TRUE ADOLESCENTS DVD Review
TRUE ADOLESCENTS, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2009, is now available for the first time on DVD. True Adolescents stars Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair) as Sam, an aging and hapless musician who is still hanging on to the dream of obtaining a recording contract. At 34 years old, with no job and no home, Sam is forced to face the truths he has kept masked for so long when a weekend trip with his nephew, Oliver and his friend, Jake in the rugged Cascade Mountains doesn’t go quite as planned.
From the very beginning of True Adolescents, the indie almost 90s vibe is set from the credits to the music, featuring such bands as Band of Horses and The Black Keys. Knowing nothing about this movie, I envisioned it would be a watered down and lighter version of last year’s Hesher. With Sam throwing one liners and acting every bit the adolescent that the title implies, it was not until he took the boys camping that I realized the movie was about something much more.
True Adolescents is a coming of age movie. What makes it different, though, is that every character comes of age – the 34 year old that should already be there and the teens who are going through the usual growth and experiences, and some not so usual ones. The movie is tense and the relationship between all three only heightens the tension. At times it seemed unbearable, but it always felt real. Even the ending of the movie felt realistic rather than a nicely tied up cliched happy ending.
Mark Duplass was excellent in his role as Sam, but I think the real credit goes to the actors that played Oliver and Jake. Bret Loehr plays Oliver and was in the movie Identity as well as has appeared in many TV shows including recently, Raising Hope. Carr Thompson played Jake and was a newcomer to acting at the time the movie was made. Since then he has appeared in an episode of Criminal Minds. Jake was a very complex character, but Carr seemed a natural at it.
The DVD alsals contained bonus features including:
Behind the Scenes – An 18 minute behind-the-scenes look with the cast, crew, writers, and producers, all talking about how the movie was made. Craig Johnson, the writer and director, talks about how he wrote and made the movie. Thomas Woodrow, the producer, talks about how they chose Mark Duplass and the actors that played Oliver and Jake. There was also much love given to Michelle Leo who plays Sam’s sister.
Deleted Scenes – There were 11 in these total as well as an alterate ending. Each deleted scene could be watched with or without the commentary on. I first watched them without commentary, but then went back to listen to the commentary as I was interested in the reasoning behind each deleted scenes, most of which I agreed with. Also, I preferred the actual ending to the alternate ending pretty much for the same reasoning given on the commentary.
True Adolescents is a good movie. It was not what I was expecting, which is probably good. It is not just an adult in denial about his life and what he has accomplished, but it goes deeper to explore what he can offer others while doing a little bit of self realization as well. I would definitely recommend this movie, so go pick it up!