After the suicide of the teenager Allen Clark, his family decides to move from Chicago to the quiet Cradle Bay Island seeking a peaceful life for the siblings Steve and Lindsay Clark. When Steve joins the local high-school, the outcast Gavin Strick befriends Steve and introduces his also rejected friend Rachel Wagner to the newcomer. Gavin exposes to Steve in the refectory the punks, the nerds and the different tribes of the school and he defends the weird theory that a sinister force changes the behavior of the annoyingly perfect "Blue Ribbons", a group of good students that wear identical jackets and gather in the Yogurt Shoppe. Further he tells that he had witnessed the blue ribbon Andy Efkin killing their schoolmate Mary Jo that is missing and the local Officer Cox covering the murder. Steve does not believe on Gavin words, but when his friend is submitted to the treatment of Dr. Edgar Caldicott and immediately changes his behavior, joining the Blue Ribbons, Steve and Rachel ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Filming started in March of 1998 and was finished in early May. Director David Nutter completed editing his director's cut which was 115 minutes long in about seven weeks. After director's cut of the film was shown to studio and MGM President Michael Nathanson, they loved it.
First test screening of the film was held May 15 in Plano, Texas, for 324 audience members aged 15 to 24, the film's target audience, and was received with good enough response by them. But Nathanso and others in MGM were worried because of complaints of some audience members about some parts of the film, like the sex scene between Steve and Rachel and original ending in which Gavin dies, which is why they ordered Nutter to re-cut the film down to 95 minutes.
Two weeks later, movie had a second test screening in Westlake Village which also went pretty well, but after that MGM took the movie away from Nutter and he was ordered to film another ending in which Gavin is shown to be alive and that he is a school teacher, and still under control of "Blue Ribbon" program. Movie was also re-cut with the help of George Folsey Jr., MGM's vice president of production editing. Some of the scenes which were cut down or deleted completely were Steve's flashbacks of his dead brother, more exposition and character scenes, more plot parts and more scenes between teens and their parents were also cut because MGM ordered for the scenes with adults to be cut out of the film to make it more interesting to target audience, which were young teenagers.
In June the movie had two more test screenings in Fallbrook in San Diego County, with various response by audience. Lot of the complaints were made on the new ending in which Gavin is alive and is school teacher. Director David Nutter wanted to remove his name from the film following the way studio interfered and re-cut it, but he changed his mind.
Fourth test screening was held on June 22, and cut of the movie that was shown there was only 72 minutes long. After the screening, Folsey tried to be encouraging and pointed out how they didn't have any walk outs, but Nutter replied; "Who had time to walk out?"
Fifth test screening was held in Fallbrook on July 13 for 400 people, 11 days before the film opened. Surprisingly, following the further studio forced re-editing, this version was received with lot of good response by audience.
Nutter did wanted to release his director's cut at the time when movie was released on DVD but he wasn't allowed by MGM to do that. Director's cut was never released although there is a fanedit of the film available online which has all the deleted scenes and original ending from DVD edited back into the film making it 103 minutes long and is much closer to the director's cut.
11 deleted scenes and original ending are included as bonus on DVD, but there were much more scenes deleted which were never released, some of which include even more plot parts like for example Gavin taking Steve to the morgue to show him the body of Mary Jo, girl that was killed in the beginning but it turns out her body is gone. Theatrical and TV trailers show several deleted scenes, including one which is not included in DVD; Dialogue scene between Steve and Gavin's mom, soon after he is taken by Blue Ribbons, in which she says how "Gavin's a good boy now." See more »
When Steve finds and bonds with the janitor in the basement boiler room, Steve asks, "What the hell is going on around here?". In the janitor's explanation, he describes a fatal car crash. He says that 4 teenagers "got properly squiffed on Daddy's gin", but then moments later, while describing the crash, says that beer cans covered the road "as far as the eye could see". See more »
If the opening credits are watched frame by frame, 2-3 frame bursts are seen that are relevant to the story. These depict the process by which Dr Caldicott performs his operation, including a shot of a slow moving needle and an eye that has been clamped open. See more »
DVD version features 11 deleted scenes, including an alternate ending where Gavin meets a different fate than the theatrical ending. See more »
Steve and his family move from Chicago to Cradle Bay (which based on a road sign is outside Seattle). We later learn his brother Allen died, and that has something to do with the move. At his new high school, he meets Gavin and U. V., who take drugs and listen to depressing heavy metal music. Gavin has the hots for Lorna, but she's a Blue Ribbon, a member of a group of students that help out in the community and help each other study. Gavin wants nothing to do with these people.
It turns out the Blue Ribbons aren't as goody-goody as they first appear. To call them snobs is an understatement. Anyone who isn't a member is treated like dirt, but of course new members are accepted all the time. The organization had its beginning with a deadly car wreck, and Dr. Edgar Caldicott played a large role in getting it started.
This film reminds me of an episode of 'Smallville', except only the villains (who appear to be the good kids) have the super powers. Or maybe they're not actually super powers. This film had its own version of Belle Reve, where all the Smallville freaks seemed to end up eventually. Also, there was the loud alternative rock music in some scenes and the pleasant classical-style background music in others. I really liked the music in Roscoe's Yogurt Shoppe and in the asylum (I'm referring to Barry Manilow).
I actually found the bad kids appealing in this movie--Gavin, Rachel, and Dickie in particular. The real standout character, though, is the demented janitor Mr. Newberry, who comes across as if Gilbert Gottfried had played the Bill Murray role in 'Caddyshack'. Another good though brief performance came from Julie Patzwald as Betty Caldicott.
This was a little on the violent side, but I guess for the type of movie it wasn't too bad. A lot of bad language seemed to have been cleaned up for TV. And I'm not sure whether this is something that was edited out, but in one scene, the position of a girl's head relative to her date suggests something that happened in Bill Clinton's White House.
It wasn't a classic by any means, but it wasn't too bad.
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