Movie Review: Pottersville (2017)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Judy Greer and Ron Perlman

Directed by: Seth Henrikson

Maynard is a businessmen who owns the general store in the struggling town of Pottersville. One night he drunkenly dresses up in a ghillie suit and gorilla mask and gets mistaken for Bigfoot. This creates a huge buzz for his little town as tourists begin to flock there and the town starts to generate money. Maynard’s dilemma is whether he comes clean or continues with his inadvertent hoax.

The premise to this movie didn’t really seem very appealing to me and the only reason I decided to give Pottersville a chance was because of Michael Shannon. Over the years he has slowly started becoming one of my favourite actors to watch, performances in The Iceman, Premium Rush and Man of Steel have really peaked my interest in checking out more of his work. While those particular movies may not be his most critically acclaimed performances, they are three performances that I watched almost consecutively that I throughly enjoyed and he really showed me the range he has as an actor. I will look to check out more of his work in the near future but for now let’s dissect Pottersville.

So, the plot is a little stupid and lacks any real excitement but there are a couple of performances that at least make this movie bearable. Michael Shannon plays Maynard Greiger, a general store owner in the small town of Pottersville. This is a town that is really struggling with a lack of opportunities and a lack of money within it. One night Maynard goes home early to surprise his wife to find her kind of cheating on him (hard to explain what was going on) with his long time friend and town sheriff Jack (Ron Perlman). After being left shocked and nowhere to go other than the bottom of an empty bottle he drunkenly dresses up as a gorilla and stumbles around the town. After being mistaken for Bigfoot by many of the residents of Pottersville all of a sudden a small town which nobody had heard of was beginning to make waves and attract tourists. Maynard is faced with a tough decision whether to come clean or continue this facade so the people of Pottersville can reap the benefits of its overnight fame.

Michael Shannon as Maynard was ok, he was humble and reserved but charming at the same time. One annoyance with his performance however was that he was quite softly spoken and at times his speech came across as very mumbled so praise the Lord I was watching this on the train with subtitles or there’d be a fair amount of story that I would’ve missed. In addition to Shannon’s performance there was a small role by Ian McShane, who played local hunting expert Bart, and he was the highlight of the movie. While his role was only small he was effective and great to watch and Ian McShane is one of those actors who you see all the time playing a large range of roles and he always performs well regardless of how good or bad the movie he is in is. Finally, the other good thing that this movie had going for it was the story, while poorly written and poorly told, it did have a heartwarming feeling to it which was a nice way to conclude an otherwise drab film.

Now onto the negatives and I’ve already mentioned that the general story of the movie was poor but in addition to this the comedy in Pottersville was extremely weak and was as if the writers forgot to write the jokes into the script. Besides a couple of smirks here and there, the rest of the comedy was a dud. I feel that Thomas Lennon was used to provide much of the comedy relief and I felt that he and his character were truly awful. He played TV’s monster hunter Brock Masterson and I really hated that particular angle of the movie, was just a huge waste of time. Also, Christina Hendricks was massively under utilised in this movie as she is somewhat of a big name and could’ve added something better than what she did if given a more suitable role to allow her to do so. In addition to these glaring flaws in Pottersville I also hated the choice of Christmas songs used throughout the movie, especially the chipmunks Christmas song that was used, whoever’s idea it was to use that song needs some serious sense beaten into them.

In conclusion, Pottersville was a poor movie which I had high hopes for leading up to it. A couple of ok performances simply weren’t enough to save this movie from all of its woes.

3/10

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