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The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 28 June 2002 (USA)
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A group of Catholic school friends, after being caught drawing an obscene comic book, plan a heist that will outdo their previous prank and make them local legends.

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(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Tyler Long ...
Joey Anderson
...
Arthur Bridgers ...
Donny Flynn (as Arthur Bridges)
Scott Simpson ...
Newsie
...
...
Mr. Doyle (as Mike Harding)
Chandler McIntyre ...
Naturalist
Jeffrey West ...
Professor Sullivan
...
Mrs. Sullivan
Nicky Olson ...
Colin Gibbney
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Storyline

In mid-1970s Savannah, two bright but rebellious boys, Francis Doyle and Tim Sullivan, fight boredom, hormones and harsh teachers as they struggle to find something meaningful beyond the walls of their parish school. Francis, an exceptional artist whose imaginative forays into a fictional universe of good and evil fill his notebooks with comic-book imagery, creates a netherworld of superhero alter egos for the two boys. When the ultra-strict Sister Assumpta seizes their artwork one day, the boys embark upon an obsessed trail of revenge that ultimately changes their lives. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the most inventive, funny coming-of-age films in years! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and youth substance use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Innocent Boys  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$55,000 (USA) (14 June 2002)

Gross:

$1,779,284 (USA) (8 November 2002)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Emile Hirsch and Jena Malone reunite again in Into the Wild (2007), in which they played as Christopher McCandless and Carine McCandless. See more »

Goofs

The poem quoted in the funeral is found in William Blake's "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience", not in "Marriage of Heaven and Hell". (possible character error?) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Francis Doyle: Tell me again why we're doing this.
Tim: Homework, Francis. Your future's built on it.
Francis Doyle: [whispered] Right.
See more »


Soundtracks

Do It For the Others
Written and Performed by Stephen Stills
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
Really disappointing
27 September 2004 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys', directed by Peter Case, is a coming of age story about two boys, Francis (Emile Hirsch) Tim (Kieran Culkin) who supplement their boredom at Catholic school and their home lives by playing pranks and working on their own comic book. Their main nemesis in life, who they turn into the villain in their book, is their teacher, Sister Assumpta. (Jodie Foster)

I wish that I could add more to the synopsis, but there's not a lot more to tell. The film centers around the hijinks of these characters, then tries to throw in some character development that generally go absolutely nowhere.

Most of the film is spent planning a prank on the Sister that goes awry, but after awhile it becomes so boring that when the climax of the film arrived I didn't remotely care. 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' has been praised for its creativity and the mixed genres, (the film turns into a Todd McFarlane produced form of anime at times) but even these moments were just plain boring. Jodie Foster, as always, is wonderful in the film, but despite the fact that she is supposedly the evil nemesis, she has an aggregate screen time of perhaps ten minutes, so there wasn't enough of her to truly enjoy.

Generally, films that deal with topics such as incest, ghosts, and untamed youth are at least thought-provoking, but 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' didn't provoke anything in me but boredom. 'Coming of age' films have been done many times before, but they can still be effective if done well. (See a film as recent as 'The Virgin Suicides') Unfortunately 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' doesn't come remotely close to approaching effective, or well done. I expected more out of a Jodie Foster production and am disappointed I didn't get even an average film.

--Shelly


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