Tuesday, April 14, 2009
2005 drama/comedy by Mike Mills (no, not the one from REM) about a 17-year-old boy who is trying to figure out who he is and in the process maybe finally make out with a girl, do better at school, potentially get into a New York college and shed his small Oregon town and, in his opinion, lame parents...oh, and to figure out how to stop sucking his thumb. This is Mills' second feature film and it shows, in that it's far to scattered to be effective. None of the relationships or characters are developed well and some of them come and go from the flick with almost no explanation. In fact, the thumbsucking is a great example of this too. After watching the movie I really don't know why that was even necessary. I mean, I see why it was there, as this was pretty much about a guy who has to determine to grow up and put away childish things so he doesn't end up living at his parent's Tigard house into his Thirties, but it's barely part of the movie and seems to have just been thrown in there for storytelling convenience. The movie has a distinct visual style, which is nice, and Elliott Smith contributed original songs to this flick just before he died, which is great. And some of the performances were pretty good, especially Tilda Swinton's, but overall the movie was pretty boring and the story was totally cliche. I mean, seriously, how many indpenedent movies do we need about high school kids who are looking for love (or, more accuratly, sex) and desperately hoping to escape the confines of their oppressively lame parents/hometown. I blame you John Hughes. If you want a better version of this same story, see The Wackness, and skip this one. The sign of bad direction, in my opinion, is bad pacing and a lack of effective story cohesion and this movie has both of those symptoms.