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My wife and I took our 13 year old son to see this film and were absolutely delighted with the winsome fun of the film. It has extra appeal to boys and men who remember their childhood, but even women enjoy the film and especially Hallie Kate Eisenberg's refrain, "Boys are so weird." It's refreshing to see a film that unapologetically shows that boys and girls are indeed different in their emotional and social makeup. Boys really do these kinds of strange things and usually survive to tell the story and scare their mothers silly! We enjoyed the film so much that my son and an 11 year old friend, myself and my daughters 23 year old boyfriend went to see the movie the next day for a guys day out. We had even more fun the second time around and everyone raved about it. It's clean and delightfully acted by a pre-adolescent cast reminiscent of the TV Classic "Freaks and Geeks". We all feel it will become a sleeper hit not unlike the "Freaks & Geeks" which didn't survive its first season but sold-out its DVD release. Do see it especially if you have boys and you'll find it stimulates conversation about fun and safety! Girls will love it because of the opportunity it affords to say, "Boys are so weird!" Don't miss it...
I remembered this as being one of my favorite books as a child and had been wanting to read it to my 5 year old daughter for a while now. I knew the movie was coming out soon so we went to the library to get the book and they gave us preview passes for the next day! We rushed home and spent the afternoon reading the book so we could compare. Wasn't necessary. The only thing in common between the book and the movie is the main characters' first name, the fact that there is a bet, and a whole lot of worm eating. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the kid who cooks most of the worms likes to present his masterpieces with a french accent. How the kids know each other, the number of kids involved, how the bet came about, the number of worms that must be eaten, the time frame in which he has to eat the worms, how they are cooked, progression of friendships, climax scenes, etc., NOTHING is the same. But somehow, it did not ruin the movie for me. The characters are all enjoyable, and the film did not leave me disappointed. Word of caution for parents, there was one moment when you could hear the adults in the room collectively draw their breath and that was when Billy's little brother referred to his penis as a "dilly dick". The embarrassing part came when my daughter proceeded to ask those sitting around us, "Does anybody know what a dilly dick is?" lol. That and an occasional "shut up" is as foul mouthed as this film gets. My daughter thought she might get sick around worm 3 and 4 (and was holding the empty nacho container just in case) but was fine by worm 6. She and I both really enjoyed the film and had a wonderful time sharing the experience.
Pre-adolescent humor is present in large quantities. The acting and
story are wonderful if you can stomach the concept. Those with weak
constitutions will have some difficulty since the "worms" are realistic
enough to cause churning of more than a few in the audience.
Tom Cavanagh and Hallie Kate Eisenberg stole the spotlight, but the young Ty Panitz could get some serious time on screen over the next few years.
Miss Eisenberg has developed from a cute face into a strong young actress with charm and wonderful comic delivery.
The story does a spectacular job in dealing with bullying, friendship, and fairness. It creates an opportunity to discuss these topics in an open and frank manner while recalling some "gross" scene from the film.
It started out slow after an excellent animated intro, as the director
had a bunch of characters and school setting to develop. Once the bet
is on, though, the movie picks up the pace as it's a race against time
to see if a certain number of worms can be eaten by 7 pm. We had a good
opportunity on the way home to discuss some things with our son:
bullies, helping others, mind over matter when you don't want to do
Of special note is the girl who played Erica (Erk): Hallie Kate Eisenberg. The director kinda sneaks her in unexpectedly, and when she is on-screen she is captivating. She's one of those "Hey, she looks familiar" faces, and then I remembered that she was the little girl that Pepsi featured about 8 years ago. She was also in "Paulie", that movie about the parrot who tries to find his way home.
Ms. Eisenberg made many TV and movie appearances in '99-00, but then was not seen much for the next few years. She's now 14 and is growing up to be a beautiful woman. Her smile really warms up the screen. If she can get some more good roles she could have as good a career (or better?) than Haley Joel Osment, another three named kid actor, but hopefully without some of the problems that Osment has been in lately.
Anywhozitz, according to my 8 y.o. son, who just finished reading the story, the film did not seem to follow the book all that well, but was entertaining none the less. The ending of the film seemed like a big setup for some sequels (How to Eat Boiled Slugs? Escargot Kid's Style?), which might not be such a bad thing. It was nice to take the family to a movie and not have to worry about language, violence or sex scenes.
One other good aspect of the movie was the respect/fear engendered by the principal Mr. Burdock (Boilerplate). Movies nowadays tend to show adult authority figures as buffoons. While he has one particular goofy scene, he ruled the school with a firm hand. It was also nice to see Andrea Martin getting some work.
