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Chris Roberts "Chris Roberts" RSS Feed (Astoria, NY)

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Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
DVD ~ Martin Sheen
Offered by SpReAdLoVe
Price: $8.66
92 used & new from $0.01

55 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Murder Mystery That Affects Us All, February 23, 2007
This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
I really do try to keep up with the news, but somehow I missed this little nugget of recent history. And it is a pretty darn interesting nugget if I may say so. GM, pretending they actually care, put out on the road high quality electric cars. Then, just as quickly, forced them out of the hands of those who had leased them and destroyed them. This film puts on its liberal do-gooder hat and tries to get to the bottom of just why these cars are no longer on the road. Suspects such as the oil companies, the auto industry, and consumers are all tried and found guilty. The documentary itself is on task and never resort to cheap shots (I'm looking at you "Super Size Me"). Martin Sheen provides the narration and does a pitch perfect job of it as he conveys a calm yet serious tone.

With the combination of great ideas and great editing "Who Killed the Electric Car" is a powerful and educational film. Add to that the great footage that they have and you realize that the film is also a hoot to watch. We get clips of George W. Bush (Mr. Wrong Side of History himself) showing up to shovel some dirt onto the grave of the electric car. There is a flyover of GM's testing grounds in Arizona that showed all of the electric cars that had been secretly smuggled away from the public eye so they could be demolished. My personal favorite was that of an old news reel from back in the day when oil was initially discovered in Iraq. The clip hypes all of the great things that are to come to the people of Iraq because of this discovery. I guess if you count civil war, foreign bombs, and George W. Bush's military as great things then they were right on the money. Near the end we get to watch as protestors try to block the remaining EV1's from the grave, but luckily for GM the fuzz arrives to take the side of the monied interest. It should serve as a reminder that the system wants you and me to be as dumb as Dax Sheppard's character in "Idiocracy," and if we let them know that we are smarter than that then their reaction is always to sick the cops on us.

The film makes the point that people can be convinced to buy anything and that the auto companies should use that for good not evil. Just because people are sort of stupid and have been known to pound their chest and demand more speed doesn't mean that they should have a Hummer marketed to them. The interviews were informative and energetic. Not that I needed more reason to hate Ronald Reagan, but I had fun listening to how he found it necessary to take the solar panels off the White House that Jimmy Carter had placed there. Even if he wasn't going to use them wouldn't it just be easier to leave them there and pretend that he cared about the environment? At the end Sheen tells us that not all is wrong in the world. GM is obviously killing itself by only thinking short term and those consequences will be starting sooner rather than later. This film gets a high recommendation from me, nobody should refuse to watch it. ***1/2
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2008 4:04 PM PDT

Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy
Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy
DVD ~ Kevin McDonald
24 used & new from $3.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe We're All Depressed Because This Film is Right..., February 23, 2007
The Kids in the Hall have always been reliable in having incredibly sharp aim when throwing stones at the establishment and here they surprise even me with their pinpoint accuracy. In "Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy" they throw the gloves off to expose pharmaceutical industry as the cutthroat zoo that it is. Just being brave enough to call attention to the fact that there is a difference between clinical depression and "I Just Got Kicked to the Curb" depression is impressive. But they go further than that, showing depression to be something that isn't all bad because nobody would really want to live in a world where neighbors prance up and down the street singing about how gay they are, or in one where rock stars don't have a problem in the world so they are stuck singing Sesame Street-esque lullabies. I've battled depression a few times myself, and never once did I swallow one of those thought quenching pills.

The Kids in the Hall have many targets here, and they are all deserving. Corporate life in general is first on the list. The CEO is an infantile idiot who surrounds himself with Yes Men who spend their days trying to match the carpet to the color of the boss' socks. Anybody who were to wander into their boardroom would find quite the sight indeed. The problems being discussed is not whether the drug is safe but rather what color it should be. The head of marketing is under the impression that he is some sort of idol ("So I'm driving around in my $62,000 car"). And said wanderer would be ridiculed for being too intelligent. I took extra enjoyment out of watching the cop scene, as they proclaim victory ("We always win") even though they only caught one of the dozens of perps that they were after. People in general are also called out, rightfully so, for being too fixated on happiness and for what makes them happy.

