Smashed Directed by James Ponsoldt
Written by James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally
Super Crispy Entertainment/Sony Pictures Classic
Rated R/85 Minutes
Limited Release: October 12, 2012
Smashed deals with married couple Kate and Charlie, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), who seem to spend a lot of their time drinking. But after a few scary moments for Kate, waking up on a couch in the middle of nowhere, she decides, along with help of a fellow co-worker, Dave (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation), that AA and her sponsor Octavia Spencer (The Help), might be a wise decision. But when you take away one of the things they have in common, can their marriage survive as her life changes for the better or worse?
We have had many movies come out that deal with alcoholism and its affects on people and the people who love them. I guess for me, the one that comes up right away is Leaving Las Vegas, which deals more with a guy who is ready to check out and doesn’t feel help is going to make things better.
I would say that there is still some powerful and emotional stuff in Smashed. You spend the first part of the movie wondering if you should feel bad for these people, but when Kate decides to get help, then you are cheering for her to turn her life around. She must make some tough decisions as it seems the more she stays with Charlie, who still drinks, she must decide if it’s in her best interest as she struggles to stay sober.
I have to say that this movie revolves around Winstead’s performance, and luckily for the movie, she gives her all in this movie. Considering the last time I saw her in a movie, she was pulling a huge hammer out of her purse and fighting her evil exes, it’s always nice to see another, more dramatic and serious side to people. Kate has to deal with the consequences of her actions, as she lies to her students after throwing up in class and ends up making people think she is pregnant and tries to keep up with the lies, but ends up hurting people and jeopardizing her job.
This is my first movie from director James Ponsoldt, who seems to have done a few shorts before this movie. And this has your typical independent film look, with some beautiful shots of the scenery and actors, with a darker tone of colors during the bad times, just to add more gloom and doom as you watch them drink away their problems. I have not had much experience with dealing with alcoholism in my personal life; I used to drink, but stopped after dealing with a relationship where that person seemed to drink a lot. She wasn’t an alcoholic, but she sort of ruined the whole drinking thing for me. So maybe this movie does have a personal connection for me.
Smashed was given a limited theatrical release, so it may be hard to find; I would suggest checking your local independent movie theater chain. It was at my local theater for a week or two and I wanted to make sure I saw it before it was gone. This will not make my top ten list for the year, but I think it was still a solid movie and one that is worth checking out when it comes out on Blu-ray or Netflix.
There is a point towards the end of the movie where the screen goes black for a few seconds, teasing that this may be the end of the movie, but it continues on, leaving off at a point that leaves you wanting to discuss how it ends, which is almost a given for the indie movies. Sometimes that is a good thing, and other times it just feels like a cheap way to end the movie.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my first review for the Geeks Of Doom, please feel free to leave me some feedback. The only way I can get better is with your help and with more practice, so hopefully there will be many more of these reviews for you to enjoy.