“Everything Must Go”
Settles In to Stay
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
I’m confused. The other day I saw a sign advertising an “Indoor Yard Sale.” What next? A patio sale in the living room? A tag sale with stickers?
The new Will Farrell film playing at the Tropic Cinema is called “Everything Must Go.” It’s the story of a man going through a bad divorce who decides to sell everything he owns. So he drags everything he owns into the front yard of his suburban home and holds a sale, lounging there on a lawn chair, reflecting on where his wife went wrong. His wife left him when he started drinking again, a relapsed alcoholic. As he meets people in his neighborhood, curious folk who come to browse over the remnants of his life, he’s inspired to start over … with the help of a new neighbor.
“Everything Must Go” is what we critics like to call a dramedy – a serious comedy. Sounds like a contradiction of terms, sort of like an “indoor yard sale.”
Will Farrell is one of those comedic actors (e.g. Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, et al.) who wants to demonstrate his range, to show people there’s more to him than just a few laughs. Farrell does a good job of proving that here. His performance is matched by Christopher Jordan Wallace, the 15-year-old son of the late rapper The Notorious B.I.G. and R&B singer Faith Evans. He plays a kid who helps with the yard sale.
Rebecca Hall and Laura Dern and Stephen Root and Michael Piña also populate this neighborhood, filmed mainly in Phoenix, Arizona.
Not much happens as Ferrell sleeps in his yard and wakes now and then to swap sad stories with the woman who lives next door.
The film is based on a short story called “Why Don’t You Dance” by the late Raymond Carver, a writer who knew the penalties of being a raging alcoholic. In the fall of 1973 he ran an Iowa Writers’ Workshop with noted author John Cheever, but admitted they did “more drinking than writing.” He finally turned his life around a few years later, thanks to AA. Lung cancer got him a decade later – the same year he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His second wife, poet Tess Gallagher, whom he married six weeks before his death, was named as executor of his literary estate. She did not sell off his stuff in a yard sale.
[from Solares Hill]