I will admit that in my case they were probably preaching to the choir. I already know these things. But in a country who still believes in "Support our Troops" and "Greed is Good" it can only help to point out that, in fact, the military is kinda gay and corpos are a stand in for Satan. The comedy here is hit and miss, but considering that sketch comedy is mostly miss and miss I would say that they are ahead of the curve. The ending gets a little too silly, especially with when people become paralyzed within their own happiness. But that allows them to go through and show us their happiest moments which was quite hysterical. If you have seen the TV show before you know what to expect in the acting department. Honorable mention goes to Bruce McCulloch and his portrayal of Cisco the twitchy, heartless marketing guy. I recommend this film for everybody, but mostly for those of you who have wondered about the difference between illegal and prescription medication. The difference of course being that illegal drugs can't go on trash TV to promote itself. The film has a worldview that is right on. Too much leftist cinema today is somber and depressing, this one at least makes you laugh while making you depressed, and then reminds you that depression is a good thing anyways. ***1/2

Don't You Fake It
Don't You Fake It
Offered by Bridge_Media
Price: $10.70
141 used & new from $0.01

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun But Not Nearly Awesome Enough, February 23, 2007
This review is from: Don't You Fake It (Audio CD)
I'm thinking that if this CD came out back when I was in 10th grade then I would've had it made. Yes, this is what I would listen to in the morning when I got ready for a day of hitting on girls and daydreaming my way through class. There is something about this album that my 16 year old self would have loved. Now 25 I can safely say that I liked it, but I'm older and wiser (read: jaded) so I'm not going to sing its praises to the hills. But for a debut album Red Jumpsuit Apparatus do make a significant statement. The running time is brief and there is nothing revolutionary going on here but that is AOK with me.

I feel as though the beats and music carried this album despite the weak lyrics that depended on fluff. Most of the songs contain lines that don't mean anything to anybody, you know, dance dance, thank you to our fans, I love this faceless girl. I guess the song I feel obligated to bring up is "Face Down" only because it does try to say something. The message of the song being: Don't beat up girls. . .is that really where they want to take their stand? Not very tough if you ask me, and not very original either. I mean I do appreciate the effort, but anybody can stand on their soapbox and proclaim their manliness with that message without any fear of blowback. It does leave you wondering if the fans of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus feel that righteous or if it is just the bands idea of safe political speech. Platitudes aside however, it is a good song that I would love to dance to if I ever actually danced. At times they seem to stumble into power ballad territory, but that is a territory that I am fond of. They also seem to be genuine fans of the hook, but if that is what it took to get them on the radio then I am sure that they saw it as worth the sacrifice.

The beats were a joy to listen to. They were fast enough to keep the pep in your step but smooth enough so that you never felt yelled at. Near the end of the album my mind began to zone out mainly because the songs were starting to blur together. The bonus track was a trip. It sounded like they gave the record company 11 songs of what they wanted so that the band could do 1 song that they wanted. The result is a ten minute hodgepodge that incorporates loud screaming, bombastic instrumental solos and other weird noises. It is different for sure, but nowhere near good. I do recommend the CD though because it is fun to listen to. Perhaps better for background music while you lounge around the apartment as opposed to putting it under a microscope. But even if you do subject it to extreme scrutiny it still holds up as a good rock album that never loses control and managed to remind me of my glory days. I expect great things from these kids and look forward to their next album where they will undoubtedly denounce cheating on your wife. ***1/4

Nowhere Man - The Complete Series
Nowhere Man - The Complete Series
DVD ~ Bruce Greenwood
Offered by EntertainU
Price: $146.99
13 used & new from $79.99

23 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One Time Bruce Greenwood Went Slumming Too, February 18, 2007
When I first started watching this show my first thought was "Wow, this is pretty ambitious stuff for early UPN." And it is. . .but it is also creating an illusion for the audience. That illusion being that they are telling a story with these episodes when in reality they are telling a bunch of little stories all based around the same premise: Tom Veil (Bruce Greenwood), a man who has had his identity stolen, wanders into whacked out situations and tries to prevent bad guys from catching him and stealing his negatives. So throughout 25 episodes the show meanders hither and yon, leaving a trail of loose ends in its wake. "Nowhere Man" travels through Nowhere America, we watch as Veil moves from one creepy small town to the next. They make references to places like Phoenix and Washington DC, but he would never be so brave as to venture into a place that you could find on a map. So while the show may not be as bold as the producers may have thought, it is still a good show that evades greatness by going after the fun/no brainer feel too hard.

