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on June 9, 2004
The movie was bland, and seems like a lifetime network movie reject, but yet it has an undeniable edge, because of the ending, and also the actors in the movie. rachel blanchard and dj qualls elevated this movie to five stars because of their superb acing abilities.
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on January 25, 2003
This is a wonderful Coming of Age movie for young people age 13-17. The film is not some silly runaway to NYC story. It tells the good the bad and the ugly about the life of these 2 teens and how they met and their adventures. Rachel Blanchard as usual is cute as a button in this movie.
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on August 2, 2006
Random rentals are a 50/50 bet for me as to whether they'll be engagingly watchable and this one was in the good 50. It's not an amazingly solid script but it's effective as a "me and you against the world" type thing.
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on February 10, 2012
Often unfairly derided, and having nothing to do with anything by Kevin Smith (let's get that right out of the way right here), Chasing Holden is a very strange movie which is hard to categorize.

Neil Lawrence is the delinquent son of the governor of New York. Fancying himself a teenage rebel, Neil clashes with his father and is obsessed with the novel The Catcher in the Rye, in particular identifying heavily with Holden Caulfield and idolizing author J.D. Salinger. At his prep school, Neil meets cute kleptomaniac blonde coed T.J., and the two equally "weird" kids hit it off instantly. Things being to go wrong for Neil when his professor assigns him to write an essay about what he thinks happened to Holden Caulfield after the ending of The Catcher in the Rye.

Neil is horrified. To him, it's like he is adding his own chapter to a literary classic, and not just any classic, but one he lives and swears by. Unable to do it he attempts to write J.D. Salinger to ask permission to write the essay, figuring if the author says it's okay then he can do it. When the reclusive Salinger refuses to write him back, though, Neil decides to go and see Salinger personally and force him to talk to him. He takes T.J. with him, promising her it'll be a great road trip. But what T.J. doesn't realize until later is that Neil stole a Luger from the dean's gun collection. She begins to wonder just what he's planning on doing with it once he finally meets Salinger.

This is as close to an adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye as is possible without directly adapting the novel, and takes a very meta approach to the story and ultimately comes to a far less cynical conclusion than Salinger did: Neil is playing at being Holden, envisioning himself as his hero, thinking himself some kind of cool teenage rebel. Over the course of the movie however he slowly realizes he's just some geeky loser with a gun and not a cool guy, and that if he follows his course to its ultimate conclusion, he'll destroy his life, hurting not only himself but his father as well. The ending is still a bit of a downer, but it still feels hopeful and warm, almost as though it is the very antithesis of Salinger's book. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is entirely subjective and up to the individual viewer.

Special mention should go to Tom Rack, who plays Neil's dad. It was a tiny part but in the few scenes he was in he managed to properly convey the workaholic single parent who still genuinely loves his son, misses his other one, and is trying to juggle being the governor of an entire state with his role as father to an antagonistic wannabe rebel. I'd only really previously seen Rack in the movie If Looks Could Kill, where apart from one line he played a silent killer. However he managed to do a lot with that role using his eyes. It was interesting seeing him playing a completely different character and I wish he had a better film career because he's really quite decent.
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on October 27, 2006
I got a copy of this movie on VHS for cheap, and thought what the hey, lets watch it. DJ qualls usually has a pretty good role in films, especially if they are comedy, like road trip, or The new guy, and this movie says comedy...not quite, definitely a drama with funny parts. I thought that the movie was to much at time mimicing A catcher in the rye, which is a central item in the movie, but really the character and his development is so much like Holden Caufield. And unfortunately, if you've read the book as most anybody through high school either did on their own or were forced to for class, the ending was very predictable, except for what happens to the girl. That was just odd. Ok movie on the coming of age of a rich kid (govenor's son) that tries to sort out his feelings about his father and the death of his brother, but just not spectacular. Rent before you buy.
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on January 19, 2014
I like this movies because The actor DJ Qualls plays a magnificent role and this movie keeps you on the edge of your seat!
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on July 2, 2006
I purchased this DVD in fall 2005 when I was working on a thesis concerning J.D. Salinger in film. When the movie arrived, I knew I was in trouble: the type at the top of the cover said, "Starring DJ Qualls of the hit 'The New Guy.'"

This is the worst movie I have ever seen. "Plan 9 From Outer Space" was at least cohesive. Besides a scene of sudden, unnecessary profanity that Qualls' character spits before returning to his subdued "nice guy," there are many other inconsistencies. The most notable example is when Rachel Blanchard's character shoots at Qualls when he enters their hotel room. She mistakes him for the sleazy, stalking hotel manager and blasts a bullet just over his head. Instead of freaking out, he lazily says something like, "Whoa! Watch your aim," and then goes back to being "the cool guy." Holden Caulfield may have been manic-depressive, but do the script and acting need to be bipolar?

It's a shame that this movie (don't call it a film) is so bad. The premise is intriguing and Qualls has emerged into an interesting actor, most recently in "Hustle and Flow."

However, the true shame is that "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" is on longer on the air. Their roast of "Chasing Holden" would have been priceless.
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on May 18, 2003
Two stars from the comedy film "Road Trip" -- D.J.Qualls and Rachel Blanchard (also famous as 'Cher' in TV's "Clueless") -- reunite for another journey to find the meaning of life. But this film is not a comedy. The new flavor added to this film is that Quall's character Neil is not a geekish student introduced for laugh; just see Neil's favorite book, which is J.D.Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," and this film is as serious as the cynical protagonist of that book, Holden Caulfield.
"Chasing Holden" starts with an interesting premise. After short stint at an institute, Neil (who happens to be a son of governor of New York State) comes to a posh prep school where he is given an assignment by his English teacher (Sean Kanan, also writer of the iflm): "Write your own idea of what happened to Holden after the book ended." Can you do that? Holden as an adult? Holden working for some company?
Intriguing but impossible, I guess. Holden should be eternally the symbol of rebellious youth, you know that. So, Neil writes a letter to the author himself requesting the answer or clues, while as we know that Mr. Salinger has been refusing any contact with interviewers.
In the meanwhile, Neil becomes acquainted with a lovely and good-natured girl 'T.J.' T.J. understands him and his feelings, and in the middle of the night they leave the small town and its oppressive establishment behind, seeking for freedom. And the first place to go is, New York City.
I can say that this film is well-intentioned. Neil is too absorbed in the fictional character, and using this setting, the film's script seems to be trying to make an intelligent statement about this now classic book of American literature. Yes, I read that book when I was young, and I loved it, but not as much as Neil did. Suppose you got a life like Holden ... and suppose you know that too real. What would you do?
But, despite the good acting from the two leading actors, the whole result of the film is confusing and very weak. I point out only one mistake of the film: too many clithed episodes of the story. There are so many of them that in the middle of the story we forget Neil's original purpose of meeting the author Salinger. There is a gun unwisely stolen; there is a father who neglects his son, and so on. You know there is a secret the girl hides, and to make it worse, you know that too soon.
And I found the conclusion too incredible. One famous musician's life also somehow crept into the script, but its effort to wrap up the initially interesting story is far-fetched and unacceptable. The answer Neil gets after so many adventures is too obvious from the first -- like I said, it's something like a grown-up Holden. Nobody sees him, and nobody knows him. And like that idea, "Chasing Holden" is just too impossible -- except when Mr. Salinger shows up and tells HIS own story. That's the only way you can do "Chasing Holden."
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