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Around the Fire
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Around the Fire More at IMDbPro »

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Painful propaganda

Author: ( from Washington, DC
28 July 2002

This movie is disguised as some sort of hippie coming of age drama... but the sad truth is that this is just a thinly veiled bit of anti-drug propaganda. The soundtrack and watching Tara Reid be hot are about the only things going for this movie. Beyond that, the movie suffers from a predictable (and very bad) plot, stereotype characters, and cheezy dialog. It's like watching an After School Special that just drags on and on and on.

If you are considering watching this movie... put on a Grateful Dead CD and download pictures of Tara Reid from the internet. You'll get all the good points of the movie without having to endure the painful "Drugs are bad, mmkay?" plot. If you don't already use drugs, listening to the dialog in this movie will drive you to drugs in an effort to kill the pain.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An alright movie with a director who needs more credit.

Author: Ian from United States
22 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film "Around the fire" is a fairly plausible attempt at showing drug culture and how it can negatively affect a person's life. The true thing that this film lacked was script. Not an altogether bad script, but one that could have used more work.

What, tradgically, does not get recognition is the direction of John Jacobsen. Jacobsen, who was working with two fairly unknown actors of the time, Devon Sawa and Tara Reid (who had some success earlier)used his skills as a director to truly pull the best performances from these young actors. Also Jacobsens direction in this film really parallels Mamet, in a way. He is a no-nonsense director who has not received the attention he truly deserves.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

good except for one thing....

Author: Haley (htoll2) from Lexington, KY
26 April 2003

Tara Reid wasn't at all convincing in her role- and I've never seen a hippie chick with that much makeup. Though the whole movie is drenched in tie-dye, the 'authentic' feel of a tour atmosphere is lacking. But the main character is easy to relate to (even if you haven't lived the life on the road) and the movie is generally entertaining. Good to see once.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

entertaining i guess but PLASTIC

Author: groovatron11d4 from NYC
11 April 2001

This movie held my attention but the story line was a little plastic and had the classic anit-drug message. Tara Reid played a cool little hippie chick wonderfully though... a damn cute one too. The story was just very cliche; a young man plagued by the death of his mother rebels, falls in love with hot blond, gets into drugs, and ends up in rehab... I mean how many times are people going to use that plot?

The real shortcoming to this movie however, was not the plot. The story could have been a realistic inside look at hippie culture if it were only made to be realistic. Whoever directed this movie has obviously never been to anything more than a Kenny G concert. Throwing 15 or so extras in make-up and tie-dyed shirts in a field to recreate a Grateful Dead show is a horrifically commercialized and pathetic attempt to portray hippie culture.

Anyway, this movie did hold my attention but mostly because I was fascinated that Hollywood could make such a cheap, pitiful attempt to revitalize a beat to death plot. There were some interesting moments and hey I watched the whole thing, but there are much better movies out there. And remember kids, drugs are bad!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

One of the better drug culture movies

Author: Nick Damian from Toronto, Ontario
27 February 2005

After reading the comments about this movie being about how drugs are bad and how it's an anti drug movie...I feel that the commentators are incorrect.

This is NOT an anti drug movie. This was a movie about UNDERSTANDING self with or without the use of drugs.

In one scene the counselor makes a comment how people who use drugs can have no problems, some have minor problems and some all they do is have problems. So. it's not like there is a lecture on "DON'T USE DRUGS".

With a budget of just over 1 million dollars, this was an excellent example of both points of view. And no, the main character was not in rehab cause he was addicted, it was because he was busted by cops.

It's nice to see a movie about LSD/ACID and not have the characters act like total idiots or be outrageous losers. Not all ravers/hippies are losers and yes...some do actually hold jobs and get great grades in school...I was one of them.

The only problem I had with this film was that either the director had virtually no idea what acid/lsd does or weed, because the visions for lsd were not pshycadelic enough and the effects didn't match up anywhere what a real acid trip would be like.

A typical acid trip would change the person to be almost unstable for anyway between 8 to 16 hours. Whereas the characters in this film were basically only stoned for a mere matter of minutes, then were straight faced again.

Also the weed was either total garbage or the characters weren't inhaling. Pot smokers...and you know who you are...will realize that when you smoke weed, you are very outgoing and talkative and have a more poignant view on life. The stuff they smoked had to be cut with peppermint tea or lawn clippings, because their vocabulary was kinda dull and their conversations didn't lead to any enlightenment.

This film will not win any Oscars or other trophies, even though it beats out some that are nominated, but it is a good product which is not too far fetched.

Anti-drug??? No...not at all.

Also Stephen Tobolowsky is awesome, as always...would've loved to see more. Can this guy do no wrong? A few more minutes with the Doc character would have made this even better...maybe there was and is still in the can or the cutting room floor...anyways, Stephen Tobolowsky has a bit part, but he does his role great.

