Try Seventeen (2002) Poster

(2002)

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9/10
A good movie.
tbaa_andrea6 September 2005
Simply put, this was a good movie. It wasn't over the top, it wasn't over stated, there wasn't anything major motion picture about this movie. It was an independent film for crying out loud. Basically it was a wonderfully simplistic movie.

When I first went to buy it, the store I was at told me they didn't have it in stock, but to rent it before buying it anyway because they heard it was bad. So I rented it, and to my amazement, I found myself giggling at the characters and feeling for them at the same time. I'm 28 years old, yet I could still picture how I felt at 17. I was able to connect with the movie, and it was able to keep my attention. (unlike certain "Blockbuster MUST SEE thrillers" that I pay $9.00 to fall asleep at)

this film had a lot of flaws, yes. But none of them really underscored the enjoyment I got from watching the movie. Elijah Wood did a wonderful job in his role as the doe eyed young adult wannabe. Mandy Moore did a great job as the seductive woman, although she didn't LOOK old enough to fit the part in my opinion. Franka Potente was OK as Jane, although I felt she lacked a bit of emotion and chemistry with Elijah. I think she and Mandy Moore would have been better suited to switching roles. I think Mandy would have been a better Jane and Franka a better Lisa. Just my opinion.

One actor who I think will be a great star one day is Aaron Pearl (cowboy Brad) The only actor who shined in the scifi movie "Bloodsuckers", and is known to Stargate SG-1 fans as young General Hammond. That guy has some good talent. He just needs some bigger parts. (No I'm not a relative. I honestly think he's got some great talent. And he's pretty cute. Minus the handle bar mustache.) So Simple, sweet, not perfect, but not as bad as some people have been reviewing it. Definitely up there as one of my favorite movies.
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Could not have enjoyed it more!
countrugensmom8 August 2004
I could not have enjoyed this movie more. To watch a young man of great intelligence and humor but woefully lacking in social graces find his place in the world was a joy. The coming of age angst was a trip down memory lane for me. I related to way too much of the film for my own comfort. The apartment building and it's eclectic band of residents left me wondering, "Are there any vacancies?" Seeing Jones' journey into manhood was a priceless trip. As he faces his demons and the failings in those around him he begins to discover the meaning of his life. His practicing of opening the wine bottles was hilarious. Who here hasn't practiced looking cool? Honestly? I have and his journey rang true. Elijah Wood is a truly gifted man. Once again he has become his character. Mandy Moore impressed me yet again in her fearless acceptance of roles that make her look like an idiot. The entire cast was well chosen.

Let me take this opportunity to mention that the scene where Jones loses his virginity is the hottest love scene I've witnessed since Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie's love scene in Tim. and that's saying something. I'm not sure what...but it's something. Very hot.
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7/10
Reaching the Maturity
claudio_carvalho11 October 2004
The seventeen years old newcomer in town Jones Dillon (Elijah Wood) drops out the university on his first day, after a problem with his roommate, and decides to rent an apartment in an old building. Jones pays one year rental at once for the 2B apartment and his only possessions are a trunk and a typewriter that belonged to his unknown father. Jones spends his time fantasizing his life, writing never-sent-letters to his absent father and discussing by phone his childhood and family problems with his alcoholic mother (Elizabeth Perkins), who lives in Texas. He becomes friend of a painter cowboy, who lives on the first floor, and of the aspiring actress Lisa (Mandy Moore), who lives in the apartment 2A on the same floor. Jones has a crush on the temperamental photographer Jane (Franka Potente), who lives in apartment 2C. After a car accident, Jones reaches the maturity and resolves the outstanding problems of his life. 'Try Seventeen' is a kind of love-hate movie. My wife, for example, just watched half of the story and gave-up to see the second part. I liked this film, about a young man leaving adolescence and finding his own path. The viewer has to keep in mind that Jones's neighbors are indeed Lisa and Jane, otherwise it would be very hard to believe that a guy would have Mandy Moore and Franka Potente available on the same floor. There is comedy, romance and drama in this sensitive story well directed by Jeffrey Porter. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): 'Era Tudo o Que Eu Queria' ('This Was Everything That I Wanted')
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Respect and purpose.
Cipher-J14 April 2004
This is a very sensitive and original `coming of age' film, centered around a seventeen-year-old boy seeking to find meaning in his life. His mom had been, in her youth, a self-absorbed, dope-smoking and thrill-seeking Bohemian, who fell for an equally superficial and pretentious pseudo-intellectual of the writer variety, and by the time he went out for a pack of cigarettes never to return, she had found herself pregnant. That would have been the end of her story had mom been a pauper, but her family had money, so by the time the story opens the son had been shuttled around through every prep-school in the country. He never knew his father, and what he knew about his mother was that she never grew up.

