Kicking and Screaming
The Criterion Collection
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After college graduation, Grover's girlfriend Jane tells him she's moving to Prague to study writing. Grover declines to accompany her, deciding instead to move in with several friends, all of whom can't quite work up the inertia to escape their university's pull. Nobody wants to make any big decisions that would radically alter his life, yet none of them wants to end up like Chet, the professional student who tends bar and is in his tenth year of university studies.
- Video interview with Noah Baumbach
- Video conversations with Baumbach and cast members Josh Hamilton, Chris Eigeman, and Carlos Jacott
- Deleted scenes
- Noah Baumbach's 2000 short film Conrad and Butler in "Conrad and Butler Take a Vacation" featuring Kicking and Screaming cast members Carlos Jacott and John Lehr
- Brief 1995 interviews with Baumbach and the cast, originally broadcast on IFC
- Foldout booklet with an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum
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As it should be I suppose, Baumbach is my contemporary, born in 1969, and directing his first movie before I even got my MA. My friends and I had a similarly rented an old house near the university with, I swear, the same books on the shelf (As I Lay Dying, Conrad, etc...). Furthermore, we had the same ridiculous conversations: consider: "Who would you rather do Peppermint Patty or Lucy?" vs "Who would you rather do Sally Jesse Raphael or Oprah?" I'd like to think that we were as witty as these characters were (previous lines excepted)-there are a lot of great lines, which is one of the reason this has become a cult classic I suppose, and I think that's true of The Squid and the Whale too. Consider these: "I'm nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday." / "Oh, I have been to Prague." / If Plato is a a fine red wine , then Aristotle is a dry martini." / "I like a bartender who drinks". It also stars some of my favorite indie actors like Chris Eigeman (a Whit Stilman regular who was in Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco), the lovely Parker Posey (Ryan Adams's current squeeze and indie film queen-what hasn't she been in from Hal Hartley movies to Richard Linklater films), and the always reliable Eric Stoltz. The leads Josh Hamilton and Olivia D'Abo were well cast and had good chemistry as well. In fact D'Abo's Jane, who wore a retainer, reminded me of a college friend Jennifer, who had braces, a similar hairstyle, and was equally smart enough to end up as a college history professor. I also see the seeds for The Squid and the Whale in the messy divorce of Grover's (Josh Hamilton) parents, of which the father was played by Elliott Gould.