If you like films about school bullies, brave children, hilarious
toddlers and worm eating, then How to Eat Fried Worms will appeal to
The film is about a boy named Billy, who when arriving on his first day at a new school, discovers that some of his classmates have played a prank on him by putting worms into his lunch. The school bully, Joe and his "team" of friends start teasing Billy and calling him "worm boy".
Billy decides to play along by saying that "he eats worms all the time". Joe and his friends don't believe him but Billy assures them and bets Joe that he can eat ten worms in one day otherwise he will come to school with worms in his pants.
The boys take Billy up on his bet, leaving the weak stomached child with a mission to gain respect from his classmates by eating worms cooked, fried, or alive.
The film may sound gross but there are a lot of messages in it. For one, it portrays true friendship and how to accept people for who they are. It also shows you why some bullies resort to bullying other children.
The film's protagonist, Billy is a strong minded and brave person who all of us can relate to. It is easy to empathize with him as we silently cheer for him to reach his goal, even though we might not always agree with what he's doing or the choices he makes.
The children in the film are portrayed exactly how children are in real life and the film deserves a lot of credit for that. The child actors are the stars of this show, showing true emotion and feeling than most other children's movies portray.
Some adults may not enjoy this film but kids will, perhaps even teenagers.
There are hardly any other good movies on circuit at the moment, so if you're not in the mood to see snakes on a plane, try worms on a plate in How to Eat Fried Worms. It is a feel good fun film and not just Fear Factor for kids.
~~I was able to see this movie yesterday morning on a early viewing
I am a mom of 2 children, who range from 11 down to 6. So I'm sure plenty of parents can relate to having to see many many "kids" movies. This was refreshing for me. I haven't read this particular book, so I don't know if it stayed true to the book or not. But it sure took the grossness factor to a high level. This is the story of the "new" kid in town and it just so happens that there are a group of boys who have formed a club of sorts and love to pick on kids ....sound familiar? Haven't we all suffered this one time or another. He has the little brother who he cant stand and parents that he is embarrassed about. What I enjoyed most of all was seeing how each character was totally different from another they all stood out. The bully (why do they always make the bully a red head? My daughter has red hair! and she is no bully!..lol) is well a great bully, who finds himself being yelled at by his own big brother. It took twists and turns and well you fall in love with all of them and really find yourself routing for all the characters! Even the parents, great connection between father and son. All around enjoyable, sweet,funny, gross etc......Take your kids!!! You will enjoy it as much as they do!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought the kids in the movie were great. I deal with kids in that
age group, and I thought their behaviors were very believable. I did
have a problem with the reference to the private parts made by the
5-year old. I didn't think the comment was necessary and actually
slightly lowered my opinion of the movie.
I think Luke Benward is up and coming star. I would like to see more of him on the big screen. I enjoyed his reactions to the situations that he found himself in. Often kids in this age group do things without thinking through the consequences. Almost all of the actors did this throughout the movie.
I also think the message of bullying needs to be examined more in movies with this age group. It is a major problem in schools today.
The ending was quite unexpected. Billy's thoughts on whether he won or didn't win the bet were very surprising. How he handled that situation was excellent. Too often today kids are not willing to compromise. The actors in this movie showed that compromise is an important part of life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching the commercials for this movie, I was fairly convinced that I
was going to loathe it. For one thing, it was one of those "loosely
based on the novel" movies, which usually means that the book author
saw the script, hated it, and refused to be associated with the film.
Worse, the trailer showed only the most mundane slapstick imaginable
(ex: kid gets squirted in the face with a garden hose...and falls
over). So when my little brother got it into his mind that this was the
"must see" film of the season (of course, he thought the same thing
about "Cars", "Over the Hedge", "The Ant Bully", "Monster House", etc,
etc), I was admittedly less than thrilled.
But once at the theater, the film won me over for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the writers capture 'kid dialogue' better than just about any other children's film I've ever seen. A prime example of this comes directly after the boys' principal accidentally eats a worm stuck in an egg omelet. The boys do a lame, over-exaggerated impression of the principal lecturing them, which makes it realistic since all little kids think (mistakenly) that they do great mocking expressions of their adult tormentors. Then one of the boys asks, "Why did he say, 'alley oop'?" Another boy responds, "Maybe he's crazy!" and the entire group laughs uproariously. Not an overly witty rejoinder, but exactly the kind of thing a young kid would come up with on the spot and exactly the type of remark other kids his age would find hilarious. As if to confirm it, my kid brother laughed right on cue when they were spoken on-screen; I could practically hear his voice spouting the same exact lines if he was placed in a similar situation.
