Unsettling drama about the events that lead a Florida teen, who is bullied physically and verbally by his best friend, to tragedy. Director Larry Clark deals with the darker side of adolescence, kids from wealthy homes without any guidance or respect for authority. His themes of rampant sex, illegal drug use and disaffected teens are all on display here. Indeed this suburban tale of nihilism documents their abundant depravity. The cinematography teeters between exploitative on the one hand and boldly candid on the other. Does he mean to condemn their behavior or capitalize on it? Larry Clark has a leering eye and his camera lingers in ways that will repel many. Beneath the voyeuristic surface, however, there is much to recommend. The performances are searing. Brad Renfro as surfer Marty embodies just the right amount of helplessness and intensity that makes his character so compelling and Rachel Miner as his girlfriend Lisa, incredibly integrates both cunning calculation and wayward negligence in the same person. When you combine all this with the fact that this actually happened, it makes for a memorable trip into an adolescent world you’ve never seen (or hope to never see for that matter).
Archive for 2001
A male model is manipulated into assassinating the Malaysian Prime Minister. Deliberately dumb comedy has moments of greatness but it‘s a scattershot affair. Will Ferrell as evil designer Mugatu is hilarious. His brainwashing technique is delightfully memorable. And that gas station scene with the young male models, underscored to the tune “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is genius. Writer, director, producer and star Ben Stiller is indeed talented, but his excessive mugging in the title role, grows a tad tiresome after awhile. We get it, Derek Zoolander is dim-witted and vain. Overall an enjoyably stupid farce. 3 words: “Orange Mocha Frappuccino!”
From the stars of the MTV sketch comedy show “The State” comes this alleged parody of 80s teen comedies. In reality this summer camp film plays more like the genuine article than an ironic caricature. The film is structurally weak. The look of the era is nicely captured, but scene after scene is so sloppily written and put together, there isn’t much of a point. Director David Wain would ultimately write & direct the excellent Role Models, but you’d have to have been psychic to see that talent here.