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This movie was in and out of Atlanta theaters in one week-what a shame!
It doesn't deserve the short run and bad reviews. All I can say is, if
you like romantic movies, try this one on DVD. Stateside has the kind
of sweet story that the critics usually hate. It's refreshingly
different from most romances. It avoids the typical formula. You know
the one, where the girl and guy meet cute, fall in love during a
musical interlude, break up, and get back together at the end,
typically with the guy racing to the airport to catch the girl at the
last minute before she boards her plane. Stateside reminded me of
movies that I saw back in the sixties, like The Graduate. Of course, it
isn't as good as The Graduate, but it has that kind of off-beat
Some of the negative reviews focused on minor issues such as the slow start and continuity problems. Others complained that the dialog was too poetic, but to me that was a plus not a minus. Still others pointed out how unrealistic this kind romance would be in the real world. But haven't these people ever heard of "willing suspension of disbelief?" Besides, countless romantic stories have derived their drama from the fact that the guy and girl are so different from each other. And unlike most 'opposites attract' movies, Stateside doesn't shy away from showing how difficult it would be for these two to have any kind of long-term relationship.
These critics apparently missed the point of the movie. It is about a bittersweet romance that would never have happened if not for Dori's mental illness. Both Mark and Dori gave up something important in order to get something they desperately wanted. If Dori had not been mentally ill, she would have married some rock star or movie star. She had to give up that dream because now she is lucky to get any guy, much less a nice guy like Mark. Mark had to give up a lot, too. Before meeting Dori, he probably expected to fall in love with an average but mentally stable girl. He gave up that prospect in order to do something he would have previously thought impossible-have a relationship with a real pin-up girl.
Jonathan Tucker and Rachel Leigh Cook are outstanding as Mark and Dori, especially Cook. She plays such a sweet, innocent and guileless beauty that you have no trouble believing that Tucker's character could fall in love with her despite her mental illness. Cook strips away the veneer of civility and gamesmanship that we typically see in Hollywood romances. What she reveals is a very likable character.
By the way, the story is based on the director's own life. He was a rich kid who fell in love with a mentally ill actress. He did join the marines and was sent to Lebanon.
Stateside won't win any academy awards. It has its flaws, but it is an enjoyable movie with fine acting and appealing characters. I give it 7.5 out of 10.
I saw a prescreening of this lovely movie. It explores fresh exciting
territory while telling an extremely realistic teen love story. When
the leads sneak around and struggle to be together, it has the romance
and fun of ROMEO AND JULIET. In other ways it reminds me of THE
MAGDALENE SISTERS in that it tells a story that is important for people
to see. However, just like in Magdalene Sisters the message doesn't
interfere with the high level of entertainment. The mental illness
doesn't take over the film. It just provides a unique obstacle that the
lovers must get over to be together.
The acting is excellent and the all the characters are really alive, flawed,
passionate and interesting. All in all, this is a warm and funny movie.
Interesting movie. Has some real thought provoking parts. The main
female lead (Cook) is shown as having schizophrenia. Usually, movies
show such people as evil and people to be feared, which is not accurate
and only worsens the negative stigma of mental illness - but makes for
money making movies.
Knowing a lot of the mental illness of schizophrenia, I can state that the producers of this movie have done a very good job of showing a real person with schizophrenia. Cook does a great job of showing that person.
Yes, movie is somewhat disjointed and the ending somewhat abrupt. But it's still a meaningful movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is said that everyone is able to play one good role, themselves. I
suppose it can also be said that every screen writer has one good
story, their own life. That is, if they have had an interesting life.
As he says in the DVD extras, this movie "Stateside", set in the early
1980s, is about 90% accurate, based on the writer/director's own life
in the early 1980s. It is a very unconventional love story, I enjoyed
it, however it may not be for everyone's tastes.
Mark (Jonathan Tucker) is a fairly typical rich high school graduate with too much time on his hands, he is involved in an incident where a girl riding in his car was badly injured, plus Father Conoff (Ed Begley Jr.) who was in another car. Beer was found in Mark's car, in court he was given the choice to join the Marines and all charges would be wiped away after he was honorably discharged. So, "Stateside" is the story of what happened as a result.
Paying a visit to the injured girl, he quite accidentally meets up with Dori (Rachael Leigh Cook) who gets hit with an errant drinking fountain stream as she walks by him. Her reaction? "Do it again", smiling. Dori was an actress and rock band member, but a bit skitzoid, so she was hospitalized. However, Mark took an instant liking to this kookie Dori, and she also was fond of him. I have been a fan of Cook's, who has mainly played teenage fluff roles, but here as the troubled Dori shows that she is much more than a pretty face.
The middle of the movie shows us Mark's basic training, the tough drill Sergent Skeer (Val Kilmer in a very good role) gets word that Mark is a rich kid there to avoid jail time, so is especially tough on him, but Mark takes everything in stride, and becomes a good Marine. He eventually gets an assignment to Beirut (not "Stateside") where 20% of his company died.
SPOILERS. Mark returns to the States wounded, and with only one eye. Dori goes in and out of the hospital. The two of them keep their affection for each other, against the odds. Mark apologizes to Father Conoff for the injuries, who responds with "Go in peace." Joe Mantegna has a good role as Marks' caring father (mom had died). In the end Dori seems to be outgrowing her illness, appears to be stabilizing, she and Mark are destined to be together. I only wish I knew what happened to the real "Dori."
