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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.21%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 15.38%

3 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Melvin Goes to Dinner
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Katharine Leis

"A Great Night Out with Friends!"
5 stars

Once the pace of this film was figured out, it was an incredibly enjoyable movie. Picture sitting down to dinner with four friends/aquaintances, and through conversation, ending up hearing and sharing experiences, and learning a lot more about yourself in the process. This film makes you the fifth (albeit silent) guest at the table.

I don't know why exactly I chose this movie to watch on DVD, but something about it had initially made me curious.
Melvin Goes to Dinner began with a few little scenes that showed up again later in the movie and then made sense in a deeper way, as well as a few that did not reappear, but served to explain future conversations. The scenes essentially laid down a little of the foundation as an overview for what was about to unfold.
From the DVD special features, which include a VERY funny short film called "The Frank Film Festival," I learned that this movie began as a play which ran for a few months in LA. Bob Odenkirk's wife had seen the play and went again with Mr. Odenkirk. The cast in the play, including writer Michael Blieden, ended up being the main cast in the movie.
The first part after the short scenes began a little slow...or at least slower than most movies I've seen, which seem to try to put all their best material into the first few minutes and end up losing it way before the ending. Soon though, Melvin Goes to Dinner established itself and it's pace, and I became really interested in the stories the characters were telling, and the reactions the others had to them.
Also from the commentary, Mr. Blieden said that most of the movie was made up of actual stories and conversations that he had over dinners with friends and aquaintances over the years. He tied them together and assigned stories to each character with some serious skill, as I did not quesion a single one. Subtle touches and natural interruptions and diversions were SO subtle and natural that his incredible talent for writing may be underestimated by some viewers.
Topics such as infidelity, ghosts, exes, regrets...many things that may well come up in the dinner conversations of most late 20s early 30s Americans.
The bulk of the movie was shot with five cameras over a twelve hour period, which in itself was really interesting to see. A few of the flashback anecdotes were done as narrations over still photographs which were set to music. The focus shifted around the photographs in a really unique and captivating way. I found it also made me pay more attention to the words that were spoken. It was a very effective technique.
As the main actors had done this film as a play, they were very well suited and established in their characters, and were all fantastic in their roles.
Several cameos added to the film, including an awesome scene with Jack Black in probably the best performance I've ever seen of his. Not that he's ever bad, but this role could easily have been overdone and silly yet he played it perfectly.

If dinner conversation is a bore and you prefer explosions or prat falls, this probably isn't your type of movie. But if you prefer talking with a few friends over several bottles of wine, you will appreciate this film for it's depth in words, thoughts, and emotions.

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originally posted: 01/30/05 18:46:48
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Slamdance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/01/20 Margo Loved the movie 5 stars
4/20/07 Zack I liked it 4 stars
2/01/05 Gladys Paradowski Intriquing. Made me do a self-analysis. 4 stars
7/12/04 Michael I wish there were more movies like this. Odenkirk's finest work to date 5 stars
1/24/04 giselle i liked it 4 stars
1/03/04 Edward B. An almost perfect film 5 stars
1/02/04 Tom Liked it 5 stars
12/31/03 Rich Sauer Really a brilliant movie 5 stars
12/22/03 stanley j. Absolutely hilarious! An utter riot! We all know people like these characters. 5 stars
11/29/03 Josh Littlefield a startlingly refreshing film...truly original with an outstanding ending 5 stars
11/20/03 Diorella Melvin Goes to Dinner is a great movie...... 5 stars
7/15/03 Tracy naturally good, real, & funny 5 stars
6/10/03 esther unexpected and really funny 5 stars
4/08/03 Stephanie Halverson Blindsides you with funny 5 stars
3/21/03 samuel good film 4 stars
3/17/03 Josh About as real and funny as it gets-expertly acted. 5 stars
3/16/03 Jason A fantastic debut film. 5 stars
1/30/03 dillman hilarious! totally natural and unexpected laughs! 5 stars
1/25/03 Mr Math Very good flick from Slamdance. 4 stars
1/25/03 Todd Lippiatt Fun, funny and smart. A solid indie. 5 stars
1/24/03 Josh Meadows Better than 99.9% of the shit at Sundance. 5 stars
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