16 to Life (2009) Poster


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A Kiss for Kate
HRoss0079 September 2010
A wonderful coming of age comedy that shows Hallee Hirsh is ready to move from Child Supporting Roles to Leading Lady. Trapped in her innocence as well as her Ice Cream Stand for her 16th birthday, Kate (played by Hallee Hirsh), interacts with co-workers and customers who seem to conspire to make her 16th birthday miserable This is Iowa! Trains, River Barges, and Combines move on past as young people feel trapped in small places and small roles. Small town life and characters are no match for the adventures Kate has read about from the Holocaust to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The story as written and directed by Becky Smith is comprised of many short funny scenes that could stand on their own, but weave an image of small town Iowa for a girl who is ready to grow up and grow out of her confinement.

I was lucky to get Ticket #1 to this sold out performance in Cedar Rapids, with Special Guests Becky Smith, Hallee Hirsh, Ryan Gourley, Nicholas Downs, and Vaughn Halyard. Becky and Hallee autographed my copies of their IMDb Film Credits. Let's make MORE Movies in IOWA! But for Now - kudos to Hallee - and a well deserved Kiss for Kate!
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Excellent "smart" coming of age film
Rieta Greenwell13 September 2010
Superb casting and screen writing - really enjoyed and got into this little gem of a movie - cheered for the lead as the movie went along. Finally a smart character in this type of movie - one who stands for what she wants without giving in to the dumb decisions around her. You'll could compare the role of Kate to some of the best teen lead characters around. Possibly a breakout role for Hallee Hirsch - see this movie if you can - it's a self-distributed indie by Becky Smith - this is the quality type of movie that Hollywood would be proud to put out (if it wanted to!) The director, lead actor and another actor did a good Q & A following our showing at the Rave in Omaha. Besides superb casting and smart writing, the camera work exhibited outstanding color and great close-ups. This movie was clearly superior to two Hollywood films I saw the same weekend (The American with George Clooney and Cairo Time with Patricia Clarkson). See it!
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This Ain't No Mystic Pizza
nammage4 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One of the reviewers here compared this film to "Mystic Pizza". I have "Mystic Pizza" on DVD, and last watched it about four months ago, and this ain't no "Mystic Pizza". The only thing comparable is that they're both restaurants that serve pizza (though I never saw pizza being served in this film) and they are in a city that's by the water. That's it. Oh, and it's mainly women who work there. Also this film is mainly about teenage girls and the other about adult women.

There's a lot of flaws and unresolved and cliché elements in this film. And some hypocritical elements such as the main character, Kate, not applying her advice to her best friend, to herself. All in all, it was a sweet movie that pushed clichë to the wall. All the normal clichéd characters: the jock-type character who is the creepy guy who will be that guy who takes advantage of girls in college but ultimately hooks up with a girl who comes off as a slut-type girl in this film who's a virgin herself but acts like she knows everything when she knows nothing. Then minor cliché characters that don't necessarily evolve past anything such as the Russian blonde ditzy female and the cook who's gay, the viewer knows it, he (the cook) knows it but no one else in the film seems to pick up on it for whatever reason; and what's up about all the bikers and the two girls hiding in the freezer? Never explained that. Also the whole thing about Louise and Ronald? While it seemed to be going somewhere, the movie ended before more could be delved into that, and Louise's son and why he dislikes his mother so much. It never really developed these characters and/or their stories. It just ended.

The focus is on Kate, which is fine, the film supposedly is about her; she's the focus but they add these subplots and then don't really go anywhere with them. If this film is actually to be compared to any film it would be "Never Been Kissed" with Drew Barrymore; the characters are even similar. It's a sweet movie. That's it. Normally I would rate this a four or five out of ten since it was overly cliché, added subplots that didn't go anywhere and when explaining some things it was just too far from when needing to be explained (too much time in the film passed) I ceased to care but it was a sweet movie. I enjoyed it.
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One Of Those " Pleasant Surprises "
syerra1 May 2012
This was one of those, "Well, I have two hours to kill; let's try it" type of movie, and then finding yourself extremely happy you did! Very well thought-out and acted by everyone involved ( good casting! ) Absolutely captured the absurdity yet hilarity of small-town existence. You would never get the chance to get to know these types of characters in a big city. Maybe a little more geared for the sixteen to twenty-five age group, but that's OK. No grand special effects; just easy dialog and likable characters. Also, being from the Midwest I tend to like movies made in the Midwest. No nudity; no real violence (a fight but doesn't get crazy.) Enjoy!
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A Superb, Endearing, Charming Film -- A Better "Mystic Pizza"
jsteiger25 May 2012
This delightful little indie film focuses on a group of teenagers (and one adult) running a tiny fast food operation in the middle of a small town in Iowa.

The main protagonist, Kate, is turning 16 today and has never been kissed.

Keenly intelligent, independent-minded, wholesomely attractive with a good set of values, she's everything most parents could wish for in a 16 year old daughter.

Beautifully photographed and edited, well cast and charmingly acted, this film surpasses almost anything big-studio Hollywood has made in recent years dealing with the topic of coming of age and romance.

It manages to succeed at doing this without any of the blatantly contrived and self-conscious plot manipulations that characterize most attempts at the genre.

In its emotional range and choice of topics, this film will strike many as a light-hearted, and in most ways superior alternative to "Mystic Pizza."
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Great indie movie
Mary Blackwood4 April 2012
It's so cool to see a movie that's about women and their lives. Acting is excellent throughout, the script is witty, and the whole movie is deeply fulfilling. Kate is a great character, a teenage girl who goes about freeing herself from her small-town constraints. It's not just about the teenagers, though, because the adults also get to grow and learn. In fact it's the relationship between Kate and Louise that is the heart of the film, one young girl wanting to stretch herself, and her older friend who remembers her own youth as she watches Kate grow and have new experiences.

Really worth seeing. The film world is full of stories of teenage boys dealing with their adolescences. I'd love to see more exploration of the stories of teenage girls, and "16 to Life" is a great one.
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What a Great Surprise
bill-hair18 October 2011
*** BEFORE SEEING THE MOVIE *** If you are a parent and squeamish about some foul language and minor explicit sexual conversations (less than 5 minutes total), then you may not want to watch this movie. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are looking for titillation or nudity, this is not the movie for you. Those who are squeamish and can get through it, you will be thoroughly entertained by this movie. *** BEFORE SEEING THE MOVIE ***

The movie is well written and feels like you are looking into the lives of the characters. Settings are very simple and the majority of the movie takes place in the workplace. The movie also deals with very different and some difficult situations and how each person reacts from the initial discovery through the final outcome. What is truly amazing is that each person plays an important role in the movie and at times, is the star. No synopsis here, just my thoughts on why you should see this movie.


Great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone sixteen and above.
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