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Leaving Barstow
Leaving Barstow
Actors: Steven Culp, Michelle Cluney, Kevin Sheridan
Director: Peter Paige
Genres: Drama
UR     2009     1hr 29min

Growing up in Barstow, CA, high school senior, Andrew, hopes for a bigger world but his devotion to his mother, Sandra, and his awakening attraction to newcomer, Jenny, combine to keep him tied to home. Andrew s loyalties ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Steven Culp, Michelle Cluney, Kevin Sheridan
Director: Peter Paige
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 07/21/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Leave Time to Watch This One!
Rae-dar | Austin, TX | 09/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I finished watching Leaving Barstow for the first time all I wanted to say to everyone involved in the film was.........Thank You. And then I went off to find a box of Kleenex.

The story of a boy, Andrew, with bigger dreams stuck in a small town trying to find the strength to go, may seem all too familiar to some, but that does not mean that this film feels old or tired or off-putting in anyway. Quite the contrary. First time writer and star of the film Kevin Sheridan has put together a script and a performance with quiet heart. (Only about 25 when he did this, he is definitely one to keep an eye on) Michele Clunie infuses Andrew's mother Sandra with characteristics that make the audience both loathe and feel sorry for her at the same time, aptly showing us where the core of Andrew's struggle to stay or go lies. And Peter Paige's direction depicts Barstow as washed out and lifeless while at the same time he keeping his actors in sharp but quite focus, thus allowing them to shine and be the true center of this lovely little character driven piece.

So, after viewing the film a second and a third time, I would still like to say "thank you" to everyone involved with this film for proving that a great film comes from the heart and not necessarily from the size of your production and marketing budget.

This had a great run on the festival circuit over the last year, but sadly remained mostly an undiscovered, indie gem. Well worth your time and money to discover it for yourself."
Great coming-of-age film!
Melissa Jordan | Louisville, CO USA | 06/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A boy, his dream, a choice. Good, believable characters and just enough tension in this well-paced film. A fine job of cinematography and the music is exceptional. Good show all 'round!"
Leave Andrew, Leave Andrew, Run and Hide
Daniel G. Lebryk | 09/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Leaving Barstow is another independent film that will either inspire quickly or leave you cold. Chances are you will sympathize with the lead character, Andrew.

The movie is told from high school senior Andrew's point of view. The story is fairly straightforward; Andrew has to grow up for many reasons. He is dealt a hand of pretty bad cards, and is forced to do his best at being happy. One after another we meet the people that affect his life, his physics teacher, the midnight radio DJ, his best friend Carlos, his mother and her boyfriends, the restaurant owner, and, the very important, Jenny. They all have a strong impact on Andrew's life, positive and negative.

I felt a strong sense of claustrophobia, imprisonment, and resignation in this film. Andrew lives with his single mother, battling her own demons. There is an implied almost sexual relationship between Andrew and his mother, adding to Andrew's sense of being trapped in Barstow, California. She became pregnant very young, chose to keep her son, and the father is not around. She happens to like and date boys close to her son's age. Andrew and his friend Carlos keep close to each other at school; they are not part of any popular crowd. Carlos is a great friend; he wants nothing but good for Andrew.

This was not an expensive production. There are only a few spartan sets. This film is a character study, and the sparseness is appropriate. The acting was quite good. Oddly the one character that I did not care for and felt was over acted, was the one actor with a long television resume, the physics teacher played by Steven Culp. The mother was just exactly the right level of self indulgence. Andrew played by Kevin Sheridan (mostly television career, Veronica Mars and American Dreams) was remarkable. He played the introverted, quiet, intelligent, kind high school boy.

Pacing was just about right. The director knew when to move along quickly and leave out the 100 details most directors would include; and when to include the subtle detailed moments. The ending is wonderful, up until the last 10 minutes, I still didn't know if Andrew was going to leave or not; but I wanted to shout at the screen, get out of there Andrew. Camera work is simple and competent. There is a grittiness to the film, physically and thematically. Dialog is well recorded and clear.

The film is not rated, and is probably somewhere between PG-13 and R rated. It seems appropriate for all high school students. Given the noises from the mother's bedroom and discussions about [...] and erections, younger viewers probably shouldn't see this film. I don't remember any nudity. There is no violence. And I don't remember much strong language. It's the themes that make this a more mature film.

The DVD is sparse. The bonus features are a series of interviews. The first with the director Peter Paige is decent; he does give some insight into why he took on this project. The second is with Kevin Sheridan, who played Andrew and was the script writer. This surprised me, I really liked the fact that Kevin wrote this movie and then stars in it. The last interviews are not good. An interview with Michelle Clunie who played the mother, is just so bad. The interview is an actress telling us all about the character she plays, it is not at all revealing, nothing I didn't learn while watching the film. The last piece is What's it Like Working with Peter? Just plain lame, we love him, he's the best director...

I liked this movie very much. Aside from the physics teacher, all the characters were believable. The story was carefully built, and I cared about what happened to Andrew. The cover art may have you think this is a road picture, it is far from that. This is an intimate story of a boy that is forced to grow up too fast.