Thursday, August 11, 2011

ANGUS (1994)

Directed By: Patrick Read Johnson
Written By: Jill Gordon
Based On The Short Story By: Chris Crutcher
Cinematography By: Alexander Gruszynski
Editor: Janice Hampton

Cast: Charlie Talbert, Ariana Richards, George C. Scott, Kathy Bates, Rita Moreno, Kevin Connolly, Chris Owen, James Van Der Beek, Lindsay Price, Salim Grant

This is a film that deserved to better then it got. While i might be the only person who thinks it was as good as it was. It didn't go the indie route and make it a tale of a outsider who finds peace and his place in the world. It played into many of the cliches of the coming of age genre mainstream movies.

In it;s own way it was truthful emotionally. Even if it had one dimensional villians. The film has outsider characters who were funny, heartwarming a little odd but believable. Who showed courage and strength. When it would be easy to physically take out the bullies.

The film has a love story with not quite a fairy tale ending. It does have the themes of betrayal, Defects and embarassment.

The film has a big name cast playing small and supporting roles. Which shows the strength of the material. Including Gerege C. Scott in one of his final film roles.

I saw the film 3 times in theaters i liked it so much it was one of the earliest films as a teen that spoke to me specifiacally at that same age which was rare. The film has a unbelievable roster of at the time indie bands that later became big. Green Day, Weezer; etc. The film is good and has it's immature moments thrown in. It is one of those films made was made for teens but can still speak to adults. it doesn't rewrite cinema but it doesn't talk down to it's audience either.

It's a crime it's not on Dvd exactly you can order it through Warner's archive website but not available in stores. I believe it bombes because it was marketed as a rightous teen comedy and it was more of a heartfelt coming of age tale then anything else. I always felt the film was too short. Some plot points are started but never finished.

The lead Charlie Talbert was certainly charasmatic but only went onto bit roles. The film is overlooked if you ask me. It moves at a brisk pace. At time sit needed to slow down. This was before it seemed like the studio would allow a teen film to be complicated and deep.

The film is also a example of severe editing as there was acharacter totally cut out of the film. Larry Drake (DR. GIGGLES)was originally in the film as Angus's Gay dad who teac he shim to dance and who he bonds with and coaches him through his troubles. Orignally as in the short story both of Angus's parents were gay. Then when the film was being made it was only his father who was gay. He was cut for time (Probably also a nervous studio who weren't ready to be that bold yet especially for a family film) and some scenes were reshot with George C. Scott He was made to be more as a guide for Angus. If the role had not been cut i believe the film would be applauded for it's bravery and be considered ahead of it's time. I still Dream of a director's cut DVD/Blu-Ray. Right before the film was released it was cut in half. In fact Weezer Wrote two songs for the film the first WANDA was more about the plot of the film. Since they dumoped the story the song was also dumped. The original title of the film would havebeen the much more interesting "A BRIEF MOMENT IN THE LIFE OF ANGUS BUETHUNE" which would have given the film more of a richness and class.

Director Patrick Read Johnson is a great talent. His tastes seem to be more mainstream as most of his films are for families to enjoy. They are more for younger viewers while giving a nod to adults. So they can enjoy the humor and films too.
This film isn't that deep bit it is entertaining and through his various films he shows he can handle much matcerial, themes and scenes. Injecting them with what is needed Drama, wit, Physical Comedy. He is just like the main character in this film a outsider who is working his way through the sysytem. who Deserves his day and respect.

It's a good family film for afternoon cinema


1 comment:

  1. This is one of those films I enjoyed growing up. I liked the fact that it wasn't about the popular kids. It was about a couple of outsiders dealing with the cool kids. As one-dimensional as the antagonists were, at least James Van Der Beek provided reasons to hate him. This needs to be given a special DVD release. Warner Brothers suck when it comes to DVD releases.