Tom Veil in the only character that appears in every episode. Going for the artistic look they dress him up in a "Da Vinci Code" hair cut and a wide assortment of blue jeans. He's a good actor and carries the show even if he at times comes off as too calm and too in control. On his journey he meets a lot of colorful characters who engage him for one episode and then disappear forever. His wife shows up a few times, but since the integrity of the episode structure must be maintained she always has to disappear before the end credits role. My favorite one had Richard Kind playing a TV producer who has a show based on the life of Tom Veil. The cleverness comes from the show nearly breaking kayfabe and saying exactly what I was thinking. Yes, the heavies are too powerful! Yes, the show is too predictable! There are a few bombs to be found in this collection as well. One has Veil travel into a virtual reality world to track down the conspiracy. That one will have you laughing at the outlandish ideas these people had about computer technology back then.

The Tom Veil vs. The World narrative works very well, but you can see them straining to keep it interesting. As the season wears on you can see the dots begin to connect less and less and the storyline begins to take on something of a Lynchian feel to it. To their credit, the final revelation is not what you are expecting, but that doesn't mean all the pieces add up either. It does justify the strength of the heavies, but that is about it. My advice to you would be not to watch too many of these in a row. If you watch 2 or 3 at a time you can be overcome with escapist glee, kind of like an "Alias" episode. More than anything you will begin to realize just how conventional the show is if you watch more than 3 in a row. All that said, the show is far from a waste of time. It is dated, but it asks questions that are more relevant today than they were ten years ago. Is it better to live under a fascist or live on the run? Tom Veil choose to live on the run and continue his endless pursuit of the truth, and as this seasons shows that is something that is awfully hard to come by when facing off against the US government. Watch this show and enjoy the ride.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2011 10:58 AM PST

Foul Play
Foul Play
DVD ~ Goldie Hawn
Price: $10.99
82 used & new from $0.87

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Believe That Word is Spelled With a Hyphen, February 18, 2007
This review is from: Foul Play (DVD)
Back when Goldie Hawn still looked like Kate Hudson she made this screwball comedy that I suggest you check out, and enjoy, for yourself. She plays Gloria, a nerdy, bookish librarian who gets herself into quite a jam just by trying to help out a stranded motorist. That motorist is involved in a plot to kill the Pope, so before long Gloria is caught in the crosshairs of hired assassins who are out to collect evidence that she has unknowingly stowed in her apartment. Think of it as a kinder, gentler "Smokin' Aces." Only instead of Jeremy Piven's sleazeball, the mark here is a beautiful Hawn aw shucksing her way through this dangerous situation, never willing to move or take cover simply because she doesn't view the threat as all that real.

The comedy in this film, directed by Colin Higgins, is derived almost exclusively from misunderstandings. Girl goes up to guy and says, "Take me home." She means "Let me hide in your apartment there is a homicidal madman on my tail," he thinks she wants to go have sex with him. That trick is overused but most of the jokes are funny (imagine that) so who's complaining? You also have to admire the way Higgins is more than willing to abuse the unique look of albinos and dwarfs just for kicks. It is the sort of anti-PC hilarity that is sorely missed in 2007. The cast of characters is hefty and they all bring their own assumptions to the table while analyzing Gloria's situation. The feminist is convinced that the men are after her so that they can rape her. The cops, never hasty in showing their laziness, think that she is quite loony and making the whole thing up. And these characters aren't just tossed up on screen, willy nilly, but are used later on in the story arch, directly and indirectly. The images used are so out there that you can't help but remember them, although you may want to forget seeing Burgess Meredith kung fu fighting. Anything for a laugh and good for them, I personally wouldn't trade in the vulgar Scrabble playing grandmas for the world.

As usual, I did have a few grievances. Don't look for grand storytelling here as everything is spelled out for you as if this were a bad TV drama. Wondering why the Pope keeps showing up on TV, you shouldn't be. I also took offense to the romance between Gloria and Tony (Chevy Chase) that was slapped down in the middle of this film, completely out of place, with no regard for artistic integrity. We all know by now that romance wins the female vote at the box office, but here it takes the momentum of the movie and grinds it into little specks of dust. It did nothing for me to watch two movie stars pretend to fall in love. I say, give me more Dudley Moore as the wannabe gigolo who woos the ladies with disco music and drinks made from Tobasco sauce. Still, in the time that we live now this type of films either stinks ("Pink Panther") or does not exist. Thus we have to go back in time to see the screwball comedy done right, this film is funny (if not overly so) and very much worth your two hours. ***1/2
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2007 10:04 PM PST

