Star – Kat Dennings
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 98 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Win & 6 Nominations
Amazon – £4.54 DVD £18, 59 Blue Ray
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America churns out a lot of indie movies and this is one of them. There seems to be an endless budget to make them. Hardly any of them make money but still they come. But it’s a good learning ground for young actors to move their careers on and also a sieve to get rid of the less talented. Kat Dennings is not one of those coming through as she has already made it and had a big hit in the super cool ‘Nick and Nora’s Playlist’. But the question is can she sustain it with better scripts? Daydream Nation is not a bad script but not quite the film I hoped this would be from America’s bustiest and cute actress, the only reason I watched this.
Kat Dennings ... Caroline Wexler
Reece Thompson ... Thurston Goldberg
Andie MacDowell ... Enid Goldberg
Josh Lucas ... Barry Anderson
Rachel Blanchard ... Ms. Budge
Ted Whittall ... Mr. Wexler
Katie Boland ... Jenny
Luke Camilleri ... Rolly
Landon Liboiron ... Paul
Jesse Reid ... Charles
Calum Worthy ... Craig
Natasha Calis ... Lily Goldberg
Quinn Lord ... Thomas
Laura Jacobs ... Laura Lee
Sassy 17-year-old Caroline Wexler (Kat Dennings) and her father (Ted Whittall) have just moved from a large city to a small Iowa town. An industrial fire burns endlessly on the outskirts and many of the students in her new highschool seemed to be stoned 24/7.
One of Caroline's classmates, plain old and geeky Thurston Goldberg (Reece Thompson), quickly falls for her caustic charms after they first meet at a party. But Caroline is attracted to her high school English teacher Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas) and the two begin a secret forbidden relationship.
On Halloween, Thurston and his best mates Paul (Landon Liboiron), Charles (Jesse Reid) and Craig (Calum Worthy) spend most of the day getting high on snorting cleaning products which later causes Craig to have a violent seizure during health class with Ms. Budge (Rachel Blanchard). Afterwards, Mr. Anderson cancels his plans with Caroline to attend to the incident and tells Caroline that they should probably go out with other people to avoid looking suspicious, and blows Caroline off on the phone.
Feeling used, Caroline starts dating the needy Thurston where they end up making out in her car, popping his cherry. The next day, Mr. Anderson apologizes to her, but says that their relationship must be as discreet, Thurston oblivious to it and now their cover. Thurston continues to try to pursue Caroline with flowers and chocolate, and after he is rejected at the family door by Caroline's father, but Thurston's mother (Andie MacDowell) taking pity on him, she, too, oblivious to the Mr Anderson thing. But both Mr. Anderson and Caroline are deeply dysfunctional and deserve each other.
As I say there are a lot of these films about and often difficult to review them as you have seen them all before in a slightly different form. You just hop to find god one from the pack. The high school vamp chasing teacher in American film is nothing new and although sometimes titillating to some not this time. It’s no Poison Ivy this time around and hardly erotic.
Acting wise Denning is accomplished at this type of role as the mature teen and guides the film well and Josh Lucas one of those familiar handsome thirtysomething actors you have seen in loads of films but don’t know his name, the Bill Pullman effect. The characters are familiar and cliché to be honest and nothing much in the story to elevate this above the norm. It’s slightly funny and slightly worthy and slightly lots of things but never enough of those things. It’s not something you would want to watch again like you do the Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. God they made some great high school teen movies back then!
The soundtrack is cool but with no clever twists and OK dialogue to digest it limps along in that dope haze and becomes nothing more than the sum of its parts. One or two lines are quotable but apathetic beautiful people in a small town don’t really make for an entertaining movie. You kind of want it to be more erotic, deviant and dark but it decides to carry on wallowing in its small town teen angst America melancholy and becomes all rather predictable. If you like that sort of vibe then you will get something from this but not one I can really recommend. Just stick Donnie Darko or Juno on again.
Imdb.com – 6.4 /10.0 (11,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 65% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57% critic’s approval
-Behind the scenes-
It’s Ok. I watched it to see if I missed something in this movie. I didn’t.
Quite a few
Red carpet stuff. Dennings looks good in her evening gown!
New York Times –‘"Daydream Nation" rolls elements of "Juno," "American Beauty," "Donnie Darko" and "Twin Peaks" into a potent blunt’.
The Mail –‘It's a film about teen angst that's too caught up in its characters' state of mind to see its way through to the other side’.
Village Voice –‘Another film in which on-screen teens, especially the nubile femme fatale at the center, are but vessels to showcase the screenwriter's irony-drenched, self-satisfied intellect’
The Star –‘An alternately heady and queasy portrait of a small town slipping into madness’.
Movinews.com –‘Director/writer Mike Goldbach's first half of the film is engaging ..., suspenseful (who is the "man in the white suit?"-with a delectable shade of grey served up red herring style) and masterfully balanced’.
The Minneapolis Times –‘While not always comfortable in its quaint, quirky skin, it does deliver some intriguing performances and some inventive directorial turns’.