She sat across from me and explained why she would not move her family out of the city. Ironically she was raised in the suburbs but after she had children she and her husband moved into a diverse neighborhood inside the city limits. The main reason for their move was because of their kids; they wanted them to be exposed to all types of people from different ethnic, religious, social and racial backgrounds. Having been born and raised in a big metropolis I understood perfectly. Another reason for their move was the diversity one finds in a city. She did not like the aesthetics of a planned community which she considered most suburbs to be. The idea of a long row of houses looking the same with their one identical tree in front, with a common swimming pool or community center, did not appeal to her. It was important for her to have access to public transportation; she felt it was a great way to encounter different neighborhoods and cultures. I understood her reasoning and for the most part agreed with her. There are some people who like to “fit in” with the people around them, where everyone appears to be on equal footing so to speak. After living through my period of being the oddball, ugly duckling, weird one or other types of similar adjectives; I came to terms with my differences and embraced them. It was not an easy journey but am glad for the most part I traveled that road. I think what it came down to was I did not want to look and be the same as everyone else, doing the same things and especially following what others thought I “should” do. THE planned suburban community looked good on the outside, but something was brewing underneath. This drama included the screen debut of Matt Dillon (Wild Things, There’s Something About Mary) as Richie. Starring also Michael Eric Kramer (Project X, Dick) as Carl, Pamela Ludwig (Under the Cherry Moon, Rush Week) as Cory and Vincent Spano (Rumble Fish, City of Hope) as Mark; the movie may be dated but I found the story to be just as relevant for today. It was fun seeing Matt in his first role and overall the acting from the cast was helped by the script. The thing that hooked me into this story was the underlying theme of teenage angst. Maybe because I could relate but the whole idea of planning out a community regardless of who lives in it was intriguing for me. I was able to recall things I saw years ago that were playing out in some of the scenes in this picture. Other movies have done the same type of story and if this film was not recognized when it came out it should have been. I would like to say this DVD was a blast from the past but instead of blast, at least for me, maybe I need to say poignant memory.
3 stars — DVD
As each of the year’s fully read pages of my life turn over, I notice that my mind and body do not always play nice together. There are things my mind tells me I can still do but my body now groans with disapproval. I know a trip to an amusement park these days means instead of ordering a snow cone I will be asking for a glass of water to accompany my 2 pills of ibuprofen. After the trees around my property release all of their leaves I can still climb up a ladder perched on the side of my house to clean out the gutters; however, my mind now recoils to the back of my head, screaming at me that I am going to fall. Sure there are some things I used to do years ago that I now wish I had the stamina to undertake; but realistically I know it would not be prudent on my part. Damn, don’t I sound so mature and adult? It was a similar dilemma that former art thief Crunch Calhoun, played by Kurt Russell (Death Proof, The Thing), was going through in this comedic crime film. After spending time in prison Crunch was coaxed into one last scheme by his half-brother Nicky, played by Matt Dillon (Crash, The Outsiders), to steal a rare book. However when two people have different motivations, no matter how good the plans were thought out, the outcome will not necessarily meet up with their expectations. The cast was made up with some decent solid actors. Seeing Kurt Russell back on the big screen produced a nostalgic feeling inside of me. It seemed to me Matt keeps playing the same type of roles, the darker edgier character of the cast. Yet with the actor Terrance Stamp (Unfinished Song, Wanted) playing Samuel Winter, I never tire of his performances; he always puts his best into each of his characters. The issue I had with this film was the lack of excitement; it came across as a typical heist movie with nothing special in it. I think listing it as a comedy was a bit of a stretch since I do not recall laughing at anything. Maybe it was because I found some of the characters were stereotypical. The other reason was the script did not give the actors much to build on to their characters. Too bad, because I felt the assembled cast would have gelled better with each other. Hopefully the actors did not feel they were too old to take risks with their roles and were only going through the motions.
Once one gets past the awkwardness of puberty and the teen years, is there any reason to be embarrassed for something you had no control over? I am not talking about your hair accidentally being dyed a color not found in nature or tripping over a crack in the sidewalk. Instead I am referring to things like your birthplace, parents or current residence. I find it perplexing when someone is embarrassed to have visitors over to their perceived small, or some other negative adjective, apartment, because the guests live in a swanky or trendy place. Another example would be being ashamed of a parent’s lack of education. Maybe some of these comparisons could be considered a form of envy which I find distasteful. I had the same type of feeling for this comedy film. Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Saturday Night Live-TV) played aspiring playwright Imogene. Struggling to become successful in New York City, she found herself in a predicament that required her to move back in with her mother Zelda, played by Annette Bening (Ruby Sparks, Running With Scissors). Things would not be the same due to two strangers Lee and George, played by Darren Criss (Glee-TV) and Matt Dillon (Crash, Wild Things), living in her mother’s house now. I have to tell you right from the start; this movie was not a comedy, it was a tragedy. This is not a compliment. To create a balance of drama and comedy, it takes work with a little finesse. The story was atrocious; none of the characters were likable. For the duration of this film I found maybe two or three things that were slightly amusing. One of them had Darren Criss’s character singing. Outside of that I have to say this film was icky. In an instance such as this; it would be totally understandable if the actors were embarrassed about their finished product, I know I was for them.
1 1/2 stars