La Moustache
La Moustache
DVD ~ Vincent Lindon
14 used & new from $2.04

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sneaky, Creepy and at times Cheap, February 10, 2007
This review is from: La Moustache (DVD)
The premise is so simple that it is hard not to find it attractive. A man shaves off his mustache only to find that nobody in his life believes that he ever had one. He goes through the natural paces; thinks it is a joke, thinks it is a conspiracy, thinks the whole world has gone mad. Director Emmanuel Carrere makes an interesting choice early on by showing us the shaving of the mustache so that throughout we side with Marc (Vincent Lindon) and think that he is the normal one. I assume that he did that so we would surrender to the Marc vs. The World storyline that he was going with. At its core I feel as though Carrere is trying to say something about the nature of relationships, about how the smallest things can collapse a seemingly happy love affair. Marc and his wife Agnes (Emmanuelle Devos) seem to have a perfectly nice thing going, but subtract the mustache from the equation and suddenly the entire house of cards come crashing down. And most importantly it is a good time, so even though Carrere plays dirty pool along the way and even though the plot becomes a jumbled mess at the end I still recommend you to go check out this film.

The thrust of the story is a variation on the Wrong Man device. It doesn't take place in our logic based world. By shaving his mustache he sets himself back, time wise or otherwise, to a place where his dad is still alive and he has yet to quit smoking. Plus everybody in his life refuses to admit that he had a mustache that we the viewer clearly saw and the conspiracy is far too wide to have been man made. So he needs to prove to the world that he did have facial hair just as Richard Ian Blaney needed to prove that he wasn't the necktie murderer in "Frenzy." Lindon's performance also helps things along as not only does he look like the quintessential straight man but also nails the role and all of its nuances.

In a very messed up third act Marc decides to head for the Far East (Hong Kong to be specific). We are never given a concrete reason, but given the fact that he is a stranger in his own life it is at least understandable. He becomes some sort of freak who spends his days riding around on a commuter boat. During all this my thumb kept tilting more and more downward but I could never come to the point of not liking this film. Then, in the style of David Lynch, his wife just shows up in his hotel room with no explanation given. The amount of sense being made spirals south until the end when he shaves off his mustache again and this time his wife notices. All of this backs up my theory that the theme is how little things can expose a greater rot in a relationship. I am a film viewer who will always take logic over illogic, but this is one of those rare films that left a smile on my face despite my state of perplexion. The first two thirds are considerably better than the last which looked like filler dressed up as high art. "La Moustache" felt quite polished for a French film and perhaps that is why it got such a lengthy run here in America. So unless you are scared off by subtitles or a little bit of confusion there really is no reason why you should not check this one out. ***1/4
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2008 6:51 PM PST

The House of Sand
The House of Sand
DVD ~ Fernanda Montenegro
35 used & new from $0.99

10 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Form of Escape, February 10, 2007
This review is from: The House of Sand (DVD)
With a pacing that only Tsai Ming-liang could love and deliberate scenery shots that you are forced to enjoy "House of Sand" steps into the genre best described as the Foreign Doldrums. Moving as fast as thick molasses never wins any points in my book and considering that that seems to be the main goal of this film we didn't get along too well. The entirety of the movie takes place in the Brazilian desert, a place that we movie fans rarely get to see. However, as you may have guessed, not a lot happens out there. There isn't even a weeping camel out there to keep us company. We watch as a crazy old guy moves his family out into the middle of nowhere (no explanation given) and then dies, stranding everybody else there for three generations. I know, how can I criticize a plot for not having any developments (other than the startling revelation that somewhere out yonder sells salt!) when in reality nothing would ever happen to these characters. And to that I would say that this was not the best yarn to commit to film.

Pretty much everything goes as would be expected. People walk around bored, some of them die off, there are some minor romances, and everything looks beautiful. About ten years in a group of soldiers shows up and Aurea, the crazy man's wife, desperate for anything that moves, strikes up a love affair with one of them. He promises to take her out of the desert, but unforeseen problems prevent that from happening. Throughout more soldiers will arrive, and the females will always view them as tickets out of town, there to be seduced and exploited. Do I believe that these fellow travelers are the only way these women could escape their destiny? Maybe, maybe not. In the end the point is made that living in the Brazilian desert is just about the same as living on the moon, to which I would have to think that moving your family into the middle of the desert and then croaking might to be too smart.

