Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher Guest|
|Produced by||Denise Di Novi|
|Written by||Mark Nutter
|Narrated by||Harry Shearer|
|Music by||Jeffrey C.J. Vanston|
|Editing by||Ronald Roose|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release dates||May 29, 1998|
|Running time||95 minutes|
Almost Heroes is a 1998 adventure comedy film directed by Christopher Guest, narrated by Guest's friend and frequent collaborator Harry Shearer, and starring Chris Farley and Matthew Perry. This was Farley's last major leading film role, due to his death in 1997.
Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry), a foppish, wealthy, high-society aristocrat, and the loud, low-brow Bartholomew Hunt (Chris Farley) are competing against the renowned Lewis & Clark to be the first to chart and make it across the United States to the Pacific Ocean. In the beginning of the film, Edwards has high hopes to head the first expedition to make it across the U.S., but while he has ambition and funding, he has grown up sheltered and knows little of the wilderness he seeks to cross. To aid in his journey, he hires the services of a supposedly knowledgeable wilderness-man and tracker, Hunt, who, once they get underway, turns out to be less than advertised.
Aided by a crew of varied, rugged and gristled frontiersmen, they are also joined by their group's version of Sacagawea, a young Indian woman by the name Shaquinna (Lisa Barbuscia), who is integral in helping them find their way across the dangerous and unknown terrain ahead, as well as, eventually becoming Edwards' love interest. Along the way, the group goes through various mishaps and ordeals from having to deal with quirky, indigenous Indian tribes to vicious eagles, to running out of food and romantic snafus, as Hunt's ineptness often causes more problems than it solves. Along the way, Edward and Hunt's shared journey helps Edwards shed his aristocratic, snooty ways and learns camaraderie and honor, as well as a more humble view of a world he thought he understood. Hunt finds true friendship in Edwards and a sense of self-confidence he had not known before.
After many hardships and setbacks, they eventually make it to the Pacific coast just minutes before Lewis and Clark's expedition. Once the celebration is over, however, they find that they don't necessarily want to go back to their old lives and collectively decide to continue their adventure, leading Edwards and Hunt's expedition to further explore the great uncharted world.
- Chris Farley as Bartholomew Hunt
- Matthew Perry as Leslie Edwards
- Bokeem Woodbine as Jonah
- Barry Del Sherman as Sergeant
- Robert Tittor as Priest
- Franklin Cover as Nicholas Burr
- David Packer as Bidwell
- Eugene Levy as Guy Fontenot
- Lisa Barbuscia as Shaquinna
- Christian Clemenson as Father Girard
- Steven M. Porter as Higgins
- Patrick Cranshaw as Jackson
- Hamilton Camp as Pratt
- Jonathan Joss as Bent Twig
- George Aguilar as Chief Two Roads
- Gregory Cruz as Iowa Indian
- Lewis Arquette as Merchant
- Don Lake as Elias
- Brent Hinkley as Trapper
- John Farley as Bartender
- Kevin Dunn as Hidalgo
- Tim DeKay as New Bartender
- Keith Sellon-Wright as Meriwether Lewis
- Scott Williamson as William Clark
- David Barrera as Ferdinand
- Jay Lacopo as Hector
- Frank Salsedo as Old Indian
- Billy Daydoge as Strong Like Mountain
- T. Dan Hopkins as Running Puma
- Axel Lindgren as Salmon Brave
- Harry Shearer as Narrator
- Rusty Schwimmer as Execution Witness
- Dennis Ambriz as Head Buffalo Dancer (uncredited)
- Scott Anderson as Conquistador #2 (uncredited)
- Maria Cina as Ballroom dancer (uncredited)
- Val Crawford as Bald Eagle (uncredited)
- Gordon Hart as Ballroom Dancer (uncredited)
- Daniel Passer as Salvador (uncredited)
Critical reception of Almost Heroes has been overwhelmingly negative. The film currently has a 14% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 21 reviews. However, it was rather well regarded by the audience, receiving a "fresh" score of 61%.
James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film one out of four stars and wrote: "This is a dreadful motion picture - a lowbrow example of period piece comedy with terrible production values and an exceptionally poor laughs-to-jokes ratio. There's a kind of desperation in the movie's approach to humor that reveals the film makers' uncertainty about how entertaining the material is; the manic style betrays itself as a last-ditch attempt to hide the flaws of a failed script. ... Farley fans who see this film as a way to say goodbye should be commended for their loyalty, since it takes real stamina to stay seated for the full running length of this cinematic torture session."
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Almost Heroes [...] gives off the discomfiting reek of desperation. ... How could director Christopher Guest [...] have reduced himself to staging gags such as Farley's slap-fest with hostile Injuns, Eugene Levy (as a nasty pirate) speaking in a zany French accent, or Farley stealing an egg from an eagle's nest, punching out the bird, and then falling to the ground with an epic thud? Almost Heroes goes thud too. Despite his compulsion to trash everything in his midst, including himself, Chris Farley deserved better."
John R. McEwen of Film Quips Online wrote: "It's clear, his death notwithstanding, that Farley is the funniest thing about this silly piece of celluloid. ... As expected, there is little here but sight gags and low humor, but if you're in the mood (and I must have been), it has its laugh-out-loud moments. ... Perry also has a few good bits, but he is obviously a distant second banana. Additional appearances by people like Eugene Levy and Kevin Dunn, and others, add to the hilarity, although many of the jokes fall flat. Even Farley has a few misfires, but not many. ... I doubt if anyone ever expected Chris Farley to win an Academy Award. But it is a fitting tribute to him that his last outing, while not a great work of American cinema, can provide a good dose of chuckles, and more than a few belly laughs."
- "Almost Heroes". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Almost Heroes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Almost Heroes - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". reelviews.net. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Almost Heroes - Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman". ew.com. 1998-06-12. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Almost Heroes - Review by John R. McEwen". filmquipsonline.com. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
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