Friday, March 25, 2011

Worth Mentioning - It's Not That Safe

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody talks about The Vicious Kind and takes a challenge while Jay recommends Hoop Dreams.


Caleb isn't handling his recent break-up with a cheating girlfriend very well. He's very bitter and angry, and the fact that he's been unable to sleep for the last week adds to his unstable mindset. When he meets his younger brother's girlfriend Emma while giving them a ride home from college, he immediately distrusts the girl. She reminds him of his ex and he's sure that she's going to break his brother's heart like his ex has broken his. But after a couple confrontations with Emma, Caleb is finally able to get some sleep and a new problem arises - he becomes infatuated with the girl.

Adam Scott plays Caleb, and while Scott is mostly known for his appearances in comedies, here he proves to be a great dramatic lead as well. Brittany Snow is an understandable object of infatuation as the smart and sweet Emma. The main cast is rounded out by Alex Frost as Caleb's younger brother, Vittorio Brahm as his dimwitted co-worker/friend, and the always awesome J.K. Simmons as his father.

Occasionally I'll come across a movie, usually an independent drama, that totally exemplifies the type of film that I want to make, and watching The Vicious Kind was one of those times. I wish I was making movies like this. In the meantime, Lee Toland Krieger wrote and directed this one and I really enjoyed it.


Emilio Estevez directs and stars in this drama, adapted by James Duff from his play Homefront, about a young man who has recently returned from serving in the Vietnam war. His family - parents Martin Sheen and Kathy Bates, sister Kimberly Williams - ignores the fact that he's deeply disturbed by his experiences as they try to force him back into their normal routines, causing the tension among them to build and build... There are some pretty powerful scenes and the cast provides great performances all around.

An interesting bit of trivia is that Emilio Estevez made a deal with Disney/Touchstone for the third Mighty Ducks movie to get this film made. Estevez took no pay for D3, in exchange the studio funded The War at Home.

I also wanted to mention that Dollar Bin Horror is having an interesting 30 Day Challenge that involves watching 30 horror movies in 30 days. Every day involves a different sub-genre or different personal reason for choosing to watch that day's movie. I've decided to participate in the challenge, and will be posting up my progress here on Life Between Frames in five chapters, a challenge entry for every six days. I have absolutely no idea what I'll watch for some of the categories, so this should be interesting to do. Or I could just fail hard.

Jay's mention:

Directed by Steve James
Stars William Gates and Arthur Agee

In honor of the ongoing NCAA Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, I am recommending one of my favorite documentaries from years ago: Hoop Dreams.

Hoop Dreams was shot throughout the early to mid-1990s and follows two young basketball players from Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, as they both pursue bigger dreams within the sport. William is a more polished teenage player and the buzz on his talents is pretty high. On the other hand, Arthur isn't looked at quite as highly and attends a less prominent high school. Both of them face the usual struggles of growing up, all while trying to play the game they love. At times, William struggles to live up to his praise and Arthur battles with poor grades. There are some really wonderful moments with Arthur in his senior year, as his team makes a strong run for the State Championship.

The film also looks at many different characters associated with the sport, from the high school coaches to Earl Smith,  an insurance salesman who also scouts local players and tries to relocate them to better high schools and further their reach for college ball and professional aspirations. I recommend this film to any documentary lover, especially those who enjoy personal stories. You get to really see the characters grow up as the cameras roll on them for around a five year period. This leads to a long runtime of almost three hours, but with so much going on, it feels like much less than that. The film also delves into the differences between the high schools that both boys attend and the cold hard truth about how the system works. To say that it's just about the two boys would be an injustice though, as the film examines William's older brother and his basketball career as well. Hoop Dreams is definitely chock-full of personal stories and well worth watching.

Interesting Note: Former Detroit Pistons star and current college coach Isiah Thomas shows up in the documentary as his former high school is featured.


  1. I loved The Vicious Kind. I think Adam Scott is kind of brilliant!

  2. Adam Scott was excellent in The Vicious Kind. The War at Home was also very good. Emilio Estevez's best performance.