Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Grand Son: Hollywood Family Values

Tod and Lani’s grandmother is sort of the Norma Desmond of home shopping television. The former movie star has lost her touch hawking cubic zirconium, so she has had her loyal grandson liquidate the furnishings of their once palatial Hollywood mansion. However, trusting Tod could very well be a grave mistake in Robert Logevall’s The Grand Son (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

Things are getting so bad, Judy’s grandchildren might have to get jobs—real jobs, not the bogus acting gigs Lani is constantly auditioning for. Tod knows his grandmother will soon get the axe from the shopping network, because he is sleeping with her producer Barbara. He would like Judy to pass the baton to Lani, but it is not in her nature to step aside. For their part, Barbara and the network executives have little to zero interest in Lani, so it will all take a good deal of string-pulling on his part. Fortunately, Tod has a convenient scapegoat for his schemes in Jacob, the surly boy toy house painter both grandmother and granddaughter have been using in bed.

Grand Son (two words) is no Sunset Boulevard, that’s for sure, but it is entertainingly lurid, in a gleefully amoral kind of way. This is the kind of over-the-top family drama that unleashes the full-contact Dynasty-style catty-slapping before breakfast. It is all very much a guilty pleasure, but you have to guffaw at its energy and shamelessness.

Perhaps the best thing going for the film is Lesley Ann Warren (Oscar nominated for Victor/Victoria) who is perfectly cast and looks terrific as Grandma Judy, the Danielle Steel character from Hell. Fabianne Therese (John Dies at the End, Sequence Break) is so relentlessly petulant and entitled as Lani, it really is funny. Rhys Wakefield also makes quite a creepy little sociopath as Tod. However, Nathan Keyes is so drearily dull as Jacob, it is hard to believe he could last thirty seconds amid such flamboyantly nasty company.

Logevall’s last feature was All God’s Creatures Can Dance, an adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story released in 2008. It should be safe to describe Grand Son as a change of pace. This is far from the smartest, twistiest thriller of the year, or even the week, but it has all kinds attitude. If ever there was a VOD movie this is it. Recommended fans of Warren (she was also Miss Scarlett in Clue, so show the proper respect), The Grand Son hits VOD platforms today.