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Joel David Moore
Frank Langella, Billy Crudup, Christina Applegate, Mary Kay Place
Writing Credits:
Andrew Eisen

A man is tasked with driving his embittered 80-year-old father-in-law cross country to be legally euthanized in Oregon, while along the way helping him rediscover a reason for living.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 4/4/2017

• None


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Youth in Oregon (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 4, 2017)

In the vein of Little Miss Sunshine with more death involved, 2016’s Youth in Oregon looks at an unusual road trip. Elderly Raymond Engersol (Frank Langella) finds himself in failing health, so he schedules his own assisted suicide.

The challenge: this event will take place in Oregon but he lives in New York. As such, Raymond needs to make a trip, and his daughter Kate (Christina Applegate) enlists her husband Brian (Billy Crudup) to help.

Not that Kate wants her dad to die, of course – she hopes that Brian can use the extended road trek to change Raymond’s mind. With Raymond’s saucy wife Estelle (Mary Kay Place) also along for the ride, we follow this journey and the issues that arise on the way.

Best-known as an actor in flicks like Avatar, Oregon marks Joel David Moore’s third feature-length directorial effort, and his second to focus on death-related subjects. 2014’s Killing Winston Jones offered more of a black comedy than Oregon, but one still starts to wonder what prompts Moore to concentrate on the demise of elderly men so heavily.

Whatever prompts this fascination, Oregon creates a somewhat disjointed effort, mainly in terms of tone. The film attempts a blend of comedy and drama that never quite works.

This creates a mix of jarring juxtapositions. One minute the film engages in broad shtick after Brian ingests some “pep pills”, and then the next we get Raymond’s heartfelt remembrance of old friends who passed.

Perhaps a more skilled filmmaker equipped with a tighter script might pull off these shifts, but Moore can’t do it. This means Oregon feels like a loosely-knit collection of scenes that don’t manage to coalesce into a coherent whole.

On the positive side, the actors handle their fairly thin parts well, especially because they resist temptations to embrace broad comedy. Raymond easily could become a cartoon curmudgeon, and Estelle could turn into a silly “naughty granny” sort, but they get dignity and depth due to the performances.

At its heart, Oregon could deliver an insight treatise on age, dying and family relationships, but it lacks the meaning and depth to go where it should. While the cast adds life to the material, the end result feels awkward and spotty too much of the time.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus F

Youth in Oregon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was acceptable for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually fine. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent to good clarity. Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette usually opted for a mix of teal and amber/orange. Within that design range, the colors seemed fine; they weren’t especially strong, but they were competent.

Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was an acceptable presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. Even when the material broadened, it stayed restrained and effects could seem borderline monaural. This became a restricted track for 5.1.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a passable mix.

The disc includes no extras of any sort – not even previews.

With a strong cast, parts of Youth in Oregon show potential. However, beyond some fine performances, the film lacks coherence and struggles to find its way. The DVD provides good picture and acceptable audio but it features no supplements. Though not a bad film, Oregon fails to stick together in a consistent way.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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