Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Wackness

Sunday night, I headed down to the Angelika Film Center to check out "The Wackness." It's a new movie about the summer of 1994 in the life of a young man living in Manhattan who just graduated from high school.

I mostly checked it out because I too was once a young man who had just graduated from high school in that beautiful, hazy summer of '94.

Hear that fellow 30-somethings? It's a nostalgia movie just for us. With a soundtrack largely of early rap, "The Wackness" takes us back to the days of mixed tapes and bangs.

"The Wackness," written and directed by Jonathan Levine, isn't going to win any Academy Awards but it was decent. Check out this New York Times review for background.

The film's biggest name actor is the great Ben Kingsley who plays a pot-smoking psychiatrist in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I can't decide whether he was an asset or a liability -- mostly because of his constantly shifting accent. (Was he supposed to be a New Yorker or a Brit?)

But, Kingsley was quite good in his scenes with the aforementioned high school graduate played by Josh Peck (who is both his patient and pot dealer). The growth of their relationship is the best part of the movie. (Although, we've seen the psychiatrist - young patient relationship done better before. Think "Good Will Hunting.")

Olivia Thirlby (probably best known as the friend in "Juno") plays the female love interest. She ably pulls off the role of the teenage ice queen who briefly hangs out with the class outcast.

In fact, she provides the vocabulary for the movie's title when she tells Peck's character (comparing their outlooks on life):

“I look at the dopeness. You look at the wackness.”

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