Archie Williams is a 17-year old media geek who has suddenly found himself the most talked-about kid in school. He has announced that he's going to kill himself- on camera- for a class project. His classmates, parents, Sierra- the most beautiful girl in school, and a "Shady Bunch" of shrinks, doctors, pill-pushers, and counselors descend on Archie. Some are hoping to save him, some want to imitate him, others try to push him over the brink. Archie films every moment of his high school experience, hiding nothing from his audience: realities of life, death, violence, sex, drugs, and the intense media overload and hypocrisy that bombard all teenagers.Written by
Steven Jay Rubin, Executive Producer
Why are "teen movies" synonymous with campy, cheesecake, potty humor flicks that numb your brain into senselessness? Don't get me wrong, I loved "Porky's" as much as any hormone-drenched youth. But here, it's a real treat to see a "teen flick" with some real guts.
I hope my first paragraph didn't scare you off, because it would've scared me off if I'd been told that this film is about teen issues. Been there, done that, never wanna go back. My entire life was "The Breakfast Club" only I never got the girl :( But "Archie's Final Project" is done in such a creative, provocative way that you'll find yourself glued to the screen from the first 5 minutes.
Archie introduces the film by announcing he's going to kill himself by the end. This simple trick establishes a feeling of suspense that never lets up, even during the lighter, comedic moments. Note: do NOT miss the deleted scene on the DVD featuring the hilarious Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Spinal Tap, etc) as the new-age healer. Perhaps they cut it because it was TOO funny.
As the title suggests, "Archie's Final Project" is his project for a high school video class. With that premise it can get away with a lot of quirky, over-stylized, A.D.D. type effects as only a teenage amateur film student could do. But in it you'll find a degree of poetry, depth and authenticity that only a teenage amateur film student could do. Stylistically, it's daring enough to do things that most directors would be afraid to try. But it's not just empty style. The themes are very deep, and (largely thanks to David Carradine playing the magnetic & enigmatic cult poet) it injects some profound philosophy in the midst of the spectacle.
Like I said, it's very authentic. This is largely due to an excellent performance by Gabriel Sunday as the loner kid whom nobody really knows about. Basically the whole film is a string of his monologues, but they never get boring. A nice touch was the way he constantly slips into doing impressions of classic films, including but not limited to: The Deer Hunter, The Matrix, Cool Hand Luke, Apocalypse Now, and half a dozen others I didn't recognize.
In all, this film makes me think of how Catcher in the Rye would've been if set in modern times with HD cameras and multimedia editing software. It's literature on the big screen. Absolutely brilliant.
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