The hippie cop was so obvious...from first second, I knew he was POPO.

A few more minutes of film would have been greatly appreciated and the flashbacks could have been cleaned up a bit...I found them too overcast and visually harsh.

Performances were good, soundtrack was awesome. Lighting (flashbacks aside) was very well done.

Overall, I was please that I purchased this movie and with the small budget that this movie had, it accomplished much more than films with an 80 million dollar budget (League of Extraordinary Garbage...err I mean Gentlemen), Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines, Batman/action hereos, Matrix 1,2 and 3 and so many more big Hollywood Tom Cruise/Vin Diesel/Arnold/Halle Berry/Harrison Ford flicks.

Imagione...with the fraction of a paycheck that the big stars get, this movie company and many other independents can make better stories and be more interesting than the big so called blockbusters.

This film was o.k. and hell, with only minor oversights...there is no loss.

I'm glad to see that the characters didn't get all stupid or addicted or lose their entire life because they smoked a joint and dropped cid.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Good

Author: monsalbus from United States
23 November 2006

I really liked the movie. Doing the dead show thing for many years during the late 80's and throughout the 90's I can distinguish between complete fiction and what experiences may have wanted to be conveyed. The movie has some good music, pretty decent acting and a point to make. Tara looks really cute doing the hippy thing and the girl/boy thing really does remind me of some great times and rocky roads. I can personally relate to the balancing act of school/shows/girls/drugs. All in all, it is a bit corny, but real life can be, most scripts are, and I find it to be much better than most the crap I see being made. I bought the DVD with a stack of others and actually kept it and have enjoyed watching it more than once. Worth checking out.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Derivative but fairly effective psychological drama

Author: vidalia15 from Los Angeles, CA
28 October 2001

Probably the best thing about Around the Fire is Devon Sawa's performance. He plays a college bound teen who meets a group of new friends who quickly turn him on to drugs and a counter culture that is intriguing but ultimately leads to his downfall, as he uses it to escape the tragic loss of his mother and the family problems that surround it.

Although the story is heartfelt and unfolds well, it is also derivative and highly uneven. The director is careful not to use any real names of people or places in portraying the hippie/druggie sub-culture that the Sawa character falls prey to. This has a twin effect of leaving things a little vague, yet, bringing us into a real and hypnotically dazzling world.

However, the performances shine, elevating the film to a much more credible level. Sawa has grown into an actor of considerable depth and range and proves that he's at home as much here as he is in any number of his earlier, more emotionally shallow films.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Major Disappointment

Author: Dave Langley ( from Chicago, Illinois
2 August 2001

I was really looking forward to seeing this movie, and then I saw it. I really felt like I was watching an R-rated afterschool special, combined with a depressing view of the (presumably) Phish scene. I will never watch this movie again in my life. It made me upset. I think Devon Sawa acted poorly in this film, but Bill Smitrovich was pretty good. Thats all I can say.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Should Have Made the Big Screen

Author: Adam Zolot from San Francisco
12 September 2000

It seems this film had only a limited release and should have reached a much larger audience. I would guess bad decisions were made by the studio. While I initially expected this to be a mindless teen film (Tara Reid?), it turned out to be very serious, yet light hearted when it mattered. All of the actors, including Ms Reid turned in impressive performances, but the true star was Trace, played by Colman Domingo. Mr Domingo provided depth in his character that will ensure that he has a bright future on the big screen. His confidence with the role was further impressive after viewing the DVD interview where he states that his actual personality is opposite of Trace's. Tara Reid proved that she can play beyond the high-school popular girl. Devon Sawa was a little flat in his role and I was constantly distracted by his bad wig. Rent this movie though, it is worth your time.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An interesting look into the Touring Sub-culture

Author: ( from Austin, Texas
26 March 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very interesting movie. I got to see it at Dobie in Austin on its second day, and I was pleasantly surprised with it.

One thing I liked about Around the Fire was that the movie had a very balanced view of drugs. Not preachy like an afterschool special, but also not sugarcoating their effects either.

WARNING - The next few paragraphs have a spoiler. - WARNING

One of my criticisms is that there was not much that indicated _why_ Simon had a major change in his life. Most people who get out of drug addictions have some kind of spiritual experience, or encounter with God that changes them. (AA would be a good example of this approach.) I find it hard to believe that he would change so quickly. It seems like one minute he is in rehab with all of these internal demons, and the next minute he is all cool again and is willing to stir rice and not sell LSD.

Other than that though, I really dug this movie and will be seeing it again. For me, it is an interesting look at a world that I have been intrigued by, but have not gone into. (I especially liked the LSD trip scenes that let the audience member see what an LSD trip is like.)

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