Sunday, June 14, 2015

(Spoilers) The Wackness Review

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***
Good thing TV is pretty barren after 2:00 am in the morning.

Luke (Josh Peck) just finished high school, he befriends Jeff (Ben Kingsley), a psychiatrist, and Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby), his step-daughter. It's summer in New York City during the 1990s. Drama?

Good or Bad?
There was nothing else on so I left it on the channel after watching something else. I probably only gave this a chance because Ben Kingsley was in it.

The plot, in more detail, involved a kind of directionless teenager who just graduated from high school. He specialized in pot dealing and was an outsider with almost no friends. His main costar was the psychiatrist played by Ben Kingsley who was decades older, hated his job, enjoyed lighting up, and quite eccentric. Olivia Thirlby was a popular girl and Luke's love interest, but not that different in ways. The Wackness seemed to be about Luke making a friend or two, going through some major life events, and finding some direction. A coming of age story of sorts?

What made the movie unique was that it was set in the 1990s but filmed in the latter part of the first decade of the 2000s. I was a teen in the 1990s but this movie didn't really bring back any feelings of nostalgia. Most of the music was rap, and the only rapper I listened to was Eminem, so most of it wasn't familiar. The fashion also didn't bring back memories, but the decade probably wasn't that distinct compared to the 1980s or earlier (e.g. mullets, shoulder pads)  -- being set during a very hot summer didn't help since people weren't burying themselves in clothes. And no one talked the way they did in The Wackness around me, I only saw it occasionally on TV then. The lack of smartphones or even cell phones was probably the most distinctive thing. People in the movie were giving each other land line phone numbers with the intention of actually calling -- shudders. The word "wack" was heard pretty often during my school years too.

I thought the cast did fine. The standout for me was Ben Kingsley who I've mainly seen in very formal, polished roles. Not only did he not have his usual shaved head -- he was sporting chin-length hair -- but he also used a New York-ish accent instead of his British accent. Oh, and the character seemed to have substance abuse issues. It was an interested performance that I enjoyed. One fun thing to do would be to watch Ben Kinglsey in Shutter Island, where he also played a psychiatrist, and then this movie.

How was it? The Wackness was okay for a one time viewing. There were enjoyable, funny parts, and some good character development -- there were also some very awkward parts. Acting was reasonably good, but I didn't fall in love with any characters. Length and pacing were okay. Pretty watchable.

No comments:

Post a Comment