HTF REVIEW: What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (My Dad was right)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape

    One of the things that my Dad and I had most
    in common was our love for films. Though he was
    of a generation that gew up on black and white
    movies and glorious musicals, I often was taken
    back by those times he would start talking about
    the most obscure movies of present day and how much
    he enjoyed them. He and I would sit for long periods
    of time talking about these special little films
    he discovered.
    A month before he died, he told me of this film
    he saw on cable TV, called What's Eating Gilbert
    Grape. He was practically beside himself as
    he was anxiously describing this story of a family
    who lives in the midwest, has a retarded son, and
    a Mother who is absolutely huge. The retarded
    son climbs watertowers, the Mother gets ridiculed,
    and there's Gilbert....who is imprisoned within this
    family.
    The timing of my father telling me about this film
    couldn't be better. Paramount was releasing the DVD.
    I immediately went on-line and purchased the title.
    It has been sitting on my shelf for months. Tonight
    I decided to finally open it and give it a watch. I
    apologize that this review comes so late.
    Normally I don't review Paramount titles any longer.
    The studio does not give out screeners, and I'd
    rather devote my review time to those that do.
    However, after watching this film, I had to share
    my thoughts with all of you.
    I feel like punching myself silly for not watching
    this film sooner. It has only been over 7 years
    since its release. I can see why this film has
    become an underground favorite I have heard so much
    about.
    Essentially, the story evolves around a man named
    Gilbert (Johnny Depp) who lives in a small midwestern
    town where nothing exciting ever happens. Gilbert
    works hard at the local grocery to help support his
    family that consists of his two sisters, his obese
    Mother, and his autistic brother, Arnie, who is
    brilliantly played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Gilbert's
    entire existence consists of keeping Arnie out of
    trouble and jail. The only light in Gilbert's life
    comes from the new girl in town, Becky (Juliette Lewis),
    who seems to understand the lives around her more
    than Gilbert does himself.
    To say much more would ruin the film itself. Let
    me just go on to say that this is a remarkable
    warm and poignant film that moved me emotionally.
    Paramount has put out a really nice anamorphic
    transfer. Colors are very warm, picture quality
    is quite good.
    Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, sound is very
    strong and clean, but this movie has no need for
    strong surround effects and the mix doesn't present
    more than it needs to.
    If not for my Father sitting me down one day and
    talking his usual talk about a film he just saw,
    I would have never discovered What's Eating Gilbert
    Grape. As the last scene faded and the credits
    rolled up the screen, I couldn't help but say out
    loud, "You were right, Dad! This was a great film!"
    Available Now for well under $20 - Must buy!
     
  2. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I agree! Whats eating Gilbert Grape is a great film!
    When I first saw it I thought Leonardo was Really autistic! Excellent film [​IMG]
    And it's good to see it's in it's OAR!! I will be getting this as soon as I can find it! A must own!
     
  3. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

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    this movie is a great one, actually a movie i thought leonardo could act. thanks ron for the great review, keep up the great work
     
  4. Michael Dueppen

    Michael Dueppen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the review, Ron!

    This disc is sitting on my shelf for quite some time now because I have to slowly work my way through all the unwatched discs. After your review I'll probably watch the disc tomorrow.

    I have seen this movie once before and I seem to remember that I was quite impressed with it.

    I'll see tomorrow.
     
  5. Martin Blythe

    Martin Blythe Second Unit

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    Ron, I consider you a defacto memmber of the press. You can ask for DVDs from me anytime if it's for review. Now everybody else, I'm just saying that to Ron.
     
  6. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    This is a very good movie and I plan on picking it up soon. I remember telling people about it when it was first released on VHS because most people knew little about it.
     
  7. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    Great review for a great movie. I'll have to get this now that the price came down. [​IMG] Thanks!
     
  8. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I haven't watched my DVD yet, but I will join in the praise of this film.

    A very touching film that stays honest.

    As usual Johnny Depp was terrific in a restrained role, while Leonardo Dicaprio gives a remarkably believable performance.

    Definetely in my top 25 films of the 90's.
     
  9. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,

    This is my wife's all-time favorite movie. I know that at some point in my first ten posts on this board I was asking for it. I pointedly asked Mr. Blythe for it several times in the Studio Feedback area.

    It was a pleasure to give it to her for Christmas and watch her eyes light up... some of you may understand what it feels like to have your favorite film on DVD. Now she does thanks to Paramount, and our old $50 LD can go to eBay hell where it belongs (though it WAS a very nice transfer).

    It's ironic to find this review, since after all the holiday hustle and bustle we will finally sit down to watch this thing tonight (my wife has called and informed me of this already). So I can't wait.

    You and your dad are right, Ron. This is one to treasure; the kind of movie that, frankly, we don't have enough of anymore. I love it the same way I love movies like "Sling Blade" and "The Straight Story." A great tale well-told.

    ~Jamie
     
  10. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

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    Interesting...... so you don't review Paramount DVDs because the studio doesn't send you free screeners? Can I ask why that is?[​IMG]
    .... I hope I don't get banned
     
  11. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

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    Yep a good movie.
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Guy,

    Why would you get banned?

    Here's my situation....

    I get roughly 2-3 new screeners per week average.

    Sometimes I can get up to 8 in one week.

    Currently I receive screeners from: Fox (on and off),

    Warner, Dreamworks, Universal, MGM, Columbia and New Line.

    Because I am receiving product, I am obligated

    to review most of that product.

