7.0/10
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The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 28 June 2002 (USA)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer
A group of Catholic school friends, after being caught drawing an obscene comic book, plan a heist that will outdo their previous prank and make them local legends.

Director:

Peter Care

Writers:

Chris Fuhrman (book), Jeff Stockwell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emile Hirsch ... Francis Doyle
Kieran Culkin ... Tim Sullivan
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Father Casey
Jena Malone ... Margie Flynn
Jake Richardson ... Wade Scalisi
Tyler Long Tyler Long ... Joey Anderson
Jodie Foster ... Sister Assumpta
Arthur Bridgers ... Donny Flynn (as Arthur Bridges)
Scott Simpson ... Newsie
Melissa McBride ... Mrs. Doyle
Michael Harding ... Mr. Doyle (as Mike Harding)
Chandler McIntyre Chandler McIntyre ... Naturalist
Jeffrey West Jeffrey West ... Professor Sullivan
Yvonne Erickson ... Mrs. Sullivan
Nicky Olson Nicky Olson ... Colin Gibbney
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Storyline

In mid-1970s Savannah, two bright but rebellious boys, Francis Doyle and Tim Sullivan, fight boredom, hormones and harsh teachers as they struggle to find something meaningful beyond the walls of their parish school. Francis, an exceptional artist whose imaginative forays into a fictional universe of good and evil fill his notebooks with comic-book imagery, creates a netherworld of superhero alter egos for the two boys. When the ultra-strict Sister Assumpta seizes their artwork one day, the boys embark upon an obsessed trail of revenge that ultimately changes their lives. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trouble is Their Only Defense Against Boredom See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and youth substance use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 June 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Innocent Boys See more »

Filming Locations:

South Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,000, 16 June 2002

Gross USA:

$1,815,864

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,036,599
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chris Fuhrman died of cancer before completing the final draft of the book. The movie is dedicated to him at the beginning of the final credits. See more »

Goofs

When Tim and Francis are walking with the dog, a truck can be seen behind them in one shot but not in the next. It subsequently passes right by them. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Francis Doyle: Tell me again why we're doing this.
Tim: Homework, Francis. Your future's built on it.
Francis Doyle: [whispered] Right.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD deleted scenes include the following:
  • An extended scene of Sister Assumpta and Father Casey erasing things from the school's books while the boys dangle the statue outside.
  • The scene where the newsie gives Francis and Tim the angel dust is longer. The original scene ends with the newsie smoking the pot and saying "Tastes like one, too." The new addition to the scene shows Francis and Tim actually taking the drug and we see the newsie's wife come out and try some too. The aftermath of their drug use is slightly longer (the spinning trees).
  • Tim tells Francis angel dust is animal tranquilizer. Francis asks Tim why angel dust isn't called animal tranquilizer to which Tim responds, "They probably wanted people to try it. That's why they call them sisters and not permanent virgins."
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Kung Fu (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Stoned
Performed by Josh Homme (as Josh Homme)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Totally great

The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys is kind of like a cross between The Virgin Suicides and Stand By Me. Set in the 70's (featuring many cool 70's haircuts) in small town Georgia, the story focuses on Francis, a 14-year-old dreamer and troublemaker. He and his pals, Tim, Wade, and Joey cope with life under the oppressive rule of one-legged nun Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster) at the Puritan Christian high school they're unfortunate enough to attend.

One of their methods of escape is the 'The Atomic Trinity' comic book. Each of them have their own character with superpowers (such as The Muscle, Captain Asskicker and Skeleton Boy), battling against the tyrannical regime of Nunzilla/Pegleg (a gross caricature of Sister Assumpta). These fantasy stories make up the terrific animated sequences of the film. The cool thing is that they are not so totally removed from the reality of Francis, Tim, Wade and Joey.

The boys soon find their way into a lot of trouble though. After stealing the school's nun statue mascot the quartet plan to steal a cougar from the zoo and put in Sister Assumpta's office. A mad plan yes, but their determination and invention behind it is very clever.

Some scenes of the film are very emotional, so if you have soft spot you'll find it tough to get through the scene where Tim finds a dying dog by the side of the road or Francis reading a poem at the funeral.

Francis' relationship with Margie (the very cute Jenna Malone) also takes many curious and unique turns. The scene with the ghost watching them sleep was pleasingly weird.

Taken from the one and only book (posthumously) by Chris Fuhrman (a book I must get as soon as I see), The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys is attractively shot, wonderfully acted and definitely worth getting.

The DVD is in 1.85:1 widescreen (strangely non-anamorphic, though the region 2 version is) with Dolby 5.1 sound and a mild bunch of extras.


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