In Brief: The dead don’t die but — unfortunately — their movie does.
Every year there is a most disappointing movie of the year. It’s a flick that should be fabulous but that tanks on almost every level. So far the front runner for this year’s bomb is the packed-with-star-power, The Dead Don’t Die.
All through The Dead Don’t Die, Adam Driver’s character Officer Ronnie Peterson tells his boss Chief Cliff Robertson and partner Officer Mindy Morrision, “This isn’t going to end well.”
His utterances are prophetic on a number of levels.
The most obvious has to do with the dead rising from their graves in the small town of Centerville where he serves with Bill Murray’s Robertson and Chloe Sevigny’s Morrison. It turns out the dead are coming back to life there and in other parts of the country. The three cops and some townsfolk do what they can to stem the tide.
It’s predictable stemming.
Jim Jarmusch writes and directs. He did the so-so vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive in 2013. This one is the same. The Dead Don’t Die is an obvious comedy but it’s missing the subtle comic fun of a Shaun of the Dead and the gut-busting laughs of Zombieland where a real life Bill Murray is hiding out from zombies and is accidentally killed while being mistaken for one.
That’s funny and so was Woody Harrelson’s desperate search for Twinkies in Zombieland’s post-apocalyptic world. That leads to — more subtly — why Driver’s line is the perfect description of what’s wrong with The Dead Don’t Die. It not only ends badly but it starts badly and has a middle that pretty much fits that description.
Yes, in The Dead Don’t Die, the dead don’t die. Unfortunately, and disappointingly, their movie does.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Frank Miller, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, RZA, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, Sara Driver
So far the most disappointing movie of the year. A stellar cast is totally wasted in this not-so-funny comedy about a zombie apocalypse. The Dead Don’t Die dies and gets a 2 on the Friday Flicks with Gary 0 to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.