What little his mother would say about his father were myths, which he clings to desperately in this story. Had his father `really' been a writer? All he has for proof is an old typewriter, on which he tries to write letters to his father that are never mailed. The whereabouts of the father are not known. Estranged and alienated from his parents, he ends up in an apartment where he can begin to find himself through associations with others who have complicated stories of their own to share. Not surprisingly, he falls in love with an older woman who is much like his mother: self-absorbed and addicted to dysfunctional relationships. Almost as though to redeem his mother through the woman, he tries to prove himself the better man to her, in contrast to the slick and quick former boyfriend, with his leather clothes and hot guitar. He is a nice guy that wants to finish better, not last. It is a very mature and well-crafted story.
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It's Completely Understandable
Elwood_Cooper7 November 2004
Try Seventeen, or the title I bought the movie under, All I Want (I like try seventeen better) is a misunderstood story. I originally bought this movie because of Elijah Wood (he's very cute). I was seventeen at the time, and I totally understood this movie. It's about a boy trying to cope with life as he knows it. He tries to escape by pretending and lying about things, and not only to other people, but to himself. He put himself in imaginative situations where he would be the hero and everything would work out for him as he wanted it to. Oddly enough, I found myself daydreaming the same kind of scenerios, and I still often do. SO no, this movie isn't for everyone, but it is a very understandable storie if you open your mind to it. I related to it very well because I was sort of the same. So don't be close-minded about movies such as this!
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6/10
Nice
Mr_Sensitive21 February 2005
Just like Orange County, this movie is about finding oneself at one of the most confusing and influential time of one life at seventeen at as the freshman.

A story of the boy drop out of collage on the first day to find something else in life, that is until he rent an apartment and befriend with the strange neighbors.

I say the movie will be very much enjoying by any body and some of them may even love it. Though the movie is quite slow, it is still flawless and thus did deliver pretty good amount of satisfaction. Overall, it is a good movie (though the movie lacks of some good moments to remember it by) and is recommended, especially Elijah fans.

Reason To Watch: · Just the cast alone (Elijah, Mandy and Franka.) would already sell this movie.

Reason Not To: · Weird to see Elijah and Franka together, · No Goods Kodak Moments, · Nothing much in the movie.

Rating: 6.5/10 (Grade: C+)
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10/10
Beautiful, heartfelt film
SBLOMS10 February 2005
All I Want/Try Seventeen is a fresh, beautiful film about one young man's struggles as he travels along the bumpy path of growing up. This film was absolutely brilliant- the script, the way it was filmed, and especially the music all worked together to make it a refreshing change from the normal teen movies of today. Not to mention the acting- Elijah Wood did a wonderful job of portraying his character, Jones Dillon. He gave just the right amount of depth and feeling to his character without overacting. Hollywood could do with more young actors like Elijah Wood. He knows how to give a real, stirring, heartfelt performance and he give his all, which is apparent in this film. Equally good performances came from Mandy Moore and Franka Potente. If you remember what it's like to be around that age, on the brink of adulthood but not quite there yet, you will enjoy this film!
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try17 or all i want?
starseednaveed6 March 2004
I have to admit,on first hearing about this film I wasn't too keen on it and was thinking that it was going to be one of those teenybopper films. When I actually saw this film for the first,I was amazed how it's really not how I thought.I was a good film.And the soundtrack,I must say,is pretty darn good too. The story line is easy enough to follow,even for me,and the characters are all simple and likeable. Just one thing bugs me.Why change the title to 'All I Want'?In the film,I'm pretty sure no one says the line 'All I Want',however when Jones talks to Brad,he says the line 'Try Seventeen'.It's a memorable line!Why change the title?It would be more memorable (and great) as 'Try Seventeen'. All in all,great film.See it.And hopefully,get the soundtrack!

