Sneak Peek: The Hollars
John Hollar, a struggling NYC artist is forced to navigate the small middle-American town he left behind when news of his mother’s illness brings him home. Back in the house he grew up in, John is immediately swept up in the problems of his dysfunctional family, high school rival, and an over-eager ex-girlfriend as he faces impending fatherhood with his girlfriend in New York.
From a script by Jim Strouse that is at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, John Krasinski’s second feature is a poignant look at the bonds of family and friendship.
Starring: John Krasinski, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Groban, and Randall Park
Directed by: John Krasinski
Written by: Jim Strouse
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Guess what, listeners? We got a chance to see a Sneak Peek of the new movie — that’s coming out on August 26 — called “The Hollars”! (laughter) And, it stars a pretty amazing cast. But, before we get into that, it is directed by the wonderful, wonderful John Krasinski, who you know from “The Office.”
The Critic: Yeah.
Ref: And, he’s Emily Blunt’s husband. (laughter) I’m sure he doesn’t want to be known as that only. (laughter) But, this is his second effort at directing a feature. And, the cast is amazing. Let’s get into this review, ‘cause I’m actually excited about it.
Critic: Oh. OK. Well, John Krasinski, as you said, he stars in it; he stars as a guy who — he’s an artist. You know, that’s what he is. But, he —
Ref: He’s a struggling artist. (laughter)
Critic: Yes. That’s right. He’s in this dead-end job he doesn’t enjoy. And, he gets some bad news, Ref. He gets some bad news: His mother’s health isn’t that great. And, by the way, the movie starts off with this scene (laughing) with that. I mean, please, we won’t even get into it. So, he goes back home. He’s in New York City; he moves back home — well, not moves, but he goes back home to check in on his mother, and he has to encounter all of the people he’s been avoiding for the past few years in his hometown.
Ref: Now, this is a small town. This isn’t — you know, he’s going from one extreme to the other.
Critic: Yes, that’s right. By the way, his fiancée, girlfriend, we don’t know who, (laughing) is played by Anna Kendrick. She’s pregnant, so that’s a whole thing, too.
Ref: Very pregnant, yeah.
Critic: Yes. His brother, played by Sharlto Copley, who’s from (dropping his voice) “District 9” —
Ref: Yeah, yeah.
Critic: He has some problems. He moves back home with his parents; his wife and he have broken up. She’s, seemingly, moved on. He has not —
Ref: With Josh Groban! (laughter)
Critic: And, then, yeah, Josh Groban plays a youth pastor. (laughter) So, that’s going on. His father and mother are played by Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale, who are great —
Ref: The great Margo! — yeah, let’s just … yeah.
Critic: Yes. So, Margo is in the hospital. They have to operate. The question is: Can this family come together? Can all of these problems be resolved? And, can her health be taken care of, at the same time? So, that’s it. I don’t think we should say anything —
Ref: No, don’t say anything more. But, here’s what we will say: In the feeling of this movie, the word that keeps ringing through, it’s an endearing movie. This is John Krasinski. He’s got a very heavy, wonderful background in improv. And, you do see that in this movie.
Ref: He does a wonderful balance of deep emotion and humor.
Ref: And, that’s not always easy to do, because not only is he directing it, but we know that’s he’s also starring in it.
Ref: So, we definitely have to give him kudos for that. The cast is stellar. These are veteran actors. This is a bunch of people he really doesn’t need to do anything with. But, it wasn’t all glorious.
Critic: No. Yeah, you know, to me, Ref, here’s what it is: It’s, like, almost every scene was too long.
Critic: Like, they could’ve edited it down a bit. It was just a little too much time that he gave to all of them. And, for me, also, story-wise, I was most interested in Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale. I think when they were on the screen —
Critic: They really brought a grounded-ness to it. Richard Jenkins really has a hard role to play, and he does a good job of it. So, that’s when I was most interested in the film, with those two, especially Margo Martindale —
Ref: I have to highlight: Margo Martindale has this amazing, along with Richard, teetering between humor and really serious tragedy of — you know, anytime anybody’s ill —
Ref: — you have to play that line. And, Margo does some of her wonderful comedic work in this. If you don’t know, we know her as a dramatist.
Ref: But, she does some great comedic work in this. Overall, I have to say, “The Hollars” is a wonderful movie that you’ll walk away with a feeling.
Ref: You know, you’re not going to be overwhelmed or hit over the head with it. It’s, actually, for me, a feeling that you left the theater with. And, for me, it’s worth a watch, just for that feeling. Even though, there’s some things that could have been tweaked here or there: The writing was a little challenging.
Ref: Like you said, the directing — just, maybe, snipping off some of the ends, maybe snipping off some of that extra improv thing. But, you are going to enjoy the Josh Groban cameo. I thoroughly did. (laughter)
Critic: Yeah, and, you know, another thing for the listeners to think about: You know, John Krasinski worked with Gus Van Sant on “Promised Land.” He [Krasinski] co-wrote that with Matt Damon. You can see how he tried to pull some of the stuff from Gus Van Sant’s whole toolbox and put it in here in certain moments: transitions from scene to scene, the use of music — that kind of thing — also depicting just normal life with these extraordinary circumstances. So, if you liked “Promised Land,” it’s not quite as good as that. But, you’ll have the same kind of feeling, as you’re saying, in this movie. So, yeah. You know, maybe this is, like, a rental or something like that. That’ll really be great. You know, I want to be on a couch, watching this. (laughter)
Ref: You know, you do want to be on the couch. But, I tell you what, if you do want a nice, little getaway kind of movie that you’re like, “You know what? I feel like going to the movies.” And, you don’t want to overthink, or —
Ref: — you know, you just want something to kinda, sorta take you away —
Ref: I think “The Hollars” may be a solution for this summer heat.