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Opening in the mid-70's and then picking up sometime in the 80's, "The Education of Charlie Banks" tells the story of a bully (Jason Ritter) who appears as some sort of boogeyman to the title character (Jesse Eisenburg). Though the two make acquaintances as teenagers, it isn't until his college years that Charlie finds himself being truly haunted by the ultra-violent hot-head when he shows up unexpectedly in the dorm-room he shares with his childhood friend (Chris Marquette). Slowly, he works his way into Charlie's life, tagging along in spite of the fact that he never quite fits in. Has this friend from the past changed his ways, or is he just a hot-head ready to blow at any minute?
Without a doubt, the film was influenced by the films of Martin Scorsese (see the "Raging Bull" poster in Charlie's room) and although it's not quite in the same league, it's a noble effort nevertheless. The film reaches for lofty heights, and thanks to its credible cast, reaches them. You'll feel immersed in the characters and situations in "The Education of Charlie Banks" and while it's ending doesn't exactly resolve anything, ultimately resembles reality a bit closer than the average coming-of-age story. It's a well-written and well-paced story directed almost effortlessly by Durst that should intrigue the interested and silence the critical.
Jesse Eisenberg is Charlie, and we see glimpses of his character in grade school. He is a timid sort, and we see a kid his age who hangs around with older kids, smokes, and appears to be a "hot head."
In high school, the bully kid, Mick, gets angry, beats a larger guy to near death in his anger. To do the right thing Charlie, a witness to the attack, reports Mick, and the police arrest him. Charlie's friend Danny doesn't approve, because he is also friends with Mick. It gets a bit complicated.
However a few years pass, Charlie is in college at a pastoral campus in upstate NY, Mick and his trouble are long forgotten. That is, until Charlie comes back to his dorm room, shared with Danny, and finds Mick there. Shocked, Charlie wonders if Mick has come to get revenge. It is unclear why Mick is there, and how long he will stay, and soon he is "auditing" courses.
I never much cared for Jason Ritter as an actor, but here as bad boy Mick he is very good. Maybe that is the key, he is made for bad boy roles. Eva Amurri is Mary, the college girl that Charlie likes, but that Mick steals away. And Chris Marquette (of Joan of Arcadia) is Danny.
SPOILERS: Mick seems to be toying with Charlie, at once seeming to be ready to beat him to a pulp or then playing around with him. Mick is a dangerous person and Charlie treats him that way. It turns out Mick is on the run from the law, after getting into a fight and beating someone to death. He has a close similar incident on campus when insulted by someone. Finally Mick disappears, we don't know his fate, but we do see that he is troubled, he understands his fault but doesn't know how to deal with it.
Kudos to Durst and hope to see him in the future with stronger actors and better budgets.
Peter Eckoff wrote this screenplay about some college students in the 1970's at Brown Univ. in Rhode Island. The screenplay is quite intelligent & not the usual college days & nights stuff we usually see.
However I felt that the ending was a letdown & to me it hurt MY overall enjoyment of this very well acted & made drama. There are many comic moments BUT this is primarily a drama.
Jesse Eisenburg is Charlie & he is just first rate. Jason Ritter who has usually done lighter roles is just magnificent as a confused non conformist & bully. Chris Marquette is there buddy & has most of the funny lines.
This is one trio I would like to see again.
Eva Amurri is also first rate as a love interest.the entire cast are all first rate.
This is another low budget film that only had a very short USA run in March 2009. & released to DVD 3 months later.
This is a darn good film,I just did not care for the ending. See it, you may or may not agree with me on the ending, BUT I feel you all will like it. It also is a wee bit overlong.
Ratings: *** (out of 4) 84 points (out of 100) IMDb 7 (out of 100)
Nevertheless, I do have to praise Fred Durst for evolving. He has come long way from directing music videos to the big screen. He displayed so much maturity through music choices in this film and long drone camera staring into the characters. Also, to get a dramatic gig like this film and to bring forth so much emotion off the characters/story was just good for Fred. He really tried to capture the mentality of teenagers/young adult. it was very good first choice for Fred Durst. I am very much impressed by his first attempt. (o yes I love the guy, he was so humble and awesome guy when I met him at TRL in 2003)
Mick on the other hand reveals his complex nature and shows he's not just a bully with a difficult upbringing but someone who has compassion and is a loyal friend. Without a doubt Ritter is the star of this film, not Eisenberg.
The talent performed by the wonderful actors in this movie will make each a household name. I was blown away at their ability to captivate the audience and hold everyone's attention to the end of the movie.
People laughed, cried, and gasped during the premier and I didn't see anyone go for refreshments during the film. That should tell everyone how exciting it was! Thank you for allowing me to express my views on this premier. If you haven't seen it, write into your movie theaters and demand it be shown. It is worth it!
