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July 28, 2008



Rich, I just love reading your entries. It's like I'm having a discussion with someone with a brain - instead of the corporate zombies by whom I'm surrounded here at work. That being said, between the photo at the top of the entry, and that new J.C. Penney commercial modeled after The Breakfast Club, this 34-year-old now feels about 90. Hands off my icons, people!

And I hear you about the so-called "hot" kids. Yikes, the chin on that kid! Either the lens used for the picture was a bad choice, or the subject is actually a character in a Dick Tracy comic. Isn't our genetic pool supposed to be skewing more and more toward the attractive end?


Just a few weeks ago I was hanging at my best friends house and we were looking at her old year books and photo albums and we were both surprised at how many of the "hot" people we went to school with were actually not! It's so bizarre.


How is this not hot?

While I continue to be irked at "American" always equated to white suburbia (unless "Gangster" is attached), I might scope this out on DVD. Primarily for the geek girl. I vaguely recall watching something similar on PBS called "American High School" five years back (this time with a bit more people of color, but still upper-middle class), and I'd be intrigued if post Laguna/Hills/TruLife/vlogging kids come off any differently than the previous generation-- in terms of self-awareness, camera-ready snark, etc. I know lot of that has a lot to do with the directorial style as well. Still, can't justify dropping $10 on this doc. Rental, tho.


Holy shit, I didn't look at that picture properly the first time and thought it actually *was* The Breakfast Club.


This doc has gotten so much buzz that I had grown a little suspicious of it, but your reviews are always spot-on, so I'll definitely be adding it to my Netflix once it gets released on DVD. Thanks, Rich!
House of Jules


Totally agree with you, heyhey - WTF with American always meaning white, middle- to upper-class, and usually some form of Christian? What about that melting pot B.S. we were fed in school?? Huh??

I've watched a few of these "ooh, a serious look at REAL high schoolers" things and they always seem to either be too bland to be interesting or too crazy to seem real. Plus, I fucking hated high school so why the hell would I want to look at some other poor schmucks going through it? Meh...


What are they doing to my beloved Breakfast Club?! Unless you are a member of the Brat Pack, step away from that pose. Step away!


I agree with you Lea & heyhey and that was the reason I declined free tickets to the screening of this. It annoys me that there are a lot of shows and movies that try to portray "American" life as being white and middle class. Just call it what it is, a look at White and middle class society. Although, thank you rich for reviewing it because I will admit to being curious about it.


I was watching this in NYC, and the audience burst into applause when the caption reads "Hannah decided she was an East Cost girl, and is currently studying film in Manhattan." You have to relate to her and love her. It's unavoidable.


I was lucky enough to catch this at Sundance while the cast/subjects were in attendance, and I have to say that if the QA session was any indication, the film portrays them quite well. Jake is still painfully awkward. Yeah, Colin got his "happy ending," but he's definitely a little fish in a big pond now. Megan, of course, got exactly what she wanted, and while she seemed embarassed by her behavior in the film, she also didn't seem incredibly sorry either. (She brought her boyfriend to the premiere, to see her behave like an asshole on film - need I say more?) And Hannah? Hannah is awesome. It didn't seem like she had found her place in the world quite yet, but it seems like she's well on her way.

I didn't get the impression that the film was overly manufactured, at least not obviously so. Both Megan and Jake have some truly ugly moments caught on film. The only parts I found jarringly over-produced at Sundance were the animated sequences, but I'm wondering if they were actually taken out before the wider release. (Nobody I spoke to liked them.)

Honestly, I think the Breakfast Club-esque marketing was a mistake, though. I don't see this film being pro- or anti-mainstream at all, and I feel like the advertising is misleading people about the film's intentions. The film doesn't feel overly messaged to me, especially in the sense that "different" doesn't necessarily translate to "better" for any of these kids. Megan and Collin essentially get handed what they want, and if Hannah "gets" what she wanted, it certainly wasn't given to her. Different is HARD for these kids, and I think that is pretty honestly portrayed. Yeah, the editing is slick, but I think that if you film over a thousand hours of teenagers, you probably get more than enough to fill a feature length film with drama.


Wait -- America doesn't have the same demographics as Greenland? Who knew?

Meanwhile, over at Jena High School...


Guess I'm the only one who finds Hannah irritating.


i cant wait and am going to buy this biss right away! i love you Rich, for bringing all these glorious flicks to my attention, i just bought (a bootleg) The Ruins.


Pepperoni nipples is actually a pretty common term! We said it 10 years ago back when I was in high school.

And to HouseofJules, no one wants to melt.


Um, Tanith, I think you mean Iceland. It's pretty full of white (of Danish and Norwegian extraction) people. Greenland's mostly got native Greelanders. As in Not White.


I can't wait to see this. I've always had a deep fascination/ fear of teenagers, even when I was one. The hormones make them unpredictable like wild animals or something.
I love the Jake Ryan reference.


Gotta say, I'm super excited for this movie to make its way out to those of us in smaller markets. I grew up and went to high school in a town not far from Warsaw (Not Warsawb), so that's an added element of interest for me.

The Onion AV Club had a great interview with the director, you should check that out.


I was so excited to see that you wrote a review for this movie -- I agree with so much of what you say, esp. about the "hot" kids ... that was my first thought upon viewing them. I love you on Pot Psychology!

tallulah bankhead

Is something wrong with me that the movie really bored me?


Rae - the animated sequences are still in there. I saw the movie in an almost empty theater (it was also 2pm on a Thursday), so maybe it wast just my friends and me, but the whole theater was cracking up awkwardly during those parts.

I really enjoyed this movie. I'd read a lot about how it was too slick, and seemed staged, but I thought it was really well done. It reminded me of seeing Little Miss Sunshine, where you just know it's going to be huge.

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