*First ever comment
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9/10
Beautiful Portrayal of Teenage Pain
ElijahJWoodFan8 March 2005
I loved this movie. The initial reason that I saw it was because I'm a huge Elijah Wood fan, but I would actually recommend it. The different characters and situations really mirror the pain that teenagers go through at critical times in their lives and Elijah does a great job as Jones, the main character. Not only did I enjoy Elijah Wood, but Mandy Moore and Franka Potente are great actresses. The chemistry between both Elijah and Mandy as well as Elijah and Franka makes for a great storyline. Yes, a lot of questions go unanswered, but I was very happy with the outcome of the plot. Also, Elijah does a great job in his very first on-screen sex scene. It is both beautiful and tasteful.
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1/10
Unrealistic, cheesy, plotless, vapid, and dull
mattscandale9 November 2018
Does the following sound realistic? A young man moves into an apartment next to 3 other people, none of whom are friends with one another, in fact none of whom have any friends at all, yet all befriend him, one-on-one, including 2 hot babes who pursue him, despite him looking like a short high schooler and having a squeaky voice. This was probably the last and only role as a romantic leading man that Elijah Wood ever played. If it had been packed with more comedic gags, it could have gone somewhere. But the dreamy, artsy narrative felt misplaced, empty, and self-indulgent. I didn't care about any of these characters or whatever trivial struggles some of them appeared to be afflicted by. If they wanted to go for sappy like a made-for-TV movie, they could have injected some predictable tragedy. But they didn't even do that. What motivated me to watch this movie? Mandy Moore looked hot. What motivated me to finish watching this awful flop? Just so I could collect things to remark upon in this negative review. I can't imagine anyone liking this vapid hogwash.
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6/10
Pleasing
NIXFLIX-DOT-COM6 September 2003
TRY SEVENTEEN (aka ALL I WANT) is probably too mainstream for its own good. But thanks to an attractive cast and a decent screenplay, it hits almost all the right notes. Of course the ending is a tad predictable, and the film falls back on one cliche too many. A little more courage, and TRY SEVENTEEN might have been a memorable movie. As it stands, it's just good, and will most definitely appeal to teens who have experienced what the main character has while trapped in that 4-years (and for some, more) where we all spend our lives while making that transformation from child to adult. I'm talking about college, of course.

