×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Milwaukee, Minnesota

Though set in the present, Allan Mindel's "Milwaukee, Minnesota" has a distinctly '70s vibe, with its raft of tweed coats, fur collars and deep-baked earth tones. It's a fantastic-looking picture in search of a decent script.

With:
Albert Burroughs - Troy Garity Tuey Stites - Alison Folland Jerry James - Randy Quaid Sean McNally - Bruce Dern Stan Stites - Hank Harris Edna Burroughs - Debra Monk Gary - Josh Brolin Transvestite - Holly Woodlawn

Though set in the present, Allan Mindel’s “Milwaukee, Minnesota” has a distinctly ’70s vibe, with its raft of tweed coats, fur collars and deep-baked earth tones. It’s a fantastic-looking picture (courtesy of d.p. Bernd Heinl, production designer Dina Goldman and costumer Michael Wilkinson) in search of a decent script. Much further fest play for Slamdance’s closing night attraction seems unlikely, but pic’s classy look and assortment of appealing performers will ensure some ancillary exposure.

Albert (Troy Garity), a champion Wisconsin ice-fisherman, lives in a Milwaukee suburb with his overprotective mother (Debra Monk) and works part-time for a kindly local shopkeeper (Bruce Dern), who’s like the father Albert never knew. Albert’s a bit slow, making him prime pickings for an assortment of hustlers and con-artists who somehow seem to roll into town simultaneously.

Too conveniently, Albert’s mom gets flattened in a freak car accident, leaving Albert all alone in the world and even easier prey to the likes of Jerry (Randy Quaid) — who claims to be Albert’s father — and the brother-sister team of Stan (Hank Harris) and Tuey (Alison Folland), who position themselves as Albert’s only true friends in the world. But everybody has one thing in common: they want a piece of Albert’s ice-fishing winnings.

R.D. Murphy’s script never advances past that none-too-compelling setup; despite some agreeably quirky odds and ends and some potentially rich characters, it’s satisfied to be a series of monkeyshines in which Albert tries to stay one step ahead of the opportunists — a task certainly easy enough for the audience.

Pic keeps leaning on caper elements, to the detriment of the more personal, character-oriented bits, which is why it’s all the more impressive that Garity and Folland manage to work out such thoughtful, compelling performances beneath the movie’s hectic surface. Garity, with his deliberate drawl and puppy-dog gaze, is particularly adept at playing behind-the-curve (just as he does in Frank Pierson’s “Soldier’s Girl”), while Folland has a sullen, Martha Plimpton-like quality that suits her character well. Her Tuey is running away from something too terrible to acknowledge, and there’s a self-consciousness to her performance that’s just right for that. Had the pic’s priorities been different, the chemistry between the two might have infected the rest of the film, but it never quite does.

In roles that are too brief, Dern gives his all, and Quaid, who seems to have lathered in oil before stepping onscreen, boosts matters considerably whenever he’s around. Warhol vet Holly Woodlawn adds to the nostalgia value in a brief cameo. Pic’s title derives from the way in which one of the character’s can never remember which state Milwaukee in actually in.

Milwaukee, Minnesota

Critic's Week

Production: A Framework Entertainment and Empire State Entertainment presentation. Produced by Jeff Kirshbaum, Michael Brody. Directed by Allan Mindel. Screenplay, R.D. Murphy.

Crew: Camera (FotoKem color), Bernd Heinl; editor, David Rawlins; production designer, Dina Goldman; art director, Eric J. Archer; costume designer, Michael Wilkinson; sound, Chris Powell; assistant director, Jeff Kirshbaum. Reviewed at FotoKem Lab, Burbank, Jan. 9, 2003. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- noncompeting.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Albert Burroughs - Troy Garity Tuey Stites - Alison Folland Jerry James - Randy Quaid Sean McNally - Bruce Dern Stan Stites - Hank Harris Edna Burroughs - Debra Monk Gary - Josh Brolin Transvestite - Holly Woodlawn

More Film

  • Dean DeBlois'How to Train Your Dragon:

    How Dean DeBlois Broke New Ground in Sequel Strategy for 'Dragon' Trilogy

    As with practically every North American kid of his generation, Dean DeBlois had his mind blown by the original “Star Wars” trilogy. DeBlois — who was born in the tiny town of Aylmer, Quebec, where “Hollywood seemed so, so far away” — had just turned 7 when the first “Star Wars” movie opened in summer [...]

  • Dean DeBlois Chris Sanders Mulan Disney

    For 'How to Train Your Dragon's' Dean DeBlois, Animated Features Were His Destiny

    “How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois grew up wanting to be a comic-book artist. After meandering his way through fine-arts classes at Sheridan College for a year, however, he managed to get into the school’s summer animation program, where he found his calling. “Animation had everything I love about comic books — you [...]

  • er prize during the cesar producers

    'Sink or Swim' Producer Alain Attal Wins Toscan du Plantier Prize

    Alain Attal, whose Paris-based company is behind Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” won the Toscan du Plantier Award, Gaul’s equivalent to the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck award, at a Paris ceremony on Feb. 18. Attal, the founder of Tresor Films, was named France’s best producer of 2018 at the [...]

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

  • Oscars Nominees Popular Movies

    Oscar Best Picture Race Dominated by Box Office Winners

    This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ill-fated popular film Oscar category could have just as easily been dubbed “best picture.” That’s because the crop of movies vying to take home the top prize represents the highest-grossing group of best picture nominees in nearly a decade. The eight films in the category [...]

  • Isabela Moner Marcel Ruiz Rosa Salazar

    Variety Announces 10 Latinxs to Watch 2019

    Variety has announced this year’s 10 Latinxs to Watch, and has also selected the Miami Film Festival as a partner for the annual celebration of promising talent in the Latino community that will include a panel and film screenings. This year’s honorees are Isabela Moner (“Dora the Explorer”), Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Bird Box”), [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content