Posts Tagged ‘Wasted on the Young’

Dean Koontz’s Phantoms

Posted 21 Oct 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Dean Koontz’s Phantoms, USA, 1998

Directed by Joe Chappelle

Phantoms is a by-the-numbers bad horror movie with a compelling performance by Liev Schreiber. At the suggestion of a couple of fictional gentlemen by the names of Jay and Robert, as well as one close, non-fictional friend (hint: we co-wrote this movie together, but he did not act in this one) who recently reminded me of their recommendation, I decided to finally check out “Affleck [being] the bomb in Phantoms.” I can only assume all three parties were being highly sarcastic; after all, one of them was played by Kevin Smith, a longtime friend of Mr. Affleck, but not necessarily someone known for his unadulterated sincerity, Jersey Girl (2004) and the jail cell speech in the third act of Clerks II (2006) excluded.

Dean Koontz’s Phantoms is awful, in that special way in which films like Lawrence Kasdan’s 2003 Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher are awful. Author and screenwriter Dean Koontz is often considered the poor man’s King (Koontz fans, please note: I have not actually read any of his books, I am merely recording the popular consensus as I understand it), so it is fitting that Phantoms should have so much in common with that unintentionally hilarious travesty of cinema. Unfortunately, Phantoms lacks the over-the-top craziness of Kasdan’s film, and is therefore substantially less entertaining, albeit mercifully shorter. This is not to say there is no unintentional comedy to be found, as there certainly is, but overall the film is more of a by-the-numbers bad horror movie that lacks the overreaching ambition of the amazingly insane Dreamcatcher. It also borrows heavily from far better films such as Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and John Carpenter’s The Thing, which only serves to remind the viewer how truly low-rent this already mediocre film is in comparison to those classics. Read More

Wasted On The Young

Posted 19 Sep 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Wasted on the Young, USA, 2010

Directed by Evan Drolet Cook

Wasted on the Young, the debut feature from Evan Drolet Cook, perfectly captures Minneapolis in 2009. More than any other movie I can remember, Evan Drolet Cook’s Wasted on the Young is Minneapolis. It evoked nostalgic feelings in me that undoubtedly make it impossible for me to fairly and objectively review the film, but as producer Riley Lang told me, that was the film’s goal. It set out to be a slice of life in the Minneapolis of 2009, and at that it succeeds commendably, but I think it also manages to reach a little further than that, nicely exploring the sentiment behind the famous quote that lends the film its title.

Wasted follows several different characters through several days in their lives in what is essentially an ensemble comedy. The primary protagonist is Matt (Matt Franta), a sort of directionless guy who is not above lying about being a vegetarian in order to favorably impress Susan (Sara Marie Reinke), a rather neurotic woman with whom he has become infatuated. Matt’s best friend, Cody (Cody Sorensen), is basically the comic relief to Matt’s straight man, and he is having relationship troubles of his own, having recently told his girlfriend, Laura (Anna Reichert), that he loves her, though he isn’t really sure he meant it. Now he fears he’s going to have to say it over and over again until they break up, which is generally how these things go. A third player in this circle of friends is Rachel (Hannah Glaser), whose boyfriend, Ian (John Toycen), has increasingly begun to alienate her with his non-stop singer-songwriter-ing; he has become, much to her chagrin, that douchebag who brings his guitar to parties and plays his whiny emo songs whether anyone likes them or not. Read More