Jason Ritter's acting wasn't bad, but the character that he played seemed to be a bit exaggerated and over the top. One of the minor characters, Mr. Banks (Charlie's father) played by Dennis Boutsikaris was good, but it was a relatively small roll. Sebastian Stan (Leo) seems like a good actor, but the nature of his character seemed unbelievable.
There really didn't seem to be much of a story, so of course, it never really went anywhere. I couldn't recommend this movie to anyone.
There was a few good songs used as background, but that certainly doesn't make for a good movie on it's own.
There aren't a lot of comments on the movie at this point, and almost all of them are glowing in their praise. I felt obligated to post a negative opinion. This is not a good movie.
I kept waiting for something of significance to occur but aside from some pretty girls and a short hot-tub scene it's a fast forward movie. It's a poor version of 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'.
The writing is a little bit wonky and the directing from Fred Durst is unimaginative. Eisenberg is good as his usual nervous weakling character. Ritter is ill-fitting as the vicious explosive Mick. I really don't understand where that character is suppose to be but Ritter is not nearly tough enough. I don't blame him for stretching but he's not right for the role. Overall, it's an uneven but otherwise interesting coming-of-age movie.
The other way you can look at this film is as a Fred Durst production. Considering he was the director, you're ready to give it more credit than it would be worth straight out of the bat. It is quite impressive on his part that he was able to put this together (if such was the case), even if marks of a certain lack of experience are visible throughout. First we have the screenplay - some of what the characters are saying is repetitive and at times nonsensical. The dialogue could have been more elaborate - that would certainly have upped the quality and believability quotient - not that the film strays too far from reality - in fact it tends to steer back on track and find it's way safely to the end, yet scenes such as the one when Jason Ritter is in the bar by himself with only a few "workers" around him and the things the barman spouts there. These exhibitions of class demarcation and the like are ultimately unreal. There is also an ongoing attack at "rich people" in general, when the case being considered is that of the spoiled offspring of some rich people - not all "rich people" are worthy of scorn. Second there is the unnecessary use of swear words. At a certain point in the film these just become tiring. Not that films should forcefully not contain these, the simple fact is a film reads differently than, say, a rap album with explicit content.
However you look at it, notwithstanding, the film still pulls through successfully. Considering the kind of garbage being thrown our way these days, The Education Of Charlie Banks stands. The title is fitting; indeed, even if we may think otherwise, Charlie is the one who ends up learning from things. He in a way corrects his ways and makes the right choice. He shows humanity, he tries to be cooperative as opposed to being oppressive. Here the film triumphs, in that it reveals a positive message.
Kudos to otherwise career-dead Durst for carrying this one through; let's hope he learns from his mistakes and rises to make better things? One can't help but think this could have been so immensely better with a different director, yet it is still surprising that it was carried under his wing.
Jason Ritter is the one who educates young Charlie Banks who is played by Jesse Eisenberg. If this were made in 1987 their roles would have been played by Rob Lowe and James Spader respectively. In fact the film has some similarity to a film they did co-star in back in the day called Bad Influence.
Eisenberg is this nerdy rich kid who has been fascinated by tough kid Ritter since childhood. At one point he called the police on Ritter after at a party Ritter beat up and left two others badly injured, but later recanted and Ritter was set free.
Years later while at college Ritter comes to visit, ostensibly to visit Eisenberg's roommate Chris Marquette who also knew Eisenberg back in the day. He insinuates himself into college life, maybe a little too much.
Jason Ritter does a fine job in displaying both charisma and tension at the same time. We know what a violent individual he is, we can never know what little thing might set him off. And does he know exactly what Eisenberg almost did to him years ago?
Sebastian Stan is also in the cast playing what back in the day would be called a wastrel. Here he's just a rich kid floating through the halls of higher learning, just training to be a wastrel. I've met a few like that before and after and Stan's portrayal rings true. I did kind of like what Ritter did to him.
The Education Of Charlie Banks takes you back to 1985 to what some call the good old days.
Durst has been out of the mainstream spotlight for a number of years. People who were in junior high or high school a decade ago know him as the manic lead singer of Limp Bizkit. The group's history of going from underground rock group to TRL darlings to pop music poison is well known. The group had a hard fall, and Durst particularly was shunned by his music peers (including Eminem).
"Behind The Music" show idea aside, Durst really shows some talent in his directorial debut. "The Education of Charlie Banks" is quite impressive. It's not a perfect movie, but its weaknesses stem mostly from the story, not the efforts of the actors or director.
Jesse Eisenberg is Charlie Banks, a mild-mannered kid from New York City who grows up knowing a kid in his neighborhood named Mick (Jason Ritter). Mick is the definition of a rebel without a cause as he walks with a swagger with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and this is only when he's ten.
