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A Better Place (1997)

Eion Bailey , Joseph Cassese  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Eion Bailey, Joseph Cassese, Molly Castelloe, Patricia DiPatri, Robert DiPatri
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Synapse
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2001
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305750211
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,556 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Better Place" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director's cut featuring scenes not included in film festival prints
  • Deleted scenes
  • Introduction by producers Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier

Editorial Reviews

After the death of his father, Barrett (Robert DiPatri) moves from California to the East. On his first day at his new high school, the shy teen becomes the immediate target of bullies. Troubled loner Ryan (Eion Bailey) quickly comes to his aid, and a friendship blossoms between the two. As Barret gets to know his knew friend, however, it becomes clear that Ryan harbors a bitterness which may have the potential to turn violent. A BETTER PLACE was produced by Kevin Smith and features appearances by several actors who routinely appear in his View Askew films, including Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"A Better Place" is a disturbing and unsettling look at teen violence. This is a film that is so raw and brutal that it literally shakes you when you're not expecting it. Be warned, this is not a film to watch if you're looking for something to enjoy. This is as harsh and intense as it gets.
The movie tells the story of Barret Michaelson; the new kid in town. The first day at his new school he is picked on by almost everybody. He makes friends with Ryan; an isolated loaner who doesn't particularly like people in general. As time passes by, Ryan drags Barret further and further into his worldview of hate and darkness. It isn't long before things become violent and dangerous, leading to an unbelievably shocking and cruel finale.
It's hard to believe that this movie came from View Askew. Who would've thought they could've come out with something so intense and dark? As disturbing and chilling it is, it's an honest movie. It's not a glamorous film, and it's not trying to be one. That's why it's so effective. It has a raw and brutal feel to it all, and that's what makes it so powerful.
I thought the movie was very well-written and directed. I kind of felt that it could've been longer and that Ryan's character could've been expanded more. But for the most part, it's a very good movie. It reminds me of "Bully," except "A Better Place" is much more "slice-of-life" resembling. It's effective because it doesn't feel like a movie, but more like something that is actually happening.
The DVD has some special features, such as commentary, deleted scenes and more. There are some really cool Easter Eggs if you can find them. (Look at some of the other reviews, and you will find them.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easter Eggs AKA Hidden Features June 19, 2002
To acces these easter eggs, first watch the movie all the way through once (or just access the last chapter and watch the end credits), then go to the "special thanks" screen. On the second special thanks screen, you are now able to highlight a few of the names in the special thanks. Highlight "The Pizza Guy" and you will be taken to a hidden menu called "Loopholes" where you can access the trailer for the hysterical movie "Big Helium Dog" and a second audio commentary for A Better Place, this time with the members of the pervious commentary drunk out of their stuff.
Click on the color bars. Let them play for about 15-20 seconds and you will view a hidden montage of outtakes and deleted scenes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT! January 28, 2002
I borrowed this movie from a friend without ever hearing of the movie itself or of the director. Although low budget, "A Better Place" turned out to be the best movie I've seen in a very long time. Right off the bat I became drawn to the main character, trying to discover what was in store for him, as him and his mother moved to a new town after the death of his father. After a rough first day at school, Barret becomes friends with an introverted nihilist who has a strong hatred for humanity (Ryan). Barret is drawn (by Ryan) into an accidental manslaughter and the movie takes off snowballing to the amazing ending. The ending is amazing because it is very surprising and complicates most of the themes and the overall message of the movie. The film deals with a lot of philosophical issues like the problem of evil, the existence of God, morals, ethics, and especially free will vs. determinism. Overall, a very thought provoking, intelligent, well made piece. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible picture! November 12, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a long time fan of Kevin Smith's work, I was always curious as to who the heck was Vincent Pereira? Now I know, he is one hell of a writer/film maker! "A Better Place" struck home on many chords with me. Vincent has artfully captured the fellings of angst and isolation that I so often felt in High School. He shows the sort of things that go on that parents and teachers either didn't know about, or didn't want to know about. Things that always caused my jaw to drop in disbelief when an adult would refer to my time in school as "The best years of your life!" You mean it gets worse? (A quick word of reassurance to those of you still in school, don't worry, for the most part it gets better.) Things like being picked on for no apparent reason, getting hasseled, if not actually beaten up, again for little or no apparent reason. Getting mocked, derided, and put upon, for who you are, or how you look, or who you choose to be friends with. "A Better Place" is somewhat like "The Breakfast Club", but without the Hollywood fantasy of problems being solved in a good happy way, and boy getting the girl, and all that (stuff).
The Movie:
I don't want to give too much away, suffice to say Barret Michaelson(Robert DiPatri-excellent job) has a rough time at his first day in a new school, falls in with loner Ryan Walker(Eion Bailey-another excelent perfomance, this guy has future STAR writen all over him) and although they share much in common, it soon becomes apparent that Ryan is walking a darker path. His talks of (...), soon turn to rants of sterilization, and genocide. And the longer Barret knows him the more deeply he becomes entwined in his life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this Vincent. I recall you
As a teen, visiting with your family with a bunch of Fangoria magazines under your arm. You were meant to do this work. Keep it up, great job.
Kenny in Florida
Published 16 months ago by Kepaji
4.0 out of 5 stars coming of age with a twist
This is a roller coaster ride of twisted teen angst in the 90's. A great Indie film with a lot of really good performances.
Published 17 months ago by rdhempton3
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Movie
It's a little rough around the edges, as any independent film is, but it is truly a work of art. I first saw this film about ten years ago on IFC, and it really stuck with me. Read more
Published on July 16, 2011 by Timothy
3.0 out of 5 stars Jerks
It was a chore to watch the first thirty minutes of this movie. Then I sat through quite a few scenes where the characters are the kind of jerks that I wanted to get out of my... Read more
Published on February 22, 2011 by The grumpy consumer
4.0 out of 5 stars Scares Me to Death...
I would have liked seeing a few more dollars thrown at this film. Some stories are LARGER than a low-budget film will adequately handle, but not for the talent. Read more
Published on December 26, 2009 by Kenneth A. Nelson
4.0 out of 5 stars "Do You Accept Responsibility For All Your Actions?"
Well, you know you're in for a low-budget movie experience when one of the opening credits reads "Camera: Ian Dudley" (as it does in this movie). Read more
Published on March 25, 2007 by Connoisseur Rat
4.0 out of 5 stars When There's Nowhere Else Left To Run...
This movie could have easily been written off as just another "feel bad for teens" flick, though I believe since only a small portion of the film takes place within school... Read more
Published on October 25, 2006 by Bryan M. MCNEELY
4.0 out of 5 stars "The more people who die and the less that are born the better."
Good teenage violence movie, not as good as say BULLY but still highly watchable and especially impressive for a first time writer and director. Read more
Published on January 17, 2006 by Dymon Enlow
4.0 out of 5 stars an intense peformance by Eion Bailey
Eion Bailey (Fight Club, Almost Famous, Glory Days and Significant Others) stars as a disturbed little teenager who when he was little boy witnessed his dad kill his mother and... Read more
Published on March 1, 2005 by Michael Bolts
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile underground film (3.25 stars)
Kevin Smith, who by now is past the 28-grand-a-movie budget, has turned away from the big lights of Hollywood to direct yet another "indie" film (this time for a mere $40,000). Read more
Published on May 27, 2003 by wellwellwell
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