Monday, June 8, 2009

What Goes Up Captures Interest And Attention

Since its opening in Los Angeles on May 28, fans of the cast easily made What Goes Up the most talked about film opening on the weekend of May 29. Among all online conversations about non-animated films opening the weekend of May 29, What Goes Up finished second behind the multi-million dollar marketing campaign of a national release.

"All things considered, we did pretty well," said James Hoke, executive producer. "We might have only opened with 16 theaters, but there was a buzz about the film that few independent releases ever see. We have a lot of fans — Steve Coogan fans, Josh Peck fans, new Olivia Thirlby fans, and Hilary Duff fans — to thank for all of that. Thank you. We're still looking for ways to make the ride memorable."

What did people talk about? Reviewers have characterized this unassuming indy in every imaginable, and sometimes unimaginable, way. Much like filmgoers have told the producers, it's difficult to walk away with single consistent critique because Jonathan Glazter and Robert Lawson (to their credit) have created a film that allows moviegoers to take away something unique for themselves.

Positive And Mixed Impressions

“With a darkly funny and wonderfully twisted story that marches to its own surprising beat, What Goes Up is definitely NOT your typical teen comedy. The colorful, independent personalities placed under the microscope clearly don’t have ready answers and don’t always behave the way we think they might -- or should.” — Pete Hammond,

“A nifty little tragicomic late-80’s period piece in a familiar indie vein...director and co-writer Jonathan Glatzer handles his talented cast well, and the movie is dark, droll, and sentimental in roughly the correct proportions.” — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“I’m happy to say that despite faux-dark comedies like Juno, the rumors of the “quirky” movie’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. What Goes Up starring Steve Coogan and Hilary Duff, brings back the uncomfortably dark comedy with a vengeance.” — Alex Dorn, UGO

“Josh Peck delivers a blistering eulogy-blistering because he manages to simultaneously convey just how much pain his character is feeling while delivering it in an unnervingly hilarious way. It’s exactly what What Goes Up strives to be-a funny movie about death, a sad movie about life.” — Katie Erbland, Gordon and the Whale

“I still like the film. They talk about serious issues. Olivia Thirlby is an interesting actress to watch. Hilary Duff did a very good job. There’s a lot to like here.” — Jeffrey Lyons, Reel Talk

“Glatzer and Lawson show a deep understanding of how common ideals can hold even a community of outsiders together. And What Goes Up has a one-of-a-kind character in Coogan, a cynic with a savior complex, who lies partly out of convenience, and partly because he knows--as Glatzer and Lawson know--that even a messy story can still inspire.” — Noel Murray, The AV Club/The Onion

“Glatzer and co-writer Robert Lawson have a real feel for teenage confusion and self-romanticization, especially as it might express itself in a small town with little tolerance for eccentricity.” - M. Faust , Artvoice

“Yet despite the contrivances and frustrations, there’s also something endearing -- and, occasionally, achingly poignant -- about What Goes Up and its gallery of valiant misfits.” — Carol Cling, California Chronicle

“The antagonism that comes to a boil between Campbell and Tess gives the film some bristling tension. Yet even when Mr. Coogan can’t make his scenes work, his prickly presence keeps you watching, as does the eerie scenes of winter that Mr. Glatzer captures with the camera.” - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Hilary Duff and the other young actors...excel at projecting the confusion and anguish of students in crisis, and all of them deserve an A.” — Prairie Mille, NewsBlaze

Now that the reviewers have had their say, we'd love to know what you think. If you've seen the movie and want to write your own review, send it along to us at and we might feature it right here on the production blog.

In closing though, we might point out something else. What Goes Up is obviously a film that makes you think. And based on the varied reactions, ranging from love to loathing — it hits the mark as being art. Sure, sometimes it's fun to watch a film and feel nothing, but as reviewer Tony Macklin points out "What Goes Up is a movie that one decides whether or not he is going to root for."

It's currently playing Brooklyn, Boston, Buffalo, Las Vegas, and Moorpark, Calif. through June 11. And while the producers decide the next step for the indy film that could, Sony is releasing the DVD in the United States and Canada on June 16. You can already pre-order it on Amazon, iTunes, and ... everywhere.


  1. This is awesome :D:D!! I wish I could write a review about the film but unfortunately I haven't seen it yet.. (I'm in Brazil)
    But I'm proud of these reviews the critics have given. Way to go guys!!

  2. That's awesome! I'm currently writing a review in between school and personal life and should have one for you this week!

    Congrats on a great achievement!

  3. you guys should be really proud!!!!!!! :)

    i would write a review if i'd seen the movie U__U'

    hopefully it will be.. soon??? :D

    been a little disconnected this days because i've got lots of work and i'm in with my finale exams... :)

    awesome this post, really likeed reading it :) my congrats to you team and to all the cast and crew :)

  4. sounds great xD

  5. Most popular coments if you write what goes up in google:

    If What Goes Up is what we can expect in the post-Juno era of alt-dramedy programming, then burn, Indiewood, burn!

    “..What a baffling film this is..”
    by Jesse Hassenger []

    “ thoroughly pretentious..”
    by Nick Schager [Slant Magazine]Review rate : C+

    “ ill-conceived time-waster at best..”
    by Noel Murray [Onion AV Club]Review rate : D

    “ especially loathsome case of entropy..”
    by Cole Smithey []

    “..a turgid mess of a film..”
    by Ethan Alter [Film Journal International]

    “..a pointless and pretentious drama..”
    by Brian Lowry [Variety]

    “..a muddle of moods and intentions..”
    by Manohla Dargis [NY Times]

    If Glatzer, who co-wrote the film with Robert Lawson, had committed to a tone, the movie's pretensions might have been easier to suffer. As it is, "What Goes Up" teeters between pale, Mike White-style black humor and self-seriousness, while using the impending Challenger explosion to brazenly boost the tension

    LOS ANGELES TIMES: Glenn Whipp

    I've seen a lot of terrible movies in the line of duty, but What Goes Up might be the only genuinely unreleasable one. Co-writer/director Jonathan Glatzer makes dark allusions in the press kit to losing much of his budget and shooting time just a few weeks before starting. I feel for him.

    Village Voice: Vadim Rizov

  6. Anon,

    Yes, it is interesting what some people will push forward as popular. Some people enjoy sharing only the bad, I guess.

    You might also note that we included the links so people could draw their own conclusions. And, we've mentioned all of these reviews at one time or another.

    All my best

  7. im looking forward to seeing this, but this posting is biased to the max. at least post some of the negative reviews along with the positive ones, as the bad ones outnumber the good 5 to 1.

  8. Hi William,

    We've posted all the reviews at one time or another, and included links. But if you have been following, then you also know that the negative reviews received far more attention than the positive reviews, with some people claiming we didn't receive any positive reviews. That is untrue.

    The negative reviews hardly deserve even more attention; and you can see an anonymous poster has already paraphrased for the worst. Still, we let that comment stand, without editing or deleting it.

    We're glad you look forward to seeing the film. We hope you enjoy it!

    All our best,
    The Insider Team

  9. Scott Birmingham from give What Goes Up 8 reels!

    All our best,
    The Insider Team

  10. Saw the film today. It is not perfect by any means but was not as horrible as certain reviews implied.