Another reason the movie works is that the writers manage to work in issues like bullying, sibling relationships, the new kid in school, and peer pressure/conformity without making any of them seem as though they were subplots for some after school special. For example, the bully (Joe) isn't stereotypical; he's definitely bad but not pure evil, and just enough of his home-life is revealed that the audience feels sympathy for him and understands his bullying origins. There's also no "cue the dramatic music" moment where Billy ('Worm Boy') realizes what a complete tool he's being to his younger brother Woody, and yet, by the end of the movie, some type of minor transformation has been made. There's some realism here in the way the characters resolve situations and in the way they relate to each other, and very little of it comes across as corny.
The only drawback to the movie comes in the form of an absolutely laughable dance scene that even the creators of the infamous McDonald's dance party in "Mac and Me" would scoff at. Why oh why was it put into the movie?? Did Austin Rogers (Adam) pull a Macaulay Culkin and refuse to take the role unless he was given a vehicle to showcase his oh so impressive dancing skills? The entire sequence definitely did not need to be there and had slightly less comedic value than any given show on "The History Channel".
Overall, though, this movie was excellent, and the length (about an hour and twenty minutes) was just about perfect. One of the best, most realistic live action kid films you'll ever see if you're ever around children or just remember what being a kid was actually like.
I sat with my children as we watched this film. We all found it to be a
very entertaining movie.
When Billy goes to a new school, a fifth grade bully starts stuff with him and this is what leads to the eating of worms.
A bet is made and Billy has only so much time to eat 10 worms or else. From this point the bully and his friends try to come up with nasty ways to cook, fry or bake the worms to try and get Billy sick so that he will lose the bet.
Billy stays strong and eats his way into becoming liked more and more by everyone, even the bullies friends.
I wont tell you if he wins the bet or not...you will just need to watch it to find out but I will think that if you like good family movies you will like this one.
P.S. Let me add that this movie is not just for boys, I have all daughters and they really liked it a lot.
It's a strange feeling to sit alone in a theater occupied by parents
and their rollicking kids. I felt like instead of a movie ticket, I
should have been given a NAMBLA membership.
Based upon Thomas Rockwell's respected Book, How To Eat Fried Worms starts like any children's story: moving to a new town. The new kid, fifth grader Billy Forrester was once popular, but has to start anew. Making friends is never easy, especially when the only prospect is Poindexter Adam. Or Erica, who at 4 1/2 feet, is a giant.
Further complicating things is Joe the bully. His freckled face and sleeveless shirts are daunting. He antagonizes kids with the Death Ring: a Crackerjack ring that is rumored to kill you if you're punched with it. But not immediately. No, the death ring unleashes a poison that kills you in the eight grade.
Joe and his axis of evil welcome Billy by smuggling a handful of slimy worms into his thermos. Once discovered, Billy plays it cool, swearing that he eats worms all the time. Then he throws them at Joe's face. Ewww! To win them over, Billy reluctantly bets that he can eat 10 worms. Fried, boiled, marinated in hot sauce, squashed and spread on a peanut butter sandwich. Each meal is dubbed an exotic name like the "Radioactive Slime Delight," in which the kids finally live out their dream of microwaving a living organism.
If you've ever met me, you'll know that I have an uncontrollably hearty laugh. I felt like a creep erupting at a toddler whining that his "dilly dick" hurts. But Fried Worms is wonderfully disgusting. Like a G-rated Farrelly brothers film, it is both vomitous and delightful.
Writer/director Bob Dolman is also a savvy storyteller. To raise the stakes the worms must be consumed by 7 pm. In addition Billy holds a dark secret: he has an ultra-sensitive stomach.
Dolman also has a keen sense of perspective. With such accuracy, he draws on children's insecurities and tendency to exaggerate mundane dilemmas.
If you were to hyperbolize this movie the way kids do their quandaries, you will see that it is essentially about war. Freedom-fighter and freedom-hater use pubescent boys as pawns in proxy wars, only to learn a valuable lesson in unity. International leaders can learn a thing or two about global peacekeeping from Fried Worms.
At the end of the film, I was comforted when two chaperoning mothers behind me, looked at each other with befuddlement and agreed, "That was a great movie." Great, now I won't have to register myself in any lawful databases.
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