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The Battle of Shaker Heights


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Product Details

  • Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Elden Henson, Amy Smart, Billy Kay (II), Kathleen Quinlan
  • Directors: Efram Potelle, Kyle Rankin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 9, 2003
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000D9PNP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Battle of Shaker Heights" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From executive producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and producer Chris Moore, THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS is the uniquely funny and touching comedy at the center of HBO's highly entertaining series PROJECT GREENLIGHT. For troubled high school senior Kelly Ernswiler (Shia LaBeouf -- CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, DISNEY'S HOLES), life is war -- or at least an incredible simulation. With all the difficulties in his real life, Kelly has found just one true escape: Losing himself in fantasy reenactments of World War II's epic battles. Then he strikes up an unlikely friendship with fellow reenactor, preppy Bart Bowland (Elden Henson -- DUMB AND DUMBERER), and Kelly's life is set to explode in ways he never expected! Also starring Amy Smart (ROAD TRIP) and Kathleen Quinlan (APOLLO 13) in a winning cast of Hollywood favorites -- here's your chance to enjoy the final cut of the film millions watched come together in the second hit season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT.

Amazon.com

This perfectly pleasant, if minor, coming-of-age comedy-drama is the second feature released via the Miramax/HBO/Ben Affleck-Matt Damon TV program Project Greenlight. Series viewers watched Heights directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle struggle to get their vision of screenwriter Erica Beeney's story past an intractable producer. If the process was not pretty, the final result--i.e., this film--has some nice things. Leading the list is rising star Shia LaBeouf (Holes) as likable, 17-year-old misfit Kelly Ernswiler, coasting through life and fascinated by simulated war games. He befriends a sweet but cynical preppie, Bart Bowland (Elden Hensen), whose sexy older sister, Tabby (Amy Smart), offers Kelly a glimpse of adult passions and heartache. The cast is strong, including Kathleen Quinlan and William Sadler as the Caulfield-esque hero's troubled parents. There are solid moments of comedy and affecting, better-than-average drama. If Heights fails to ignite, at least it doesn't fail to move. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Battle of Shaker Heights

I have never watched Project Greenlight. There I said it. I happened upon this movie and I'm glad I did. To me it's only of minor importance how this movie was funded and made, because the end product matters most. And the end product is much better than many would lead you to believe. You just have to know what kind of movie watcher you are. If you love independent films and don't mind slow and nuanced acting and a story with no cheap thrills, you can enjoy this. If you like more traditional movie experiences, you might find this treatment a bit slow.

Shia LaBoeuf shows why he is the "next big thing" of his generation in a very subtle and impressive portrayal of the main character. As Kelly he's an extremely over-intelligent high school kid who channels his brain power into nerdy pursuits like World War II history and military memorablia. Elden Henson is Bart, his fast friend from the better-off side of town. When he meets Bart's older sister Tabby, he develops a crush for a girl way out of his league, something every boy in high school is familiar with.

All the while, he works at the supermarket with Sarah, played well by Shiri Appleby, who would have clearly been an easier target for him. All of these relationships are a back drop to the frustration we see Kelly experience from his family life, with a father battling his demons and a mother fighting to hold it together.

William Sadler and Ray Wise round out what really is an all star cast. And even though the slow is made in a slow and deliberate way, the cast of this movie is really one of the treats.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2003
Format: DVD
Under normal circumstances, one would not think much of this movie. It's a nice coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old boy (wonderfully played by Shia LaBeouf), but there's nothing spectacular about it. His relationships with his parents and his potential love interests are not fully developed, and the viewer doesn't necessarily buy into what they try to tell us. It's been done before, and it's been done better.
But, if you watched the Project Greenlight series on HBO, it's a must-see. It's fun to see how all the scenes turned out. The much-debated group hug no longer exists--if it did, you'd walk out of the theater or turn of the TV. A big thank you to producer Chris Moore for getting rid of that.
All in all, it's a "Sunday Afternoon Movie". It's the kind of movie you watch on a Sunday afternoon when it's raining outside and all you want to do is sit on the recliner and eat popcorn while someone tells you a story for an hour or so.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Solinger on December 20, 2003
Format: DVD
Shia Lebeouf plays Kelly Ernswiler, a high school senior trying to just survive life in this comedy-drama by directors Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin in what is arguably there biggest job yet.
Kelly is a young man who enjoys reinacting famous battles from past wars. This is partly a way of reliving history, and a partly a way of escaping life with his recovering drug addict father, played by William Sadler of The Green Mile, and his mother, played by Kathleen Quinlen from Apollo 13. Kelly still hasn't found a way to forgive his father for his past abuses, so he prefers to spend the day with his new friend Bart Rowland and his wealthy family. Bart and Kelly strike up a friendship over their shared love of history and Kelly's desire to strike back at a school bully. Along the way, Kelly finds himself attracted to Bart's older sister, Tabby, a girl engaged to another man, which threatens to destroy their friendship.
This is a very rich coming-of-age story with characters you can't help falling in love with. Kelly's character is complex, and there are times you want to strangle him, but you feel his heart is in the right place. Shia Lebeouf does a tremendous job in his role. After Holes and Charlie's Angels, you can feel that this young man has a great future ahead of him. The supporting cast played their roles perfectly, and the script was very welldone. From the minute you start watching this film, you can't take your eyes off of it. It didn't get 5 stars due to the lack of extras. Being a Project Greenlight winner, you would think that they would have had plenty of material. Given that and the short 77 minute running time, it loses a star.
Overall though, I highly recommend this film if you want to see a perfectly well-rounded movie that has very few flaws.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. golay Erisman on January 26, 2004
Format: DVD
I watched Project Greenlight when Battle of Shaker Heights was featured. Getting a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the movie making process was fascinating. The show allowed a glimpse of the angst the writer experienced having her story re-written a few times to suit the directors' vision. Conflicts between the directors and the writer and producers as well as Mirimax execs made it seem the movie would not finish successfully.
Sadly, the movie was only released in a limited number of cities and theaters, and probably wasn't the blockbuster hit originally hoped for.
I believe the movie was a huge success in a couple of ways: great writing and super acting by Shia LeBeouf. Witty subtleties in the dialogue can be attributed to brilliant writing. I hope Erica, the writer (also listed in the credits as a bridesmaid), didn't have to compromise as much as it seems she did during the course of Project Greenlight.
I think this was a breakthrough performance for Shia. He artfully and comically captured Kelly's (his character) intriguing mix of angst, passion, self-deprecating humor, knowledge and intellect. I was captivated by his passion, pitied him for being a bully target, and was mad at him for his resentment aimed at his freshly sober dad.
The movie was lacking in plot and character development, especially the relationship between Kelly and his father. This, I believe, was due in great part to editing, and not the original story. Another area I felt the movie lacked was the crush Kelly had on his best friend's sister. It didn't seem particularly believable and more awkward than anything. Hooray that in the end Kelly chose his friend-coworker. That was a much more believable and endearing match.
Though I wouldn't categorize the movie as Oscar-worthy, all in all, it was very sweet and cleanly pulled together. It held my attention and left me loving and empathizing with Kelly.
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