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The Same Side of Rejection Street (2000)

6.2
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What's it about? It's about two complete strangers one vagrant, one middle class who realize they're both social outcasts, and discover in each other a kind of personal redemption. Imagine ... See full summary »

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Title: The Same Side of Rejection Street (2000)

The Same Side of Rejection Street (2000) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Michael Henderson ...
Winston Bayne
Karen Ball ...
Catherine DeMeo
George Young ...
Terrence
Ben Dubrovsky ...
Executive
Terry McCain ...
Man with Chicken Fajita
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Waitress
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Storyline

What's it about? It's about two complete strangers one vagrant, one middle class who realize they're both social outcasts, and discover in each other a kind of personal redemption. Imagine two people who should really just pass each other in the street and not look back. She's a reformed telemarketer with self-esteem problems. He's an eloquent crazy man with a mysterious past. She's looking for a job. He isn't. She has a place to live. He doesn't. She has deep conflicts with her parents. he's never met his. She's white. He's black. Why are they reaching out to each other? Maybe what draws them together is that they are both, in their own ways, abandoned. They seem to find a purpose for each other. and together they go on a day's journey through the city, their lives, their beliefs, sorrows and fears. They even begin to trust each other a little. At the same time, we wonder where he's leading her. She is meanwhile being stalked by the one man who really loves her an accordion-wielding ... Written by S.G. Collins

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$40,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
a million stars, at least!! amazing, underrated sociological film
16 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

My favorite type of film has always been the kind that is rarely made: the "a day in the life" theme. This is mainly because I am very interested in the dissection of human nature and its reaction to others and their surroundings, to society. I think that only "a day in the life" films can get that deeply into characters enough for my liking. But unfortunately, the masses do not seem to like films that to them have no obvious plotline, no action and no car chases, and no easily-settling conclusion and message. I guess I'm deep like that. I guess most people want to watch a film as fluff, to escape reality, and the last thing they want to do is think about the lives, dreams, desires, and imperfections of total strangers – fictional characters at that. I, however, appreciate a film with a real message about society, human relations, and the questioning of the great notion that is, why the hell are we here?

S. G. Collins has achieved all this and more with his first feature film, The Same Side Of Rejection Street, set on the streets of Boston, starring Micheal Henderson and Karen Ball. Rejection Street had its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival on Friday, 11 August 2000.

Henderson plays the "charming, exotic, intelligent, insightful and crazy" Winston, a homeless-by-choice black man from Baltimore who has come back to his homecity of Boston for reasons unknown until nearly the end of the film. Winston is only crazy in the sense of a genius – he talks to statues and mannequins and the sky, but the long monologues he carries for them are philosophical, intelligent, addressing social issues without reservation, what I consider to be the perfect outlet for his obvious frustration and jaded outlook on life. According to Henderson, Winston's homelessness is "a stance he took to get a different view on society, and to stop himself from being too comfortable."

Ball portrays the alienated and often confused Catherine, who, according to Ball, "still doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up… she hasn't found her niche yet… she's searching constantly and she has a lot of pain in that respect." She was recently fired from her last job as a telemarketer due to a man's advances who is continuing to shadow her (Terrence, played by George Young), and in the day that the film takes place, has an unsuccessful interview at a business firm. She is very different from her family and peers, is a bit of a loner, which makes her just that much more insecure about her place in the world. She was also raped when she was twenty-two (she's now thirty), and although it isn't elaborated much in the film, it is alluded that this was a defining point in what she would consider her dreary existence.

Winston and Catherine randomly meet in a cafe, and throughout the day continue to run into each other by chance until they finally give in and bond – seeking solace in each other's company in an odd sort of way. Their budding relationship is based solely on their need to figure themselves out, to get through another confusing day, and by the end of the film it is obvious that their lives and outlooks have been changes forever, for better or for worse. They are more liberated in some ways, yet more confused in others.

The messages of the film are many, varying, and often seemingly contradictory. In some respects, it's a statement of how beautiful and fulfilling life can be, in another, how absolutely horrifying, confusing, and full of bull**** this society is. Writer/director Collins says: "…there's a cluster of things [this film represents]… if you stood far enough away, would look like a dot… Every time I come close to making a political statement with this movie, I step away from it, or turn it around and argue against it. The whole thing is kind of stretched against itself." It's about redemption, beauty, honesty, hostility, and the perception of others. As Ball thinks, "…we humans are so judgmental when we see somebody… and this movie… takes that pre-judgment, and totally blows it out of the water. And you realize that everyone you pass is a human being."

I've watched this film but once, and feel that in order to get a full understanding of it, I'll have to see it again, maybe even many times over. It's a very complex film, filled with between-the-lines statements and hidden meaning. I totally related to it – the struggle of a unique mind trying to get through this dreary universe, trying so hard not to get frustrated by every amount of inconsistency and wretchedness the world throws at you. The film to me is about outcasts – about severe individualists in a society that was created for unthinking robots. Watching it, I became so emotionally attached to the characters, by the end I yearned for more. (Maybe Collins will make a sequel!)

It was extremely intelligently written, superbly acted and directed, and cleverly filmed – showing the beauty of the city and at the same time the harsh, gritty reality. Although shot on a very low budget (forty thou), it is obvious that no less than genius was involved in its creation – something most (if not all) big-budget Hollywood films can hardly claim. Collins chose the perfect cast and crew, to create a stunning film that touched me deeply. It gave me a certain sense of hope – hope that some day this society will come to its senses. That may be the ultimate idealist in me, contradicted by the cynic that says it probably will never happen; but every once in a while a film like this shows me the world as it is, both lifts and drags my spirits, makes me smile, laugh, cry, and p***ed, all the same viewing.


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