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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The closest television has ever gotten to the actual high school experience..., 19 May 2004

"Freaks and Geeks" is the story of a teenaged girl (Linda Cardellini), who, after her grandmother's death, contemplates the validity of her life, and as a result, begins to hang out with the "Freaks" of the school (James Franco, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips, Seth Rogen). Meanwhile, her younger brother (John Francis Daley), a "Geek," must dodge bullies and come to terms with his social status with the help of his best friends (Samm Levine, Martin Starr).

This series must be applauded for its audacity to speak the truth. From the casting (using actual high school students instead of supermodels wearing glasses) to the storytelling (unsensationalized accounts of actual events in the writers' past, long story arcs involving being stuck in a one-sided relationship or idealizing a love interest until you finally get to know them), this series is an honest, funny, endearing, and riveting testimony to the high school experience.

Another thing of note is the supporting cast. Unlike most shows set in high school, "Freaks and Geeks" employs more than a dozen recurring small roles, from students to parents to teachers. Because of this, the viewer attains a sense of community and reality.

"Freaks and Geeks" is positively addictive. What's more, it lasted an entire season, so many loose ends were wrapped up... It really has the feel of an extremely extended movie. It feels complete.

The cast of "Freaks and Geeks" reads like a "Before they were..." list. Linda Cardellini and James Franco have veritable film careers ("Scooby Doo," "Spider-Man"), Joanna Garcia (head cheerleader Vicki) now resides on the television set of "Reba," Sarah Hagan (nerdy Millie) did a stint on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Stephen Lea Sheppard (D&D master Harris) appeared in the film "The Royal Tenanbaums," Busy Phillips went on to star in "Dawson's Creek," and Ben Foster (endearing special ed kid Eli) has had a variety of roles in film and television, and is currently being featured on "Six Feet Under." Apparently, a lot of people saw the talent of the eclectic and versatile cast and snatched them up as soon as they could.

If you liked "My So-Called Life" or even "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"... Or just wish to relive a year of high school hell through the eyes of people who quite possibly could have been your friends... Then I'd definitely recommend this series. It's currently on sale on DVD... Go get it!

9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Not for the lazy-minded..., 19 May 2004

I recently purchased Mamoru Oshii's Cinema Trilogy Box Set. This was the first film, and I must say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was expecting action and sci-fi... and while I got a little of that, I also received a huge helping of intelligent, thought-provoking mystery and a large dose of entertaining slapstick comedy. In truth, this film is a throwback to silent film (Just as Quentin Tarantino's films are often throwbacks to pulp fiction, blaxploitation, chop-socky, spaghetti western etc. films)... It truly is a silent film with dialogue. The actions and expressions of the actors are excessive and exaggerated, techniques commonly thought of as "primitive" in the cinephile community are used, and there's, of course, the sepia tone that covers most of the film.

Shigeru Chiba is definitely the shining star of the film, portraying qualities that Hollywood action, drama, and comedy stars would kill to have. Chiba is also featured in the other two films in the box set, and definitely carries all three films with his small yet enormous presence.

This film, along with "Stray Dog" and "Talking Head," does not spell out each and every little thing for the viewer... Mr. Oshii trusts the audience to be able to come to its own conclusions. I definitely respect that and would recommend this film to anyone who would listen.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Schizophrenic Genius..., 19 May 2004

This film is definitely one of the most surreal, anti-literal films I've ever seen. It offers a lot of "brain-food" in the way of cinema history and Mamoru Oshii's opinions about movies in general. The film features a cast of characters (some of which are based on actual people who worked on the film)... which are comically insane exaggerations with legs.

It takes a while to get used to Mamoru Oshii's fantastical style, but you are soon sucked into a world where it doesn't surprise you all *that* much that... well, I don't want to spoil it.

I would definitely recommend this movie to film students, fans of anime, fans of film, fans of Japanese culture, fans of silent movies, fans of noir, fans of suspense, fans of fantasy... Well, let's just say there's something for just about everybody.