Monday, January 3, 2011


Catherine Hardwicke, 2003 (8.4*)
Tough, edgy, and gritty, this realistic look at a young teenage girl in L.A. is very disturbing. The film is carried by terrific performances by Holly Hunter as the mother of 13-yr old Tracy, brilliantly portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood. Hunter is actually more like a big sister or a friend to Tracy, as she's struggling to make ends meet with little support from her ex-husband.

When Tracy begins the 7th grade, she sees a popular teen who looks and acts far beyond her age, Evie, played by the screenplay's co-author Nikki Reed, who was just 15 when she wrote this in just six days, and who also received one acting award as best newcomer. Until that day, Tracy had been a good mommy's girl, but goes through changes nearly overnight in her desire to be as popular as Evie. The two start hanging out together and in order to keep up, Tracy begins stealing money, going on mindless shopping sprees, and partaking in drugs with Evie. The two become inseparable, and Tracy begins to disobey her mother, avoid school altogether, and seems to be only interested in shallow and temporary pleasures.

The transformation is frightening to watch, as both girls are beyond control or self-discipline, and have no real goals in life other than instant gratification. This is an almost entirely female-produced film, from Hunter as star and producer, to the screenplay by Reed and director Hardwicke, to the cast, whose only males are Tracy's brother, dad, and a few male high school friends. It makes an important statement about parenthood, and though R-rated, seems to be a film that should be watched by parents with their teenaged kids, as a warning of how not to act if you want to reach adulthood with any semblance of maturity. This is a film that makes me glad I never had kids, as they often seem to rebel out of boredom or an impatience to become adult.

Hunter was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar®, and the film won 13 awards out of 35 nominations


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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