August 2000:

Every month a new video pick is reviewed.

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This month's review by YMS Staffer: Ben




(click to purchase)


Apt Pupil (1998)
Directed by Bryan Singer
cast :

Brad Renfro .... Todd Bowden
Ian McKellen .... Kurt Dussander
Joshua Jackson .... Joey
Mickey Cottrell .... Sociology Teacher
Michael Reid MacKay .... Nightmare Victim
Ann Dowd .... Monica Bowden
Bruce Davison .... Richard Bowden
James Karen .... Victor Bowden
Marjorie Lovett .... Agnes Bowden
David Cooley .... Gym Teacher
Blake Anthony Tibbetts ... Teammate
Heather McComb .... Becky Trask
Katherine Malone .... Student
Grace Sinden .... Secretary
David Schwimmer .... Edward French
Anthony Moore .... Umpire
Elias Koteas .... Archie
Kevin Spirtas .... Paramedic
Michael Byrne .... Ben Kramer
Written by Brandon Boyce and Stephen King
Rated R
Apt Pupil (1998) reviewed by Ben

Somebody told me this was a good movie. That it was scary and frightening and a study in evil. Somebody was mistaken. Don't get me wrong, I like most of the stuff the Stephen King has written that's made its way to the big or small screen. I think the guy is genuinely creepy himself too. And he can write a mean twisted story.

But this one doesn't cut it for me. I had high hopes. First off it's based on a story by Stephen. So far so good. Then, it's got one of my favorite young actors, Brad Renfro, as the main character. Whoa boy, that's two for two. And it's got Josh Jackson, another one of my favorites. It's looking real good, isn't it?

Ok, so it also has dorky David Schwimmer playing a dorky teacher. Am I the only person who finds "Friends" and the entire cast of that show boring, boring, boring? Oh yeah, I'm writing about Apt Pupil. Ok, so here's the deal: Brad plays high school student Todd Bowden, who discovers a real live Nazi war criminal living among us. The story is basically uncovering the guy's mask and how Todd does that.

Yes, we all agree the Holocaust was a very evil and bad thing. But I think they could have made the movie a little more creepy, a little more evil. I just don't buy some of the scenes where the old Nazi is forced to relate the details of the camps to his young blackmailer. I keep wondering why Todd wants to know all this stuff. And why does he make the old guy put on the old uniform and make him march? Did I miss something? (For those of you who just answered "yes", ok, so maybe I'm dumb.) I just don't get it. OK, so I suppose it's all about power and manipulation. Here we have a very manipulative kid. Ok. So, now what?

The film also suffers from some boring drawn out scenes. I'd have liked to see more Josh, but that's just me. I'll go see anything Brad's in, so I had to see this, but I really don't think it's one of his better films. So, I'd recommend this video to major Brad fans, and people who just have to see any Stephen King adapatation. And people who like watching "Friends" stars in dorky movie roles. Everyone else should go rent some really good King adaptation like The Green Mile or the Jack Nicholsen version of The Shining. "Here's Johnny..." Now that's frightening!

Two stars. Skip it.



Read other reviews:

Never Been Kissed
Velvet Goldmine
Urban Legend
The Deep End of the Ocean
American Pie

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