Monday, May 24, 2004

Altered States

Some long weekend. It rained virtually non-stop from Saturday to Sunday but we've got some relief this afternoon as it's cleared up quite nicely. I finished watching Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" DVD this morning[I'll save my thoughts about that for another time]. Saturday, I was able to finally watch the film The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys which I can finally cross off my to-watch list. Check out the review below, and comments are appreciated.

  • movie review: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

    On the surface, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys could have been a standard coming of age film. The film, by my guess, takes place in the late 70's/early 80's. It touches on such common themes as first love, childhood friendships, and children's mistrust of adults. The film is about a group of friends, centering on Kieran Culkin's character and his friend played by Emile Hirsch, who attend a Catholic school run by priests and nuns. On the one hand, is the strict disciplinary environment that the boys are raised in and on the other hand is the rambunctiousness of youth. Boys will be boys. The boys spend their time away from school hanging out, riding their bikes, reading comic books, drawing, and talking about girls. The boys discuss the idea of creating their own comic book, but this is only mentioned as a matter of fact rather than something they ever really get off the ground.

    However, as the film progresses, an animated storyline(that's strictly of the good vs. evil comic book variety) takes life and loosely parallels the emotional undertow of the boys' lives. The film alternates between the boys' lives and this animated storyline and its interesting to see the parallels. It's easy to see Kieran Culkin's character in the superhero character(in the animated story) whose able to become a skeletal man, because as mentioned by Culkin's character, nothing can harm a skeleton; later on in the film this sort of invincibility will be explored. The villain in the animated storyline is a more sinister-looking version of the nun(played by Jodie Foster) who's also their teacher.

    There's a dark, sombre tone to the film overall and is light years away from the weary-eyed nostalgia of say The Wonder Years. There's quite an unexpected sad ending(that's all I'm gonna say) and part of me wishes for the happy ending. But one ending is the start of a new beginning and this concept is perfectly illustrated by the animated storyline at the conclusion of the film.

  • Off to see Zero 7 at The Opera House!

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