The Mysteries of Pittsburgh played at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival starring the likes of Peter Sarsgaard, Sienna Miller, Jon Foster, Mena Suvari and Nick Nolte with Dodgeball helmer Rawson Thurber at the helm moving from brainless comedy to independent film.
The pic is an adaptation of Michael Chabon’s 1988 novel and with the debut of the trailer at Yahoo I have come to learn Peace Arch has picked it up for a limited New York release on March 27 before it heads down to Los Angeles on April 4 and based on a sampling of reviews I found online I don’t expect it to travel much further before finding its way onto DVD.
Dennis Harvey at Variety says:
A surefooted screen translation of Michael Chabon’s beloved 1988 debut novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” will likely irk diehard fans of the book, as helmer-adaptor Rawson Marshall Thurber takes considerable liberties and arrives at a more conventional general tone. Still, this engaging ’80s flashback embroiling a hitherto vanilla protagonist with some wild characters during one heady summer has appeal for straight and gay twenty-to-fortysomething auds. It should prove capable of performing on the upper end of limited-release figures before decent sales on disc and cable.
Devin Faraci at CHUD says:
Here’s the big mystery of Pittsburgh: How did this movie manage to be so completely terrible? Based on a novel by Michael Chabon (which I have been told is quite excellent), The Mysteries of Pittsburgh may end up being a serious contender for worst of fest.
Scott Weinberg at Cinematical says:
Most directors’ first effort is NOT a huge blockbuster smash of a comedy starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, but that’s how writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber hit the scene: with Dodgeball. But based on the filmmaker’s second effort, I’m guessing that Thurber took a lot of good-natured ribbing from his film-school friends and decided to snag some “indie cred” by doing a smaller movie for his second feature. That’s all well and good, but it’s too bad that the resulting movie — The Mysteries of Pittsburgh — is such an inert, episodic, and familiar piece of very typical festival fare. It’s as if Mr. Thurber watched six Sundance films at random, and then just copied his favorite scenes from each one.
Eric Snider says:
Above all, the film lacks a soul. It does not appear to “mean” anything, though it very obviously wants to. Jon Foster’s performance as Art is rather inert, and that unfortunately befits a movie that’s pretty lifeless itself. But tt’s not bad, except in comparison to the novel. It’s simply unoriginal and unmemorable, like so many of its film festival brethren.
I have attached the synopsis below the trailer, which you can also watch in high-definition right here.
Art Bechstein is floundering in his new-found post-college freedom, opting to take the job with the least amount of responsibility he can find (at the appropriately titled Book Barn), while sleep walking through the Series Seven prep courses that will speed him into a job chosen for him by his father, far away from the security of his childhood Pittsburgh. Art’s fortunes begin to change when a chance encounter with freshman roommate and part-time drug dealer Mohammed lands him at a swanky summer party where he falls for the beautifully tipsy Jane Bellweather. The two quickly connect over a late-night plate of pie, but Jane’s on-again off-again boyfriend Cleveland has other plans for the pair. Taking Art hostage from the dreary Book Barn, Cleveland threatens to throw Art off the top of an abandoned steel mill, a hideout that Cleveland romantically calls “The Cloud Factory.” Suspended high above Pittsburgh, Art realizes that his summer has finally begun, what would become the last true summer of his life.