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Movie Review: American Teen August 4, 2008

Posted by judylobo in Movie Reviews, Videos.

Movie Review: American Teen

Alternate Title: High School Confidential

Story: Raise your hand if you miss your high school days? Director Nanette Burstein‘s tweaked documentary will remind you why you do not miss those long ago misty days. The film follows four archetypes that are all too familiar – the jock, the bitchy prom queen, the band member nerd and the artsy outsider. Have you figured out which character represents you best? Or maybe you are some combination of all four.

We follow these four kids from Warsaw, Indiana as they live through (or survive) their senior year of high school. What college will they be accepted into? Who will they go to the prom with? Will depression, nasty text messaging or revenge do them in? Will their behavior go on their permanent record and ruin their lives? All of these dramas plus parental screw-ups, relationship break-ups and mini-hook-ups make up the groundwork of this universal story.

The film, while flawed, is engaging and by the rolling of the credits, where we learn what these kids have done in the two years since graduating high school, we care. We really do.

If you are as far away from high school as I am, all you probably have left is a tattered yearbook and skewed memories. Check out this movie and be happy you lived to tell your own tale of your high school days. “When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all.“ (Paul Simon).

Watch the trailer –

And more fun:

Acting: Hannah Bailey, Megan Krizmanich, Jake Tusing, Colin Clemens and Mitch Reinholt are all genuine kids (even if at times I thought they were over-acting).

Trivia: Director Nanette Burstein studied film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is co-owner of the Manhattan bar, The Half-King.

Predilection: I like documentaries.

Critters: Surprisingly not one.

Food: Kids eat mostly junk.

Sex Spectrum: Lots of chatting about ‘BJ’s’ and titties, but nothing seen on the screen.

Blatant Product Placement: It is a documentary. It does not apply.

Soundtrack: Very appropriate

Opening Titles: A nice opening segment to introduce you to senior year.

Visual Art: My favorite touch were the nauseating inspirational banners that hang throughout the HS halls. There were also a few animated segments that were enjoyable but do not advance the story much at all.

Theater Audience: Three guys who were closer to their HS memories than I was,

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Teenagers are very mean.

Drift Factor: I drifted a bit in the middle.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. Have your HS yearbook nearby to laugh or cry.

Length: 100 minutes




1. bonnieluria - August 4, 2008

The Paul Simon music video took me through the sandwich of photographic nostalgia:
From Brownie to G9!.
I do/don’t miss high school.
Ambivalent enough for you?
PS- if you hadn’t figured, I was the artsy outsider. And YOU?

2. CMrok93 - October 4, 2010

The documentary curriculum is sex, gossip and self-pity. Not exactly original, but disturbingly true. A lot more original than some of that crap on MTV. Nice info here, check out my review when you can!

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