Excellent story and acting, not for kiddies (by akevintrout)
The folks who have trashed this excellent drama are those who saw the misleading studio hype about this film and were looking for more garbage like "American Pie". There is no schtick here, no easily recognizable stereotypes, no fart jokes for an America that has degenerated to the point where virtually everyone has the same tastes as their eight year old child. The characters are realistic, sensitive, flawed and vulnerable in a country that likes simple and macho and a story that does nothing to get in the way of their numerous bigotries. Jeremy Davies is one of the most talented <more>
actors of his generation in a country that thinks Ben Stiller is an acting genius.
A misunderstood emotional masterpiece (by Pezkid!)
I may be in the minority here, and in fact I probably am, but I LOVED this movie. The play is amazing, and the adaptation is so true to the original that it really makes the experience enjoyable. I'd like to clear one thing up that I read earlier: it's not a "suicide" scene. It's a "cutting" scene. The two are very different, and shouldn't be confused.At any rate, the plight of Sonny Burns, the protagonist of this film, is so easy to identify with, and the way he sees Gunner is so typical and real that this film really is refreshing and understandable. The <more>
oppressive blanket of the 1950's plays another role in this film, really as one of the more important characters. Sonny doesn't know how to deal with a lot of different things, and he isn't being told/taught how to do so by his parents or his society.It's a sad movie, but filled with hope at the same time. It's worth seeing, and for me, is worth buying on DVD whenever it freakin' comes out. I give it a 10 and stand by that rating based on its emotional merit and strength.
This is a truly wonderful film. It is set in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1954, and is based on a novel written by Dan Wakefield, who comes from Indianapolis and was 18 at the time of the story. The film was also shot in Indianapolis, but not in the centre of town, which these days is a desolate ghost town, like all other such Middle American cities whose cores have been destroyed by the insidious rise of the suburban malls. Wakefield also wrote the screenplay, which was a good idea, because he did an excellent job and it brought added authenticity to this funny/sad story. The director is Mark <more>
Pellington, best known for his magnificent and deeply unsettling thriller, ARLINGTON ROAD 1999 . Everything about this film clicks, the direction is superb, and the two central performances by Jeremy Davies and Ben Affleck are positively inspired and utterly sensational. It may be the best thing Affleck has ever done. But Davies is even more outstanding, and really deserved an Oscar for his portrayal of a pathetically introverted young man oppressed by the smother-love of his ultra-religious mother and a boring nonentity of a father. His body language expressing inadequacy, and his mastery of the inarticulation of helplessness, are a triumph of the art of acting. The story begins with two young soldiers returning from their two years' draft service in the Korean War. One, a corporal, has been stationed in Japan, and is named Gunner Ben Affleck . The other, a private, is named Sonny Jeremy Davies , who never got further than being posted to an Army office in Kansas City. They meet on the train home and realize they had been at high school together. Gunner was an athletic hero of the school 'Gunner' was a common nickname for any champion high school basketball star in those days who could score lots of goals, though this is not made clear in the film and Sonny was a nerdy weakling who did the school photography and took photos of Gunner in his moments of glory and triumph playing football, basketball, and baseball. Gunner has grown up now, keeps talking of the influence which being in Japan had on him, expresses an interest in Zen, and has no further interest in his old crowd of high school admirers. Instead, he feels a closer bond with Sonny, as an old 'Army buddy' even though they did not serve together , and despite the fact that Sonny barely knew him at school. Sonny can hardly believe that the former school hero now values his friendship, having never previously even noticed him. Thus commences a life-determining friendship between the two boys. They go round together, drink beers and cocktails, have double-dates, try to get girls drunk with extra vodka 'because you can't taste it' and seem unable to relate to any of the other boys they know, who have somehow lost their relevance. Gunner has a sexy and irresponsible mother, played to the hilt by Lesley Ann Warren who never had any trouble getting men excited , but no father we presume he has died . Both boys come from families which are comfortably off, but Gunner's background is more affluent. Sonny's mother is fanatically opposed to the heathen influence that the godless Gunner might have upon her son, tempting him to do such horrid things as drinking beer and going out with girls. Sonny learns to stand up to her. Sonny has a desultory affair with a local girl named 'Buddy', who is sensitively and expertly played by Amy Locane. She is not as pathetic and needy as she tries to appear to Sonny, since she is two-timing both Sonny and another boy whom we never see. Gunner has a serious romance with another girl called 'Marty', played by sultry Rachel Weisz. She stresses her Jewishness and her family don't like her going out with a non-Jew. There is a shocking scene where Gunner's mother goes into a wild anti-Semitic rant and Gunner realizes for the first time that she is not merely eccentric but is actually quite crazy. Marty leaves for a new life in New York and Gunner decides to follow her. But what will Sonny do? Will he remain crushed at home or will he too lash out and go native in Manhattan? He has little choice at first because he has to spend three months in plaster because of a car crash, and during that time his mother intercepts the letters from Gunner in New York. The reason why this film is so good is because of the feeling and passion which have gone into making it. Everyone concerned seems to have been motivated to be authentic and real. More of that from Hollywood, please!