    That leaves me no time to watch anything else.

    In other words, because I took on responsibility

    of being a reviewer for this forum, I have to watch

    what I get sent rather than what I particularly

    want to watch.

    Also, consider that if studios want me to

    review their product and even consider them for

    BEST OF THE YEAR, they should make their product

    available for early review.

    I am happy to see that Paramount has offered,

    and I am certainly going to try to get some early

    releases of theirs in the future to review.
     
  13. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

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    oh okay, I thought you were implying that you only review DVDs that you get for free, meaning you're in it for the free stuff. I guess I misunderstood
     
  14. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Okay, let me set the record straight here

    since I am laughably the hot topic on another

    forum where my statements have totally been taken

    out of context.

    This forum is not my only job.

    I work 8.5 hours a day at my regular job,

    and come home to devote 3 more hours to this

    forum.

    Though I buy an average of $300 worth of DVD

    product a month, I don't get to watch any of it.

    Everything I watch consists of DVD screener product.

    I receive up to 8 titles a week from just about

    all the studios. Since this is free product, it

    is my duty to give this product my utmost attention

    over anything else.

    The fact I have not been reviewing Paramount product

    is mostly due to the fact that the studio has not

    had me on their auto screener list (which I don't

    think they have). It's not that I don't review

    Paramount product because I want freebies, the fact

    is, I only have time to review the screeners I receive.

    Anyone who thinks that having 2 jobs and reviewing

    an average of 2-3 new DVD titles a week (or more) is

    a walk in the park, you just have no idea. It takes

    2 hours to watch a movie. It takes up to another 2

    hours in some cases to go through supplements. It

    takes up to an additional hour to write the review,

    run it through spellcheck, and then format it in

    code to post on a website in addition to this forum.

    I have to laugh that I have to constantly defend

    myself against those that get banned from this forum

    and go to other sites to post ludicrious remarks that

    have been taken out of context.

    I'll finally sum everything up by saying that I

    have never considered myself to be a great reviewer.

    My writing skills are limited. However, my opinion

    on a DVD is just as important as anyone else writing

    reviews.
     
  16. Michael Dueppen

    Michael Dueppen Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,

    I really enjoy your reviews because they are written from a perspective that is close to my own perspective. You are in it for the movie itself first and then for the technical presentation.

    There are more than enough sites already that go into great depth on every technical detail (which I also like). Your reviews are different and that's what I like about them.

    Keep up the good work.
     
  17. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Ron,

    No need to defend yourself to us. I think we're all wise enough to see past the antics of a banned member on "that other forum".

     
  18. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    I think Ron's method of doing reviews is actually a lot more reliable than the way the grandmaster at that other forum does things. While Ron may go heavy on the superlatives from time to time, at least he is not praising a DVD with an affiliate link asking to support the site.
    That Ron has another job in addition to this is actually a benefit to the site, since if he were to rely on this site for all his income (the way it's done at that other forum), then we would lose an unbiased opinion.
    Bargains which are supported in that other forum are those from which the grandmaster there will benefit most. If there's no affiliateship, it doesn't matter if you can get free DVDs - it will be kept quiet unless the one who relies on the site for all his income trumpets it.
    I laugh at the one time when I agreed with another user who pointed out DVDTalk's mixed message regarding the quest for a widescreen Willy Wonka DVD. The paragraph went something like:
    (affiliate link)Willy Wonka is now on DVD! But only in pan-and-scan! This has upset the DVD community that (affiliate link)Willy Wonka is not available in its original aspect ratio. We all hope that (affiliate link)Willy Wonka will be released in widescreen someday.
    Pointing out that affiliate links to the pan-and-scanned version entirely goes against the campaign to get the movie released on DVD led to a personal attack on myself from big moneybags Geoff.
    That is the biggest problem I think with that other forum - everyone's priority there is to get the owner as much money as possible. A DVD release announcement serves the purpose more to get early preorder revenues than to discuss the format we love.
    For Ron, this forum is a hobby and an interest - his passion for film and DVDs come through. For Geoff it's a business and a dying one at that. There's no passion for DVDs (and why should there be with the studios hoarding them with product to review) and discussion threads are basically viewed as taking up bandwidth from the posts that earn money for the site. The one who contributes to discussion and answers other users' queries there is viewed as a ZERO to them unless they are generating affiliate revenues there.
    Taken out of context, the quote from Ron sounded bad. But let them badmouth all they want. Not only are their claims without basis, but I'd rather have someone who remains faithful to the studios while providing an insightful review, than someone who praises a DVD just to earn affiliate money.
    DVDTalk is good for bargains that the masses find and post, whose findings then support the site. On the other hand, HTF is good for discussion on all the DVDs that we get, and the hobby is what gets us to keep buying DVDs.
    (/editorial) [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I just thought I would throw in my two cents. I just watched this tonight for the first time on DVD and this is a very nice transfer. Some of the sunset and shadow scenes look wonderful. I haven't watched the movie in a few years and have to say this is a really good, "down to earth" movie. It's definitely one of the most underrated movies of the 90's.
     
  20. Dwayne

    Dwayne Supporting Actor

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    You know what's fucking pathetic? Everytime someone gets banned here and starts talking shit on "another forum", they never have the balls to use their real name, or at the very least, the name they used while they were on the HTF.

    I apologize for being somewhat vulger, but the thrashing that this forum gets just really pisses me off sometimes.

    Please continue with the great work, Ron.
     

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