I've always been a fan of Jared Hess. From "Napoleon Dynamite" to "Nacho Libre", his movies seem to have gotten less popular, but the more they kind of drift from the mainstream the more I find myself liking them. "Gentlemen Broncos" is actually one of my all-time favorite movies. So when I saw this movie on Netflix- "Don Verdean"- and that it was directed by Jared Hess I knew I had to watch it. Though isn't it strange that if my curiosity didn't allow me to read this brief description on Netflix I never would have even known that there was a new Jared Hess movie out there.
This movie is funny but in that offbeat kind of way that Jared Hess movies are funny. I'm not sure what people expected when they watched this movie because if you want it to be funny like Kevin Hart, for example, then perhaps you should have watched a Kevin Hart movie. It just feels like the movies of Jared Hess are getting further and further out there but they are also getting better and better for that.
The title character- played by Sam Rockwell- goes around and essentially digs up artifacts from The Bible but as we find out in the movie he has a bit of trouble doing that so he begins to start faking it by planting pieces for others to find and believe are lost treasures. I actually like the fact that it is a plot we haven't seen done a thousand times before- if ever- as I feel like a lot of writers in Hollywood no longer have original ideas.
Furthermore, it pushes that balance between reality and satire because while I don't suspect someone is out there planting fakes, as they would get found out too easily, I've always wondered about things which have been dug up from the past. How do we really know anything is what we say it is, especially when it comes to the church? If you find a dish, how can you say it is a dish which Jesus ate from when the means of measuring such a thing is judged by man who is not perfect?
But, really, you could have just about any backdrop you want for a Jared Hess story and I'd find it to be interesting. Some of his previous movies seemed to wrap up nicely in the end, but this one presented more of a "Do the crime, do the time" type of theme even though at that point Don Verdean still made the most of it with that somewhat unexpected twist at the end.
This has the cast and it has the writing to back it up. If you don't like this movie perhaps you are too single-minded to understand it. If you still find humor from the 1980's to be best used today then this isn't for you. I'm not saying that movies from the 1980's aren't still funny because they are very much so, it's just that we have to evolve our tastes over time and can't keep going back to that Henny Youngman sort of comedy. It's time to grow, it's time for comedy to adapt and I believe this movie is part of doing just that.