The most underrated film I've seen so far! (by Sherazade)
A young man played by Jeremy Davis is returning home from the Korean war to the parents he joined the war to escape from. Along the way, he meets a happy-go-lucky extrovert played by Ben Affleck at what seemed to be his sexual peak co-soldier with whom he unwittingly becomes friends with. This is cool for him, since he now has a friend he can run away to whenever things at home become too hectic. With Gunner Affleck , Sonny finds a new lease on life when he is introduced to a different side of life whereby he doesn't have to masturbate in his bedroom hoping that his parents can't <more>
hear him, or sneak a childhood friend into the house for missionary sex. Tagging along with Gunner, he meets the stunning Gail played with Va-VA-Voom by Rose McGowan the cousin of Gunner sex-goddess girlfriend played by the equally stunning Rachel Weisz Pre-Oscar , add an anti-Semitic mother who is sexually attracted to her own son Gunner's mum , a strictly religious and stern mother Sonny's mum , weird pops Sonny's dad and a priest into the mix and you're sure to be going all the way! Ben Affleck's sexuality and performance in this film rivals that of Brad Pitt's in Thelma and Louise but this film was so underrated that nobody would have noticed this. Nevertheless, when you see him up on that screen flirting with Weisz's character, things seem to get hot all of a sudden.
This is a great movie. Brilliantly acted, especially by Jeremy Davies, but also ably supported by Ben Affleck, it is sometimes very painful to watch and one of the very rare examples of a movie about post-adolescent angst that really works. Very moving, and the director as well as Davies the weedy guy in Saving Private Ryan deserve to be very big.
Very hard-hitting coming of age comedy/drama set in 1954. (by TxMike)
I stumbled upon this movie while looking for old Affleck movies on Netflix streaming. I hesitated to see it, because of the title, it led me to believe it was just a silly "horny teenager" flick, but it isn't that at all. Yes, there is a strong element of young men, fresh from the Army, wanting to get pretty girls in the sack, but that is subordinate to the overall theme. I like to think the title refers more to a young man "going all the way" to follow his instincts and become what he really wants to be.I can't say enough about the performance of Jeremy Davies as <more>
Sonny Burns, I consider it "award worthy" and am surprised to see he was not nominated for anything. Sonny was a typical nerdy guy in school, small and unathletic, he was the class photographer. Even in the military, instead of going to Korea to fight, he had an office job in Kansas City. It is 1954 and as Sonny is discharged and taking a train home he meets up old high school classmate with Ben Affleck Gunner as Casselman, so nicknamed because he had a good arm as a pitcher, and was a "natural" at sports. Sonny of course remembers him, everyone knew Gunner, but was surprised to find that Gunner remembered who Sonny was. To his surprise also, Gunner seemed genuinely interested in swapping stories of life and being friends. It seems the war and military had given him a better perspective on life. Affleck in this early role is very effective, I could find no flaw in his performance.Sonny returns to his high school sweetheart, Amy Locane as Buddy Porter, and she was anxious to rekindle their romance. But in the end Sonny just wasn't in it, he liked and respected Buddy but when he was honest with himself, could never love her like she needed. Jill Clayburgh was Sonny's overbearing mother, still wanting to treat him like a little boy. Encouraging him to attend to Buddy, stating that she would make a good wife. When Sonny asked why she never served him bacon or ham for breakfast, she dismissed him with "you know your stomach can't take grease early in the day." Sill her little boy.The story is a drama, about these 24-yr-old young men, fresh from the Army, trying to figure out their next steps in life. Gunner breaking away from his mother who seems to be a bit too attached to her son, Sonny breaking away from his parents and girlfriend, and the promise of a job at Eli Lilly. Sonny desperately trying to "find himself." But the movie is also loaded with L.O.L. funny scenes. I grew up in the 1950s, my B.I.L. was in the Army and served in Korea, so this movie brought back memories from way back. Overall their depiction of that period is very accurate.And overall this is a fine movie, much better than its IMDb rating would suggest. It was nice also to see such actors as Rose McGowan and Rachel Weisz in early roles.SPOILERS: Sonny was driving at night in the rain, Gunner as a passenger, and they wrecked into a tree. Gunner was unharmed, Sonny had to be in a cast for 2 months. He received a few postcards from Gunner in New York, having followed a girl Weisz there. When he was barely healthy enough he took a train, one-way, to New York, determined to make his own way through life.