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King of California


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After spending several years in a mental institute Charlie (Michael Douglas) is sent home, reuniting with his teenage daughter Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood). Charlie becomes obsessed with the notion that a long-lost Spanish treasure is buried underneath their local suburban California Costco. Disconnected from reality and his daughter's life, Charlie's erratic behavior further strains their relationship and completely disrupts her peaceful existence. Initially skeptical, Miranda soon finds herself joining in Charlie's questionable antics in an effort to believe in her father and give him one last shot at accomplishing his dreams in this darkly funny, exciting and surprisingly hopeful take on the modern family and the American dream.

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Michael Douglas is such a great dramatic actor (not to mention villain) that it's worth remembering what a strong comedic performer he can be (War of the Roses, Romancing the Stone). In King of California, he digs into his offbeat lighter role with relish and vigor. Yet he softens the scene-chewing with appropriate poignancy, given that he's playing a mentally ill deadbeat who's essentially left his daughter to raise herself--and him. Douglas plays Charlie, a troubled yet good-humored musician who's just been released from institutional care. Evan Rachel Wood is his wise-beyond-her-years daughter, Miranda, who pays the bills, keeps house, and even buys a car as an unlicensed 15-year-old. The film examines the bond between troubled dad and grounded teen, and it's to both actors' credit that the slight (and slightly incredulous) plot doesn't diminish the impact of their love or anguish.

Charlie's convinced a buried Spanish treasure lies beneath the local Costco (one of many companies given costar billing; others include McDonald's, Petco, Target, and Chuck E. Cheese). The plot follows Charlie's single-minded, impossible-dream journey, while the world-weary Miranda is resigned to following ("Time to get on that old bipolar pony and ride," she mutters). But along the way, dad and daughter find true ways to reconnect, and therein lies the true majesty of King of California --A.T. Hurley


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, Willis Burks II, Laura Kachergus, Paul Lieber
  • Directors: Mike Cahill
  • Writers: Mike Cahill
  • Producers: Alexander Payne, Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, DTeflon, Danny Dimbort
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WCN8PA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,616 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "King of California" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mark Gray on November 15, 2007
Format: DVD
You can read the synapses above and I can't do any better so I'll just give my opinion.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. The wacky-father straight-laced daughter interactions are what make it so fun. I also loved Michael Douglas' character in this film. His character reminds me a lot of a castaway (both in appearance and in his quirky mannerisms). There are tinges of other movie genres in this as well but the director puts the whole project together in a good way that gives is a fresh twist and feeling.

This is a great movie for a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn and you'll probably tell your friends about it too (I did).
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Format: DVD
KING OF CALIFORNIA may not break any records for innovation of thought or script but it is a tightly made little film that allows veteran actor Michael Douglas a lollipop of a wacky role to remind us that he does have comedic talent! It also gives 20-year old Evan Rachel Wood the opportunity to compete with a Pro and come out an equal - quite a feat for such a young actress. Written and directed by Mike Cahill the story does have appeal, especially since it is set in Santa Clarita, California, a rapidly developing 'hinterland' that is suffering from the effects of too rapid industrialization, changing from a picturesque remnant of California raw beauty into yet another perky little town.

Charlie (Michael Douglas) has been in and out of mental institutions for his wacky behavior. His life as a jazz bassist and entrepreneur has always veered off the map, leaving him alone with his only daughter Miranda who has survived her father's irresponsible life by keeping the old family home (in the midst of a huge housing development) with the money she makes double shifting at the local MacDonalds. When Charlie is released his focus is on discovering the gold left behind by Catholic priests in the mid 1600s, a fact he has researched while hospitalized, on the Internet, and from the journal of one of the priests. Miranda slowly buys into Charlie's madcap scheme and adventure as a gold hunter and the caper results in a bonding between father and daughter that has been teetering on the brink of disaster for years. The manner in which Charlie, Miranda, and an old ex-con friend Pepper (Willis Burks II) go after the treasure provides most of the energy of the film.

Yes, there are bits and pieces of this project that have been done many times before (and often better), but the pleasure of KING OF CALIFORNIA lies in the bravura and touching performances by Douglas and Wood. This is a pleasant excursion of a movie, worth an evening's gander. Grady Harp, February 08
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nathian K. Gormley on November 15, 2007
Format: DVD
These days, the lines between an independent film and a hollywood film are becoming more and more blurred. Films like Little Miss Sunshine and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind boast that indy feel, the themes and look and ideals that come with those trappings, yet they pack some real star power both on and off screen.

Kind of California is another one of those films, but after watching this great little gem of a film, I realized it really doesn't matter if this film is more of an indy flick or a Hollywood flick... in the end, when the movie is this good, who cares?

We could use more films like King of California, no matter who makes them. Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood are fantastic here, at times quirky and manic, other times truly sad and tragic characters. I find it hard to believe anyone could not fall in love with these characters, and in turn not completely enjoy this film.

A must-see, and a must-buy, one of the better surprises of the year, hands down.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on February 5, 2008
Format: DVD
Hoping to replicate the overwhelming positive critical response he received for his performance in Wonder Boys, Michael Douglas plays another quirky outsider in King of California. Despite being produced by Alexander Payne (Sideways (Widescreen Edition)), the film enjoyed a brief theatrical run and finally makes its debut on DVD.

Michael Douglas is excellent as the wildly eccentric Charlie. There is a mischievous glint in his eyes when he feels like he is getting closer to the treasure. The older Douglas gets and the more films he does, the more comfortable an actor he becomes. He delivers a nuanced performance that never veers off into showy scenery-chewing territory. With his mountain man beard, Douglas certainly looks the part of an ex-mental patient and, at times, seems to be channeling Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski (Widescreen Collector's Edition).

Evan Rachel Wood plays Charlie's extremely patient daughter and narrator of this unusual tale and so, naturally, our sympathies lie with her because she's, y'know, the sane voice of reason. Miranda is the responsible one to Charlie's childish antics. Wood is the ideal foil to Douglas, the straight man to his kooky eccentric.

King of California belongs to Douglas and the film sinks of swims based on how well he sells his character's mad quest - kind of like Robin Williams' traumatized bum in
...Read more ›
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