Star – Patrick Wilson
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 95 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Amazon – £2.00 DVD
When Blockbusters closed on the highstreet a void opened up in the movie industry. Unless your film was a blockbuster or marketed enough to be talked about by the mainstream movie and broadsheet press it would generally die a death. Before, Blockbusters acted as the industries shop window and you could browse all the titles and at last know about the smaller movies. But now those movies simply tumble into the void between cinema and eventual TV. There are certainly enough movie channels to make sure we eventually see them but people simply don’t scroll down far enough in their TV movie package to notice them. Stretch didn’t even get a cinema release due to contractual reasons late on with a studio distributor and only came out on Amazon and ITunes download. It bombed without trace and quickly onto DVD to recover some of the $5 million dollar budget. It never did.
It’s from director Jo Carnahan who has released a real mixed bucket of films over the years, perhaps best known for The A Team movie, Grey, Narc and the chaotic mess Smoking Aces. Its stars Patrick Wilson, one of those Bill Paxton characters where you don’t notice him in his previous 25 movies until he has a hit, but Stretch not Wilson’s Twister moment. I remember him from Hard Candy, the angry feminist flick, the mid budget horror Insidious but not much more. It was a rapid 21 day shoot for Stretch on that $5 million bucks as Universal came in at the 11th hour to save the production. I’m glad they did.
Patrick Wilson ... Stretch
Chris Pine ….Roger Karos …
Ed Helms ... Karl
James Badge Dale ... Laurent
Brooklyn Decker ... Candace
Jessica Alba ... Charlie
Ray Liotta ... Ray Liotta
David Hasselhoff ... David Hasselhoff
Randy Couture ... The Jovi
Mindy Robinson ... The Jovi's Girl
Handsome thirtysomething ‘Stretch’ (Wilson) dreams of being an actor in Hollywood but after a number of dead end jobs and a hundred auditions he is now driving a limo for the movie stars he probably will never be. When he is involved in an auto accident he falls instantly in love with the women in the other car, Candace (Brooklyn Decker), who ignored a red light. Things are looking up.
We rejoin his life a year later and Stretch is ready to give up his addictions to cocaine and gambling and make an honest woman of Candace. But Candace is getting bored with limo boy and wants to break up, dating a big shot football star now. Hurt, Stretch's life spirals into self-destruction, which he blames on Candace.
When he is late picking up David Hasselhoff form the airport the boss is ready to fire him. And when you are late for the stars in this business then ‘The Jovi’ (Randy Couture) is ready to steel your fare, a far more luxurious and enigmatic limo company rolling up at the airport to take Hasselhoff to where he needs to be, and that’s not with Stretch.
David Hasselhoff: Has anyone ever referred to you as a punk ass mother f*cker?
Stretch: Uh, not to my recollection.
David Hasselhoff: You are a punk ass mother fucker.
Although Stretch has quit gambling, he still owes $6000 to a loan shark, who demands the debt be paid by midnight. It’s about to be the longest day in the life of this particular limo driver. At the same time, Stretch begins hallucinating the bitter ghost of another failed actor and limo driver named Karl, who committed suicide in front of a customer and the ghost enjoys putting Stretch down as the loser he is.
The boss Naseem calls him to his office and tells his drivers they will have to start stealing clients of The Jovi or he will be forced to fold his business. Stretch decides to beg pretty controller Charlie (Jessica Alba) to direct any top paying customers his way to help him clear that 6 grand debt. Charlie sends Stretch to intercept one of The Jovi's clients, Ray Liotta. Liotta asks Stretch to return a prop pistol and cops badge from his movie, but before he can do so, Charlie sends him to another client, the eccentric playboy Roger Karos (Chris Pine), with a reputation for extremist hedonism and partying. Karos parachutes down naked to the arranged location in the Hollywood Hills and as the two bond of sorts he offers to pay Stretch's gambling debt, if he serves without question on what is going to be a very long and crazy night.
Roger Karos: ‘The truth is you were always gonna get f**ked, pal, because you're a beta male. And I grind guys like you down to make my bread’.
I quite enjoyed this one and glad I dug it out from the cyber bargain bin. Like I say it is a sign of things to come where those mid budget films that don’t have a snug genre are simply not going to be seen by anyone and so eventually not be made. I quite like the quirky ones though and will trawl the top 250 annual online best film lists until I find one.
It’s fast paced and funny and who doesn’t enjoy those dry celebrity cameos. We could have done with more but not to be. There are some that were cut out in the extras that should have stayed in.
Patrick Wilson is confident and chirpy in the lead role and is just one big film away from being a star in my opinion. This was not that film though. Jessica Alba as the token pretty girl seems to be on the down elevator, alas, one sexy girl.
Director Carnahan’s occasional pop at Hollywood is fun and his humor is sharp and naughty. Its not mainstream comedy in any way and certainly a director we need to see more of. I did chuckle here and there and with its 1980s feel and cool soundtrack quite a ride. It’s not a chase movie and the narrative weaved around a subplot of chance and redemption to add some extra filling to the sandwich. It reminds me of one of those Mel Gibson movies of old.
It is knowing at times but a fun, bold and bonkers blast at times with unconventional humor and characters. I’m sensing it’s a clever send up of the Hollywood we don’t know about and only Hollywood people do and reminds me a bit of an Entourage for limo drivers. I enjoyed it and one to watch out for if you are fed up with mainstream romcoms and screwball comedies with Kevin Hart and Adam Sandler.
