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on May 22, 2011
I thought this film was well done! I can see why it's compared to Juno and Donnie Darko but it is definitely unique all on its own. I saw it this morning and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Reece Thompson, Kat Dennings, and Josh Lucas were all great! It's a shame it's not very popular. Then again, I'm a big fan of independent films with unique story lines as opposed to feature films that seem so repetitive.

By the way, the soundtrack is AMAZING! Cannot wait to buy it!
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on November 25, 2013
This indy film takes a look at a small town, its inhabitants and how they/we float through life not facing the reality of things.

Here's the scoop. Caroline (Kat Dennings) is from the big city. She's bright, savvy and is having a difficult time adjusting to this town where an industrial fire raging just off its borders, the kids imbibe copious amounts of alcohol and there is a serial killer on the loose. So what does she do? She puts the moves on her English teacher and dates a nice, local schoolmate to cover her tracks. Said teacher dates the school's female Phys Ed teacher to cover his. Things don't go very well.

This has a lot of cool things happening. Lights, sparklers and fireworks are nearly ubiquitous. They appear, in one form or another, in many scenes. Then there's the ominous plume of smoke, off in the distance, issuing from the burning factory. It lends a sense of dread to the proceedings. I also like how certain scenes are repeated using different characters. I thought it was a nice touch. How about the characters. Thurston (Reece Thompson) is a good hearted, smart enough guy who gets too high too often. He likes Caroline. She IS witty and her sharp tongue might be the slap he needs to wake him up from the mind-numbing existence of small time life. How about Barry Anderson (Josh Lucas) the English teacher. What a knucklehead. He has to know, in the back of his mind, that sleeping with a student can only end badly. Then to think she's the love of his life?! Grow up!

Like all good indy flicks this is all writing and acting. The cast is more than decent and it's peppered with some really nifty tunes as well. It's directed and shot professionally. I didn't see the bones showing. So, if you're prone toward this sort of thing this is a good outing.
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on September 9, 2014
I actually very much enjoyed the movie. It wasn't quirky just to be quirky, and I greatly appreciate that. It wasn't pseudo-profound and it was actually pretty deep. I really liked watching as the characters grew. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who likes Charlie Bartlett or Juno. It's biting yet touching at the same time.
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on August 28, 2012
This was a dreamy little movie that I'd heard was becoming a cult classic. And since I love those kinds of movies I had to check it out. I would start by emphasizing that it is not a normal teen film in any way and if you're looking for a chick flick you're going to be disappointed. But for me this movie came out of nowhere -- well, Canada, I guess -- and shocked me by dealing with feelings and emotions through very surreal and sometimes brilliant film-making. The plot is messy, very messy, but that feels like part of the point: things are left dangling, weird events keep piling up, and all the while the movie is kept alive by superb acting by Kat Dennings and the wickedly clever double-edged dialogue. In some ways the story-telling is more like a book than a movie. I read one review that compared it to a Murakami novel and I thought that was a pretty apt comparison. Not for everyone, but definitely for me.
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on March 7, 2015
There is a vague attempt at a secondary storyline with the mystery of what's going on in their town to try to deflect from the very typical story of a creepy male teacher who has an inappropriate relationship with a "sexy," more mature, female student who, as expected, goes hard to initiate a sexual relationship. As I've stated in a few of my other reviews - I watch female coming-of-age films critically. Women's studies majors - this film is probably not worth the watch if you're looking for a fresh take on female agency. Stick it with the other stacks of films and stories where girls gain access to being women through sex and are early portrayed as the initiators of relationships with men who want to justify having sex with teenage children.
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on April 15, 2015
Dennings' performance in this is wonderful. However, the film sometimes romanticizes the hardships of life in rural America. Also, there are some side plotlines that don't contribute meaningfully to the overall story. Overall, fun and entertaining, but probably not appropriate for younger viewers.
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on January 19, 2014
I thought this was an excellent film -- great story and great starring role by Kat. However, I'm a huge Kat Dennings fan and a fan of this genre -- so I loved this movie but I can see others nay not love it as much as I! Would definitely recommend this movie!
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on June 21, 2012
Kat Dennings is one of the best actresses working right now. Her comedic timing is genius! And when she's being serious and dramatic, she does it so good that you feel like you are right there in her head feeling those emotions too. She's great in 2 Broke Girls as well. If you liked her in movies such as House Bunny, Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, 40 Year Old Virgin, or Charlie Bartlett... GET THIS!
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on July 30, 2012
Daydream Nation is a fairly interesting film with only a few questionable moments. It's about Kat Dennings playing the character of a mature, witty, slightly sarcastic and introverted high school student who happens to find herself rocking the cradle with her teacher after several flirtatious suggestions as well as having more of a forced and unwelcomed relationship with a student by the name of Thurston. Nevermind the awkwardness that a teacher is having sex with a student who may or may not be over 18. I don't think that point was ever addressed- it was just assumed Kat's character was old enough. Also the way Kat and her teacher finally hit it off felt strange since the build up before it occurred was about as unnatural as you can possibly imagine. Kat was WAY too confident and comfortable around her teacher and I never understood why. Unless she was so desperate for attention in a small town and had nothing better to do.

