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The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  17 May 2002 (Germany)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,405 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 121 user | 78 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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 »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Tyler Long ...
Joey Anderson
...
Arthur Bridgers ...
Donny Flynn (as Arthur Bridges)
Scott Simpson ...
Newsie
...
Mrs. Doyle
...
Mr. Doyle (as Mike Harding)
...
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:

Forgive me father, for I am 14. 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:

17 May 2002 (Germany)  »

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final shot in the scene where the boys find an injured dog was actually just footage shot of the actors "resetting" after a blown take. It was kept in since it so clearly shows their fatigue and frustration. See more »

Goofs

Movie takes place in the 1970s but when the boys are riding their bikes to buy comic books, they drive past a house with a late '80s Buick parked in its driveway. 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 »

Connections

References Night of the Vampires (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Stoned
Performed by Joshua Homme (as Josh Homme)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
good film that remains relatively faithful to its source
15 January 2003 | by (Hellfudge, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

"The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" is one of the best books I've read in awhile, so I was pretty stoked to see how it translated to film. The good news is, this coming-of-age tale (revolving around the themes of first love and adolescent mischief) remains faithful to its source, while expanding (successfully, I think) upon what was written in the book. This worked very well in Terry Zwigoff's "Ghost World," but there are times in "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" where the tone threatens to go from comedy-drama, to flat-out drama, to flat-out comedy. It always manages to regain its balance, though. The story revolves around Francis Doyle (Emile Hirsch) and Tim Sullivan (Kieran Culkin, who's very good), altar boys with a comic-book fixation and a resentment of authority (represented here by Jodie Foster's peg-legged Mother Superior); also on hand is Francis' love interest, Margie (Jena Malone), who reveals herself to be a complicated, tragic figure.

As far as revisiting adolescence is concerned, "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" is accurate, funny, and even sad. However, it suffers from an over-emphasis on close-ups during key dramatic scenes, and the lead performance of Emile Hirsch is surprisingly weak (when he emotes, it looks exaggerated and fake). Overall, though, this is pretty good. 3.5 stars out of 5.


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