This kid Benjamin who lives out in nowhere goes to a writing workshop. He is excited because one of his favorite sci-fi writers Chevalier is leading a workshop. Turns out the guy is full of himself and not so helpful. Benjamin does submit his story in a contest where Chevalier is a judge. Chevalier is in danger of losing his book deal because he is out of ideas. While reading Benjamin’s story for the contest he decides to steal it as his own. Meanwhile Benjamin goes back home, but a ditzy girl who he let read his story talks him to letting her and her oddball friend make it as a film. What follows is Chevalier steals his story and becomes a hit book while the local film makers destroy his story in a total crap movie. Add to that some rough things that his mom has to go through. Eventually Benjamin pushes forward and an unexpected turn of events helps him to get back what is his. In between all of the above drama are scenes from Benjamin’s story and Chevalier’s version acted out.
The negatives-This film seems to either be loved or hated. Jared Hess who made Napoleon Dynamite made this film and while the film style is similar this film is far more strange and has much more of a mean streak. The oddness particularly in the book as film scenes with Sam Rockwell made turn some viewers off.
The positives-I thought that Benjamin and Chevalier were both well played and that helped hold the film together. I enjoyed seeing one story acted out in three different ways-Benjamin’s view, Chevalier’s version and the awful local filmmaker version.
I paid one dollar for this at the Dollar Tree last week.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. The film has more strangeness than it needs to define it’s characters, but it does enough to make me enjoy the film. I liked that a somewhat basic idea grew into this crazy mess with all of the angles going at once. It’s a good, but not great film. Certainly worth a buck and I’ll watch it again more than once.