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|Index||20 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Geography Club is an exceptionally motivated film. It's messages are so subtle and yet so 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 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 surprisingly beautifully filmed, charming, feel good and inspiring pure and simple.
Pros aside, Geography Club also suffers from it's share of cons. I'm not sure if this is more prominent to me because I have read the novel before, but please do not let this keep you from seeing the film.
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 after-wards, 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.
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, and yes, I understand that liberties have to be taken when adapting written 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.
However, all in all, Pros and Cons aside, 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 (especially those unfamiliar with the source material) will recognize how important it is. And while this may be my slightly disappointed reader side talking, but I also highly recommend you read the novels too (because... let's just say if you were quite saddened by the ending... make it to book 4--that is all I'll say).
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.
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.
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.
*** 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.
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).
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.
Min (Ally Maki) catches Russell Middlebrook (Cameron Deane Stewart)
kissing quarterback Kevin Land. The guys are desperate to hide it. Min
wants them to join her 'Geography Club' which is actually a support
group for gay teens with Terese (Nikki Blonsky) and Ike (Alex Newell).
Russell comes to join the group. His friend Gunnar begs him to go on a
double date with Trish (Meaghan Martin). Kevin brings him onto the
football team. Brian tries to join with different problems of his own
and they decide to open up the group to other teens. Their alternative
teacher Mrs. Toles (Ana Gasteyer) gets suspended after an interview
with the school newspaper.
It's slightly sweet and has good intentions with a serious subject matter. CDS is not a particularly charismatic lead although he gets the fear of the character very nicely. This feels more like a PSA than an actual movie. It just needs a better director to get a more compelling telling out of the material.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's not much wrong with Geography Club other than it's not that
interesting for adults. As a teen movie it's better than most and that
makes it worth a 7 rating.
Geography club looks and develops like a made-for-TV movie with aspects of after school specials. The acting is adequate, a couple of the younger actors show promise of being good.
The plot for the most part feels realistic in that it meanders, is somewhat unfocused, and nothing comes to a definite conclusion. The characters are mostly one dimensional with the exception of a kid who's bullied at school and apparently abused at home...His character has more going on than is ever addressed.
There are glaringly unrealistic elements which makes Geography Club seem more like a typical high school movie such as the main character gets on the football team with no prior experience or interest in the game.
Geography Cub is ideal for young teens. There's no soft porn sex or gratuitous nudity nor is there any hit-you-over-the-head tragedy. The film is occasionally genuinely funny and there's enough diversity in the characters that most young viewers could either identify with them or find them familiar. (Although as is typical of almost every queer film made the lead and his boyfriend are good looking white guys with great bodies.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one plays like a straight teenage comedy film. But it's anything
but an ordinary film.
It centers on gay Russell's acceptance of who he is and in the process, experiences heartbreaks, peer pressure and homophobia. And it doesn't help when his romantic interest Kevin is a scared, more closeted guy than he is. Along the way, you'll meet the funny best friend and buddy Gunnar and the desperate "trying to be girlfriend" Trish. You have the fearless Asian student Min who's the moderator of the Geography Club, a pseudonym for a lesbian and gay support group for the school. And you'll sympathize with the bullied but musically gifted Brian.
Good performances especially by Cameron and the supporting actors. I haven't read the book which according to other reviewers say that the relationship between Russell and Kevin is more threshed out. Here, you see the romantic moments between the two guys, but I would like to see more development on Kevin's character.
You will enjoy the film like I did. I especially liked the funny two daddy and baby homemade video at the end.
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