Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.
For more about Smashed and the Smashed Blu-ray release, see Smashed Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Kyle Gallner
Director: James Ponsoldt
» See full cast & crew
Smashed Blu-ray Review
Mary Elizabeth Winstead picks up the pieces of her character's shattered life in a standout performance.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 12, 2013
Traps, temptations, and tantalizing things are part of life, a good part, in some ways, a bad part, in others. Sugary sweets, a good cigar, stretching those Christmas dollars on the credit card, sipping a little whiskey, or putting back a couple of beers at the ballgame (also known as stretching the credit card again; really, what's up with $8 warm beers at the ballpark?) are some of life's little enjoyable moments. But beware: eating a box of cookies everyday, piling up insurmountable debt, drinking whiskey like it's water, or acquiring the dreaded "beer belly" are all consequences of overindulgence, a lack of balance and, sometimes, self-control. Do any of these in excess once or twice, and it's a life lesson. Repeat, time and again, and they become unhealthy addictions. Smashed is the story of a teacher who has lost control of her life under the power of alcoholism and her noble, sometimes futile, and sometimes successful efforts to better herself in any way she can.
Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are married to both one another and to their shared passion: alcohol. They drink freely and frequently. Alcohol controls their lives and is a constant in even their daily routines; Kate swigs beers in the shower and sneaks a few sips of whiskey from a hidden flask in her car before going into work. She's a functioning alcoholic and someone who needs it in her system to operate. She teaches elementary mathematics and, one day at work after a night of binge drinking, vomits in front of her class. The students suspect she's pregnant and she affirms their belief with a lie. Her "pregnancy" becomes the hot topic at work, but she confides to the school's vice principal, Dave Davies (Nick Offerman), that she's actually an alcoholic. Lucky for her, Dave understands her plight; he's about a decade sober and invites her to his "Alcoholics Anonymous" meetings where Kate finds a friend and a sponsor in Jenny (Octavia Spencer) to help in her recovery. Unfortunately, Charlie's not too keen on the idea of quitting, which means Kate will have to fight an uphill battle against both of her loves if she's to drop the one she has to start living without.
Smashed isn't the most harrowing, intense, and downright grotesque substance abuse movie out there; it pales in both dramatic content and the sheer sense of depravity and hopelessness depicted in the terribly unsettling but hugely effective Requiem for a Dream, but then again it doesn't aim for that dark a style. This is less a warning label movie a more a glimpse into a life troubled by addiction. It's more about seeking out help than it is falling further into the clutches of the addiction. Yet even if it's not really repulsive, it is quite fascinating and still a bit unsettling. It follows a largely predictable path and takes a few easy avenues for dramatic convenience (a baby shower before a baby bump is even visible?) but nevertheless impresses with the intimate appeal and deep character study that's at the heart of the experience. Director James Ponsoldt (Off the Black, another "alcohol" film) keeps the movie focused and brisk -- it clocks in at well under 90 minutes -- but manages to tell a thorough and thoughtful story in that short allotment of time, a testament to the power of its simple but engaging script and, more importantly, it's brilliant on-camera performances.
Smashed may be the beneficiary of solid direction and a positive script, but the real showstopper here is the thoroughly convincing performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She finds a real, believable sincerity in the part, whether high on life while under the influence or at her darkest and weakest both drunk and sober. She finds an authenticity beyond the superficial, though, and commands the role and her audience from within. For as believable as she is while "intoxicated," it's the character's heart and soul that truly comes cross as genuine, no matter the situation or the people or the truths and lies and unbelievable lines she hears from other characters in the movie. It's a true commanding performance that should have found more recognition in awards circles than it did. Aaron Paul is quite good in a lesser role, an important role but one that's a bit lost behind Winstead's dominant work. Nick Offerman is also excellent in a role with a few surprises while Octavia Spencer is fantastic as the film's dramatic stabilizing force.
Smashed Blu-ray, Video Quality
Smashed arrives on Blu-ray not in a hazy stupor but rather a clear, robust, and sharp high definition transfer. The film opens under a bit of a dull overlay early in the early morning shots, but it picks up vibrance and brilliance when it moves to the classroom and displays some very nice colors and reveals crisp, accurate details around the room. The HD video source presents something of a flat, glossy look, but it also showcases positive definition on faces and clothing and some of the textures both inside and outside Kate and Charlie's somewhat run-down home. Black levels and skin tones are generally fine, though the former can look just a little too pale in some places. There are a few lower light shadows that show some banding, some slightly difficult color transitioning, but generally the image is free of any other defects. It's not a showstopper by design, but Sony's transfer is nevertheless solid and reflects the movie's source nicely enough.
Smashed Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Smashed features a balanced and satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This isn't a track that offers a dazzling sound design or an abundance of realistic, involved sound information, but it serves its fairly limited attributes nicely. Music delivery is expectedly strong, with clear, tight, and precise notes creating a very natural presence around the front of the stage. The track picks up some nice ambiance at the karaoke bar, with music and the general din of the place drifting into the back speakers. Other fine little supportive effects may be sonically light but certainly crucial in creating a robust, realistic atmosphere; even something as small as the hum of a convenience store refrigerator helps to add necessary environmental nuance to a scene and heighten the drama of it. Dialogue, as expected, plays clearly and without hitch from the center channel. It's not the most dynamic track out there, but Sony's latest lossless offering holds down the fort with ease.
Smashed Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Smashed's supplementary section is headlined by an audio commentary track. A making-of featurette and deleted scenes are also included.
Smashed Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Smashed is a real little gem that might not be so emotionally draining, visually harrowing, and psychologically terrifying as other "substance abuse" movies, and it certainly travels along a somewhat predictable arc, but it's nevertheless a very well-crafted film that moves quickly and satisfies thanks to a remarkable performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Sony's Blu-ray release of Smashed features solid video and audio. An average assortment of extras are included. Highly recommended largely on the quality of the film and its lead performance.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Smashed. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Smashed in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Smashed Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Smashed Blu-ray - December 17, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of James Ponsoldt's latest film Smashed (2012), starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul and Octavia Spencer. The release will be available for purchase on March ...
Smashed Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Smashed Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Smashed Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.