Flash Movie Review: Palo Alto

It was only 4 years, except for the 2 who started that riot, but that time in high school was a prelude to adult life. In those years i began to understand there was this invisible ranking system, more like a hierarchy, where each of us were being assigned a place. I had no say in the matter and assumed there were others like me. One of the toughest parts was when students would get stuck with a label. Among teachers I always figured they had their own list of labels they assigned to students; such as difficult, trouble or quiet. However, the words that were used and got stuck to the students had more bite to them. There were girls who had to live with derogatory words like skank, whore or bitch. For some reason the labels given to boys were not as harsh or maybe it was just my opinion. There were those who were called nerds, druggies, queers or jocks. These words were not always based on any factual information; many times it was just an eyeball observation. High school already had its challenges without the added pressure from one’s peers and this dramatic film unapologetically depicted that life during those years. Based on the book of the same name by James Franco, the film focused on several students as each one was working through a personal struggle. Part of the cast included Emma Roberts (We’re the Millers, Hotel for Dogs) as April, newcomer Jack Kilmer as Teddy, Nat Wolff (Stuck in Love, New Year’s Eve) as Fred and James Franco (This is the End, The Iceman) as Mister B. All did an adequate job of acting, coming across in an honest way. I did not have an issue with the directing, but jumping from one story line to another became tiresome. There were a couple of scenes that made me uncomfortable which was the reaction I felt the director was trying to achieve. However, there was not enough story to engage me. After a short time I became bored with the characters, not caring what happened to them. I did not read the book, but I have to assume the stories read better than being depicted here on the big screen. Some of you already know my high school years were filled more with nightmares than pleasant dreams, so I wanted to make sure I was not reacting to this film on a deeper, personal level before beginning my review. The answer is I am far removed from that chapter in my life and this movie did not offer anything new from what has been done before.


2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on May 21, 2014, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. aguywithoutboxers

    Thank you for your honesty. 🙂

  2. I really like your comments and perception. It is hard to get into immature characters, sometimes, but it is a wonderful cathartic tool, to utilize a movie such as Palo Alto, to reflect upon one’s youth and one’s place, be it fixed in a particular town or city, or on-the-road, with parents who are entertainers, moving from one-school-to-the next, one home to the next. We have this terrible tendency as humans to place certain people on pedestals because they have money, are popular, own a business, or whatever. We have a tendency to magnify things way out of proportion, and cinema certainly can assist to help us retrospect and to see the weakness in magnifying lives and issues. We must experience certain things as individuals, individuals within particular groups, conflict situations, polarities in class no matter what country, through these we experience the human condition. Really, nobody is anything special, they play out their lives, their gifts, and hopefully become better at their game than some. Thanks!!!!!

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