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Reply #30 on: August 03, 2014, 01:17:52 PM
for me this movie gets stronger as it goes along and ends strong. the music was horrible and obtrusive for me, for others in the cinema they were naming songs and really relating to the constant cultural markers. the cultural markers, harry potter etc, halo (the couple next to me: "It's HALO!") kept taking me out the movie, but i think back to my childhood and these markers were hugely important. I remember movies coming out and music coming out and they were watermark moments, it just wasn't these movies/video games, i guess.

i found the kid starts off generic and template like and the focus being more in the parent's direction, which satisfied me. every time ethan hawke was on screen i felt the movie started coming alive more and more. i loved his character, the way he sells out and is aware of it, but is still a bit of a in-and-out guy at the end, shrugging off his obligations in the smallest of ways.

patricia arquette was also incredible and her last scene alongside her constant tryings and failings adds up to quite a wallop. a day after seeing it, i'm fine with the downtempo storytelling and the lack of immediate dramatic moments but that's the rub: in-between the scenes, the relationships, the comings and goings --- experiences have happened and we see glimmers of the icebergs under the oceans. the sister's line to the boy's girlfriend about how she's gonna meet loads of guys when she comes to college, as the girl's boyfriend/her brother plays pool. little lines like that kept opening up parallel narratives and questions of what happened to these characters when they weren't the focus or when time jumped. the gaps and what was not shown really made an impact on me here.

i loved how by the last hour the movie evolved from a concept to a richard linklater movie. the character no longer felt generic to me. i didn't feel like he had a cookie cutter upbringing and felt that he still had a long way to go, that life was still going to be a struggle.

i think the critical response has been so obsessed with the process, the ageing of the actors and the way the film captures childhood or how it says all these big things about life and childhood, (people bring up 'tree of life' and 'apu' etc etc) but i saw a small downtempo film, anti-big more into low key icebergs moments, focused on the kid as his centre forms (identity, character, the self) as he's uprooted, as the culture around him shifts, as his sister pisses him off and dominates him, as his mum struggles to raise him and hold on to her womanhood and his dad drifts in and out of his life and as it goes on, the centre starts to hold, form and solidify (for now) and he starts to react to all those things that have been going on around him, he finally confronts the reincarnation of the drunk father figure who picks on him and deals with him in his newest incarnation and is able to deal with it and to navigate the situation. and that's what i loved about the concept was the portrayal of trial and error. that's the star here for me. the trial and error and repetition of life.

i also loved the little moments and characters. the manager at the restaurant who fancies the kid's mum and just that scene when she's giving a speech and he watches her in the background, reacting to every word she says. that's an incredible scene and suggests a whole other parallel and future movie where he is the next stepdad (unlikely i know) but the film was full of possibilities and space (that reminded me of being young) and for me the last hour was great and went beyond the concept. whereas the first two thirds felt like they were more 'the concept' than the heart of the movie that we eventually arrive at.

richard linklater is definitely one of the most exciting guys working today (and like pta has been for a while, whereas i'm slowly losing my love for david fincher pictures after zodiac) and i'm so happy that this picture is getting the response it's getting, he friggin' well deserves it. i'm going to revisit before midnight and see how i feel about it now. also lorelei linklater starts off so fiery and full of character in this movie and slowly dissolves her way out of the story, in the way our siblings can do as we get older, they can sometimes lose their sharp edges and become slightly foggy but with tons of baggage/emotion/past attached...oh, also the way it looks. i loved the look of it and lee daniel's photography on this and 'sunset' are incredible understated beauts!!!!

strong movie...


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Reply #31 on: August 03, 2014, 11:48:14 PM
i thought i would chime in as i also felt (like a few others here) very underwhelmed with this movie. i generally enjoy and appreciate linklater's films but this lacked the emotion and insight of his best films (e.g. the before sunrise trilogy). some people have commented on the music being distracting. i don't think the songs lasted long enough to get on my nerves but i found them unnecessary and somewhat lazy. sure, people will recognize the pop culture references but they don't add up to anything beyond empty nostalgia. the same can be said for much of the film. it's a shapeless piece of work, lacking a strong point of view about the subject matter. i agree with wilder that mason seems to be unaffected by his experiences/relationships, to the point (i would say) that just about everything seems inconsequential. linklater presents a situation, quickly drops it, and is on to the next thing. i hear a lot of "i can relate" talk about this movie. but for me it takes much more than that to equal a good film.


