EVERYTHING MUST GO
Leaving the Past Behind
Release Date: May 13, 2011
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 96 minutes
Distributor: Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate Films
Director: Dan Rush
Writer: Dan Rush
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO
Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
With nowhere else to go because his wife has frozen all their money and credit cards, Nick starts piecing through his possessions and memory-boosting items like his high school yearbook. He befriends Kenny, a preteen black boy whose mother is preoccupied with taking care of a dying elderly woman down the street, and hires Kenny to watch his stuff and help him with the yard sale. Nick also tracks down a woman he once had an interest in during high school. Finally, he also gets to know a new neighbor who’s pregnant and going through emotional struggles of her own while waiting for her husband to arrive in town.
Over the course of the five days, Nick decides to move from being self-centered and destructive to struggling with withdrawal from alcohol and finally seeing clearly that he’s responsible for the mistakes that have ruined his life. Ultimately, he strives to give away his best remaining possessions to those who still care about him, allowing everything in his past to be set free and to restore and strengthen his friendships. Eventually, he re-invigorates himself now that he has shirked the negative ways of his past behavior.
EVERYTHING MUST GO is a top-notch character study, with numerous strong relationships, terrific performances (especially by Ferrell in a role that could expand his career horizons) and, best of all, undeniably positive messages of personal responsibility, forgiveness and redemption. All told, this is a beautiful production artistically with positive qualities, but there is some negative content. The biggest problems are some strong foul language, including several uses of the “f” word, and a gratuitous sex scene when Nick spies on two neighbors next door. Also, even though there’s a subtle but morally uplifting, poignant tone running through EVERYTHING MUST GO, it would be a much better movie if the protagonist’s journey had more overt religious tones, and perhaps even some biblical ones, as well as a stronger feel-good ending. That, of course, could upset the cynical, liberal, humanist artistic/journalistic establishment that shuns such content and values. Box office figures show, however, that, if marketed properly, such positive elements usually generate a bigger audience in the long run.
EVERYTHING MUST GO is a top-notch character study, with strong relationships, a fine performance by Will Ferrell and some redemptive moments. These positive qualities, however, are spoiled by strong foul language and a gratuitous lewd scene when Nick spies on his next-door neighbors in their bedroom. Consequently, even though there’s a morally uplifting, poignant tone running through EVERYTHING MUST GO, it would be a much better movie if this negative content were eliminated and replaced by stronger, more explicit Christian, biblical or moral content.