Writer-director Dan Rush takes a short story by Raymond Carver and creates a lovely, mournful movie about an alcoholic on a downward spiral. It may be the most expansive treatment a seven-page story has ever received. The story serves as a skeleton upon which Rush drapes a thoughtfully written, fully realized drama. Will Ferrell demonstrates his capability for dramatic acting as Nick, a salesman who is fired for chronic alcoholism and arrives home to find his wife gone, locks changed, and all his possessions — from his ski machine to his father’s LP collection — on the lawn. Camped outside on his recliner and chugging endless Pabst cans, Nick enlists the help of Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), a neglected neighborhood kid, in conducting the yard sale of his life. Although many things happen – Nick teaches Kenny salesmanship and baseball, befriends a pregnant neighbor and reconnects with a high school admirer (Laura Dern) – the film remains quiet and relatively static, staying true to Carver’s brevity and theme of lonely alcoholic desperation.
Director: Dan Rush
Writer: Raymond Carver and Dan Rush
Producer: Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Will Ferrell, Michael Peña, Laura Dern and Stephen Root