SHORT TERM 12

Short Term 12 - Poster

Short Term 12 derives its name from the place of business where the characters work. Short Term 12 is a halfway house of sorts for juvenile delinquents that are assigned there while the courts and families figure out what to do with them. Three months is the average stay, but some of the kids live there for years, waiting to turn eighteen, where they are released upon the world and have to find a way to fend for themselves. Writer/direction Destin Daniel Cretton adapts his own short film of the same name and follows the staff and residents of Short Term 12 in this emotionally draining movie.

Short Term 12 is bookended with two stories, both told by Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) with great relish. The first describes an instance where Mason defecated in his pants in front of one of the kids and the second one is about one of the kids and his success post his stay at Short Term 12. These two stories show the success of Short Term 12, as it’s focus moves from the staff to the residents. We begins by watching the staff deal with the residents and their own problems, but as the movie progresses, we realize that they may be beyond help. They’re not, but they are at an age where starting again and forgiveness is much more difficult to come by. The salvation of these people, and indeed all people, lies with the children. Life may have dealt them a bum hand, but they have the ability to rise above it and change the situation.

Continue reading “SHORT TERM 12”

Movie Beat – 08.23.13

Devil’s Pass – Fifty years ago, nine people froze to death while hiking in the Ural Mountains. Now, a group of idiotic twenty-somethings is going to recreate that hike just to prove that man can conquer the elements. Or because they have nothing better to do. At first things go well, it always does, then something happens, and things don’t go so well. They always do. Someone tries to kill them, first by avalanche, then by gun, but once they find a long abandoned bunker with some sort of zombie-demon inhabitants, they are doomed for sure. Happens to me all … Continue reading Movie Beat – 08.23.13

THE SPECTACULAR NOW

The Spectacular Now - PosterThe poster for The Spectacular Now is quite misleading. When I first saw it, my eye was drawn to the girl in the yellow dress amidst a sea of green. Two teenagers sitting on the trunk of a used sedan, dressed for prom, and the giant words THE SPECTACULAR NOW. Clearly this is a teen movie about first love, about high school, about a time and place where the world was right there at our fingertips. The Spectacular Now indeed. What I didn’t know until I saw the movie that the present the girl in the yellow dress is holding is not an innocent Prom Corsage. It is a flask.

The boy in the poster is Sutter (Miles Teller), a high school senior who doesn’t want to leave high school, his town of Athens, GA or the bottle. The movie opens with a montage of him partying, having sex with his girlfriend (Brie Larson), and drinking. He narrates all this with excitement and reverence. He loves himself. He also loves everyone around him. But he especially loves drinking. A lot of teenagers drink, but few of them carry a pocket flask and spike their Big Gulps with brandy. Sutter doesn’t think he has a problem, most likely because no one has told he that he does have a problem. He is such a charming drunk and nothing terrible has happened, it’s probably just a phase that he’ll grow out of.

Continue reading “THE SPECTACULAR NOW”

Movie Beat – 08.02.13

2 Guns – Two gentlemen look to rip off a bank and steal about $40 million US. They are wise cracking, professional, and very good with a gun. Then it turns out that one of these gentlemen (Denzel Washington) is not who he says he is, he’s actually an undercover DEA agent. But the other gentleman (Mark Wahlberg) is not who he says he is either, he’s from the Navy! Well, that is awkward. Too bad that this is all one big set-up, and surprise surprise, they have to work together to uncover the mystery. Bill Paxton shows how good … Continue reading Movie Beat – 08.02.13