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|Index||23 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Geography Club is an exceptionally motivated film. It's messages are
simultaneously subtle and prominent--and there are many that audiences
can take from it. It's appeal, whilst obviously aimed towards
adolescents, is genuine. It never feels cheap, never ham-fisted and
doesn't try to be something that it isn't. The performances from it's
cast are exceptional, and I feel inclined to note in particular Ted
Ovilares whose incredible and heartbreaking portrayal of Brian Bund was
perfect, and Cameron Deane Stewart who played a very identifiable and
relatable Russell Middlebrook. It's funny, it's fast, it's beautifully
filmed, charming, feel good and inspiring pure and simple.
However, the film's biggest flaw to me-- as a person who's read the novel-- is that it barely scrapes the surface of what the characters and their development, and their relationships were. For instance, Russell and Kevin's relationship, whilst sweetly and endearingly portrayed in the film, was simply not explored nearly enough to be able to understand the depth of his feelings for Kevin (and vice versa). In the book, (SPOILERS) the reason why Kevin and Russell's break up at the end is so heartbreaking is because they were still in love with each other afterwards, they both wanted different things as characters--Russell was prepared to be out whilst Kevin was not--and they knew that it couldn't work despite their feelings for each other. In the film, it's just not very satisfyingly portrayed. The characters aren't as layered as they are in the book.
What I'm trying to say is that there is so much more to these characters than what you see in the film--which really only barely scrapes the surface of them. Their motivations behind their decisions and their priorities-- what is important to them and what (and who) they care about is what makes them and their stories so compelling. I understand that liberties have to be taken when adapting content to the screen, and while the way the characters are seen very much fit the narrative direction the film chose, I just didn't feel as if we spent enough time with them to truly understand their relationships--their growth or deterioration, and feel what they're going through. What's simply missing here is a sense of narrative resolution.
This being said however, Geography Club is a must see film for adolescents. I can almost guarantee that there will be something or someone in the film that any viewer will be able to identify with and or relate to. It's fast, it's funny, it's inspiring and it's flawed, but I cannot recommend it more. It's such an important film that I am sure viewers from all walks of life will recognize its importance.
I sat down to watch "Geography Club" without having read the synopsis,
just thinking this to be another one of those teen comedy movies. I was
surprised when I found out what it actually was all about.
Surprised, yeah, but not in a bad way. This movie is actually rather entertaining, but at the same time it is quite compelling and riveting. This is the kind of movie that you get swept away by, because the story is realistic and the characters even more so.
The story is about Russell (played by Cameron Deane Stewart) who is coming of age and is struggling with his sexuality. Standing at a crossroad of his sexuality, facing a very difficult social situation by outing his gay sexuality. He gets into a secret relationship with Kevin (played by Justin Deeley) who is on the college football team. Caught between his own morals and his friendship to Gunnar (played by Andrew Caldwell), Russell lives a double life.
Now, don't expect to be flat out laughing yourself to tears from this movie, because it is not that kind of comedy. This movie is more of a subtle comedy that is very realistic and tied to events that we can relate to in one way or another.
The movie is nicely told and directed by director Gary Entin. But even more importantly, it is so nicely acted out on the screen by every one on the cast list.
"Geography Club" is a very nice movie that you should take the time to sit down and watch.
A very entertaining and compelling comedy. It's one of those timeless movies that stay relevant regardless of what decade you're in. It's an inspiring & touching comedy about friendship, identity & the courage to speak out. Reminds me of My So Called Life. It combines humor, wit and important life lessons. The whole cast did a great job, portraying complex characters, making it easy to identify with the situations they face. I especially loved Grant Harvey's portrayal of Nolan, one of the most complex characters of the movie. The filmmakers (Gary & Edmund Entin) succeed in capturing the reality that plays out across schools across the country, where being different can be frightening, awkward and disturbing. Fans of Brent Harbinger's book will love this movie, it captures the optimism and drama in a realistic and believable way. Probably geared towards young adults, it should be seen by anybody.
That's right: I'm seven minutes and forty-five seconds into this movie,
and I'm already declaring it a 10/10.
Why? Because these kinds of gay movies are joyous, a breath of much-needed fresh air, and---I daresay---IMPORTANT.
Currently---and despite our much-lauded progressive attitudes---watching a "gay romance" is a bit like walking a Vietnam-era minefield: You're never quite sure if the characters and relationships you're rooting for are going to catch AIDS, be lynched, and/or commit suicide by the end... because they usually do. (Consider: The most mainstream "gay romance" at the time of this writing ends with one of our heroes being tire-ironed to death on the side of a freeway.)
