Project Greenlight: Season 2
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eh. It was okay. Nothing memorable, except knowing the Project Greenlight story around it.Published 1 month ago by Ingrid A.
Knowing this was a Project Greenlight film, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. It's not a classic, but it was interesting seeing Shia when he was young. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Greg T
Thank you Matt, Ben and Project Green Light for this movie. Wonderfully written story and excellent direction. And Thank you Miramax for having faith. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joyce Muir
I recently watched reruns of Project Greenlight (season 2), having never heard of it before. In the end, I had to see this movie, and I'm glad that I did. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dannyboy
A soap opera for film buffs and wanna be film industry types (such as myself).
Enjoyed every moment of it. Shia where did it all go wrong?
It took me year to finally sit down and watch this movie. I quite enjoyed it. It is defiantly classic Shia, sweet and funny. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Shianne C.
I'm interested in what goes behind the scenes of a motion picture. Turns out there is a lot more to the process than one might expect. Read morePublished on June 16, 2011 by Scott FS