The problem with Thurston is that despite his best efforts to win over the love of his life, there's always a series of struggles that prevent the relationship from properly and completely getting off the ground (such as a couple awkward situations where Thurston approaches Kat's father at the front door and doesn't know how to introduce himself without stuttering and getting confused). This scene is hilarious for the way he tries to strike up a conversation by way of handing the father some cupcakes and yet the father *still* wants nothing to do with him, and surely doesn't want his daughter dating such a gibberish spounting weirdo, lol.

We eventually realize that the teacher has issues of his own. He plays the role of a guy in his mid 30's looking for a relationship and at first he seems like a regular likeable teacher but after going at it with Kat Dennings, he's develops mental issues that we discover later on. Actually these issues just happen suddenly and surprisingly after a bizarre phone call.

One disappointing aspect is the conclusion. Without spoiling what happens (and you'd probably never guess anyway because it's a million to one odds *that* would occur) there's a killer on the loose somewhere in town. One of his victims is a cheerleader. However what's unusual is that this part of the story almost NEVER comes up other than a couple scenes, so its inclusion feels like there should have been more to it than there is. That's why the ending is so surprising, along with another reason.

Overall, Kat Dennings (who I just found out was born in Philadelphia, my home town. Go Kat!) saves the movie with her intelligent and mature ways of communication with everyone. No this is definitely not your typical school/relationship type movie. The plot is deeper than the usual things you associate with such an environment such as partying, loud music, driving and sexual encounters. This movie takes these common overused themes and builds on them in a more interesting and thought provoking way compared to other films that might fall under this category.
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on November 11, 2013
So many that all the viewer is left with are unrealistic characters, horrible acting, and a story that depicts multiple social issues without saying anything significant. Start with an environmental disaster, throw in a serial killer, sprinkle in some statutory rape, a few drug numbed teens, a large dose of emotional loss, and a hint of young love, then cram all of these into the time span of one year and you have this poor attempt at indie. The only resolution to any issues these character face occurs by happenstance and takes no conscious effort of any character in the film. Other than that, the characters are passive in the midst of very serious circumstances. Their reactions to these circumstances are cliched and underdeveloped. The relationships between characters seem to develop off screen or in melodramatic visions. For a girl we are supposed to believe is enlightened, the main character falls in love with an inept, sheltered boy for no apparent reason except that he's an emotional wreck with a drug problem. In turn, he reconciles the main character's perceived infidelity in just a sentence or two. There's only so much that angst-y close ups and dramatic gazes can convey. If I had seen this at a high school film festival I would have thought it was a "cute" attempt, but do not entertain the wallets of the lazy writers who scrapped this together.
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