I liked the relaxed approach that Mike Cahill used in King of California. They are not trying to make a wow flick, they just want to tell a story about a man and his dream. Mental illness has been a taboo for most of the cultures around world, and USA is not different, so it’s nice to see a movie exploring this subject. This time they also added existential issues with 16-year-old Miranda having to fend for herself in this cruel world, without a mother or a father. Michael Douglas is slightly insane father of Miranda, a young teenager struggling with money but with her feet firmly planted on ground. When Charlie is released from a mental institution, he comes to his daughters place to live.
She is very independent and resourceful, after all she has to be since both her mother and father left her and the state did not care. During his stint in the institution, Charlie accidentally stumbled upon an old diary of Father Tores. Upon reading it, he became obsessed, acting like a real mad man. What he read and why he became obsessed are two question that are worth answering, so better get ready to meet the King of California. Shot on the height of the dramedy craze (we could also call this quirkiness craze), this is a well-rounded movie with strong performances and an intriguing story. Micheal Douglas was brilliant here, really close to his performances in Falling Down, Traffic or Behind the Candelabra.
Director: Mike Cahill
Cast: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, Willis Burks II, Laura Kachergus, Paul Lieber
Fun Facts: The screenplay written by Michael Cahill was entered into the 2004 American Zoetrope Screenwriting contest and though didn’t win, was a finalist.