Friday, May 21, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #15: Kicking and Screaming

In preparation for his new feature, Greenberg, I decided to delve into the Noah Baumbauch archives and check out his first feature from 1995, Kicking and Screaming.

Truthfully, I've been meaning to check it out for a while, but I'm really, really glad I waited till now. From the moment the film kicked off with "Cecilia Ann" by The Pixies, I knew it was for me. And since I went into this one without any knowledge of the plot, I was delighted to discover that the film centres around a group of recently-graduated college lads trying to navigate (and avoid) life after school.

As I myself am about to finish university, I completely identified with the angsty protagonists, whose overly-academic style of conversation demonstrates a total reluctance to leave the protective womb of higher education.

My favourite character, by far, was the more secondary scamp, Chet--a lame, nihilistic bartender working on year ten of an undergraduate degree, and who sees no compelling need to make an exit from the best days of his life. (A precursor to Van Wilder, perhaps?)

Kicking and Screaming is definitely a character-driven movie, in the vein of Diner and Swingers, and it's definitely conceptually related to Reality Bites. But potential viewers would do well to heed this warning: keep careful track of the main characters!

One of the endearing aspects of the members of the film's social circle, the self-proclaimed Cougars (or rather, Hawks--the official name of the group becomes a subject of much debate) is that the guys all talk the same. It comes up a lot. And some of them even LOOK the same. So if you're going to watch Kicking and Screaming (and I DEFINITELY suggest you do), be careful to have a clear idea of who's who, and for God's sake, pause it if you're going to go to the bathroom.

Overall, I think Kicking and Screaming is an ideal film for anyone who's going through a transition, be it romantic, occupational or otherwise.

As he demonstrated with The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbauch is a man who can really understand and articulate different forms of transition (or the various forms of reluctance to it), and his charming writing style lends itself to the topic.

So, if you're looking for a movie that values its characters and treasures classic one-liners, give this one a try!

...otherwise, I might kick you.

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