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Reply #32 on: August 04, 2014, 11:23:23 AM

Kenneth Turan takes a critic's lonely stand on 'Boyhood'
By Kenneth Turan

If you do it right, film criticism is a lonely job. But some films make it lonelier than others. Films like "Boyhood."

For just about every other critic in America, "Boyhood" has been the opposite experience, a chance to join in an unprecedented chorus of shared exultation about a film written and directed over the course of a dozen years by Richard Linklater that used the same group of actors to watch as a boy named Mason grows from a child of 6 to a young man of 18.\

The New York Times called it "one of the most extraordinary movies of the 21st century." Film Comment labeled it "wondrous" and put it on its cover. The authoritative Thompson on Hollywood blog reported that it "debuted to astonishing figures" and noted it "ranks as the highest scored new release for at least this century at Metacritic." Variety ran a piece headlined "Why Richard Linklater Deserves an Oscar for 'Boyhood,'" and no fewer than 16 critics (I counted) were quoted in a recent print ad calling it a masterpiece and throwing in words like "visionary," "transporting" and "profound" for good measure.

I was not one of them.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate "Boyhood," and I'm not totally immune to its attributes. But for me it was, at best, OK, a film whose animating idea is more interesting than its actual satisfactions. Sharing in the zeal of its advocates, being as on fire as Moses was when he came down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the law — that just isn't in the cards for me.

In part because I don't consider myself an enemy of "Boyhood" and didn't want to rain on its parade, I ended up not reviewing the film when it arrived in theaters. I'm departing from that original impulse for a variety of reasons: because I believe there can be value to the culture of film in being out of step, because I feel an obligation to readers to express solidarity with those few who share my doubts, and to go on the record about the most talked-about film of the year.

But mostly it's because being so out of step called up so many disconcerting thoughts and feelings in me — about the film, about the process and culture of reviewing, even about what it means to be a critic and who I am as a person — that I simply had to write them down.

Though I am far from a contrarian and honestly don't enjoy being the only person who doesn't get it, I've been in this position before. I caught a lot of grief from fans as well as writer-director James Cameron when I took objection to "Titanic," and even before that when I was less than enthralled by Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," one of whose partisans recently tweeted me to ask if, 20 years after the fact, I regretted my dunderheaded negativity. (For the record, I don't.) And just last week I got an email about my 1999 "Fight Club" review, asking: "Do you ever look back, re-watch a movie and think, wow, I blew it?"

But being lukewarm to "Boyhood" felt like a different order of thing, like being disconnected from my aesthetic roots. This was no violent blockbuster one could feel free to disdain but a film I was supposed to embrace, a small independent effort whose interest in humanistic themes, character development and interpersonal drama were elements that matter the most to me. I should have been front and center in applauding "Boyhood" rather than remaining cold to its charms.

So, because I am prone to it, the second-guessing began: Had I missed something, had I been asleep at the wheel (metaphorically, not literally, though the film does run a leisurely 2 hours and 44 minutes)? Should I be court-martialed for dereliction of critical duty? Had I made some kind of mistake?

Since I consider reviews to be expressions of personal taste and consequently believe it's completely misguided to look at unpopular or out-of-step opinions as mistakes, the blunder option was not open to me. So I decided to take advice from one of my personal heroes, Sherlock Holmes, who famously decreed: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." What was it about me as a critic that had led me down a path where no one else followed?

For one thing, I find that as I get older and younger filmmakers focus more and more on their own young years, I have become increasingly resistant to coming-of-age stories, which at its core is what "Boyhood" is. Living through my own childhood was unnerving enough; I don't take pleasure in living through someone else's unless there is as good a reason as two personal favorites, Ken Loach's "Kes" and Jean-Claude Lauzon's "Léolo," provided.

Also, though it feels literally sacrilegious to say so in the light of all the devotion "Boyhood" has received, not to mention all the work that went into it, the "12 years, one cast" aspect of the film felt, in all honesty, a bit like a gimmick to me, especially in the light of the heroic work Michael Apted has done with his "Up" series of documentaries, which have looked at the same group of individuals every seven years from age 7 to age 56, and counting. Compared with the insights and surprises the multiple hours half a century of footage provide, "Boyhood" feels a bit like a Readers Digest Condensed version for those who don't want to take the time to see the Apted films in their entirety.

