack Ebony, bedecked with massive sideburns), to take the wheel of their baby-blue VW Beetle. The resulting crash left Callahan a quadriplegic at age 21 while Dexter moved away without a scratch. The remainder of Callahan’s tale is mostly dedicated to their lengthy and winding road to sobriety via a 12-step treatment team, adapting to his brand new real situations and his establishing skill for darkly funny drawings with provocative captions that both wryly amuse and profoundly upset.

As flicks about misanthropic outsider designers with health problems get, “Don’t stress” doesn’t come near the superb “American Splendor” with Paul Giamatti whilst the irascible Harvey Pekar. In comparison to the subset of top-tier movies about men in wheelchairs, including “Coming Home,” “My Left Foot,” “The Diving Bell and Butterfly” and “The concept of anything,” it drops somewhat short. And, at age 43, nearly as good of an actor as Joaquin Phoenix is, he appears too-old as young, out-of-control Callahan (which literally seems to be modeled on an orange-haired form of Jeff Spicoli). Also bothersome is how his development as a cartoonist, the absolute most interesting fact about Callahan, becomes secondary to his biggest mental obstacle: the trend he harbors for their unwed mom, just who provided him up for use as a baby. 

Robin Williams, acknowledged in credits, introduced the project according to Callahan’s same-titled 1989 memoir to filmmaker Gus Van Sant 2 full decades ago because of the hopes of playing the lead and making. That knows exactly what the result would-have-been if their “Good Will searching” star ended up being usually the one zipping along inside the motorized wheelchair, traffic and curbs be damned. Maybe humor would take more prominence over self-pity. That Van Sant kept his commitment to the belated comic is commendable. But Van Sant the screenwriter does a disservice towards material by constantly cutting up narrative strands into bite-size chunks and soon after circling back once again to key incidents—the night of the accident, group recovery conferences, a number of teen skateboarders which rescue Callahan after he tumbles off his seat, an inspirational onstage message he gives to fellow addicts. It’s like having a waiter supercede your full bowl of meals with another if your wanting to reach complete it and later brings the initial plate straight back after it has gone cold.  

To continue this meals metaphor, the edges will upstage the primary course—namely, Phoenix. The colorful sideshow of figures in the AA-like group is straight-out of a John Waters film. Rocker Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth shows up as a no-longer Valium- addicted hopeless homemaker. German acting icon Udo Keir’s silver-haired existence is a gift adequate. But one participant dominates these gatherings, a plus-sized force of nature into the guise of musician Beth Ditto, which dares to call BS on Callahan while he will not hold himself responsible for his sorry condition. 

But if anybody outshines Phoenix, it’s Jonah Hill. He’s almost unrecognizable with a slimmed-down bod, streamlined blond Jesus hair and a penchant for caftans, silver stores and tobacco cigarette holders as group’s relaxed trust-fund-kid guru, Donnie. This away homosexual guy is full of Zen elegance while he lovingly calls their acolytes “piglets” while patiently waiting for Callahan becoming deserving of their services as their private sponsor. That includes forgiving those that trespassed against him, most notably Black’s Dexter, that leads to a reconciliation scene that is the film’s shows mainly since it is raw and extremely genuine. 

I noticed that male experts are head over heels for just what they give consideration to a come back to form by Van Sant, whose final great movie, 2008’s “Milk,” collected eight Oscar nominations, including making Sean Penn another acting Oscar. But since there is some solid gnarly things here as addiction dramas get, almost all the women onscreen are defined by their particular ties to Callahan. We don’t know why Rooney Mara shows up in a shadow of a task sporting Mia Farrow’s manic pixie haircut from “Rosemary’s Baby,” very first as Callahan’s real specialist and later as a flight attendant along with his fan. Carrie Brownstein of “Portlandia” is directed to being their disagreeable benefit representative. After which there was their feminine sex agent whom recommends he should ask his pretty youthful nurse to sit on his face and we reach see what that would appear to be. 

Callahan, whoever drawings went such notable publications as The brand new YorkerPenthouse and National Lampoon, ended up being 59 as he died in 2010. As a person who refused to put the handicapped on a pedestal, that knows exactly what he would think about Van Sant’s treatment of their story that grows a lot more uplifting as it rolls along. All i am aware usually a person who drew a panhandler wearing a sign with all the message “Refuse to ‘Have a good Day!’” might display some qualms.  

  

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