When someone dies, people usually choose to remember the best traits in a person and forget about the bad stuff. That dead person—regardless of how terrible a person they may have been—is considered a saint; especially if they die young. SO…. what happens if there is nothing to glorify?
Sixteen-year-old Kyle (Daryl Sabara) is your typical teenager. He swears at his single father, Lance Clayton (Robin Williams), is obsessed with “Stanley Steamer” style pornography, hates music and movies, treats his one and only friend like utter crap, has trouble with school, (he’s not too bright), and his favorite pastime is masturbating while choking himself. Yeah…maybe not that typical. In the film, “World’s Greatest Dad,” written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, you would think that the point of the movie is for the kid or the dad to come to terms with one another and have a life changing experience about finding the value in family. Well, I was pretty shocked when (after a 20 minute exposition of displaying the world’s worst child) the kid is found dead by his loving father. His obsession with asphyxiating masturbation has tragically ended his life. Although this kid was an utter brat, his father loved him more than anything. He was after all his only son. So Lance did what any good father would do when he finds his son in a less than dignified scenario; he made it look like a suicide instead of a freak masturbating accident.
The punch line comes when the suicide note (that Lance wrote) has been published in the newspaper. The note is so deep and well written that suddenly, Kyle becomes a tragically burdened youth who suffered in silence. His suicide note is as revered as something from “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Suddenly Mr. Clayton is as popular as that note. So, instead of stopping with the note, he pens an entire journal—supposedly written by Kyle.
The entire premise of this movie is so ridiculously twisted. I’ve never seen anything so dark. It was sickeningly funny. I was really surprised that Bobcat Goldthwait wrote this because it is so clever. The little nuances in people’s behavior are so realistically interpreted; it’s exceedingly psychological. Goldthwait also directed this flick and he did an excellent job.
Each of the actors were spot on so perfect it’s not even funny. Daryl Sabara did such an amazing job on his raunchy-saturated character; I don’t think I can ever see him as anything other than a little douche bag. Robin Williams performed great as well, like usual. This was a cool role to see him in as he played such an unassuming pushover unlike the normal roles he’s been in. Then there’s the supporting cast which was perfect.
Overall, the movie is really watchable. It’s got some pretty hilarious moments in it too. My problem is the fact that it’s so dark. I’m ok with black comedy, but this one is about as absurd as it gets. It really touches emotions that some people might not be comfortable with. Basically, you have to get in touch with your inner sociopath to really appreciate this film. If that’s not enough, it’s still a decent one-time show.
I will say Magnolia has done a fantastic job on the recent wave of Indie Blu-ray’s to hit the scene. The picture and audio look high definition, most of the time showing off the ability of the format; and even though they aren’t quite reference, they are leagues ahead of any DVD counterparts.
The video is a solid VC-1 1080p transfer that looks rather well. As stated, Magnolia is taking care of their titles. The movie, from beginning to end, looks solid and high-def, with a nice three-dimensional image and a clean sheet that offers no distractions. The colors shine nicely too, helping the image look great. Reds are vibrant, as they are school’s colors, offering many different shades. Other colors pop also, with the other primaries being the most notable. Shadows don’t hide detail, which is good as many Blu-rays seem to struggle from this more than anything. Dark areas hold up nicely offering a bit for the eye that wouldn’t be present in a standard release. Detail is a great part of this movie as well, as most detail one wants to catch is there; the images on the computer screens, to the stubble on faces all the way to the makeup on actors. The video is good and even though this isn’t an action blockbuster, it offers a nice Blu-ray presentation.
The audio is a DTS-HD 5.1 track that is very hard to judge due to the style of movie this is. The movie is nearly all dialogue, with a bit of background music here in there. But there are no big sequences, or huge moments that seem to enlist the services of all the speakers at once. The surrounds do nicely to move the environment of a noisy high school into one’s living room with lockers being slammed, bells ringing and conversations coming from every direction. The subwoofer doesn’t really do anything, but to be honest that is fine, because there is no need for it really. The center channel does the majority of the work, delivering conversation after conversation without being drowned out or two low. Every word is heard and each valuable comment in the movie comes out clear. This disc is not something to show off your audio system with, but there won’t have any issues with this track.
As good as Magnolia is doing in the Video/Audio department, I must say, they aren’t strving in the field of extra features. There’s more here than the previous Magnolia titles we tackled but at the same time they only have one feature in high definition.
The movie is a good one when you look at aspects of acting, writing and the other mechanics but it might throw some people off with the actual story itself. As for the Blu-ray, Magnolia is delivering once more with a good presentation that will please those who are interested. Add a slightly larger amount of extras then the typical Magnolia release to the equation and you get World’s Greatest Dad probably the best written and acted movie we would advise against blind buying. Rent it first!