Imdb.com – 6,5/10.0 (24,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 86% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
-The Making of Stretch-
Behind the scenes stuff from Cast & Crew
Quite a few and some of them very funny. It feels like the director enjoys taking the piss out of Hollywood for some reason.
The Guardian –‘While the movie does eventually ramp up to a terrific purr, it hits plenty of speed bumps in its opening.’.
The NY Post –‘Stretch feels like the dots joined from what was left on Carnaghan's drawing board’.
Globe & Mail –‘Stretch thinks it's so damn clever, and is totally self-satisfied with its over-written dialogue’.
Hollywoodtalk.com –‘Stretch thinks it's so damn clever, and is totally self-satisfied with its over-written dialogue’.
We got thiscovered.com -‘Stretch is a bold, bonkers and completely brilliant blast of creative energy from Joe Carnahan at his most gleefully’. Unrestrained’.
The Baltimore Times –‘"Stretch" is a truly enjoyable oddity, a movie that was too brash, too weird, too idiosyncratic for a major release, but one that should settle into a nice, long shelf life. "Stretch" is a wild ride, and one very much worth going on’.
The Mail –‘Incredible amounts of fun, with a ferocious sense of humor and attention to pace and character connection that maintains a smooth, silly viewing experience with the occasional acid splash to identify it as a Carnahan picture.
Melbourne Age –‘The film's absurd and often offensive humour will win you over. It's not big and it's not clever, but it will raise a smile or two.
Tyneside is a very special cinema that everyone wishes they had but unfortunately don't. It mainly shows independent and foreign films some of which you might be hard pressed to find a dvd of let alone see in a mainstream cinema. They do occasionally show blockbuster films here, for instance Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones and Watchmen have all received showings here.
Their prices are about the same as mainstream cinemas except that their student prices are generously about half the price. You get much more for your money here, because their seats are very comfy and in one screen they actually have sofas you can sit on to watch the film.
The Tyneside also runs two places to drink, a stylish bar downstairs that serves cocktails and a cosy tearoom upstairs. The tearoom is a nice place during the day, selling the usual jacket potatoes and what not at cheap prices. The bar on the other hand is a great place to have a drink before or after watching your film in the evening.
10 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
Box Office: 0845 217 9909
The Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle Upon Tyne is an independant movie house. They specialise in screening movies that won't necessarily be available to see at your Odeon, Vue or Empire cinemas. Foriegn films, independently financed films, locally produced films and arty films that are critically acclaimed although have a reduced commercial appeal are commonly shown. In addition to these the cinema now also usually shows one main movie that will normally also be showing at a local cinema, although this film will normally tend to have some kind of cult appeal. The cinema also occaisonally shows older movies or director cut versions of classic or cult films.
The cinema is conveniently located in Pilgrim's street which is very close to Newcastle's main shopping area. The road is straight up from the main Northumberland Street. Public transport links nearby are the Metro - Monument stop is the nearest and is literally around the corner. There is also Central Station ten minutes away where buses, taxis and trains pick up and alight. Haymarket bus station is also nearby and easiest for those coming into the city from the North. Car parks are also found at New Bridge Street and John Dobson Street.
The cinema has always been a favourite place of mine and given the choice of going to see the same film here or at my local Empire I'd choose this place every time. Why? Well, this place seems to attract a very lively, talkative, intellectual crowd who make the atmosphere that much more comfortable and stimulating. It is not unusual before a movie to strike up conversation with strangers going to see the same film. People seem to want to talk about the films being screened and that is very exciting to me.
The cinemas 'The Tyneside Coffee Rooms' are an intimate, happy place where you feel much more valued as a customer than if you were collecting your popcorn and coke from the counter at the Odeon! There is a 'homely' menu with coffee and cakes a popular choice. It is located on the second floor and has a mix of comfortable plush chairs and streamline tables. There is a kind of quirkiness about the place - the staff seem very chirpy and once again the customers are eager to chat. The cafe also sometimes sell oddities at the till like fridge magnets depicting certain classic movie characters.
There is also a coffee bar on the lower floor, street level, the 'intermezzo cafe' which has a more cosmopolitan atmosphere and is bedecked with high legged, slightly uncomfortable stools. They sell snacks and cakes. It is usually very busy in this area. There is also a third bar where you can get drinks, snacks and listen to live music. I would say as a slight criticism that since the cinema reopened after undergoing development that it looks less like a cinema from the street than it does a large restaurant. Infact it is difficult to access any area where it tells you what films are currently showing.
There are four screens in the cinema, each their own size and with a different style. There is a lift to all floors for wheelchair users. Each cinema space also has automatic doors and designated spaces for wheelchairs inside. The most luxurious screening area is considered to be the 'Classic Screen' which has plush leather, numbered seats which can be reserved.
Tickets cost around the same as they do at your blockbuster cinema chains (£5.75 to £6.70) but is a little more expensive in the Classic Screen Cinema for reserved seating. There is a silver screen club for those who are over 60 years old which awards special discounts. Tickets can be booked online or bought at the office inside the main building.
I would definately reccomend going to this cinema as it is a very different experience to going to well known cinema chains. It always makes me feel like I've come to a place where there are my kind of people, like-minded, with a common interest in films or a particular film.