This is probably the best dark comedy, with a little pathos thrown in, about stealing a dead musician's body that you will ever see.
First off you must understand that this is NOT a movie about the influential Country-Rock artist, Gram Parsons (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers). Grand Theft Parsons is a movie about Gram Parson's road manager Phil Kaufman's attempt to steal Gram's body and cremate it in Joshua Tree National Park. This is a pact that the two of them had made with each other. This movie takes a comic look at the whole fiasco.
Johnny Knoxville stars as Phil Kaufman. I'm no Johnny Knoxville fan, but he does a fine job of acting in this movie and his character seems believable from start to finish. Along for the ride is an unsuspecting hippie (Michael Shannon) who has a hearse he rents out and who thinks he's transporting an empty coffin. Chasing Knoxville and Shannon are the cops, Gram's father (Robert Forster) , Knoxville's girlfriend (Marley Shelton), and Gram's ex-wife (Christina Applegate), who needs a death certificate so she can try to get any funds or future funds owed to Gram.
The movie contains a great many chuckles and a few laugh out loud moments (most of the latter with Michael Shannon's character). Robert Forster as the father brings some sadness to the movie as he's wanting to bring his estranged son's body back to New Orleans for burial. In real life, Gram's father was already dead and his stepfather was wanting the body back in New Orleans for estate purposes. Chistina is very good in her part, as the wild-eyed ex trying to get what she thinks is rightfully hers.
Most of the songs heard on the movie soundtrack are Gram Parson songs and most of the other songs fit well within the movie. The exception was the Bruce Springsteen song "Blood Brothers". It was jarring to hear his voice in a period movie and it just seemed out of place.
Near the end of the movie, the real Phil Kaufman makes a cameo on the steps of the courthouse. Also stay tuned through the end credits until the very end, you will get to hear Roger Alan Wade's uncredited song "Rhinestones In The Ashes", his tribute song about Gram Parsons
Besides the trailer for Grand Theft Parsons below, I have also include the trailer for the documentary Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel
THE FORTY-FIVES "High Life High Volume" 2004
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