This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Home Room (2002)

"High school is no place for kids anymore." -Det. Martin Van Zandt. This movie, interestingly enough, was released the same year as Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine, which also discussed school kids killing other school kids. While the characters in Home Room are fictitious, this film is just as powerful. The film begins with the aftermath of a school shooting in which nine students are killed. The perpetrator himself is shot dead, not by his own hand, but by police. Det. Martin Van Zandt (Victor Garber) is assigned to the case and begins questioning student Alicia Browning (Busy Philipps), who was acquainted with the perpetrator. Alicia is also asked by the school principal to visit Deanna Cartwright (Erika Christensen), a student who was injured in the shooting and is now recuperating at the nearby hospital. The best parts of the film are of the two girls slowly but surely forming a kinship over the horrific events which brought them together. Alicia is an outcast with a single parent, while Deanna has rich parents and is popular with her fellow classmates. Despite those differences, Alicia, who once attempted suicide, begins to realize that Deanna is hiding psychological scars beneath her cheerful exterior. Van Zandt begins to feel doubt and fear himself since he has children who, a few years down the road, will be the same age that the two girls are. Hence, he wonders if they will have to contend with similar tragedy. All three stars are great, each playing likeable characters who try to make sense out of the most horrible kind of chaos, just like we in the real world do whenever tragedies such as Columbine have occurred. Fittingly, Christensen and director Paul F. Ryan visited Columbine High School prior to the movie's release to speak with the students and staff, as well as give them a private screening of the film. While fools are all too quick to blame school shootings on violent movies or video games, Home Room basically concludes that no one element can be held responsible. Rather, the movie focuses on the attempts of the survivors to move on.

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