American Breakdown - 3 out of 5
American Breakdown is a really damn difficult DVD to review. It's not your typical motion picture. It never got theater release and it's not something you'll see on HBO or edited for network television. Instead, the movie is a collection of short films put together for one home release DVD. The movie is edited together in an effort to show some common theme with each story but, for the most part, the shorts have really nothing to do with each other. They all star different actors (some big names), each is written and directed by different individuals and the only thing that brings them together is the fact you can now watch them one after another.
If you read what people on the internet have to say about American Breakdown, you would think it is the worst thing ever produced. However, I would argue it's far, far from that. What I have to say is that these people writing the scathing reviews are the same people who made that piece of shit Avatar a blockbuster. The sad reality is that these people are just too stupid to understand the DVD is a collection of separate short films. I know that sounds mean but one of the biggest complaints these writers on Amazon and Netflix is saying is that each story makes no sense. If you look at American Breakdown as a movie with a beginning, middle and an end, then yes, this DVD will make your mind melt as you try to comprehend some kind of story. However, if you enjoy movies and are smart enough to understand the principles behind this one, you might enjoy it.
At this point you're probably asking yourself why I only gave the movie a 3 since it sounds like I really enjoyed it. The fact is, I did enjoy this movie but since it's a collection of short films, I had to settle on a middle-of-the-road rating because not all the shorts captured in this collection are held equally. Some are great and others not so much. The great include a fantastic one starring Steve Carell in a Matrix-like dodgeball game against those who tortured him as a child. There's also great ones that have James Gandolfini as a spirit out to give advice to a wannabe actor working at a bar or Mr. Fantastic himself; Ioan Gruffudd, finds love at a job he hates when he tries to kill himself or a mind-fuck of a car ride with Josh Hartnett.
Aaron Douglas from Battlestar Galactica was in one of the shorts. Come on, Hollywood, did you see him in BSG? He was awesome! Give him more parts!
But as enjoyable as these ones are, you are forced to sit through a couple of ones that are pure shit. Either from the fact they contain shitty stories or lack a budget where they were able to get decent cameras or from the fact they contain horrible actors like Paul Walker or, the scum that lies below the bottom of the barrel, Paris Hilton. These few shorts are almost enough to destroy the entire DVD experience--HOWEVER, I emphasize once again that this isn't a feature length motion picture and you don't have to sit through shorts you aren't enjoying, you can easily skip watching Paris Hilton fail at acting and return to Steve Carell leaping over rubber balls in a business suit.
All in all, I believe those who reviewed this one either just didn't get it or judged it too harshly. Many reviews I watched complained about the fact they didn't have intertwining stories or some common theme connecting them but a complaint like this makes me wonder if those who said this sit down and watch SpongeBob SquarePants and then complain about the lack of continuity in a children's cartoon. If you sit down and understand it's a collection of short films and nothing more or deeper, you'll appreciate the movie. You'll then be able to dig a little further and see the art these filmmakers were trying to create in their short films--and many of the shorts are very artsy pieces, things mainstream Hollywood doesn't like and sometimes doesn't allow. So, if you're a fan of film and the filmmaking experience, as well as understand that movies don't always have to have explosions, special effects or even be an hour and a half to tell a meaningful story, you should check out American Breakdown.