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Art School Confidential
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Art School Confidential More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Made Me Uncomfortable

3/10
Author: davidrikard from United States
14 May 2006

Zwigoff, Schmigoff - this movie was boring, awkward, and very rarely funny. There were glimmers of freshness at the start, but then the staleness took over and even efforts to view it as dry self-parody were met with cricket chirps. Still, with such artistic giants in the cast - each of whom, I'm assuming, had a pretty good sense of what they were getting into - I'm struggling to make more sense of it. Maybe, just maybe the joke was on us. Maybe Zwigoff knew all along that he'd attract a certain audience - the type who assumes it's coming to sneer at these tired, overblown, kiss-ass stereotypes - when, in fact, the tables were turned and he's actually laughing at our banal sense of superiority, not to mention our eagerness to project greatness onto any schlock he throws our way. If so, that would be very clever of him, but the movie would still be a waste of time.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It paces really slow and then it goes into cardiac arrest....

2/10
Author: CineCritic2517 from The Netherlands
13 October 2006

A downfall of a good premise, yes, that is what pretty much sums it up.

I had no trouble identifying myself with the social events surrounding art and art-education. being a art-major myself it was very much like looking at my picture-book I kept during my time as a graduate.

The satire of the exhibits with really horrible, talentless and crappy artworks being valued highly against the classic attempts at artwork, isn't only the joke in this film, this I witnessed first hand in real life. And this made this movie highly entertaining for the first 60 minute or so.

Alas, after these 60 minutes or so, it really stops developing plot and story and just goes on pacing the heart in this story like a defected pacemaker. And you know what a defected pacemaker does in general...

Come to think of it, the jokes in this comedy were not really that funny at all. Occasionally i heard myself laughing with the insane laughter-sound of Dennis Hopper, just to scare my neighbors, not because of the joke.

No, this movie started out fine with a great cast and a promising premise, but it slided off into a mediocre tedium and that must have been the reason I stopped this movie way before it hit the credits.

It seems to me it just doesn't deliver what it was set out to deliver; an entertaining time throughout the entirety of it.

Maybe a 2/10 is being harsh, but then again...movie-making is an art-form too, this was by no means a valuable addition to it.

Agent Smith: "You're empty..."

Neo: "So are u..."

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10 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Naked models!

8/10
Author: gudolph from Grand JCT, CO
28 January 2006

Yeah! Naked!

This was really delightful, Clowes' most recent endeavor in the cinematic wonderland. And I say, it doesn't need to be defined to a specific genre. Another reviewer seemed caught up in trying to "box" in films into their respective categories like some Blockbuster clerk. Letting go of these holds and not being afraid to just enjoy the show for what it is, this is really a great time.

Especially striking are the characters he presents. Of course, they are extremely typical of Clowes' GNs, anyone with a degree of familiarity to his work can easily pick out similar thematics - underdog sexually frustrated male protagonist, antagonizing schlock jocks, soft and big-butted babes who experience a revelation in what they really have been looking for in a man, and a host of living stereotypes.

But comics aside and judging this plainly as a film, I'd have to concede Zwigoff did a fair job. Not flashy of course, but then not distractingly good or bad. He directed without making me notice he was directing- A+ in my book.

So even if you have no interest in Clowes and his graphic novels, this is an excellent flick. Good laughs with fair pacing. Great characters. Though as annoying as it has been seeing all these "cameos" at the film festival (and this has its fair share- Anjelica Houston and Steve Buscemi, though frankly the latter HAS to make an appearance, he is a Daniel Clowes sketch in flesh and blood) despite these, this still maintains an "indie" feel to it, which I like in my moving pictures. Ca va?