6 out of 10
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An original romantic comedy with an AMAZING Script!
elchubbo9912 September 2002
Faboulous! Easily one of the most original romantic comedy's I have seen in ages, TRY SEVENTEEN manages to side-step all the cheesy cliches usually inherent in this kind of film. Great dialogue is only one of the many praises I can heap upon the script. It's witty, intelligent, original, and not afraid to take chances with the audience. But the story is all the more richer for it. It never steps where you think it will, instead surprising the viewer with some scenarios we haven't seen before. Elijah Wood, Franka Potente, and OF COURSE, Mandy Moore are all perfectly cast for their individual parts, and they all play them with a wisdom and maturity far beyond their years. Everyone in attendance, from 16 to 60, seemed to love the refreshingly sweet yet slightly sour tone of the film. It managed to be engaging without being lewd or crude in anyway, and mainly because of that became accesible to virtually any age group and any audience that is open-minded enough to give it a shot. Packed with laughs, heartache, sex, and honesty, TRY SEVENTEEN succeds by showing us all the things that make life and love so inherently amazing and beautiful.
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2/10
The movie that wouldnt end
emilie860517 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
i found this movie to be a complete waste of 96 minutes. jones was a weird kid and is severly messed up! According to my memory which might be wrong, wasnt he only 16 or 17 years old? **Spoiler** why did he leave college and rent an apartment with a two crazy girls who feud over boys for a pasttime? and the cowboy who lives underneath jones creeped me out too, how he knew what happened in the apartments didnt float past me for a minute. i do not understand his thinking about the girl that took pictures for fun and stayed in her room when mandy moore was always over and is was quite obvious that she wanted to be more than friends with him. i dont really find this movie funny or artsy or dramatic or anything, i found it to be stupid and a complete waste of time (D- F+)
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1/10
Wow! I can't believe I've wasted 90 minutes for nothing!
zehan_isback6 March 2012
This movie is a total disaster. Possibly the only good thing about this movie is the cast- Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore. I'm not a very big fan of Elijah or Mandy, but I've seen a couple of their movies, and they shine in their own ways. They're really great actors and even in this movie their acting is praiseworthy. The starting of the movie is... let's say a bit weird, yeah but that's okay sometimes. This evening i was watching this movie with a friend of mine. We thought why don't we stick with it a bit longer, it might get interesting later on, but we were so wrong. The script (although I doubt if there's any) is awful, the plot... well, i don't have a single clue about that! We watched the whole movie just to figure out- What the hell it's really about! It's just so boring, so annoying and kiddish with no real climax and the sudden (happy?)ending was something that you'll least expect... So terribly unrealistic!

There's many "feel good" romantic comedies out there that will leave you with a "feeling" which lingers for sometime. The only feeling i have now after watching this movie is disappointment/confusion. Some of the scenes have no connection to the main storyline at all and it seemed like i was flipping through TV channels.

There's a lot of good movies out there. Don't waste your time or money or good mood.

1 out of 10 and this is certainly going to my "worst movies ever" list.
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one line summary
pancake_repairman3 March 2004
This is quite possibly the stupidest movie I've ever seen. It starts out ok, it seemed like it could have gone somewhere, but the plot is basically non-existant. So much symbolism and surrealism and so little substance. Underdeveloped one dimensional relationships being blown up into some huge drama that makes no sense. Goofy comedic interludes that are so out of synch with the central focus of the film they make it seem like you're flicking channels. Not that there's much of a focus there anyway. The script seems fairly intelligent at first, but winds up seeming like a 15 year old's failed attempt at being profound.
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9/10
I Like it!
bijek-120 May 2003
Yes, I like this movie! It's not a blockbaster like Matrix 2 and LOTR. It's ordinary life! The only reason I watched this movie was Elijah Wood. He is incredibly sincere and nice. He has an ability to convey exactly what he is feeling through his eyes. Really he is most talented actor of his generation in Hollywood.
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A Very Enjoyable Movie...
fatty_lumpkin5421 July 2003
I own the movie and watched it for the first time last night. And I thought it was quite enjoyable. I wasn't sure if it would be good or not, but since I had heard such great things about it I decided to go ahead and purchase it. It was worth my money. I really liked it.
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10/10
In a word; Loved it! Oh wait, that's two...
Iron_Martyr11 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't said there are spoilers, because there is absolutely nothing you could call a twist. But if you haven't seen it, read this then DO! I think this is one of the best coming-of-age comedies there will ever be. Not because it was completely hilarious, but just because the content was honest, realistic and held many excellent performances. It starts with the very dreamy (in the out-of-it sense, though he is pretty fit) Elijah Wood (Jones Dillon, DON'T call him Frodo =D) turning up at collage and promptly deciding, 'f*** this, I'm out.' and simply leaving. It sounds ridiculous, but for some reason it just made sense. No-one noticed, especially not his parents, but we don't know that yet. He shacks up at this rather insane little building of flats, handing over $12,000 without a second thought and buying a load of furniture. I know some people are thoroughly annoyed by films that have no direction, and my fellow watcher said they were waiting for something to happen. But I think this movie just had so many perfect little events and witticisms that it did not matter in the slightest. My favourite scene is probably when the highly unpleasant sons of his over-flirtatious furniture-seller turn up and, instead of delivering his furniture begin to chuck it onto the sidewalk. Then, his gay (as yet unbeknown to us) cowboy downstairs-neighbour comes out with a huge gun as tells them in so many words that if they don't put down the furniture and p**s off, he'll blow off their man-hoods.

