The Battle of Shaker Heights
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From executive producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and producer Chris Moore, THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS is the uniquely funny and touching comedy at the center of HBO's highly entertaining series PROJECT GREENLIGHT. For troubled high school senior Kelly Ernswiler (Shia LaBeouf -- CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, DISNEY'S HOLES), life is war -- or at least an incredible simulation. With all the difficulties in his real life, Kelly has found just one true escape: Losing himself in fantasy reenactments of World War II's epic battles. Then he strikes up an unlikely friendship with fellow reenactor, preppy Bart Bowland (Elden Henson -- DUMB AND DUMBERER), and Kelly's life is set to explode in ways he never expected! Also starring Amy Smart (ROAD TRIP) and Kathleen Quinlan (APOLLO 13) in a winning cast of Hollywood favorites -- here's your chance to enjoy the final cut of the film millions watched come together in the second hit season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT.
This perfectly pleasant, if minor, coming-of-age comedy-drama is the second feature released via the Miramax/HBO/Ben Affleck-Matt Damon TV program Project Greenlight. Series viewers watched Heights directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle struggle to get their vision of screenwriter Erica Beeney's story past an intractable producer. If the process was not pretty, the final result--i.e., this film--has some nice things. Leading the list is rising star Shia LaBeouf (Holes) as likable, 17-year-old misfit Kelly Ernswiler, coasting through life and fascinated by simulated war games. He befriends a sweet but cynical preppie, Bart Bowland (Elden Hensen), whose sexy older sister, Tabby (Amy Smart), offers Kelly a glimpse of adult passions and heartache. The cast is strong, including Kathleen Quinlan and William Sadler as the Caulfield-esque hero's troubled parents. There are solid moments of comedy and affecting, better-than-average drama. If Heights fails to ignite, at least it doesn't fail to move. --Tom Keogh
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Top customer reviews
The story is simple but the acting is impeccable and it develops a wallop emotionally. The movie is totally carried by Shia LaBeouf. He had done some work before this, but here, at 17 he shows the maturity and skill that his furthering career would only develop. He is the sparkle that shines in this film. LaBeouf plays Kelly, a somewhat unhappy teen from a somewhat unhappy family. He escapes by participating in war reenactments. It is here he meets the wealthy, preppie Bart. They become best friends and his family an escape for the emotionally lost Kelly. He also falls for Bart's sister played by Amy Smart.
The story is well told and all the characters have depth. They all experience some life changes through their experiences together but it is Kelly and Labeouf's portrayal that shows the most depth. His innocence is very believable. The drama is provided in some excellent moments by him but the biggest surprise is his comedic timimg. All the comedic touches are provided by the shyness of Kelly.
I highly recommend this slice of life coming of age film to all independant film lovers and also Shia LaBeouf fans. It is an excellent part of his ever developing career.
Project Greenlight lasted a mere three seasons, the first two on HBO, the last on Bravo. Only the first two seasons are available. I enjoyed the first year with Pete Jones, so I ponied up the bucks for the second.
The second season features a change from the first season. This time, there were to be a writer whose script was chosen, and a different director to direct the film. There was still a competition that narrowed down the list from the thousands of scripts submitted, and the hundreds of potential directors.
The format was similar in the competition. Each screenwriter and director had to make a pitch to a team of studio executives as well as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Once the screenplay and the director was chosen, then the team had a short period of time to do pre-production.
The main problem this year was casting. The directors wanted certain actors/actresses, but Miramax (who was funding the film) had final say. This caused a LOT of friction. The final casting was not done until the film was underway (!).
All-in-all, a superb entry in the short series. I enjoyed it immensely, and felt it was as good as, or even a bit better than, the first season.
Highly recommended if you have even a passing curiosity about the filmmaking process. As Affleck and Damon comment, it's a lot harder than it looks. And infused with a lot more drama, arguments and strife than you'd think. Probably more so than some of the films that result!
As an aspiring filmmaker I felt this dvd set was the next best thing to an actual internship.A really educational and insp
iring television series.
I wasn't crazy about the film and thought it was actually mediocre.I don't blame the directors for this and if you watch the episodes detailing the day to day process you'll understand why.
I can't recommend this product highly enough.A must for aspiring filmmakers.
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoyed every moment of it. Shia where did it all go wrong?
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