Friday, February 1, 2008

And... We Have a Winner

Night four.

The winner.

So, we hopped in the car and went to the Eccles (an amazingly large theatre for a high school - it was like a freakin' theatre hall - it's bigger than the Gershwin in NY) for the premiere of Assassination of a High School President.

Starring Reece Thompson, Mischa Barton, and Bruce Willis, the movie follows Bobby Funke (Thompson), a High School sophomore who imagines himself a Pulitzer Prize winning writer - who's never finished an article yet. He's tasked to interview the class president. In process, all the SATs are stolen from the Principal's safe (Willis). Seeing this as his Watergate (and he Woodward and Berntstein), he delves into the politics and trappings of high school.

Initially, he solves the case and becomes a school hero. But, as in all great Noir, everything isn't as it seems. So, he must go further into the underbelly of the school. But, for a kid who's never been anything, is he willing to give it up in order to become the reporter he thinks he is.

Thematically, it's a crime noir thriller in the vein of Chinatown. Set in high school, I was reminded of Brick initially (which is the holy grail of high school and noir movies for me), but this movie quickly made itself unique. Very well written, snarky and funny - the characters rule the movie, and do a damn good job. Willis steals every scene, but Thompson is the real star. Surprisingly, Mischa (as the president's girlfriend) does a great job too (which is a turn from her stellar acting in the OC).

The ending, though I had thought I had it figured for a long time, still was amazing. The movie disarmed all my conclusions right before it revealed anything - so I loved it. If I can be surprised, I'll love the movie.

What also added to this great movie was the fact that it was the premiere and everyone from the movie (except for Bruce) was there. Director, writer, stars. They did a Q&A and talked to people afterwards. We got about five to ten feet away from Mischa (looks like herself in real life).

What made my night was the fact that as we were moving toward the stars, I noticed Olivia Thirlby (Leah from Juno (one of my favs)) standing next to me. I was totally shocked. I talked to her for a few minutes and she was really cool. I loved Juno, I loved her character, and I loved her in it. It was so cool to meet and talk to her. I was floored.

What made my wife's night was meeting and talking to Marlon Piazza (played by Luke Grimes), whom she drooled over the whole time we were watching the movie.

So, yes, it was my favorite movie of the festival and favorite experience. Great movie. great time.

Grade: A.