He Said/She Said #12: Kicking and Screaming
by: Nathan Swank and Rebeca Surber
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
KICKING AND SCREAMING (not to be confused with Will Ferrells soccer coach movie by the same name) seems primed up to be a film I should love. I love dialogue driven films. I love college. I love Noah Baumbach (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE). However, when all said and done, KICKING AND SCREAMING left me with an annoyed, forgettable taste.
Four college students sit around and whine about how they are better than everyone but have no ambition for there future. I understand where they are coming from because I’m better than everyone and still don’t know what my future holds but these characters are just so unlikeable. Hopefully, I’m not as unlikeable. I didn’t care about any of them except for maybe Eric Stoltz character. Otis (Carlos Jacott) and his quirky randomness had some very funny moments so I didn’t think the movie was all bad. In fact, I would go so far as to say I thought it was ok. There were obvious relatable actions by the crew but their overall personalities were frustrating to say the least. You can see that Baumbach has a knack for writing and shows a lot of promise for a new comer at times. I get the title, they are like children still kicking and screaming because they don’t want to grow up but at least that action would be a little more entertaining to watch. A better name would be, “sit around depressed and complaining.”
I remember watching this movie for the first time when I was a sophomore in college. At the time I couldn’t grasp what the big deal was still having two wonderful years to go before I was in the same shoes as these witty characters. I wanted to shout at them “You graduated! Get outta that college town and get on with your life!” However, when my time came to graduate, I realized I had more in common with this group of graduates empathizing with their post college angst.
This fantastic indie film written & directed by Noah Baumbach (who co-wrote the screenplay for Wes Anderson’s THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX and THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU – a favorite of mine) kicks off at a graduation party where lead character Grover (Josh Hamilton) decides to stay in the college town instead of going to Prague with his girlfriend. He moves in with friends and uses that time to figure out his next steps while trying to avoid being a professional college student like bartender ‘friend’ Chet (Eric Stoltz).
One of the things I love about this movie is the dialogue and banter between the friends…which is a good thing since the movie is dialogue heavy. I find each time I watch, I catch another line that cracks me up. The dynamic between the friends and the rhythm of their conversations is quick, sharp and clever. Although the overall tone of the movie is a bit slow it gives the viewer a chance to appreciate the dry repartee.