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Rocket Science

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Rocket Science (DVD)

Picturehouse and HBO Films present a story about Hal Hefner, an ordinary, shy 15 year-old boy who's struggling to make it through High School. On top of his parents' recent divorce and an obsessive- compulsive, kleptomaniac older brother, Hal has a stuttering problem. In spite of this speech impediment, the high school debate team star, Ginny Ryerson, invites Hal to join the team. Stumbling his way to the championship, Hal falls in love, gains confidence and ultimately, realizes that love and life should not be rocket science.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Reece Daniel Thompson, Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D'Agosto, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Candace Scholz
  • Directors: Jeffrey Blitz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • 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: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000YEROYC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,202 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rocket Science" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Howard Schumann on November 13, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For some, the joys of being a teenager include excelling at sports, having a girlfriend or boyfriend, being part of a close circle of friends, or just having fun. For others, there is only the constant feeling of being an outsider looking in. For some, even the thought of getting out of bed in the morning to go to school is filled with dread. Case in point - Hal Hefner, a fifteen year old attending Plainsboro High School in New Jersey, who is trying to make sense of growing up but is burdened by a stutter so debilitating that he cannot even tell the cafeteria worker at school that he wants pizza instead of fish. Rocket Science, the second feature by Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound), who overcame his own stuttering disability, is a teen comedy that poignantly captures the painful loneliness of adolescence.

While on paper Rocket Science sounds like other coming of age films such as Election and Rushmore, it manages to capture something unique and very special about being a teenager without having to rely on grossness, stereotypes, or implausible situations. Brilliantly played by Vancouver actor Reece Thompson, Hal's sweetness and innocence is totally captivating and we identify with his pain and root for him to succeed. His family support, however, is virtually nonexistent. His brother Earl (Vincent Piazza) is a compulsive thief and bully who calls him by girls' names, his father has moved out of the house and his mother (Lizbeth Bartlett) has a Korean boyfriend, a Small Claims judge, (Steve Park) who laughs inappropriately and whose son Heston (Aaron Yu), a bisexual, shows an unusual amount of interest in him.

Hal has a speech therapist, Mr. Lewinsky (Maury Ginsberg), but he is so incompetent that he tells him that he wishes Hal was hyperactive so he would know how to treat him.
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Well before JUNO became the indy cult film of the year, Jeffery Blitz helmed this masterpiece of wit and quirkery. For my money, Reece Thompson's performance is every ounce as lovable as Ellen Page's, and even better in the sense that it was a tougher character to portray--believably. It was my favorite film of 2007, and it is purely tragic that so few people have seen it (It didn't even make a million dollars). So why does such a brilliant film go so unnoticed? I am here to tell you that you're cooler than the rest of the crowd if you've seen Rocket Science.
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I hate when I watch a movie set in high school and all the characters have thousand-dollar wardrobes, perfect makeup, clear skin, and the confidence of 30-year-olds. It's unrealistic on every level. Not everybody breezes through high school at the top of their game. People don't only get one awful zit on the morning of prom, which seems to magically disappear by the time photos are taken at 6:00 pm. This movie gets it so right.

It is centered around Hal Hefner--a sweet, shy kid with a speech impediment, whose parents are going through a divorce, has a bullying, kleptomaniac older brother, and who develops an obsessive crush on the smooth-talking head of the debate club. When she suggests he joins, he does, even though he can't even successfully order his lunch without stuttering.

I don't want to give any spoilers.

It's a smart, witty movie that is realistic and enjoyable. It is laugh-out-loud funny at times, and painfully sad at others. I, for one, am pleased to see a high school movie that is centered around a kid who is still learning his way, as opposed to the macho football player with the perfect life.
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ROCKET SCIENCE was excellent, another obscure (to me anyway) movie that made my eyes water on multiple occasions. You have no idea what's going to happen until the very end. This movie never veers down the cliched path that you (or I, anyway) keep expecting it to. The off-beat humor really worked. The acting is of a higher caliber than 98% of the big budget Hollywood yawners that they crank out. I gave it a 9/10 on IMDB. Now that it's been a few weeks since I watched it, I actually think it deserves even higher. I just don't get how a movie this good came and went and hardly anyone saw it. I'm going to watch it again right now, and that says a lot, because the only movies in my entire life that I've watched more than once are NINE TO FIVE and THE PRINCESS BRIDE and BEAUTIFUL THING. And now ROCKET SCIENCE. OK, there was also HEATHERS. And FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Probably some more too but can't think of them at the moment.
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There are two types of people - there's people like me, and there's everyone else. A lot of reviews of Rocket Science I've read have been written by people who fall into the latter category. They criticise this film for being too consciously quirky or affected ... I take umbrage with this the same way one ought to take umbrage with the idea that the movies of the Farrelly brothers are consciously scatological, or that the films of Chris Guest are consciously improvisational. I mean, it's a comedy, people! Quirkiness is this particular film's conceit, its schtick, and if you're not willing to play along with a film's conceit, then move along...move along.

The other type of people - people like me - will love this film. I saw it in a theatre filled with people like me (well, not filled exactly, but one-quarter-filled; there aren't that many of us I'm afraid). And it was the first time in a long time that I recall hearing people laugh out loud during a film. I'd say the audience who I saw it with certainly connected.

And it marks the return of Mike Yanagita (aka Steve Park)! That scene-stealer from Fargo. The whole cast is great, actually, but especially Reece Thompson as Hal Hefner. Phenomenal. Stutterers on film are uniformly annoying to the point of unwatchability, but not Hal - he is utterly endearing.

If you're like me, you'll see this movie, and you'll like it. If you're not like me, then F.U. This was the best movie of the year.
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