By Sean Phillips
A group of men race against time to beat Lewis and Clark to the mighty Pacific Ocean. They encounter many mishaps along the way, and deal with them in a comedic, and perhaps raunchy manner.
Almost Heroes, starring Chris Farley and Matthew Perry, is a comedy movie set in the year 1804, where a group of “losers and misfits” race to beat Lewis and Clark to be the first white men to see the Pacific Ocean. The film was shot during the end of 1997, but due to Chris Farley’s death, It was not released until May 29, 1998. According to Google, 94% of Google users liked the film.
Two men, Bartholomew Hunt (Chris Farley) and Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry) set out with a hired group of “losers and misfits” to map the vast, unexplored American frontier and reach the Pacific Ocean before rivals Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Along the way, they get into many obstacles and encounters. They get stranded in the mountains, they float over a waterfall in canoes, one of the men loses a leg in a bear attack and they must fight for their lives against a small group of Spanish soldiers. Along the way, they encounter “Old Braves” (Elder Native Americans) who help them in various ways along their journey, including fighting off a Spanish military unit.
The acting in this movie is great, in my opinion. One of the main actors, Chris Farley, did a phenomenal job. He had already been in several good comedies, such as Tommy Boy, Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja, so he had the skill set. He did a great job due to his hilarious sense of humor which was perfect for this type of comedy movie. For example, during the movie, to get medicine to heal his ailing friend, he climbs a tree and takes several eggs from an eagle’s nest. Each time he does this, the eagle comes back, fights him and knocks him out of the tree. After the falls, he is so hungry he cooks and eats the eggs, as well as hunting an animal. He does this a few times, but gets a hold of himself so he can save his dying friend. When he gets back to the camp, he isn’t happy to find out he only needed the shell of the egg in the first place.
As well, Matthew Perry does a great job acting. He was also in several famous television shows and movies, such as Friends and The Whole Nine Yards, so he had the skill. He did a good job in this movie because he had been in several comedies before, and both Farley and Perry were able to work well with each other due to each being skilled comedians. For example, Edwards (Perry) tries teaching Hunt (Farley) to read and write. He starts with uppercase A, but Farley is too mentally confused and he blurts out random sounds and screams in pain at Edwards, apparently due to the stress it is causing his brain. They stop trying to teach him for a while, until he is ready to try the feat once more.
The set design was very well done. Most of the footage was filmed in the Big Bear region of Southern California. Several additional scenes were shot on locations in Humboldt County, California. They did a great job with the overall quality of the film by making it very realistic, with fast, flowing waters, rolling plains and the supposed look of the old, untouched American frontier. In one scene, when they are canoeing down a waterfall, they make the roaring waters look terrifyingly real and deadly, with long, jagged rocks poking out of the surface and torrents of spraying water everywhere.
I really enjoy this film. The humor and skilled acting in it are phenomenal, especially by today’s standards in the film industry. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes a funny, although raunchy classic comedy. What makes the film raunchy is that it is somewhat vulgar, or lacking in sophistication or unrefined, but being unrefined is something that would be quite common in the old day’s, due to most people being uneducated. The quality of this film is exceptionally good for a 90’s movie, considering it was filmed before any major modern advancements in CGI technology.
Almost Heroes made about $6.1 million at the Box Office, so a lot of people enjoyed the movie when it came out in theaters. In my opinion, I would give it five stars. They did best with the acting, directing and overall feeling of the movie, because it made it obvious that it is in fact a comedy movie, due to the work of skilled, comedic actors, directors and editors. They also did a very good job with the music, and the makers had it specially composed for this film.