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An offensive and false portrayal of the art world

3/10
Author: nickarte-1 from Mexico
26 February 2010

This film portrays the art and art school world in an offensive, clichéd and vulgar way. It is obviously made by people who know little about art and or New York and foments every false and stereotypically philistine idea Americans have about what is going on there. John Malkovitch should be ashamed of himself for his hackneyed, mannered performance (nothing new) as a stupid, shallow, self-involved art professor. This film does more damage to the world of high culture than the worst Hollywood shoot-em-up drivel. Shame on all involved in it. I give three stars instead of none for the good performances of the young actors. I hope this director never works again. He should end up in Hollywood Hell along with Michael Sarne, director of Myra Blechinridge!

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

how to do so little with such a great cast

2/10
Author: speeedo7 from Vienna
2 October 2006

john, angelica... man what a cast - and what a poor movie. how to make this awful dish?

- pick some great actors who hardly made a decent movie in years, - pick some fresh, unused faces (acting itself does not matter) - put in totally unnecessary characters to water and lengthen the plot - weirdo&granddad, "local" gay etc. - use aplenty of other clichés and add a bit of "american pie" humor - mix in some crime - oh yes a strangler! - spit on arts which no one cares about/understands anyway, so let it be that way - lar-pur-lare meaning here ignorant idiots for ignorant idiots - add a few stupid cops - and finally give some "nifty" idea at the end (just don't call it message) so we can think about "after this masterpiece" for 2 nanoseconds.

argh. does anyone make a *movie* these days? all i see is making a *product*... pity, esp. for wasting such good cast...

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

funny moments and great cast aren't necessarily enough

5/10
Author: Robert Hirschfeld (boberich@aol.com) from Dobbs Ferry, NY
15 May 2006

After seeing the trailer and noting the high-octane names in the cast, I went to this with the bar set fairly high--maybe that was part of the problem. True, there are worthy performances and some amusing touches, but the plot is all over the place and the, um, message--there's a lot of shucking and jiving in the art world--is made early on, then driven home hard, then pounded mercilessly, and finally bludgeoned into a bloody unrecognizable pulp--and it wasn't all that perceptive in the first place. Terry Zwigoff has done better. I did think John Malkovich delivered, as did Jim Broadbent. But there is, alas, less here than meets the eye.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Another teen film about "hee-larious" stereotypes...that aren't actually very funny.

5/10
Author: Frank J Viturello (Lupin003@aol.com) from Lyndhurst, NJ
14 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've been in art school for the past consecutive 11 years, working towards multiple degrees, and experiencing and interacting with many of the "stereotypes" that Zwigoff and Clowes expertly portray in this feature.

The sad facts are, that A.) They get them pretty much square on. B.) They're portrayed by some pretty fresh and funny talent, as well as some academy award caliber veterans.

and last and most importantly C.) The film itself just isn't funny, interesting, witty, charming, bitter, angry, or angst filled enough to make me enjoy it in any direction. The stereotypes are there, but they're more annoying than they are entertaining....and perhaps that's just my opinion because I know so many of them up close and personal...

The main character played by Max Minghella seems to be perpetually locked into a low-talking, scowl-wearing,annoying stupor....which may very well be what some introverted art-students are really like....but that's just NOT entertaining on-screen.

Ethan Suplee on the other hand can't seem to lower the volume level on his character...and spends most of the film SHOUTING his way through sentences...

...and the LAST thing I expected was for the film to be about a murder mystery...it seemed outrageously out of place...

that is not to say that I enjoy the "atypical" Hollywood teen comedy fare. I hate the American Pie movies, and anything of the like.

The high point of the film, and the most spot on character portrayal was Malkovich as the drawing instructor. I wonder where he drew the inspiration for that character...as it just radiated with the "realness" of an illustration teacher at a major university.

Overall I was very much disappointed with this. It wasn't funny enough, it wasn't clever enough, and it didn't have the overall quality of the writer and directors previous collaboration Ghost World. Not that these two films really need to be compared...they're different enough...it's just that the former was, I believe, a more successful product from the creative team involved.

It may be one of the few examinations of contemporary art school antics, and it's certainly not the worst film I've ever seen this year, but I think we could have a better execution of young artists, and it's certainly not the best film I've seen this year.