Another minor complaint I would like to air is the usage of the same actors to play different roles. It would be fine, in a "Three Times" kind of way, had they bothered to label the passage of time. Instead I was left playing catch up thinking that somehow the grandma had risen from the grave. There is a fairly graphic sex scene somewhere in the middle that might shock you out of your slumber, but really the only use it has is spicing up this overtly bland stew. You have to be in a certain kind of mood to watch a movie like this, and even then it is nearly impossible for the director to pull off. "Rain" and "Elephant" leap to mind as masterpieces of this technique. These characters really may have been marooned out in no man's land, but unfortunately for the filmmakers the exit of the theater is just a few short steps away. I wasn't lucky enough to have seen this in theaters, but I would have been mighty interested to see how many people took a walk. Awe-inspiring cinematography does not make a movie. . .and here is my proof. **1/4
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2012 5:07 PM PDT

Regular Lovers
Regular Lovers
DVD ~ Louis Garrel
Price: $29.99
7 used & new from $4.99

8 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kids Those Days, February 7, 2007
This review is from: Regular Lovers (DVD)
It is nearly impossible to discuss this film without referencing Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" as they both take place during the students revolt in Paris back in 1968. "Regular Lovers," while not nearly as good, does have a lot going for it, most of all credibility and teeth. Filmed in black and white the cinematic gloss found of "The Dreamers" has been stripped off to reveal a period of anxiety and fear along with hope and love. This is certainly not a tale of rich kids prancing around Daddy's penthouse while reality transpires outside their bubble. These kids take their fight seriously. Cars are torched, cops are hated, and murder by Molotov Cocktail is always within arms reach. But more than that director Philippe Garrel wants you to think about what comes after revolution as it never lasts forever. According to him you can either sell out and join the middle class or you can die. And at least if you die you can be considered just.

The early part of the film does focus on the day to day of fighting a violent battle for change. The main point of contention seems to be a government that tries to coerce its young people into military service and throw those in jail who do not fall in line and become killers. Garrel is on the right side but his portrayal of both sides is a little. . .well. . .black and white. The police are fascists and the revolutionaries are pacifist poets. As the story moves along though these two icons begin to bleed into one another. And as the youthful flames of anger cool with age suddenly the poet and the fascist find themselves having a conversation about art. Kids, who earlier in the movie would never again talk to a person who had been smeared with the tag "a bourgeois," would begin taking on responsibilities that looked quite bourgeois. Romance, perhaps the ultimate bourgeois indulgence, is what is most to blame for the end of the revolution here. And I guess the real question remains: Was it all inevitable? They are started off with the most noble of intentions, but eventually human nature takes over. Free love morphs into ownership, not liking work morphs into not liking starvation.

If all these new urges blindside our characters (who I could never connect to) they can hardly be blamed for not trying. They wanted to feel good so if they had to do drugs or have sex or overthrow a government to do so then oh well. Far better that than those religious zealots who work so hard just to deprive people from feeling good. The film as a whole was not that good though. Way overlong at three hours it kept my attention for maybe two. But subtract the plethora of scenes that involved nothing more than opium smoking and you might have a winner on your hands. And don't think Gerrel didn't have "The Dreamers" on his mind when he made this. Throughout the film there are only two lines that are spoken with the character looking directly into the camera. The first, "Bernardo Bertolucci." So he called out a master and lost a duel, can't blame a guy fro trying. **1/4

Old Joy
Old Joy
DVD ~ Daniel London
Price: $19.99
25 used & new from $3.49

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Walk in the Woods, February 7, 2007
This review is from: Old Joy (DVD)
As kids we all have friends that as adults we no longer have anything in common with other than the past. And we have also all tried to bridge that gap between the then and the now, usually by reminiscing about shared alcoholic beverages, shared girlfriends, and shared memories. This melancholy film directed by Kelly Reichardt explores those feelings of lost friendship and the unrelenting nature of passing time. The simple tale involves two old friends, now on much different life paths, who decide to spend a weekend together in the woods. Reichardt directs "Old Joy" with a slow hand that has no interest in posing for you or winning over your approval. She also has no ace up her sleeve even though I, raised on "Brokeback Mountain" and "Twentynine Palms," was fully expecting something extraordinary out of this little trip of theirs. Rather the joy comes from the small things, as in life, such as Kurt (Will Oldham) musing about his overly adventurous trip to buy a notebook and the beautiful nature photography that will make you wonder if we weren't intended to live closer to nature.

