With only three directing jobs under his belt now, Jared Hess, working with his wife, screenwriter Jerusha Hess, has managed to make three very separately unique films even if instantly recognizable to the viewer. Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with the indie darling Napoleon Dynamite, he managed to make lovable losers a household name. After that exploded, he moved on to working with another friend he made along the way (Jack Black) and popped out Nacho Libre.
Many thought that Nacho Libre was more of the same with a bigger name in the title role, which it kind of was. But when you have a formula that works, why fix what’s not broken? Another friend made along the way is Mike White. This is the man responsible for something you should seek out and treat yourself to immediately, the canceled-too-soon TV show Freaks & Geeks. Most of that show’s brilliance has been credited to now-Hollywood hotshot Judd Apatow but he was only one of the show’s producers, as was White.
Jemaine Clement is now well known as half of one of my favorite folk duo, Flight of the Conchords. Yes, they do have their TV show on HBO but they’ve been together since long before that premiered. He’s been in a few independent films and that’s probably where he’s made friends with the Hesses along the years. This man can make the driest line or off-the-cuff remark as hysterical as anyone who’s been working in Hollywood their entire lives. If you’ve never seen The Flight of the Conchords or heard one of their albums, I suggest doing so as soon as possible.
In the newest Hess venture, Gentlemen Broncos, we meet young Benjamin (Michael Angarano, last seen in Forbidden Kingdom) whom lives with his mother, Judith (played to the quirky hilt by the always reliable Jennifer Coolidge, best known as Stifler’s mom), in a dome house in the fictional town of Salt Air, Utah. Benjamin is an aspiring science fiction writer whose novels normally wind up making his mother cry or ill.
While at Cletus Fest, a writer’s camp, for the weekend, Benjamin is very excited to meet and learn from his greatest idol, Dr. Ronald Chevalier (played wickedly clueless by Clement). In a class Chevalier is teaching he quickly manages to burst Benjamin’s idol-worship bubble after offering up the worst protagonist names in literary history and putting down everyone in the class. While at the camp he hesitantly allows Tabatha to read one of his novels, Yeast Lords.