Finally — and this is critical — I have always been cool to Linklater's films, have never connected emotionally to his self-involved characters and a slacker aesthetic that treats banalities as if they were words of wisdom. Though "Boyhood" could be his best film and certainly has its satisfying moments, its narrative feels fatally cobbled together, veering haphazardly from underdone moments to overdone melodramatic contrivance.

On one hand, the fuss about "Boyhood" emphasized to me how much we live in a culture of hyperbole, how much we yearn to anoint films and call them masterpieces, perhaps to make our own critical lives feel more significant because it allows us to lay claim to having experienced something grand and meaningful.

Ultimately, however, what thinking about "Boyhood" brought home, and not for the first time, is how intensely personal a profession criticism is. Whether we like it or not, even if expressing it makes us feel clueless and out of touch in our own eyes as well as the world's, we cannot escape who we are and what does or does not move us. As I've said before and likely will have cause to say again, in the final analysis, as a critic either you're a gang of one or you're nothing at all.


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Reply #33 on: August 04, 2014, 12:34:27 PM
he gets to overshare at length and for publication. 11 paragraphs before he talks about the movie!!

people feeling brave enough to dislike a movie is how i think a good movie works


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Reply #34 on: August 04, 2014, 01:58:29 PM
I liked Boyhood a lot. I loved how it captured what's real in a cliché, how strong it felt (for me, at least) without being overly dramatic, by being simple, how it showed what was left of your life, of your memories, of your childhood. Some glimpses. I loved how cliché it was and how it avoided the big clichés.

I loved the parents. Watching Mason. Having moments.

I loved this line: "I thought there would be more."

It's a weird thing, it doesn't completely work, yes, but I admire the simplicity Linklated decided to keep.
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Reply #35 on: August 09, 2014, 03:12:06 PM
After reading everyone's comments here, I was happy to have some reasonable expectations going in.  I was still disappointed. 


To start, the positive:

I’m a Texan, so the region specific stuff worked for me.  Shooting guns, seeing country shows, walking around Austin at night, hiking in West Texas...these are all scenes from my life, too, and nice to see.  There’s one long shot in San Marcos where 8th grade Mason talks to a classmate down an alley.  I’ve been down that alley.  A specific take on growing up, indeed. 

There were some moments that really moved me.   These moments usually originate from the performances of Patricia Arquette and Marco Perella (stepdad 1).  Stepdad 1 is absolutely terrifying.  His scenes were fantastic.

The first 90 minutes or so fly by like a breeze.  Kids being stupid, looking at porn, saying the wrong things to parents (“but oh jeez they’re just so cute.”)  And then, wouldn’t you know it, Mason is no longer a child.  He’s a young adult ready to create his own identity. 


Who is this kid? Why him? He's practically the perfect son, absurdly well-adjusted given his upbringing. The worst things he ever does are drink underage and flake out in one of his classes.

This is the film’s biggest problem.  Pardon me for echoing what you’ve already written. (above and below)

Mason is likable to a fault.  He has shitty stepfathers, but he’s strong in the face of it all.  His major problems ultimately boil down to being (kinda) directionless, a little lazy, and nervous about what the future may hold. Like Wilder said, we all go through these phases, but so what?  This movie really needed something to happen.  There are moments where you think that something seriously trying might be around the corner.  But then, nope, we're back at Mason's house, his mom's still relatively cool, and he’s back to figuring it all out.

And I get it.  Life isn’t a crazy movie, sure.  But growing up is not a process of passive observation.  We make mistakes.  We get hurt.  We hurt others.  We don’t just pout because we didn’t get the birthday present we were promised 7 years ago.   

There’s also something in this movie that is so bad I think we’ve collectively forgotten it.  I’m referring to the return of the laborer who Patricia Arquette encourages to go to school.  The first scene with him was innocuous in and of itself, but his appearance at the end of the film is absolutely ridiculous.   It only exists so that he can say, “You should listen to your mother.”  I wanted to groan out loud but stopped myself.

