Gentlemen Broncos (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 3, 2010 by Dennis Amith
Awkward, silly, embarrassing and fun. If you enjoyed the Hess’s comedy films “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre”, you’ll more than likely enjoy their latest comedy,”Gentlemen Broncos”.
© 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Gentlemen Broncos
DURATION: 89 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), AVC@33MBPS, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox
RATED: PG-13 (Some Crude Humor)
RELEASE DATE: March 9, 2010
Directed by Jared Hess
Written by Jared Hess & Jerusha Hess
Executive Producer: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Ben LeClair
Producer: John J. Kelly, Mike White
Associate Producer: Duff Rich
Cinematography by Munn Powell
Music by David Wingo
Edited by Yuka Ruell
Casting by Meredith Tucker
Production Design by Richard A. Wright
Art Direction by Christopher R. DeMuri
Set Decoration by Les Boothe
Costume Design by April Napier
Michael Angarano as Benjamin
Jennifer Coolidge as Judith
Jemaine Clement as Ronald Chevalier
Halley Feiffer as Tabatha
Hector Jiminez as Lonnie Donaho
Mike White as Dusty
Sam Rockwell as Bronco/Brutus
John Baker as Don Carlos
Mount your battle stag, grab your popcorn balls and get ready to laugh your gonads off as Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Gentlemen Broncos on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 2. The director of Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess) and co-star of HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” (Jemaine Clement) team up to bring you the story of Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano), a lovable loner whose life is turned upside down when a pretentious fantasy author steals his story at a writers camp.Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie), Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Mike White (School of Rock) join a hysterical cast of oddball characters in this “fun, quirky comedy.” (People)
From the creators of “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” comes a new comedy from husband and wife team – Jared and Jerusha Hess titled “Gentlemen Broncos”. The film features cinematography by Munn Powell (“The Sasquatch Team”, “Napoleon Dynamite”) and music composed by David Wingo (“George Washington”, “Snow Angels”, “All the Real Girls”).
“Gentlemen Broncos” is about a young homeschooled teenager named Benjamin Purvis (played by Jermaine Clement, “The Forbidden Kingdom”, “24”, “Black Irish”) who is a budding fantasy writer. He lives with his mother Judith (played by Jennifer Coolidge, “American Pie” films, “Joey”, “Legally Blonde” films) who is a seamstress who wants to get her fashion creations noticed and makes popcorn balls in which Benjamin tries to sell for the family to make money.
One day, Benjamin goes on a homeschool field trip to Cletus Con, a place where he can see his favorite sci-fi novelist Ronald Chevalier (played by Jemaine Clement, “Flight of the Concords”) and also submit his screenplay “Yeast Lords – The Bronco Years” for publishing consideration.
On his trip he meets another writer named Tabatha (played by Halley Feiffer, “The Messanger”, “The Flight of the Conchords”) and her friend and wannabe indie producer/filmmaker named Lonnie Donaho (played by Hector Jimenez, “Nacho Libre”, “Wild Hogs”, “Sin Nombre”). While at the trip, Benjamin allows Tabitha to read his story and she automatically loves it. We then see sci-fi segments from the story in which the character Bronco (played by Sam Rockwell, “Moon”, “Frost/Nixon”, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, “Galaxy Quest”) has had his gonads removed by his nemesis.
While at Cletus Con, Benjamin finds his favorite writer Chevalier to be a turn-off but Benjamin still submits his story. Behind-the-scenes, Chevalier is not enjoying his stay at the con and dislikes reading the amateur novel submissions. He’s in trouble with his publisher for not submitting any significant content, his latest novel has been rejected and in anger, he throws all the student submissions to the floor but immediately, Benjamin’s submission catches his attention. Immediately, Chevalier starts to take Benjami’s story and tweak it to create his own novel.
Meanwhile back at home, life starts to change for Benjamin just a little. Benjamin’s mother gets a strange man named Dusty (played by Mike White, “Cracking Up, “Freaks and Geeks”, “Nacho Libre”) to be his Guardian Angel or friend and Tabatha and Lonnie offer to buy the rights to “Yeast Lords” from Benjamin for $500 and make it to a film. With Benjamin knowing that his family may need money, he accepts Lonnie’s offer. But Benjamin realizes that with Dusty playing Bronco and Lonnie playing the female lead, let alone changing the original story, that this film is going to be trash.
But what happens when “Yeast Lords” receives its theatrical premiere and also when Benjamin finds out that Chevalier has plagiarized his book?
“Gentlemen Broncos” is featured in 1080p High Definition (widescreen – 1:85:1). The film does showcase quite a bit of detail from the skin pores and beard of Jermaine Clement, the leather jack and even the vibrancy of certain outdoor scenes, especially during the sci-fi segments of “Yeast Lords”. AVC is @33MBPS, skin tones are natural, blacks are nice and deep.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
This is where “Gentlemen Broncos” shines. Featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, for the most part, the film is dialogue and musically driven but during the “Yeast Lords” segments, there is actually a good number of sound effects from laser shots to Bronco destroying the opposition. There is also a scene where Benjamin and his mother are caught in a car while Don Carlos is shooting at them.