All in all, there is drama without soap-opera, comedy without smut and one of the most unplaceable accents in the history of cinema. It is sweet and adult at the same time, with enough angst not to be, you know, teen-angsty and the most corn-free family issues you could wish for. Also, his imagination plays part from time to time, delivering nude art teachers, bagel-delivering belly dancers and a bazooka for blowing away people who p**s him off. His character is very edgy, one second he's this adorably vulnerable little thing, the next he's a smoking, gun-toting revenge-wrecker. (Not to be taken utterly literally). You couldn't predict a single word his character is going to say, it's really strange. He arches from miserable little-boy-lost to independent risk-taker, it's a joy to see. Rigt at the end, I was so sure the movie would be unique in, the girl of his dreams gets away, and DOESN'T come to her senses. I really did, and I thought it was great. But it didn't matter. I failed to understand why she went back to the guitar-player, leather clad love-rat anyway. I really went off her, she sleeps with him when he's driving her up to the city (to her love-rat) as she's broken her leg, then acts like he's being the one in the wrong when he tells her it wasn't nothing and she shouldn't be doing this. DUH! How stupid are some women?! Ah well, it's all good in the end.

I have just one qualm, during the photo-shoot scene when she's telling him about herself and vice-versa, I swear her shirt changes! One minute, it's a black vest with a long sleeved net thing under it, then it's not netting, its see-through shiny stuff. The it changes back. It's not the light, thank you! I swear it isn't. Any thoughts, anyone? Anyway, 10/10!! Loved it a lot, and Elijah Wood is really hot! Never noticed before!
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10/10
Fantastic
Noff4 February 2004
I only saw this film for the first time a few weeks ago, when I was desperately clawing through the video store for trashy romance-comedies to help me get over a bad break-up. It had Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore on the front, and the synopsis had 'cheesy' written all over it; exactly what I wanted. However, I was in for a surprise. From the opening scene, I could tell that this film may actually turn out to be something universally better than what I had thought. The absolutely irresistible xylophone backing music to Jones (Elijah Wood) trudging through the college campus, trailing a huge chest was really promising. I became captivated by this movie after 5 minutes. Its clever combination of mystery, comedy and romance, topped off with this indescribable feel-good quality will make you leave with a smile. The humour is mild and is obviously not trying to be funny, which is perfect for the mood of the movie. There is just something instantly lovable about Jones' character and you'll begin to feel like you want to speak to him yourself. One of the best things about this movie is its unconventional approach to structure. You don't find out certain things and other things are simply forgotten, as though you are following Jones' life alone, and in real life, things are forgotten and interest is lost. The soundtrack is simply genius, whoever compiled the songs for this film needs to be given some money. This movie is magical. I can still watch it over and over again and fully appreciate its sheer charm. I would recommend this film to anyone who needs cheering up, or that likes movies.
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5/10
Try Seventeen Quirky But Ultimately Forgettable
CitizenCaine5 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This quirky, slice of life comedy/drama was never released to commercial theaters, and it's easy to see why. Nothing much happens in the film about a seventeen year old boy entering college as a freshman with inherited money. He quickly decides to leave the college dorm due to an obnoxious roommate and ends up renting a room in an old rooming-house peopled with three other eccentric characters. Eventually he learns more about life, supposedly, and himself without actually attending classes. Elijah Wood is acceptable as the seventeen year old direction-less youth more concerned with sex and finding the root cause of his troubled relationship with his mother played by Elizabeth Perkins. Franka Potente and Mandy Moore are the two odd women in adjacent rooms. Both are interesting actresses but ultimately forgettable characters as is Wood's in this film. Potente is always an interesting actress, but her character is so troubled in this film; it's hard to identify or sympathize with her. Moore is appropriately pretentious and shallow as a would be young actress looking for parts. Wood is caught up with choosing between the two, which also stretches the film's credibility quite a bit. Individual scenes are interesting at times, but the film eventually adds up to nothing much and ends in a sappy, unbelievable fashion to boot. Deborah Harry is wasted as a furniture store owner cougar. ** of 4 stars.
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7/10
It could have made a great series, with all its complex characters. But we look for realism in here.
silver_vido_0121 August 2006
Looking at the DVD for the first time, I thought that it would be interesting to see how three so different actors/actresses fit in to work as a movie. Lisa(Mandy Moore), an aspiring actress that gets too overly attached to Jones(Elijah Wood) very quickly is distressed by a seeming affection and curiosity of Jones to the photographer next door, Jane(Franka Potente).

