Wednesday, January 30, 2008
DVD of the Week: Rocket Science
Juno is brilliant. Even I thought so. But it did have a close rival last year for the smarter-than-your-average-teen-flick crown: Rocket Science. This stunning and painfully uncomfortable little indie dramedy from first time narrative director Jeffrey Blitz (best known for the Oscar nominated documentary Spellbound) does more than hold a candle to the classic teen films of all time. What it needs now most of all is a chance to extend its reach from the minds of cultists to the DVD players of friends and neighbors. It is a kind and heartwarming feature that is ideal to share and pass along with warm wishes. It’s not made up of all happy thoughts and good intentions, though. The story tells of an outsider with a stutter who is handpicked by the most popular girl on the debate team to be her personal protégé. His journey is a long and winding road of emotional discomfort and awkward maturation. Coming of age has never been this good. There’s honestly no film that better captures the cold grip of the adolescent experience and the weird, thrilling, tragedy that it brings to the expanding minds of young people. This is funny, delightful, and deeply moving stuff that should be honored as a minor masterpiece of moviemaking, particularly in such a thankless genre.