When Sam Merrick is beaten up by local bully George Tooney, Sam's older brother Rocky and his friends Clyde and Marty plan to pretend it's Sam's birthday to "invite" George on a boat trip in which they would dare him to strip naked, jump in the lake, and run home naked. But when Sam, his girlfriend Millie, Rocky, and Clyde see George as not much of a bad guy, they want to call off the plan, but Marty refuses. Will the plan go ahead as planned? Written by
Seth Waters *AshTFrankFurter2*
In the truth or dare scene, when asked about his fantasy, Rocky says he fantasized about a girl named Susan Johnson (at around 41 mins). One of the producers of the film is called Susan Johnson. See more »
When Marty pushes Sam and Millie's heads together. His cigarette is in his hand (at around 16 mins), then in his mouth (at around 29 mins) and finally back in the hand (at around 34 mins). See more »
Hey! What do you think you're doing? You're a punk, Sam!
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Hagai Shaham is credited as being the "handsome" police officer (he is also a producer of the movie) See more »
'Mean Creek' is 'Deliverance' for the Truth Or Dare crowd. John Boorman's 1972 thriller about a canoe trip gone wrong had a sense of reality and inevitability that redeemed the horrific violence. The film didn't flinch and no one escaped with a happy ending. Feature-film newcomer Jacob Aaron Estes' prank-gone-too-far morality tale isn't as riveting as 'Deliverance', but his 'Mean Creek' hits many of the same haunting notes. He skillfully uses guilt and paranoia as weapons. Just ask Nixon...it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.
The only cast member I've heard of is Rory Culkin, who reinforces the notion that he's the best actor in his family. Sam (Culkin) and 4 others (his potential girlfriend, his big brother, and 2 friends) have conned the local bully into joining them on a boating trip. They're planning to trick him into stripping off his clothes, then they'll make him run home naked. The girl (Carly Schroeder) doesn't discover this plan until she's already in the boat, but she convinces the boys to call it off. After all, George the bully (Josh Peck) is just a fat fool who might even be a nice guy.
Ah, but a good film never lets its characters off the hook that easily. Our Greek tragedies dictate that there would be no film (certainly not one called 'Mean Creek') if they all just lived happily yadda yadda. George doesn't deserve this treatment, but he's not perfectly innocent either. Actually, he's askin' for it. What eventually happens to him might not be deliberate, but how will the kids explain their actions? It doesn't help that George has been recording most of the trip on a video camera.
The skilled child actors are allowed to play smart characters. They give naturalistic performances and say real things. Estes' perceptive script doesn't let ANYONE off the hook because there's a lot of blame to go around. George isn't the only bully, after all. 'Mean Creek' is a fairly simple story told with a series of complex layers. Humiliation, vengeance, a waking nightmare, no heroes or villains...the film is filled with themes. In the final thirty minutes, the characters are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. For such a child-filled movie, this is a grown-up story.
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