So: "Living happily ever after" is one hell of a risky bet.
Admittedly, there's an undeniable place for such poignant, melancholy fare... but sometimes... sometimes... I just want to watch a cheesy, happy movie! Does that make me a bad person?! That was a rhetorical question: NO! No, it does not!
Dammit, I want to watch a movie where I know, going in, that the muffin I'm smiling for isn't going to suffer horribly and then die alone! No one likes minefields!
And seven minutes and forty-fives seconds in, this movie told me I wasn't in a minefield.
That is one HELL of a rare treat in the desolate, self-immolating landscape of despair to which we're so-often subjected.
Russell is gay and is in the closet, he is keeping his head down to
study with the hope of living up to his parent's dreams and actually
getting into Yale. He is also playing it straight by dating girls and
being the wing man for his best friend Gunnar.
Then he goes on a field trip and gets entangled with Jock footballer Kevin. His secret is now out but he still isn't. What follows is a 'nice' coming of age tale that will have no surprises but is warm and human enough to satisfy most viewers.
This is not a sexathon either - nothing to frighten the horses here - there is some humour, there is some bullying and abusive behaviour but that is essentially a story about growing up and being honest about who you are. I have seen some very negative reviews of this and was initially put off from seeing it; after watching it I actually felt good for having seen it - so this is one I can easily recommend.
You can tell from the opening scene what type of movie this is going to
be and I didn't mind one bit. The handsome school jock is closeted and
finding it difficult to hook up with anyone until he meets another
closeted high school jock. A small group of nerdy types regularly hold
meetings in a school classroom under the guise of a Geography Club,
knowing such a group would surely be ignored by the rest of school. Of
course they are the local gay kids hiding behind the sign. The handsome
jock stumbles upon the club and is convinced to join.
I think the holding power of this movie is the lead character played by Cameron Deane Stewart. He is very good in this role, very likable and very handsome. The story line is fairly slim on drama but the movie does redeem itself in the closing scenes. I must say I went in to this movie not excepting a lot and came our surprised enough to write this review and to say give it a go. Also look out for the cool cameo by Scott Bakula (Qantam Leap and later playing gay in Looking), in a very uplifting and rewarding scene around the family dinner table.
Like several other reviewers before me, I just happened upon this movie
and therefore had few expectations. And, like them, I was pleasantly
surprised. As a mature gay man, I think the topic of bullying in
schools is an important, yet complicated one: it is easy to sit back
from the action and judge, but to experience it -- especially at such a
confusing time of life -- isn't quite so black and white. So.
ultimately, I thought it was a good film and was happy to have
Then I went to IMDb to offer a rating - perhaps a "7" - and learned that the film was based on a series of books written by Brent Hartinger. So, I ran over to Audible.com and purchased the first and, upon completion of that, the remaining three books. Then, my opinion changed a bit.
Don't get me wrong, I think that the acting was actually quite good and that (for a small film) the production quality was higher than one might expect. However, the liberties that the screenplay writers took with the book's rich content were mind-boggling. As a life-long fan of both books and movies, I fully understand that strict translations of page to screen are nearly impossible and often fall flat when they do occur. However, the extent of the changes were so pervasive that it is nearly impossible to recognize some of the characters - in fact, reading the book helped me understand my confusion over the conflicting actions/statements of some of the characters in the film, who it appears were patched together from other characters in the book.
I think what bothers me more than anything is that I fear several of the liberties taken by the screen writers will really threaten any possibility of screen versions of the sequels in the book series. It's a shame, because the journey of these characters is a good and honest one that I think many teens would find compelling.
I awarded 5 points for tackling the topic in a realistic and accessible manner. An extra point for the nice portrayals by the young cast. It's still a good movie, but could easily have been a better one had the writers taken better care and trusted the original author. I encourage anyone interested in this movie or its topic to look for the books (hard copy, e-book, or audio book).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie, given its budget, is essentially technically sound as far as
some aspects. The lack of money is clearly visible in some areas, such
as the sign-age for the high school. In others, such as the football
game, sufficient extras and the location match that of a higher
budgeted project (e.g. Friday Night Lights, etc.) Some of the technical
aspects were actually conveyed well, such as the cinematography: one
good example is the rain scene kiss, some of the bike riding shots,
etc. The acting is generally good, but with no real standouts.
However, where the story fails is with the character development, plotting, script. A good number of the reviewers here have complained with changes from the book to film; some of these have blamed the poor characterizations on this factor as well. However, a book is not a movie and, as someone who read the book some years ago, this is NOT the problem here.