The movie begins with a young Charlie seeing Mick through a school bus window, as his friend Danny informs him about Mick's reputation. It's only when Charlie and Danny graduate high school that Charlie actually meets Mick.
Through voice-overs, Charlie refers to Mick as a bully, which isn't entirely accurate. Mick isn't the kind of bully who steals people's lunch money or beats them up without cause, and he doesn't target Charlie at any point. He does, however, have a violent temper, resulting in a no-holds-barred fight with two jocks that nearly kills them. Charlie justifiably reports the incident to the police, much to the chagrin of Danny (Chris Marquette).
One year later, Charlie and Danny are in an Ivy League school (which one, the movie doesn't say, but it's a typical New England private college). One day, Charlie is taken by surprise when Mick comes to visit Danny (apparently they are good friends). While Mick initially was supposed to stay for just a few days, he ends up staying for a month as he hangs out with Charlie and Danny, sits in on their classes, and even develops a relationship with Charlie's crush, Mary (Eva Amurri).
There are no doubt a lot of elements to this story, and one of the film's strengths is its great acting by all involved, and solid character development. Jesse Eisenberg plays the same milquetoast character he did in "Roger Dodger" (2002) and "Adventureland" (2009), and that sort of role certainly plays to his strengths. He actually provides a great contrast to Jason Ritter, whose performance in this movie is arguably his best to date. As Mick, Ritter provides the perfect balance between intimidation and charm, similar to (dare I say it) James Dean in "Rebel Without A Cause" (1955) and "Giant" (1956). He's a fish out of water in a private college setting among middle and upper class kids, but he's still a fish that moves to his own beat.
I really liked how his charm earned him respect, but his temper, particularly when he got into fights, led to his losing that respect. It was completely believable how people reacted to him in both situations, most especially Eva Amurri. Amurri, like Ritter, is an up-and-coming actor who happens to be the child of someone famous (Jason Ritter's dad is the late John Ritter, whereas Amurri is Susan Sarandon's daughter). However, both of them really shine in this movie, and earn their place in this movie regardless of whom they are related to.
With the strong acting came some weaknesses in the story that, had they been edited out, could have actually strengthened the film greatly. First, when Charlie informs the police about Mick's assault and battery, he ultimately withdraws his testimony solely at the urging of his friend Danny. That part didn't feel necessary because Charlie, at that point, had no personal connection to Mick, and he didn't seem to be in fear that Mick would come after him. It would have been better if they had just cut that part out altogether, because had Charlie gone through with his testimony, it would have created even more tension between the two characters later on.
Also, there was a missed potential to create a true love triangle between Charlie, Mick, and Mary. I just never got a real sense of how Charlie felt about Mick moving in on his crush, and whether he was actually jealous or not. It could have been because Eisenberg underplayed that part of his character, or that there should have been more close-ups on his face. The big mistake came when Danny spoke about Charlie "over there just sitting around moping". It seems like a common enough thing to say, but it is telling, not showing.
Finally, I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out, where Charlie (again, in voice over narration) talks about what became of Mick after the film's climax. When you actually hear him explain how Mick made his exit, it will just sound hokey and entirely unrealistic. Plus, it's even more telling, not showing.
These faults are mostly those of the script, not the director. Fred Durst's egomania cost him his music career, but he has really redeemed himself with this movie. It's not until the closing credits roll and you see his name that you realize the director was the same guy who went ape on stage during Woodstock '99. The new Durst shows real talent as a director, and can sit back (not even making a cameo) and let the story take you in.
I'm watching all of Sebastian Stan's movies, and of course this one was on the list, so I decided to spend this hot summer night watching this movie.
And what a surprise!
I honestly don't know where to begin. OK, I know where to begin.
The director of this film, Mr. Fred Durst. All those that know me know how much I hate Limp Bizkit (still do) and especially Fred Durst. But I have to be fair, and after watching this movie I have to say why the hell isn't this guy making movies instead of making awful music? I have to bite my tongue now, and say congratulations for a job very well done. I wasn't really expecting it.
But don't expect me to say the same thing about the band lol.
The settings, edition, and picture of the movie are beautiful. The music was very well chosen and perfect for every scene.
The actors: the cast is perfect. Especially the way Jesse Eisenberg played Charlie, and Jason Ritter played Mick.
You get immersed so easily in the story and with the characters that you want to be one more of the group. The choices we make and how they shape our life, our future. The way things can affect your life, especially family, money, growing up in a good environment, friends, motivations, opportunities you see all that in this movie.
This movie tends to play with your emotions and makes you hesitate, if I had been in Charlie's shoes, what would I've done? Was he right or wrong? If someone don't have many opportunities in life and grew up in a poor environment, is the other person guilty for life or should that person get a second, even a third opportunity? Should we just sit down, judge them and throw them away or should we take the time to make the difference even if its not an easy thing to do?
