Supposed ‘Nobody’ Bob Odenkirk Seeks Revenge, and I’m Never Quite Sure Why

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Nobody (CREDIT: Allen Fraser/Universal Pictures)

Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Aleksei Serebryakov, Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Rating: R for All The Expected Blood and Profanity

Release Date: March 26, 2021

When I saw the trailer for Nobody and was teased by its promise of Bob Odenkirk pushed to the edge to protect his family, I couldn’t resist. This is a guy who’s famous for his nonpareil knack for frustrated bursts of a certain profanity, after all. How has he not been getting cast in some of the secret-badass roles that Liam Neeson’s been hogging the past decade? But then when the movie actually gets going, it makes a very odd decision. During an opening home invasion scene, Odenkirk just … lets the burglars get away with it. It’s strongly implied that that’s actually the safest decision for everyone, but this doesn’t appear to be the mild-mannered-man-goes-rogue story we’ve been promised. Nor does it seem like we have the appropriate setup for a tale of vengeance. What’s the deal?!

Despite what the title and the thoroughly suburban setting assures us, Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) is far from a nobody. He doesn’t have to summon his penchant for violence out of nothing; in fact, he has a history of violence just bubbling under the surface. The film is vague about that backstory, but it’s clear that regardless of how he learned, he knows how to bash heads. But what really flipped my head is the explanation of Hutch’s entire motivation for his spree of mayhem. As it turns out, the thieves took his young daughter’s kitty-cat bracelet Sammy (Paisley Cadorath), and that’s apparently enough to convince him to take on an entire crime organization., even though Sammy doesn’t seem especially bothered by the loss! In fact, none of the shenanigans that Hutch gets up seem to be on behalf of his family. It’s more like it’s just done out of his desire to star in his own outrageous action movie.

And that really sums up the entire m.o. of Nobody. If I were a betting man, I would bet that screenwriter Derek Kolstad and director Ilya Naishuller noticed that Bob Odenkirk had never been showcased in this genre and they decided that they needed to rectify that immediately. Then they mixed in a Russian drug lord, plenty of guns, and a car chase set to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” and they decided that they were good to go. What’s missing from all this? Any sense of logic at all! Now, you may ask, do you need to have logic when Odenkirk’s brother is played by RZA and his dad is a shotgun-toting Christopher Lloyd? Honestly, I think it would’ve helped. But, eh, nobody needs logic, and certainly neither does Nobody.

Nobody is Recommended If You Like: Senseless violence delivered with conviction

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Kitty Cat Bracelets

Movie Review: ‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ And Neither Does the Droll Energy in Jim Jarmusch’s Zombie Goof-Off

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CREDIT: Abbot Genser/Focus Features

Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Carol Kane, Selena Gomez, Tom Waits, Austin Butler, Eszter Balint, Luka Sabbat, Larry Fessenden

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Running Time: 103 Minutes

Rating: R for Ironic, But Visceral Zombie Violence

Release Date: June 14, 2019 (Limited)

Sometime around 2010, it was determined that it was every filmmaker’s God-given right to make their very own zombie movie. In the case of Jim Jarmusch, he was divinely matched with The Dead Don’t Die, a droll, occasionally fourth wall-breaking portrait of ravaged-by-the-undead small town life patrolled by Police Officers Bill Murray and Adam Driver. In a post-Shaun of the Dead world, The Dead Don’t Die is far from necessary, but it is sufficiently diverting. It adds an environmental wrinkle to the zombie mythos, as fracking is implied to be the culprit behind the upending of nature. If Jarmusch is crying out for us to protect the Earth, that warning is perhaps a little too late, considering how disastrous climate change has already become. But that’s no big deal (for the movie, that is – the planet is screwed), as he seems to have more goofball ideas on his mind anyway.

The zombie blood and guts are sufficiently hardcore, with the bodily fluids as wet and unleashed as the dialogue is dry and bottled-up. But the main attraction are not the ghouls so much as the characters and their unique ways of being human and/or inhuman. That is to say, while Tilda Swinton has badass sword skills as the town’s new undertaker, it’s more amusing that she gets to lean into a hardcore Scottish persona. This is the type of movie in which Selena Gomez tells Caleb Landry Jones, “Your film knowledge is impressive,” after he mentions some pretty basic info about George Romero, and then Larry Fessenden refers to Gomez and her friends who are passing through town as “hipsters from the city” and “hipsters with their irony” (the odds seem to be that they’re from Cleveland). If that sounds hilarious to you, you know who you are, and you can expect to mostly be satisfied, though you may (or may not) have issues with the shaggy, shambling plot structure.

The Dead Don’t Die is Recommended If You Like: Remaining at an ironic remove, but not being too-cool-for-school about it

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Diner Coffee Pots