ALong with the series of mishaps, overly sexed furniture dealers and satires with Jones' typewriting, the movie isn't that bad. I can imagine how the director envisioned this coming up of age movie, but at some times things just doesn't work out well. Obviously, it was not the famed movie stardom for its celeb cast with big names, and for a Mandy MOore fan as strong as I am, I would have expected more than just an amateur part.

THe end of the story could have been dealt with further passion and facts that would affect the overall theme quite better. Touch me touch me, on Moore's character play won't just cut it well.

The DVD description and overall featurettes are horrid too. No additional scenes, commentaries whatsoever, only New Line cinema upcoming lists of independent films and a bunch more.

Overall, Mandy Moore, Franka Potente and Elijah Wood brought this movie to it's height at some point, but even the trio's star power can't save another hollwood cliché in the falling list of movie again. Too much things going on in a short end story of being 17, characters that seem to not fit at times, and Mandy's ridiculous part didn't make the movie good enough. Love is also brought part to this if I haven't told you guys, but apparently a Seventeen Year Old's life is too overly interesting for the rest of us. It just doesn't seem realistic at times.
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Quite simply, this is an awful film.
SulphurMan18 September 2003
I bought this DVD because it featured Franka Potente, and I am a huge fan of her work. I should not have been surprised to find that she turns in the only noteworthy performance and that her presence is the only thing that kept me from tossing a chair into the television screen.

Films like this bother me, and its obvious to see now why this never got a theatrical release. "All I Want" treads water in a sea of cliches, it features some terrible, awful acting from just about everybody, and it offers absolutely nothing in terms of pure entertainment. Predictability is in and throughout the film, and the director is trying to make something happen in terms of sexual chemistry, slapstick humour and dialogue that is not even remotely convincing.

Furtheremore, this film illustrates the sham that is Elijah Wood. Hate to break it to the teeny bopper squad out there, but the fact Elijah Wood is a payed and popular actor in Hollywood is a sign of Hollywood's total and utter decay. There are probably at least 1,000 other more talented male actors who could have taken on this role and given it more than the "furrowed brow-im confused-what is happening-this is all so new-oh golly gosh" expression that he kept delivering time after time in every scene. It just got boring watching him trip over this mindless material and after awhile it got plain obnoxious. He is overrated on every level and this film reinforces that belief.

Mandy Moore doesnt get a whole lot of screen time, which was surprising, but once again, its obvious why: she is at best a mediocre actress. The backup cast in this movie are weak and go down sour. Given lines that are re-hashed and cliche, I felt embarrased for most of them as they trudged through this disaster. Debby Harry? What the heck is Blondie doing in a flick like this? So very strange.

Like I said, only Potente offers something even remotely watchable here. Her performance is at the very least an honest charecter study and done with some sort of bravado. The fact that she took this role in the first place doesnt sit well with me though. I guess everyone makes bad decisions...