As their time together progresses the differences between them become all too apparent. Mark (Daniel London) has gone domestic on Kurt, and that is just the way it is. Of course he has been well paid for his belief in the system, his car is nicer, he actually has a cell phone, and his wife back home is carrying his child. But, as is always the case, he is tied to these properties that force him to lead a lifestyle that is not at all free. The wife doesn't want him to leave, the cell phone keeps ringing, and he gets very uncomfortable when Kurt starts smoking in his car. Based on his choice for driving entertainment (Air America) we are meant to believe that he is at least a self-proclaimed liberal, but standing next to Kurt he looks downright conservative. While he listens to the weighty matters of the day, such as the energy crisis, Kurt is out on the street giving his last dollar to a homeless man. Kurt's world is so small that he doesn't need to know about the energy crisis or Bush's double speak. He just needs to make it from day to day, and without all the modern trappings he is free to do that however he so chooses.

Considering Reichardt's somewhat famous transient lifestyle it is easy to guess whose side she is on. That is not to say that Kurt is given an angelic portrait. His ramblings are long and straddle the fence between incoherent and BS, and he is stuck trying to pull off the look where he has more hair on his face than he does on his head. But despite his disappointment in Mark's decision to go domestic he never criticizes; he inquires and makes snarky comments to the waitress, but is always supportive of what he does with his life. I can't recommend this film however, because it just cuts a little too close to the banality of real life. Why not just go out into the woods and listen to your real friends babble nonsense after one too many beers? My childhood friends became Republicans, businessmen, and weirdoes, and those are just the ones I kept in touch with. What "Old Joy" does succeed at is reminding us that it is far too easy to become engulfed in the here and now, and that a little trip out of your comfort zone every now and then would probably do you a world of good. **3/4
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2010 1:43 AM PDT

Odd Girl Out
Odd Girl Out
DVD ~ Alexa Vega
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $21.86
16 used & new from $12.24

5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars But, Mom, I am asking For It, February 4, 2007
This review is from: Odd Girl Out (DVD)
It is movies like this that make me wonder if the writers/directors/producers of these Lifetime movies think about what they are implying before they just fling it up on the screen. Here we have "Odd Girl Out" the story of a high school girl who a popular clique of mean girls turn against and make her life a living hell by calling her fat and easy. And with that basic concept the filmmakers decide to call for fascism all because of their ridiculous slippery slope theory. In the world they live in, to pick on a fellow student leads directly to said student attempting suicide. Further more, their idea of a happy ending is when the principal steps in and outlaws teasing (so much for free speech). Plus, all this is on top of the fact that the victim in question, Vanessa (Alexa Vega), is weak, needy, and straight up duuuuum. The only reason the torture in allowed to endure for the entire film is because she keeps begging for it. Of course the general idea is that she just needs the approval of her peers so much that there is no limit to the amount of times she will let them crush her. Throughout the film the aggressors keep sending her links to a "Hating Vanessa" website. Vanessa, dim bulb that she is, not only takes part in her own abuse by opening them, also acts genuinely shocked by what she finds and bursts out into tears. Late in the film one character makes the fairly obvious observation of "She is so pathetic." This comes after Vanessa has cut off her hair, showed up to a nonexistent party, skipped school to avoid the harassment, and ODed on sleeping pills all while pining to be best friends with the popular girls in school. . .so it goes without saying that I agree with the statement.

The filmmaking itself was textbook Lifetime schlock. They take an issue they don't like and attack it with a stone cold seriousness. It is kind of like a Public Service Announcement only 180 times longer and minus the camp value. I would argue that their fear of anything light does hurt the point they are trying to make. For instance, the girls doing the bullying were painted as spawns of Satan without any appealing qualities. Why would Vanessa want to hangout with these humorless droids. In "thirteen" Nikki Reed's character was at least somewhat cool. It also follows the exact same formula of every other film just like it. Girl has cool friends, cool friends turn against girl, we're supposed to feel bad that girl doesn't get to have cool friends any more. I was a victim of bullying in school (who wasn't) and I think that I am a stronger person now because of it. Our public school system now only peddles uniformity not education, so all these kids can hope to really learn is people skills. How to deal with bullies, office politics, etc. After all, suffering makes us who we are. And for these irresponsible filmmakers to serve up the idea of limiting free speech just to prevent hurt feelings to an audience not known for their free thinking skills is borderline evil **1/4
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2011 9:37 PM PDT

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