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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2007!
KING OF CALIFORNIA, 2007
Cast: Michael Douglas, Rachel Evan Wood, Willis Burke III, Laura Kachergus, Ashley Greene,
An unstable dad who after getting out of a mental institution tries to convince his daughter that there's Spanish gold buried somewhere under suburbia.
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A touching and quirky drama about an unstable father obsessed with discovering the gold supposedly buried under what is now Costco, and his daughter who canít help but think heís crazy. It takes a while for the characters to grow on you, but when they do, it makes the experience more enjoyable and the outcome even more satisfying.
Solid performances from Michael Douglas and Rachel Evan Wood, and first writer and director Mike Cahil does a fine job of keeping the story grounded in some sense of reality, while at times dipping into utterly ridiculous but providing enough humor to make you laugh with them rather than at them.
The premise is absurd and no one should really take it seriously. However, the chemistry between Douglas and Wood allows us to believe in their characters and root for them. Sometimes in films the story itself can be little in substance, yet the characters and actors are remarkable enough to bypass the absurdity. It brings you back to the notion of suspend disbelief, which so many movies are simply unable to do.
At the age of 16, Miranda (Wood) has a lot to manage. She picks up her father, Charlie (Douglas) a former jazz musician, from a mental hospital, and suddenly her role as daughter changes to caregiver. Sheís the only one working, paying bills, maintaining a car, all while trying to cope with having her father back.
We understand that Charlie is crazy, yet his outlook on life seems rather sane. He points out while in Costco how people buy things they simply donít need. Miranda comes across a fancy dishwasher which Charlie canít fathom the need for when people can wash dishes with their hands. He finds the insanity what many people view as completely sane. Maybe heís not so crazy?
There are so many opportunities where this film can go over the top. From Charlie antics such as digging on the golf course, or going scuba diving in Costco, King of California could easily target the easy laughs that have meaning or place in the film. But Cahil wisely avoids the obvious and keeps the film grounded on its feet.
The movieís not great. But there is enough here to admire and enjoy, plus the stellar performances from both Douglas and Wood makes the film even more of joy to watch. Itís entertaining and charming without ever stepping overboard with the ridiculous, King of California is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Enjoy.