Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2001
Directed by
Michael Polish
101 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Jackpot (2001)

 If David Lynch had directed Tender Mercies (1982) it might have turned out like writer Michael and director Mark Polish's film. .

A couple of losers - Sunny Holiday (Jon Gries), a 'disco cowboy' and Lester Irving (Garrett Morris) his manager, travel across mid-Western America in a hot pink Chrysler, competing in karaoke contests as a way of breaking into the world of MOR pop music (for anyone interested this sub-culture it is portrayed in Duets, 2000 which starred Huey Lewis in the equivalent role to that of Gries). The story is told in flashback opening with Daryl Hannah as Sunny's wife justifiably upbraiding him for leaving her and their child to go on this cretinous escapade.

Jackpot has got an engagingly offbeat story, a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour and the look to go with its story of small-time show-biz (the film was photographed with a Sony Cine Alta digital video camera by M. David Mullen) as it moves from lonely bars into the harsh daylight of the lost American Dream and back again.

Gries, who also has a producer credit, looking like a kind of older, balding Brad Pitt (20 years ago the role would have been played by Harry Dean Stanton) is well-suited to the part of Sunny as is Morris as his devoted manager although the problem Gries faces is that Sunny, despite his easy charm, is essentially off-putting in his selfishness.

Likeably offbeat and slightly seedy in tone Jackpot will appeal to anyone in the mood for some low-key amusement.

FYI: Both Gries and Morris had lesser roles in the Polish brothers first and even more Lynchian film, Twin Falls Idaho.(1999) which is alluded to here. Gries achieved cult success as Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite (2004).




Want something different?

random vintage best worst