{2jtab: Movie Review}

Everything Must Go - blu-ray


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3 stars

When Will Ferrell steps out of the comedic roles and dusts off his dramatic dancing shoes, there is a bit of magic that happens.  The cartoon charades stop and, for once, we get an honest performance from him.  It’s these dramatic twists and turns out on the dancefloor that makes Dan Rush’s Everything Must Go such an interesting number.  While it can be argued that neither Rush or Ferrell find the true soul of the piece, that doesn’t keep the film from being a success.

Adapted from Raymond Carver’s short story “Why Don’t You Dance”, this black comedy recounts how a career salesman and alcoholic, Nick Halsey (Ferrell), loses both his job and his wife all at once and, upon deciding to just give up on life itself, is able to reconnect with what he long-ago abandoned through the example set by Kenny (wonderfully played by CJ Wallace, son of The Notorious B.I.G.), his new neighbor Samantha (Rebecca Hall), and his friend Detective Frank Garcia (Michael Pena).  It isn’t all dark all the time.  With plenty to laugh at, the sunshiny feelings creeping in toward the end of the movie seem to indicate that the worse is over for Nick; it’s the getting there that hurts the most.

Essentially, this narrative is a look at the bright and blue sky from the very rock bottom of life.  Nick has tripped and needs help dusting himself off and returning to the land of the living.  It’s a quick little number, too.  The story stretches over a brief five days of Halsey’s life so there is a bit of stretch in returning Nick to the fields of sobriety and wellness.  Forgivable, yes, but only because Ferrell is so damn good with this sort of material.  It’s reminiscent of what he did with Stranger than Fiction and Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda film, yet not as meaty.  A career curveball if you’ve never seen with of those two films.  Still, with something as quiet as Everything Must Go, it’s the small moments between actors that matter.  That part belongs to CJ Wallace; the unsung hero of the feature.

Filmed on location in Phoenix, Arizona, the shoot is full of bright mornings and dark nights.  The location adds to the gritty realism of Nick’s choices and situation.  Full of moments that might make you laugh or cry (maybe even a bit of both), Everything Must Go succeeds in being relevant to the times we live in and poignant in the grief that absolute abandonment can cause a person.  It’s a dark film, but never bitter which makes it all the more easily to digest (including the sudden Hollywood ending).

While the soul of Carver’s original story has been jettisoned in favor of schmaltzy friendships, the meaning of possible redemption is still intact.  Everything Must Go is low-key dramedy with a happy ending.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Everything Must Go - blu-rayMPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Director: Dan Rush
: Dan Rush, Raymond Carver
Will Ferrel; Rewbecca Hall; Stephen Root; Christopher Jordan Wallace
: Comedy | Drama |Indie
Lost is a good place to find yourself
Memorable Movie Quote: "You need to put up some curtains."
Official Site:
Theatrical Release Date:
May 13, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Synopsis: Everything Must Go tells the story of a career salesman whose days of being on top are long gone. The same day Nick gets fired, for falling off the wagon one last time, he returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line - or more properly, on the lawn - reluctantly holding a yard sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Everything Must Go - blu-ray

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

3 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 6, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

This isn’t a special effects-laden bonanza.  While it certainly won’t put your system through the ringer, the 1080p transfer is pretty solid.  The colors are deep and consistent and the black levels are strong throughout.  Flesh tones are warm and detail – including wrinkles in skin and clothes – are strong.  Shadows never crush which, considering a lot of the film occurs at night, is certainly a good thing.



  • Lionsgate has provided a nice commentary recorded by Dan Rush and Micheal Pena. The track is purely for fanatics, though. Neither Rush or Pena are animated enough with their comments to make this very interesting for its feature-length running time.

Special Features:

Keeping things frothy, Lionsgate gives up some light and airy supplemental material to its fans.  Unfortunately, it isn’t that great. The highlight is about ten minutes of Ferrell talking about his character and the rest is everybody else talking about how great the material is. This is your standard of standard affairs.

  • Will Ferrell in Character (10 min)
  • The Making of ‘Everything Must Go’ (7 min)
  • Trailers

{2jtab: Trailer}