Review by Chastity Campbell
Starring: Busy Philipps, Erika Christensen
Director: Paul F. Ryan
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format & 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 131 Minutes
Release Date: October 14, 2003
the good news is that you didn’t kiss me back, so I guess that means you’re
not gay…I think!”
When my mom sent me off for my first day of school, I was
terrified. I didn’t know what to
expect, who I would meet, or what school really was. As I started junior high, I wasn’t terrified
anymore…however, I did tremble for a while as I sat in my seat waiting for the
new teacher to call my name and ask about summer vacation. High school was easy
for me, because I was friends with the older crowd already, and they took me
under their wing.
The things I know about life and growing up were tossed out
the window after watching Home Room, and realizing that today’s kids
have an altogether different reason to be terrified when they show up for class.
Home Room stars Dawson’s Creek alum Busy
Philipps, and Swimfan’s Erika Christensen as two high school teens who
form a bond during the worst possible times in their lives.
Alicia was once a beautiful girl with good grades and a lot
of potential. Now she spends all of
her time trying to fade away and be forgotten behind her dark makeup and safety
pin earrings. Nobody knows where
she was for a year and a half, but she’s now left struggling and trying to
graduate so she can put this chapter of her life behind her.
Deanna is a spoiled little rich girl, with perfect grades,
a perfect smile, and a father who has no qualms about spending his money to buy
her friends, cars, and a Cornell University education.
When tragedy strikes at school both girls are tossed
together, one in need of comfort, the other in need of absolution for pain
that’s been building inside for far too long.
It will take the inner strength of both to face what lies ahead, but
together they will see it through.
As disturbingly close to reality as this movie is, I
thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The
direction was A+ in my opinion. From
everything I’ve been able to read, this is Paul F. Ryan’s first big
directing job. He did
wonderful work capturing the emotions and individual character turmoil, as well
as putting the film together in a format that seemed to flow effortlessly.
Ryan was also the screenwriter for this film, and you can
definitely see how that helped him flow as the director as well.
He has a wonderful eye for detail, and I truly do hope to see more things
shot with his style in the future.
Busy Philipps portrayal of the character Alicia was good,
but somewhat disjointed. I can’t
decide if it was because that’s just the type of person Alicia was, or the
kind of actor Philipps is. I
haven’t had a lot of exposure to her as an actress so I will give the benefit
of the doubt and say that it was the character.
The first time I saw Erika Christensen act was in the movie
Swimfan, and she blew me away with her ability to look sane and act
psychotic at the same time. Deanna
appeared, to me at least, to be a tough role to flow into.
Again, this character is similar to her earlier role in that she’s in
turmoil, and floats from extreme high to extreme low within seconds.
It’s her ability to mix those two emotions and make them work that
shows she’s got what it takes as an actress.
So, after spending 133 minutes with this movie, what do you
have at the end? Well, if you want
to get technical, a two hour and ten minute PSA about listening to teenagers,
coping with loss, and dealing with trauma.
Not the biggest feel good movie of the year, but an interesting
perspective on a scary, yet very real topic of modern day culture.
Don’t be late for class because missing Home Room
will really set your DVD experiences back a grade or two!
Visually, there were no errors that I noticed with the
transfer of this print to digital format.
The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer was clean and vivid, with a minimal amount of softness around the edges of the print.
The 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen left a little to be desired
in my opinion but it was clean and vivid, without much visual loss due to
resizing over all.
The colors were nice, and natural lighting was put to good
use, however everything seemed to be a certain shade of monotone visually.
I think maybe a little more color could have been added at times to
punctuate the outdoor scenes and give them more visual verve.
This DVD contained some really nice sounding audio
throughout. The Dolby Surround came
across very crisp and clean without any low-end hiss or hum.
The dialogue and soundtrack were balanced against one another almost
flawlessly with only a few drops in level here and there. The dropouts were few
but noticeable to a certain degree. I
really have to give them credit though for allow real time background noise
instead of music for the moments in the film that were supposed to be filled
with tense silence. It helps in with the reality factor quite a bit.
The extra features missed the bus with this DVD, however,
getting to Home Room late is better than not getting there at all!
This disc contains both Anamorphic Widescreen and Standard
Fullscreen versions of the film.
A single featurette is included for your viewing pleasure,
and is accompanied by movie trailers, and interactive menus.
This DVD’s school ties allow you to choose English as
your major language selection or Spanish for extra credit.
Interactive menus, and scene selection bring to a close
this DVD’s extra features.