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Mean Creek (2004)

Rory Culkin , Ryan Kelley , Jacob Aaron Estes  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck
  • Directors: Jacob Aaron Estes
  • Writers: Jacob Aaron Estes
  • Producers: Hagai Shaham, Susan Johnson
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006IUDTY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,710 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mean Creek" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Jacob Aaron Estes and cast
  • Storyboards

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Sam (Culkin) continually gets picked on by the school bully, he and his protective older brother decide to teach the bully a lesson he will never forget. Together, they come up with a plan that involves inviting the bully on a special river trip for his birthday where they will make sure he is humiliated for all to see. Deciding that he no longer wants to go through with the plan, Sam tries to call it off but it's too late and he must live with the resulting consequences.

Deliverance goes to high school in this grim, stripped-down fable of a prank gone bad. Friends decide to teach a lesson to a teenage bully by inviting him on a canoeing trip where they will humiliate him once and for all. The prank turns seriously sour, and the kids must deal with the consequences. Writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes takes a somber look at these lives, although his low-key approach makes the central tragedy seem melodramatic when it happens. The film isn't quite new enough to be truly revelatory, but Estes neatly avoids a River's Edge rehash by allowing his characters more than dead-eyed anomie. The actors hit their notes with precision, especially Rory Culkin (another of the Culkin family, with Macaulay and Kieran), Ryan Kelley, and Scott Mechlowicz. This is the kind of movie that may be slightly familiar to older audiences, but could easily be a home-video cult item with younger viewers. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teenage noir, realistically portrayed April 3, 2005
Who hasn't wanted to get back at that mean old bully in school? You know the guy: he picks on kids smaller than him just because he's a big jerk and he can. Who doesn't want to teach that kid a lesson? So what if you had the chance to do so and you found out he wasn't such a bad guy?

In Mean Creek, the bully's name is George (Josh Peck), and the smaller kid he picks on is Sam (Rory Culkin). After a run-in with George, who has been held back a grade several times, making him bigger than the others in his class, Sam, his older brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan), and Rocky's friends Marty (Scott Mechlowicz) and Clyde (Ryan Kelley) come up with a plan: they will invite George to a birthday party for Sam, take him out on a boat on the river, start a game of Truth or Dare, then strip him naked and dump him into the river, and George will have to run home naked. They reason that this is the best way to get back at him, because it doesn't hurt him physically, which would be as bad as what he does to other kids.

Also along for the ride is Sam's girlfriend Millie (Carly Schroeder), who wasn't told in advance and doesn't like the plan. George accepts the invitation, but when the group starts to talk to him, they find out that he's not such a bad guy--it seems he just wants some friends--and Sam wants to call off the plan. Everyone agrees except Marty, who's got some personal demons of his own; he's sort of the ringleader for drinking and smoking and things of the same ilk. Things don't go as planned, and each of the characters is faced with a difficult moral dilemma that will affect the rest of their lives.

At heart, these are all good kids.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did he deserve what he got? April 20, 2006
By Meesha
I had a couple of misgivings about watching a film about bullying to begin with, having been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and Welcome To The Dollhouse (but highly recommended) had a major effect on me. But the cover was eyecatching, but simple, and decided why the hell not.

What's amazing about this film, is that it totally focuses on the main characters. There's barely a mention of parents, apart from a couple of brief shots, and most of it takes place on what looks like a very peaceful river. What's the worst that could happen? It's not like they're white water rafting or something. (Which I thought was gonna happen.)

Rory Culkin will probably never come out of the Culkin shadows, but he does give it his best shot most of the time, I just wish he didn't play the little boy lost character all the time! Even IMDB won't show an older shot of him on their main page. He seemed a little bit lost amongst all the older characters (Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan and Josh Peck), and his relationship with Millie (Carly Shroeder) is so innocent, it's sweet to watch.

I'm still not sure whether George (Josh Peck) deserved what happened to him or not. And the movie never really says either, it's left hanging as to what happens to all the kids, and lets the viewers make up their own minds. But George did have the ability to push people too far. What would you do in that situation? As it says in Mean Creek, if you could snap your fingers and they would drop dead, would you? It's a very difficult question to ask.

I thought the film started to drag towards the end, after what happened to George, happened, and they all went home. It could have been edited a little better there, but I suppose it kept the suspense going.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! March 27, 2006
'Mean Creek' is one of those movies where you feel like you haven't watched it from the start, like somehow you've been deposited in the story somewhere after the beginning. It doesn't really have an Ending, either, not in the strictest sense of the word. And, besides the main event in the film, very little happens.

So what makes it one of the best movies I've seen come out of America for many years now?

Sam (Rory Culkin) is being bullied by George, a fat aggressive kid. Sam's older brother Rocky and his two friends Marty and Clyde, form a plan to get revenge, and then everything goes wrong. Simple, right?

Wrong. The extremely careful subtext and conflicting idealogies of 'Mean Creek' make this ostensibly black-and-white tale of retribution and consequence one of the most richly-woven stories ever put on film. For example, on one end, you have the truly good characters - Sam and his girlfriend Millie, or Clyde and Rocky - whose apathy and lack of real action in the face of all their protestations make for a nice metaphor about the duality of goodness. Similarly, on the other end of the spectrum, ringleader Marty's in a lot of pain since his father committed suicide, and bully George turns out to have the heart of an artist, his violence and rage coming from his dyslexia and obesity.

In terms of characterisation, then, 'Mean Creek' doesn't let you get a firm handle on any of the protagonists, but keeps you absolutely spellbound with the quality of the performances from each and every one of the kids in the main roles. It's been a long time since I've seen actors display such a depth of feeling and sensitivity for the subject matter of their roles, and I have to say, there's not one actor here that is anything below excellent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars So Many Ways the Creek Is Mean
The cast has perfect chemistry. You don't have to use the mind of a child to understand the train of thought each character uses throughout the film. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Sasha
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad Realistically True
I've always loved this movie. It's a little slow but it's very sad and realistically a real thing that happens. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Callie Kleeb
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good move and sealed from the factory and came fast, thank you hard to find movie
Published 2 months ago by Jon K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very great film.
One of my favorite films, in the top tens at least. Jacob Aaron Estes did a great job directing this film, very beautifully shot. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rhett AwesomeGuy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Have been searching forever for the movie and finally found it.,so very happy with my purchase and shop with again.
Published 8 months ago by Natalie Madrid
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching
This is by no mean a light, feel-good movie, but as far a dramatic independent films go, this one is absolute perfection. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lauren Brokaw
4.0 out of 5 stars The choices we make...
This is a great drama about choices, bullies, and the powers of peer pressure. Be careful what you wish for. Does a great job of showing the range of human emotions in crisis.
Published 12 months ago by Alex Altman
5.0 out of 5 stars It could happen to anyone
We all grow up and either fall victim or engage in a prank(s). It's what kids do to discover their limits and then they experience the pain involved when a prank goes wrong or... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dr. Daniel T. Maese
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Loved this movie, it was one of the those movies when it came out didn't get a lot of notice, but it was great. Wouldn't you like to get back at your bully. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lexi
3.0 out of 5 stars not what i expected
very thoughtful and thought provoking movie. the acting was superb and the storyline was interesting. Read more
Published 19 months ago by boober
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