All I Want by Jefferey Porter. 2 out of 10. Seriously. Stay far away!
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Could have been so much more
slytheringirl1216 January 2004
I'm a huge Elijah Wood fan...but this movie was strange and incoherent in many aspects. The story line was thin, but interesting enough...a guy out on his own, discovering his sexuality and leaving childhood behind etc. But there was something lacking in this movie. The essence of the film simply wasn't there and it was hollow. Mandy Moore's performance was wanting, but enjoyed Franka Potente's performance and I thought she and Elijah had chemistry. Their relationship was the only thing that kept me interested. Everything was odd and unexplained. They could have really dug deeper into Jones' mother's character (Liz Perkins still looks great) and his father, but it didn't. Instead we were shown some very odd dream sequences and a lot of things that really didn't make sense.
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6/10
like the pairing
SnoopyStyle27 September 2020
College freshman Jones Dillon (Elijah Wood) drops out after an infuriating first day. As part of his inheritance from his grandfather, he had to attend the his old alma mater. He'd rather not move in with his hard-drinking mother Blanche (Elizabeth Perkins) and he has no memories of his long gone father. He moves out of his dorm room with its annoying roommate and moves into an old house which has been subdivided into apartments. Three of his neighbors are the volatile photographer Jane (Franka Potente), aspiring actress Lisa (Mandy Moore), and gun toting painter Brad. He writes violent fantasies from real life incidents and shoves them all into his luggage trunk.

This indie is directed by Jeffrey Porter. I don't think he's any good. He's trying to be quirky but at times, he's making it annoying. I'm fine with the annoying ska roommate. In a way, he's a bit funny but the couple in the car is way too annoying. Then there are the fantasies. They are guns and sex and very seventeen as in imagined by a seventeen year old boy. It's all a high school fantasy in this movie except Wood and Potente actually achieve some chemistry. Despite the amateurish touches, their romance gets to an interesting place and the movie is worth something.
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5/10
'Try Seventeen' Tries too Hard, yet Not Hard Enough
ascheland16 September 2012
That the reach of "All I Want" (a.k.a. "Try Seventeen") exceeds its grasp wouldn't be so damning if it weren't for the fact that the movie isn't reaching that far. Elijah Wood plays 17-year-old virgin Jones Dillon, his very name sounding like an indie film contrivance. The shell-shocked Jones drops out of college on his first day and, lugging a large trunk behind him, moves into an old apartment house that is sort of a de facto artists colony. His neighbors include Brad (Aaron Pearl), a gay painter with a serious cowboy fetish (and who, it's revealed later, can restore a totaled BMW to like-new condition seemingly in a matter of hours); Jane (Franka Potente), a surly photographer getting over a bad relationship; and Lisa (Mandy Moore), an aspiring actress and least eccentric of the building's residents.

Jones has some eccentricities of his own, like writing letters to a father he never knew and slipping into sexy fantasies that come to life on screen but evaporate before things get too sexy. The letters to Dad are never mailed. Instead, they are collected in that trunk of his (real luggage for his metaphorical baggage). Lisa tries to seduce Jones, but Jones, naturally, finds the grumpy, dark-haired Jane more intriguing. Between Jones' interactions with his neighbors are frequent calls to his mother back in Texas (Elizabeth Perkins, one of the movie's high points), who wanders around her large home wearing peignoirs and belting back highballs. She nags him to come home; he nags her to tell him about his father. Hang up. Repeat.

"All I Want" is an indie comedy, but it never quite settles on the type of indie comedy it wants to be. It's mostly quirky, though there are jarring attempts at camp, like when Jones goes to a second-hand store run by Deborah Harry, done up like she's in a John Waters movie and acting accordingly. Often, though, it's just pretentious — painfully so at times, especially when Mandy Moore is speaking. Her acting is competent, but the mannered dialog sounds false coming from her pouty lips. To steal a line from critic Nathan Rabin, you can hear the writing.

"All I Want" reminded me of the indie comedies that crowded video store shelves in the 1990s, the kind that starred Keanu Reeves, Eric Stoltz, Suzy Amis and Harry Dean Stanton: movies that were too off-center for mainstream consumption, too safe to satisfy an art house audience. "All I Want" is not much worse than those movies, but it's not any better, either.
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