Stateside breaks the mold of teen love stories. Though it might not
appeal to a mass audience of younger teens, this movie appeals to
people ranging from young adults to baby-boomers and gen-x-ers who
lived through this period. The cast is stellar, and the direction seems
solid and the camera-work deliberate. The real-life Marine experience
of director of Reverge Anselmo brings a sense of realism to the film
that is often lacking in pictures about the military which tend to be
heavy with political rhetoric and are often written by people who
experience wartime from Berkley CA.
This picture is enhanced by a spectacular soundtrack that compliments the film well. It's always a good sign for a film when major actors accept minor roles. Stateside finds Penny Marshall having an un-credited role as a nurse, and Carrie Fisher as Mrs. Dubios a part which is concentrated in mostly one scene. Val Kilmer and Joe Mantegna combine for about 15 minutes of screen time.
The reviews for this movie were mixed. However, I find it impossible to change the channel when it comes on TV, and it's quickly climbing my short-list of favorite films. Clearly not everyone will like this Stateside. It does have continuity issues, and there are some dialogue and plot details that don't make sense until the second or third time you see it. And I agree that the ending is slightly abrupt. However, if you're looking for a romantic movie or a hidden gem drama, you can do a lot worse with an hour and a half of your life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Stateside", directed by Reverge Anselmo, was based on a real story,
supposedly. Mr. Anselmo, who also adapted the material for the screen,
shows signs of talent in the way he presents his tale for us to watch.
He also got good acting from his mostly young cast.
We are given the premise of two wounded souls, that have to face a lot in their young lives, meet and fall in love. Mark, the son of a wealthy man, is instrumental in the horrible accident he causes that paralyzes a priest and scars forever the beautiful Sue. He is given a choice of either going to jail, or joining the Marines; he opts for the latter choice. Mark, a rich boy, grows up fast when he meets the bullish Sgt. Skeer, who makes his life impossible, finally gets to appreciate the younger man for his loyalty and the way he reacts to all his insults.
Dori, a schizophrenic young actress and singer, happens to be Sue's roommate in an institution where they are sent for their problems. Mark meets Dori as he goes to apologize to Sue. The two end up involved in a romance that consumes both of them. Their plight is exacerbated when Mark is sent to Beirut, as part of a Marine contingent and is there as the attack on their headquarters leaves him with scars that are not as bad as what he has to endure when Dori is made to break with him.
Rachael Leigh Cook and Jonathan Tucker are good as Dori and Mark. Their fresh approach to the roles help the elevate the film. Joe Mantegna, Ed Begley Jr., Diane Venora, and Carrie Fisher, are seen among the older people in the story.
Reverge Anselmo shows a promise, judging by this directorial effort.
Having shared many conversations with Reverge Anselmo, I found him to be the honorable person portrayed in this wonderful film based on a time in his life. Both he and his film deserve high praise. With "Stateside" R. Anselmo brings the audience an intimate story with the ring of universal truth. Jonathan Tucker captures what I would imagine the young Anselmo to be, a young man of honor who grew up to be an honorable adult. I look forward to seeing future films from this talented writer/director, who presents glimpses of his interior with each project and who will meet with continued success telling stories that resonate with audiences.
I don't know if it matters to anyone, but the 'real life' model for
this picture is supposedly Sarah Holcomb, a luminous young actress of
the late 70's and early 80's. She played the 13 year old check out girl
in 'Animal House' who befriends Tom Hulce (and passes out naked after
dropping the bombshell of her age), and later played the Irish waitress
Maggie in 'Caddyshack'. After that, she disappeared. I guess the movie
A Danny Holcomb is cast in the movie, and the credits thank an anonymous 'S.H.' Ms. Holcomb these days lives in deliberate obscurity far away from show business.
"Stateside" is a quirky romantic comedy. Mark (Jonathan Tucker) is a
prep school student with a strict father who sends him to the Marines;
Dori (Rachael Leigh Cook) is an aspiring musician with a temper and
mental problems. They do a good job of introducing us to the
characters; both are quite likable.
The film picks up when our leads are falling in love. The comedy aspects are funny and the romantic aspects are cute. The film gets dramatic at times. In my opinion, too dramatic but the film-makers had things they wanted to say, and I think they wanted to make this a "bigger" film than just a romantic comedy.
The film has a great soundtrack and they got me in a great mood to start the film with Elvis Costello during the opening credits. I recommend "Stateside" for movie fans who want more to their romantic comedies.
I Just finished watching Stateside and I got to say that I really enjoyed it. The plot really hit home for my girlfriend and I because I'm going to be going to boot camp for the Marines in a month, so we just happened to pick it up and were instantly locked in. Val Kilmer gives an amusing and extremely different performance as a Marine DI, he steals all of his scenes and his dialog with the recruits is hilarious. While I liked the film i'll admit i'm being a little biased since i'm going to enlist in the Marines, this movie is not for everybody. It's a good movie for men and women in the military who have to deal with being able to see the ones they love not as often as they'd like to. It's just a sweet romance movie that has real and down to earth dialog, that will remind anybody about those little dorky moments that lovers have and always remember.
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