Since my reason for watching this movie was Sebastian Stan, I have to say I loved Leo, he's the friend we would all love to have, fun, friendly, easygoing, charming and did I say fun? Sure he did one bad thing but hey we're not perfect, are we? I loved the way Sebastian played Leo and I would've loved to see more scenes with him in the movie. oh and when I saw the ocean I thought 'it would be great if they all grab Leo and throw him off into the water', seconds later bang! They did it, I was laughing.
Love, friendship, fun, experimentation, loyalty, friendzone, lessons of life, its all here.
The film has a melancholic tone, Mick drifting through university halls and wandering what his life might have been like had he not been a victim of circumstance. Coming from a violent, lower class background, Mick was never given the chance to pursue academic interests or make much of his life. Suddenly surrounded by rich kids and smart students, he feels jealous and left behind.
Toward the end of the film it is revealed that Mick is visiting his buddies because he's hiding from the cops and trying to jump a murder charge. When his friends learn of this, they all turn against him. The film then mentions French philosopher Jacques Derrida's writings on deconstruction, the point being that were society to "deconstruct" Mick's life, upbringing and past, they would sympathise with him and understand his actions. Jesse Eisenberg's character realises this, learns to view Mick with sympathy rather than as a bully, but by then it's too late. The cops arrive and Mick disappears again, doomed to a life on the run. An outcast, because the world looks without seeing.
The film is not as good as Hal Ashby's "The Last Detail", the film it most resembles, but it is as good as "Scent of a Woman", "Bad Influence" and "Starter For Ten", all of which cover similar material. The film's direction is competent, but the plot is largely held together by several young actors who rise above the material, most notably Jason Ritter and Eva Amurri. The usually annoying Jesse Eisenberg does well here (though his geeky persona gets old fast), particularly the look of horror on his face when he witnesses a boy being attacked.
The film contains several references to Scorsese (posters, dialogue, references to "Mean Streets" etc), but whatever pretensions it has toward being a gritty drama erode come the film's very rushed ending. Another flaw includes the script's contemptuous treatment of its rich white students, a tactic used to engender sympathy for Mick. Such tactics go against the very message of the film.
8/10 – Though it can't touch "The Last Detail", this is nevertheless a very good independent film. Worth one viewing.
This flick is wonderfully scripted, casted, acted, directed, edited, etc. The story will take you into Charlie Banks life and the people in his life. It also shows how Mick (the dorm mates friend) doesn't belong in a setting outside of his world of street life.
This is where the story became most compelling for me when Mick has just enough maturity and comprehension to engage himself into the privileged well educated circle of students. Even Charlie believes there is possibly more to Mick than meets the eye. Mick even has a sense of duty when the spoiled yuppie boy fails to return the key to a girl whom he has used to fulfill his idea of 'having fun'. Even Mick deludes himself into thinking he's 'one of them' through his friendship with Mary.
Mick is wrong because when he tries to explain himself to his friends all the brief knowledge he repeats makes no sense to those who properly learned it. Mick is in over his head so he turns to the only thing he truly understands with disastrous results!
How anyone disliked this movie - I don't understand.
My Review on "the education of Charlie banks" I actually bought this DVD in the bargain bin, looked interesting and finally popped it in, and was very surprised to see Mister Durst's name in the credits. I wasn't even sure if it was him, until I came here, after watching the movie. I don't know the guy, although you hear things, and I'm not a person who bases opinions on mass hysteria, or rumors. I like to give everyone a chance to personally give me an impression. His music wasn't my cup of tea, but I wouldn't go as far as to say he sucks...Ever watch the American idol auditions? However, he may have found his niche as a director. The story was humdrum, but the directing, and the atmosphere of this movie was definitely pretty good. How can anyone say this is the worst movie they've ever seen.
My problem with the movie was mostly story..Had some interesting points, but not enough to burn the midnight oil thinking it's going to be a ground breaking script. Plus a lot of it went nowhere. The dialog was well written, but the story...I was also displease on how they made Mick the bad guy when he stuck up for that nerdy girl who could lose her financial aid. Good for him for sticking up for her, yet now he is a hated monster, when he gave that guy a well deserved ass kicking? Yeah he took Charlie's love interest, but that was his own fault, for handling it the way he did. He didn't step up his game, not that he is the kind of guy to have game, but he could at least been a little more sly about keeping them separated. In fact Charlie's character was not very likable. Mick said it best, when he calls him a "cold b*tch" I think the movie would have been better without Charlie's character, and just kept it with Mick and Charlie's friend.
I applaud the directing, the acting, and the cinematography. If you're going to hate on this movie, at least be fair, and intelligent about it.