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HTF REVIEW: "Waking Up In Reno" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Waking Up In Reno

    Studio: Miramax
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 91 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English

    They're four close friends. Some closer than others.

    I'll get right to the punch line....Waking Up In
    is the direct result of what happens when
    you pair together four talented actors with a
    screenplay that ain't worth the toilet paper it was
    written on. The film is nothing more than a big
    dumb road trip comedy about dumb people who constantly
    argue with each other throughout. It's no wonder
    Miramax shelved this turkey for two years before its
    limited theatrical release.


    Roy (Patrick Swayze) and Candy (Charlize Theron) tag
    along with their best friends Lonnie Earl (Billy Bob
    Thornton) and Darlene (Natasha Richardson), as they
    head off for a little vacation together. Hopping into
    a brand new SUV from the dealership that Lonnie Earl
    owns, they head off on a cross-country trek that
    takes them from their homes in rural Arkansas to
    a monster truck show in Reno, Nevada.


    The road trip is plagued with problems even before
    it begins as we find out that Lonnie Earl and Candy
    have, unknown to their partners, taken a tumble or
    two in the sack. Funny stuff, eh? It gets worse
    as we are confronted with a catfight in a hotel
    elevator, a 72-ounce steak-eating contest, and the
    many opportunities our couples take to cheat on one
    another including one with a Puerto Rican prostitute
    (Penélope Cruz) at a bar. I tell yuh, I wasn't sure
    if I was watching a comedy here or an episode of
    Jerry Springer.


    Directed by Jordan Brady from a script by Brent
    Briscoe and Mark Fauser, Waking Up In Reno
    is an ill-conceived film full of rednecks and white
    trash. What was originally conceived as a comedy,
    is played totally straight by its acting ensemble.
    No laughs here!

    How is the transfer?

    I suppose the transfer is above average. Some of
    the outdoor scenes have a rather gritty look to them
    thanks to the introduction of background noise/grain.
    I also noticed a few blemishes scattered throughout
    the print. Images are a little soft, but well
    detailed. The film is very colorful throughout,
    effectively showing off the brilliant neon lights of


    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is absolutely negligible.
    The weight of this soundtrack is across the front
    channels where audio plays with a good amount of
    clarity and detail. Dialogue sits firmly in the
    center channel with nice stereo separation across
    the mains. There is surround information being
    sent to the rear channels, but you would never know
    it as the levels are much too low to ever be heard.
    This means that scenes that would have highly
    benefited from ambient surround activity (such as
    inside a restaurant or casino) fall absolutely
    silent. Even the film's attempt to use pop music
    to help the story along falls flat with its lack
    of overall dynamics and rear support.

    Special Features


    One of the hardest things I had to do after watching
    this dud of a film, was having to put myself through
    additional torture of going through supplemental
    material. Don't ever accuse me of not taking a
    bullet for all of you.

    For those interested, there is a full-length
    commentary by director Jordan Brady and
    screenwriters Brent Briscoe and Mark Fauser. The
    whole thing sounds like one of those bad Morning Zoo
    radio shows with these guys trying to be way funnier
    than they have the capability of being. We learn
    that this film was actually the fault of Billy Bob
    Thornton, who approached these down-and-out
    screenwriters with the idea of doing a redneck
    version of Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice. The
    rest of this commentary seems to be filled with
    personal humorous stories that inspired some of
    the material put into this film, as well revelations
    to body doubles and where individual scenes were
    filmed. There is nothing informative here other
    than a bunch of guys amused by their own efforts.


    Making of Waking Up In Reno may be the
    funniest watch on this entire DVD as it brings the
    cast and director Jordan Brady together in an effort
    to try and sell this film as something creative and
    funny. Two of the most important things I learned
    here was that Billy Bob Thornton improvised
    most of his scenes, and, actress Natasha Richardson
    is an English actress (her American southern accent
    is incredible).
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)

    There are five deleted scenes that when
    combined, run nearly 13-minutes in length. The
    highlights of what is here include further exploration
    into the affair between Lonnie and Candy and then
    the marital problems between Lonnie and Darlene.
    There is also a scene inside a local Costco where
    the boys go for a liquor run. These scenes can be
    played with optional audio commentary by director
    Jordan Brady and screenwriters Brent Briscoe and
    Mark Fauser. One thing to look for -- the actual
    lake that Opie throws a rock into from the opening
    title shot of The Andy Griffith Show.

    While there is absolutely no inclusion of the
    film's original theatrical trailer, there are
    trailers for Ordinary Decent Criminal, Full
    Frontal, Tangled
    and The Osbournes: the
    First Season

    Final Thoughts


    Waking Up Reno is an absolutely forgettable
    film. In fact, forget you ever read this review and
    immediately forget to pick up the box cover should
    you see this at your local video store.

    Enough said!

    Release Date: April 8, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

    Oct 25, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Adam Moreau
    I forgot, Ron. What were you talking about?

  3. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

    May 7, 2001
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    "Waking Up in Review"!
    Thanks Ron, for a great way too start the day.
  4. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

    Sep 13, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Chris Caine

    I thought it was amusing.
    transfer is good, certainly better than Evelyn.

    sound is decent - the songs sounded good to me.
    good soundtrack.

    nostalgic for me, having done a similar road trip.

    all 3 actresses are nice to watch [​IMG]

  5. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

    Jun 20, 2002
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    I saw banners for it in theaters a year ago, I was gona go see it, now if I get the DVD for the price of a movie ticket, why not? Don't answer. [​IMG]
  6. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

    Sep 14, 2001
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    I'm going to give this a rent just because this stars Billy Bob.
  7. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

    Sep 5, 1999
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    I read the title as "Waking Up With Reno", and I thought- "ewwww".

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