This is a much more negative review than I originally intended to write, but the more I think of it, the more upset I get.  The way they shot this film had its moments, to be sure.  I think the aging of the parents was particularly effective.  The most emotionally resonant moments in the film come from the adults.  If only Linklater had thought to make Parenthood, instead. 


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Reply #36 on: August 09, 2014, 03:42:30 PM
If only Linklater had thought to make Parenthood, instead.



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Reply #37 on: August 22, 2014, 04:43:38 PM
landed in da multiplex here. is it in your multiplex? there are other chill movies in the multiplex but this is the only one where i'm wondering what it makes you think about

its 100 on tomatoes is silly. we all know the world doesn't ever 100% agree to no 100% nothing


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Reply #38 on: September 05, 2014, 03:07:52 AM
guys, i loved this movie. it's got 99% on rottentomatoes, which is unheard of. how is it that i come to xixax and only 1% of us liked it??


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Reply #39 on: September 05, 2014, 09:03:51 PM
Yes, this movie has a lot of bad in it (the former plumber thanking the mom was quite painful, among other scenes). But in general I had a positive reaction. It works because of its extreme realism. As a study of American life it is masterful. The behavior of the kids was spot on at every age. (although, it's quite laughable how uniformly well adjusted Mason and his sister are as teenagers; not to mention, the parents (minus the stepdads, obvi) are as near to perfect as you can get). I almost feel like one day if I ever become a father I will want to refer back to this movie for guidance.

As a dramatic work it is disappointing. Everyone is paradigmatically normal. I wasn't enthralled or anything like that. But I did recognize A LOT of the characters from my own life and felt an emotional connection with them; I want to text them and check up on them. I think to appreciate it you just have to embrace the genericness and forgive the lack of verve.


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Reply #40 on: September 05, 2014, 09:07:59 PM
Linklater is the man. I was so excited about this film and even after seeing it, I'm still excited! Making Boyhood is what Linklater did in his FREE time! I feel like its one of those things that you hear about and you're like, nah, hes not doing that...I don't believe it. the man has balls
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Reply #41 on: January 29, 2015, 10:44:34 AM
I don't understand. We have every other film in the world for characters who are deeply affected by their upbringing and huge dramatic moments. Every movie around has a central conflict, and nowadays tv series specialize in conflicted asshole characters whose souls get dark by the episode. Linklater completely goes the other way and he's coping out? If anything it takes a lot more balls to go this route, leaving the drama out and celebrating the small moments. Thankfully we have no scenes where the kid breaks his stepfather windshield or gets expelled from school. We know he failed first grade, right? We don't see it yet it's there. Thankfully the whole film wasn't about both parents endlessly fighting and fucking up their kid's well being.

The film doesn't need the main character to rebel or suffer some kind of imbalance. He's a smart kid who keeps things to himself. Most lifes are "uneventful", but how can we say that when watching a film where characters discover themselves quietly as the years go by?

Linklater has been doing this forever, he's not into the whole big dramatic arc thing. He even managed to make a science fiction film about drug addiction which feels more like a laid back slacker experience than a futuristic film noir. I dig it.

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Reply #42 on: January 29, 2015, 04:37:52 PM
I think it's very good. Not a top ten movie for me, but I think the idea of how to film the movie overwhelms the content. Some critics attacked the film for the kid never going through teenage angst and anger periods. Implication is the portrait is more of a sentimental tale, but given the characteristics of the main character, I think it's more part of his nature. No, my qualms against the film that keep it out of greatness territory is that the film keeps the philosophical discussion to a medium level of philosophical revelation. An argument for the familiarity is that life cycle should remind the audience member of their own coming to terms during childhood and high school, but for me, it reminds me of Linklater's tendencies to be fascinated by less than fascinating things. As the story comes to conclusion, the story slows to conversational pace and I find myself seeing more of the less interesting moments to come out of Linklater's dramas. I think a major challenge for the film would have been if Linklater tried to just base the film on experiences that revolve around situations, but it would have forced him to plot out more telling moments and characterize progression more. Linklater loves actor interaction and the potential of the spontaneous in the moment. I think it can mean for different and unexpected things, but I often thinks it never tops a well orchestrated and thought out plan for storytelling and filmmaking.