STUDIO:  Velocity/Thinkfilm
MSRP: $27.98
RUNNING TIME:  92 Minutes
• Alternate Ending
• The Making of LIVE FREE OR DIE
• Filmmaker & Cast Commentary featuring Gregg Kavet & Andy Robin and Aaron Stanford & Paul Schneider
• Blooper Reel
• Theatrical Trailer
• Deleted Scenes

The Pitch

It’s Bottle Rockety, but it also examines the small town culture of how local legends come to be born.

The Humans

Aaron (Tadpole) Stanford, Paul (All the Real Girls) Schneider, Michael (Bamboozled) Rapaport, Ebon (The Lake House) Moss-Bachrach, Judah (Wet Hot American Summer) Friedlander, Kevin (Transformers) Dunn, Zooey (Elf) Deschanel


Kevin tried hard to reconcile his passionate Nazi leanings with his lack of equilibrium.

The Nutshell

Live Free or Die is the ultimate summer action ride. In a season overflowing with CGI Fantasy, Live Free or Die gets real – with real action, real humor and a relatable everyman hero: John “Rugged” Rudgate. On the July 4th holiday, an attack on the vulnerable United States infrastructure begins to shut down the entire nation. The mysterious figure behind the scheme has figured out every modern angle – but he never figured on an old-school “analog” fly in the “digital” ointment.  Aaron Stanford is John Rudgate. No mask. No cape. No problem.


Some people just really enjoy watching Frasier on syndication.

The Lowdown

One of the great joys in being a film nerd is discovering a movie that is destined for cult worship later on in life or simply discovering something extremely enjoyable that you can impart on others, spreading the wealth. Live Free or Die is one of those low-key comedies that will only get better with time and repeat viewings and is a prime candidate for cult-dom down the line. One of the biggest reasons is the performances (which I’ll get to in a bit), but on the whole it’s a deadpan comedy with the humor coming mostly from the characters instead of their situations, which is always where the best comedy is going to spring from (a combination of the two is the perfect storm: see the majority of the best comedies ever made) and as such is worthy of accolades.


"You better be instant, motherfucker!"

As noted earlier, the biggest reason this film succeeds is through its main actors, as Stanford is almost unrecognizable as “Rugged” Rudgate. The majority of the comedy though, belongs to Paul Schneider, whose LaGrand is a masterstroke of comic creation. There’s clearly something amiss mentally with LaGrand, and Schneider plays the character perfectly, as almost every scene has a nugget of gold from either the physicality of the performance (watch how he mimics Rudgate in most of their scenes, the best of which is his pitiful slap of the dashboard) and his amazing line deliveries (the conclusion to a scene of his with Zooey absolutely busted my shit, not to mention “Why are you throwing all of those things?”).  A lot of the supporting performances were solid (Rapaport is good in a low-key performance that explains itself as the movie progresses, Kevin Dunn has a couple of good bits, and Even Moss-Bachrach is on par with the main actors in his role as Gazaniga.  The only role that I felt was lacking is Zooey Deschanel’s as LaGrand’s sister, Cheryl.  She just isn’t given very much to do, but she still manages to play off of her former All The Real Girls batterymate Schneider quite well in their few scenes together.


Aforementioned favorite scene of the movie.

I suppose some of the humor I got out of this flick could be considered esoteric (as specific use of words and sentence structure are part of the reason I find so many lines in this to be amazing), but I can’t see how people wouldn’t come out of this with a newfound appreciation of some of the talent in it. Credit goes to Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin (former Seinfeld writers, as the DVD cover is quick to point out) for writing and directing the picture, as their camerawork gives the film a visual depth many comedies lack (you feel this is taking place in a fully imagined setting), and they clearly got the right cast to deliver their dialogue, as most of these actors give line deliveries that make the jokes, instead of breaking them. I don’t want to pimp this film too hard and lead you to believe that it’s an astonishing laugh-a-minute jokefest. It was a pleasant surprise with some memorable performances and lots of quotable dialogue. I hope some of you discover it and get pleasure out of it much in the same way I did. Recommended.


"Not everyone has a Higher Learning navel tattoo."

The Package

The cover art isn’t anything to call home about, as it’s mostly trying to cash in on name recognition (gotta’ appeal to that Judah Friedlander fanbase, of which I’m a member) with a badly photoshopped image hinting at the story within (while being a little misleading, at that). This disc is absolutely stacked for a release I hadn’t heard about until recently, and its all welcomed additions to already entertaining feature. First up is the group commentary, which strikes a laid back tone with a handful of belly laughs to be had within. It’s the commentary where you laugh along with them at line deliveries instead of hating them for enjoying their own material. You also get to hear about Paul Schneider’s IBS, so you also get that. Also on board is an alternate ending (which is quite drastically different from what’s in the finished product, which is the ending that I prefer), some minor deleted scenes (one of which I could’ve sworn actually was in the final edit), a blooper reel that isn’t as good as one would hope, the theatrical trailer as well as a handful of other trailers, and a making of featurette that goes just slightly beyond your standard EPK fluffery to show a little bit of the filmmaking and acting unfiltered on set. A nice batch of extras for an entertaining flick, helping to round out a pretty solid set.

7.9 out of 10