Some of the changes are not apparently necessary, nor improvements (for example, there's no real good reason to make the Ike character into one form of stereotype in exchange for how he was portrayed in the book). Other changes (such as Russell not being sure he wants to identify as gay at the start of the movie, unlike book Russell), or the changes to other characters are really less issues, and in some ways, integral to the themes the movie wants to explore: coming out as a teenager is hard, teens have to deal with peer pressure on multiple levels, parental pressure, homophobia and bullying.
In respect to these themes, the movie fails and comes across as very dated, particularly when you consider movies far older than the book source (Edge of Seventeen or Get Real), covered these topics with much better scripts and character development. The YA adult section of any library also has a surfeit of books (any by David Levithan) with more interesting characters and plots than the source book here.
Where the characters (and thus the story) are harmed here is with their shallowness - such as Trish and Kimberly (Kimberly is a one dimensional aspiring drunk unable to go for the guy she wants so doing an end-run with his less desirable friend for some unexplained, unknown reason in spite of the portrayal as aggressive and domineering otherwise). In particular, it is implausible that four sets of parents would allow age 16 teens to go away for an entire weekend unsupervised. Yes, a set of parents could go out of town and their child could have a party with alcohol for one evening, for which other kids could sneak away, but we are unnecessarily told (for what happens) that is a two day event.
It's even more implausible that authority figures would not have done something to the boys who clearly pushed out the Brian character from the cafeteria closet, particularly given that adults are shown with the same clear site lines that the Nim character enjoyed as Russell slipped guiltily out. Most preposterously, the posting of the flyer with a fairly innocuous and truly ambiguous snap shot of a boy pushing a girl away is in no way an outing, and not particularly an embarrassing, shaming outing (in comparison to a bar, underwear and lipstick humiliation, say). Even the most homophobic student body would not so immediately discarded someone who just won a football game for them with such ease without further proof (and, unless the movie does not tell us this fact, but is chronological takes place in say 2001, the digital image from what looks like a current era cell phone would have been uploaded to social media, not pasted onto paper flyers).
The movie fails because it's shallow, simplistic and BAD; the problem is not deviation from the book, it's simply a poorly written/plotted movie with undeveloped characters. Yes, teenagers might benefit from stories about bullying, peer pressure and homophobia - but there are far more superior existing movies for that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I begin there are drastic changes from the the book and the
movie adaptation, which may or may not be a bad thing.
Movie Review: This movie is a coming of age story of Russell Middlebrook in a very small hometown. Like many other gay coming of age It deals with Russell trying to come to terms with his homosexuality. The main cast are relate able and the acting for most of the cast is very well done and excellent chemistry with one another. Since it is an adaptation from 1st person point of view the actors had the difficult task of portraying emotions through facial expressions, which in most scenes worked. One of the big issues that I do agree with some of the other reviewers is that character development wasn't the best and it focused more on the story. The story in my opinion was really well organized and they edited scene per scene to make it flow very well. Even though gay coming of age stories have been done before it's an enjoyable watch and very fast paced with a satisfying and more realistic ending. As a movie not comparing to the book and on it's own I give it an 8 out of 10.
Movie VS Book Review (SPOILERS): The movie and book is drastically different and some of the choices the director made in my opinion made the it more interesting but also a few things I didn't understand why they changed. For instance Min in the novel is Russell's other best friend which I didn't get why they changed that. The movie was fast paced which I didn't mind but that did cut out in character development and some plot. Another change they made was that Russell was originally infatuated with Kevin from the start, they didn't have to make it pathetic but they could have at least made it apparent. They also over developed the bullies which could have been spent on the main characters. I did however like how they mad Ike more than a guy who liked Kevin, which was more annoying than anything else in the book. One of the main arguments that I had about the movie was that Kevin was less in the movie than he was in the book. In the book he also joined the Geography Club and spent a lot of time becoming friends with the others and teaching Russell how to play sports. Otherwise the movie I think did well. with those exceptions and they did well with some of the additions they made to fit the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Russell is a high school boy who tries to hide his sexuality in order to feat in and be close to the boy he is in love with, a football player. The film is an enjoyable movie, not too teenage cliché though, which is a relief. It approaches the sensitive matters of homosexuality and bulling with a notch of humour and a sweet, young view, without overdoing it. Even the ending was great, very unexpected and quite original, which added to the film quite a lot more than just teenage romance. The other complementary stories were nice and entertaining. The performances were alright, nothing extraordinary though. So 4 out of 10 for geography club.
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