Monday, October 11, 2010

DVD--Rocket Science

or: Another quirky indie...but no one said that quirky indies were bad...

One word to sum it up: Indie (yes, that is a possible word to sum this movie up).

The joys of searching through the preview drawer. Usually, the movies are awful and painfully cheap action films or the really really quirky indies that may be so indie that no one has ever heard of them and therefore no one ever watches them. But sometimes, on very limited ocassions, the preview drawer will get some normal and quite good movies (last year, I discovered Let the Right One In in there...and how well our relationship turned out!). Rocket Science seemed to fit in the category of perfectly normal and good movies in the preview drawer...but may run the risk of being an indie which is so indie that no one will watch it.

High school student Hal Hefner (Reece Daniel Thompson) stutters. On the evening his parents stop arguing and separate, 43 miles away at the state tournament, his school's legendary debater, Ben Wekselbaum (Nicholas D'Agosto), goes blank mid-sentence, Ben's teammate Ginny Ryerson (Anna Kendrick) doesn't get a first-place trophy, and the world changes. That fall, to Hal's amazement, Ginny recruits him for the debate team, mentors him, and will be his partner. He still has his stutter, but he works hard and he falls in love with Ginny. On the day of the first debate of the season, the world changes again. From then until the day of the state tournament, Hal has a lot to sort out.

There is no denying that Rocket Science is a typical indie. It has all the quirks, a deft sense of humour, and those homely set pieces which make never fails to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However, there are many reasons as to why this film should be seen. The first is a nice and harmonious connection between the writer/director Jeffrey Blitz and his characters. He obviously treats the characters as if they were people at his school and attends to each of them with such adoration that you can't help but feel connected in some way to them as well. Trust me, you may find yourself in each of these characters.

Secondly, there are the people who are playing the characters. Reece Daniel Thompson is in perfect form, even though he looks a lot younger than his age, as Hal, and you can't help but put your heart out to the poor stuttering guy. Anna Kendrick shows why she is an Oscar nominated actress and why she has more of a future than her Twilight co-stars. She just exudes such a naive want to be an adult in this role, and plays the over achieving teenager we all love to hate so well that really makes me wonder: why is no one picking up on this film and her superior talents?

Finally, this movie draws so many similarities to films like Napoleon Dynamite, but yet, it has that John Hughes kind of feel about it. There, I said it. This film is remarkably like a smaller scale modern take on a John Hughes film. And it does that thing really well. So, with some reasons to watch Rocket Science, are there any reasons not to? It may not be one of the most perfect films ever, and it does sometimes drag. But you should definitely see Rocket Science. Put it on you Netflix queue (man, I wish I could get one of those) or whatever, and you won't be disappointed (hopefully).

THE VERDICT: Quirky indies are good, and Rocket Science is no exception. The connection between the writer and the characters and the audience makes this film a clear winner and an understated gem.


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