So, for a film that is pretty much dialogue and musical driven, there are spurts of action sequences in which the surrounds and rear surrounds are used. But those sci-fi segments are not so long. So, “Gentlemen Broncos” is a bit of mix bag when it comes to audio but for the most part, audio is clear and understandable and music ranges from a few popular tracks to schmaltzy ’80s-like ballads.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“Gentlemen Broncos” comes with the following special features in High Definition with English Stereo:
- Audio Commentary by Writer Jared Hess, Writer Jerusha Hess and Director of Photography Munn Powell – Both Jared and Jerusha have fun with the commentary and keeping it fun and hilarious. From Jared’s appreciation of “Star Trek” and discussion of ideas being pitched around and setting up various scenes and what went on behind-the-scenes.
- Deleted Scenes – (5:45) Featuring five deleted scenes: Cup Size, As a Husband and Wife Should, Face Massage and Brutus’ Cave, Daysius Confrontation.
- Gentlemen Broncos: A Buttload of Keepsakes – (8:48) Outtakes from “Gentlemen Broncos”
- One Nutty Movie: Behind the Scenes – (15:29) A featurette showing behind-the-scenes footage on the making of the film and how there was a good number of improvisation used. And how the filmmakers, talent and crew had fun making this film.
- Mini-Docs – Features 18 short mini features which include: Art of Relaxing, Sam and Jared Green Screen, Jemaine Look Alike, VHS film, Edgar Oliver Intro, Richard Wright: Jesus and Dino, Sam and Jerusha: Creative Process, Sam and Edgar Snack Table, Mike White’s Teeth, Mike White Yeast Facility, Turkey Testicles, Dart Gun, Mike White’s Hair, Sam Gun Practice, Sam’s Smoothie, Edgar Oliver Wrap, The Spurlock Trio and Chance of a Lifetime.
“Gentlemen Broncos” didn’t do well in the theater and because the general consensus of the reviews were negative, it didn’t receive a national release. But the film has this quality similar to “Napoleon Dynamite” of taking that small town look and making the characters looks as if they are somewhat behind on the times, especially when it comes to clothing and fashion styles.
I did find Michael Angarano’s performance as the awkward Benjamin Purvis to be quite interesting. Benjamin is a normal kid but was brought up with not much money and thus he eats vegetables and his popcorn ball. Kudos to Jennifer Coolidge who plays Benjamin’s mother Judith because as you’ll see on the special features, she did a lot of improvisational scenes that even surprised the film crew when it came to dialogue. Jemaine Clement as Ronald Chevalier also did his fine share of improv. As for Sam Rockwell, I was surprised he took this role as Bronco/Brutus but needless to say, he adds star power to this film.
But it’s the characters that surround him that just seems way bit surreal.
From his other Judith who just creates the ugliest fashion designs that seem very bad polyester 70-ish mixed with “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Princess Leia”; Dusty who seems like Napoleon Dynamite and likes to use a blow dart which he mixes his concoction with his own feces, Tabitha who tries to use her sexuality to get what she wants and then Lonnie Donaho who embodies the strange and freaky guy with a bad ’90s hairdo and his outstretched mouth (I will say that after watching Hector Jimenez in “Nacho Libre”, I was looking forward to seeing how he would be used in this film). In some way, one can easily mistake this film as taking place in the ’80s if not for Chevalier’s bluetooth headpiece.
For me, coming into this film, I was expecting the similar humor and craziness of “Napoleon Dynamite” but was hoping for a more entertaining film like “Nacho Libre” which I enjoyed. For the most part, the awkwardness, bad fashion style and bad music (with the exception of the ending theme – “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas) are integrated into this film and I found the film to be much more gratifying as a whole, unlike “Napoleon Dynamite” (which I enjoyed only the first half of the film) when comparing the two.
I suppose one can come into a Hess film in the same manner as when you go watch a Judd Apatow or Happy Madison film. It’s comedy that will have its share of immaturity, bad jokes and but at the same time, you either love it or hate it. I’m used to these films and if I’m entertained for an hour and half, then the film has done its job.
After watching “Gentlemen Broncos”, by no means is the film anywhere near being a very good movie but for an awkward comedy, there were a good number of immature, dumb and even a disgusting scenes (one which included a vomit kissing scene), but no matter how embarrassing those scenes were, I felt it worked with this film.
As for the Blu-ray, Twentieth Century Fox did a good job on the picture quality and it’s audio (especially during the sci-fi segments) and there are a good number of special features included.
If you have enjoyed Jared and Jerusha Hess’ previous films, you more than likely will enjoy “Gentlemen Broncos”. I’m pretty open to these type of films and no matter how silly or awkward, I was entertained by the film. It’s not as quirky as “Napoleon Dynamite” but it does have its share of awkwardness and hilarious moments. And if you like the style of comedy of the Hess’s previous films such as “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre”…then “Gentlemen Broncos” is definitely for you.
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