-Frankie Viturello

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Stupid Movie

1/10
Author: Obscene_13 from Los Angeles, CA
19 January 2007

This is one of the absolute worst pieces of crap I've ever seen in my entire life. Can I please have two hours of my life refunded?!?!? Horrible, horrible, horrible movie. It's hard to believe that something this terrible can even get made. This is worse than the worse "B" movie ever made. Seriously, that stupid wax museum movie with Paris Hilton was better. I'd advise anyone who even thinks about viewing this movie to not even waste their time. The "Facts of Life" theme song was probably the best part of this flick. Wow, this was really really bad and that's being nice about it. I'd rather eat cold In-N-Out Burger than watch this again. I'd recommend torture before I'd recommend this piece of crap. Stay far away from this one.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

a film where satire and drama don't mix well

6/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
7 May 2006

Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, director and writer of Art School Confidential (second meeting after Ghost World), have here a perplexing convergence of sensibilities. It's a film that I really wanted to like more than I ended up doing so. It has a premise that is not bad at all. A suburban kid constantly picked on as a kid (and virgin) goes to an odd-ball (and usual kind of) art school, where he meets people who are, admittedly by the film itself, walking clichés.

And for the first half hour, give or take, I thought the satire (and, more importantly in this case, laughs) that Zwigoff and Clowes were aiming for went off splendidly. There are some funny vignettes showing the young Jerome (Max Minghella, whom I'll get to next paragraph) trying to adjust to this new world, where he has troubles finding the right girl, and in general to his fellow drawing classmates as they mouth off as the pretentious being brilliance. BUT, then the storyline takes a bit of a detour, and it along with the characters never fully recover.

The problem I see reminded me of why another film that targeted a specific group in-wind of an institution-kind of setting, so to speak, like Election, worked well and this didn't. Not to compare too much as they're different films, while Election could work in balancing out some of the more dramatic aspects with the satire, Art School Confidential just couldn't. As the filmmakers get more into the love story portion of the film, then into the serial killer storyline (involving characters with secrets soon revealed), one realizes that a) what little satire is left is overwhelmed by the dourness that accompanies the darker side of Jerome's descent into art-school hell, and b) its star Minghella just can't pull it off totally.

As an actor he often has a look on his face and in his eyes that's very much the same scene to scene, close to being on the verge of weeping outright (yes, even more than Jake Gyllenhall in his earlier years). Overall his work isn't awful, but there's more needed for this rather simplistic character - when it comes down to it (and, admittedly, clichéd but not an interesting kind)- and is outranked by other superior actors like Malkovich and Broadbent.

Maybe some might find more wit in the film's later half than I did, but even the ending that tries to put one more satirical point in the works, seems like its been in other films before. And there are a couple of points logistically in the story that just don't work (i.e. certain particulars that one once SOBER could see put on the paintings). Despite a few bright spots early on, and some cutting wit and clever jabs at the ponderousness of how art school's work (with some of the best material from Ethan Suplee's sub-plot as a struggling filmmaker), it's a disappointment coming from this writer/director duo. For all the possibilities that could be open with such material, only a few are realized.

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

why waste your time

1/10
Author: wkreisle from United States
11 November 2006

Art school confidential is a movie with a meandering and pointless plot, and completely uninteresting (even unlikable) characters without any believable motivation. Additionally, it is painfully boring, trite, and cliché. I considered turning it off halfway through, and wish I would have followed through. This movie attempts to be deep and intellectual by making a satire of art school, yet totally fails. The same director that made a wonderful movie called Ghost World, somehow completely failed make art school confidential a movie of substance. I would highly recommend that anyone watch ghost world instead of wasting their time with art school confidential. Apparently, roepert of roepert and ebert called it hilarious, but I did not laugh one. This movie began as an American pie in art school imitation and then somehow ends up being a bizarre fake romance/murder mystery...completely confounding in not a good way. that pretty much sums it up.

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