Funeral movie: Grand Theft Parsons

This story is so unusual that if it did not really happen, nobody would believe it. It involves two men, a tugboat, a dead rock star, five gallons of gasoline and a promise.

Remember the influential rock musician Gram Parsons? He played with Emmylou Harris, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The International Submarine Band. Parsons died in 1973 in a motel room near the Joshua Tree National Monument from an overdose of morphine at the age of 26 years.
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The movie Grand Theft Parsons (2003) is based on the true story of what happened to Parsons & # 39; body after he died. The film illustrates certain issues that may be useful for starting funeral or property conversations.

Before his death, Parsons stated that he wanted his body to cremate on Joshua Tree and his ashes scattered over Cap Rock, a prominent natural function there. His supervisor Phil Kaufman (who also managed Parsons & Drugs and Alcohol, as well as he could) and he had a covenant.
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The one who died first, the other would take the body of Joshua Tree and "set his mind free", that is, put the body on fire.

Take a body from a hospital

At the beginning of the movie, Kaufman (the game of Johnny Knoxville) tries to get Parson's body from the little remote hospital near Joshua Tree. The nurse says that, as he is not a doctor or close relative, he has no rights to access the body. He tries to steal the body from the hospital without success.
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Parsons & # 39; The body goes to Los Angeles International Airport for shipment to New Orleans for funeral. Parsons & # 39; arrested for a private ceremony, neglect to invite friends from the music industry.

In the movie, Kaufman hires a psychedelic lamp to pick up the body from the airport and direct the airline office clerk to get Parson's body.

Once upon Joshua Tree, Kaufman tries to cure Parsons by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open chest and throwing a lit cigarette inside – resulting in an intense fireball. That part of the film remains pretty close to the true story.
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What does a will do?

The movie adds snarky ex-girlfriend Barbara Mansfield (played by Christina Applegate). She tries to pay on Parson's money and earthly inventory using a handwritten note on the back of a flyer. She says it is his will, but there is no notarization or something that would make it official.
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The note states: "For what it may concern: I would like to know that it is my desire to leave Barbara Mansfield my assets and property in the event of my death. Signed, Gram Parsons."

Kaufman tells her that there is no will. She says it's a signed promise from Gram to leave her all her stuff. Parsons was married to another woman at that time.

Using this note, she tries to get Parson's guitar and music master from Kaufman. She also tries to get money from the bank.
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Banker tells her that they have rules, the paper is invalid and they would at least need a death certificate for her to prove that he's actually dead. She successfully tries to get a death certificate from the county registrar.

Without the legality of fire in a national monument, Grand Theft Parsons opens the door to discuss the following points:

  • A handwritten note does not make an acceptable will, no matter how hard a desperate girlfriend does. Get a property attorney who knows what actually makes a legal validity.
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  • Hospitals do not want to release bodies to "close friends", be it supervisors or life partners without legal certainty. In fact, those who want to make their own homemade to a family member can have a hard time getting a body released to their next.
  • Bribing a freight writer must break some kind of law, but this movie was set in 1973, before September 11, security improvements at airports came into force.
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    Only "Famous Shippers" can now handle dead bodies when it comes to air freight. You can not just drive a psychedelic lamp to the air freight office anymore. Sigh.

By the way in the true story, the police, Kaufman and his friend, slammed the body, but the couple got away. They were arrested several days later.
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Since there was no law against stealing a dead body, they were only fined $ 750 to steal the coffin and were not prosecuted to leave 35 pounds of Parsons & # 39; charred remains in the desert.

Grand Theft Parsons is a fun movie with a few life-and-dead lessons sprinkled into the comedy. It can be rented on DVD via Netflix and purchased on Amazon.com (as available). Classified PG-13 for drug references and some language.