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Q. Allan Brocka
Growing up in Barstow, CA, high school senior Andrew hopes for a bigger world -- but his devotion to his mother, Sandra, and his awakening attraction to newcomer Jenny, combine to keep him tied to home. Andrew's loyalties become confused and his prior ambitions begin to fade as he realizes he must make the most difficult of all decisions -- choosing between himself and the people he loves. Written by
When I had first heard they were making a movie called Leaving Barstow I was intrigued. Then I saw the online trailer and was ready to hate it. Sorry filmmakers, but the trailer is terrible. I decided to check it out on DVD once I found out it was released. I had to get a copy on ebay because none were to be found in Barstow if you can believe it. SO anyway, I watched it last night and must admit it wasn't as bad as I would have imagined, but I still have a few gripes. First of all, there is no book store in Barstow. Hasn't been one in years. People are a little too stupid out here for books. Hell, we're lucky to have a library. Also there is no late night DJ's here. In fact I believe there's only one DJ on all of 4 stations we get. The story was fine but a bit cookie cutter. In fact I think the only reason it was placed in Barstow is because it was two hours away from LA to do some exterior shots. This could have taken place in Iowa, Kansas,etc. It's called Leaving Barstow but aside from some shots of our locations it has no real identity to feel like it took place here. WIth the exception of the one waitress who also used to be in My Name is Earl none of the actors even remotely looked like they could be from Barstow. They were all too pretty and perfect looking. But, to be fair I could say that about many movies. In fact the one girl mentions people missing teeth but there's none to be found in the movie. The actor who plays Andrews teacher was horrible. His outburst in the book store actually made me laugh. Which is a shame because all the other actors did a pretty decent job. I'm not upset that they paint the town in an unpleasant light. I don't care if it's ridiculed, but do it properly. Actually spend some time here and make it authentic instead of the same old stale "I'm stuck in this small town and dream of bigger things" kind of movie. When I was 18 I wanted out of Barstow so bad and did get out to go to film school in LA. So believe me when I say I sympathize with the main character. In fact the only reason I'm back is because a family situation brought me back. I's known as the Barstow curse. You can leave but something will bring you back. Recently my mother passed away so I find myself in the same situation of having to get out again. But a bad economy and few jobs are keeping me here for the time being. But lest you think I completely hate the film I don't. The acting was decent. The cinematography was great, and despite all the things I thought it got wrong it did get a few things right. For instance the Chinese restaurant. While there isn't a Wang's here there is a Canton. The women in the movie look like the one's you'd see there, just without the uniforms. So despite it's many flaws I still think it's worth a watch on a rainy day if there's nothing better on.
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