How far would you go to hang with the hottest girl on campus? Assassination of a High School President is an acid-tongued high-school comedy with attitude to spare, starring a sexy young cast including Mischa Barton (TV's ... more »The O.C., The Sixth Sense), Reece Daniel Thompson (Rocket Science), and superstar Bruce Willis. Sophomore newspaper reporter Bobby Funke (Thompson) is assigned to write a cover story on popular class president and top athlete. After a stack of SAT tests is stolen from the office of hard-as-nails Principal Kirkpatrick (Willis), Funke publishes an expose that names Paul as the prime suspect and suddenly, Bobby is BMOC. But when Paul's girlfriend, sexy senior Francesca (Barton), makes a move on Bobby and even his former bullies play nice, Funke begins to doubt the star jock's guilt and everyone else's motives. When his investigation uncovers a campus-wide conspiracy that threatens to take down students and teachers alike, Funke must decide to tell the truth or enjoy his new stud status. Also starring Michael Rapaport, Luke Grimes and Aaron Himelstein.« less
It's a funny idea, setting a film noir in a high school. Unfortunately, here it isn't done nearly as well as it was in 2005's BRICK (http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0393109/). I would highly recommend checking out that movie before this one. It's more tightly plotted, better acted, and the homage to the earlier genre is carried through far more consistently.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Quite Possibly _The_ Single Best Direct to DVD Movie Ever
Parrish A. Highley | Somewhere I've Never Travelled | 10/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although a critical smash at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, this film did not enjoy a conventional theatrical release due the its distributor, The Yari Film Group, filing for bankruptcy. Given all the CGI as a replacement for a decent screenplay garbage that Hollywood does manage to shove into theaters, one almost feels the pang of some cosmic injustice on behalf of film's creative team and performers. Fortunately, Assassination of a High School President has garnered enough of a following to prevent it from slipping through the cracks.
What impressed me most was the screenplay! And what impressed me most about the screenplay were the character arcs of the leading actor and actress, Reece Daniel Thompson and Mischa Barton. The former writes for the school newspaper, doesn't fit into any of the many social cliques surrounding him, and whose greatest strength, an unyeilding sense of ambition, becomes his greatest weakness. In addition to her beauty, the latter is also brilliant, poised, and precise. She knows well the stature she holds and what that stature can avail her, but she doesn't seem all that interested in exploiting it.
In order to distinguish himself from the other members of the school paper Bobby Funke must become more than a run of the mill reporter, he must become an investigative journalist. At first, just to distinguish himself for a shot at a summer journalism scholarship, but, later, to clear the name of someone he has personally indicted with his writing. While the late John Hughes made youth-focused films that connected with a young audience in very specific ways, this film is a satire in every moment of its existence. The principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was plucky to the point of unwarranted silliness, but here Bruce Willis portrays a potent and powerful principal of this private Catholic school. One would probably laugh AT the former, but we laugh with the latter and do so just a little bit nervously. While Bruce Willis was the catalyst to get me to look at this film in the first place, his role is strictly supportive. It is a testament to his skills as an actor to maximize all the little opportunities for both spoken and physical comedy that present themselves without upstaging the storyline or the cast he is supporting.
If I have one complaint, it would be that there wasn't a single black and white scene in the film. Everytime Funke holds his stick of chewing gum like Sam Spade would hold a cigarette before taking a puff the film just screams noir. The timelessness of the set-dressing and wardrobe are all there, but I just wish there could have been one black and white scene somewhere as an homage to traditional film noir.
Of the bonus features, the most noteworthy would be the running commentary. I normally have mixed feelings about most deleted scenes, but here there are a couple of scenes that were a real sacrifice to have to leave on the cutting room floor (this is especially true for anyone familiar with even a rudimentary amount of Spanish). A making of featurette would have been nice, but, given all the financial challenges this project eventually met with, I'm just glad it has managed to see the light of day.
I don't normally write reviews of movies since there are plenty who already do so and do so well, but Assassination of a High School President has encountered more than it's fair share obstacles and setbacks. If you're looking for a stark departure from the cookie-cutter formula of most high school films, then this is the ticket."
Clever and funny - BUT!
British viewer | UK | 10/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What starts off as a high school romp soon turns into a clever and funny detective story. The caveat is that most of these kids' diction is appalling: to catch all the verbal jokes, best play it with the subtititles turned on."
A high school film like no other
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 10/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was a unique experience watching this film unfold, and before I gave it a second viewing with the commentary (in which they stated numerous times how they wanted this film to be like no other high school film prior) I was already feeling like I had just watched a very different kind of teen film. But really good.
The theme was best described on the cover art with "Rushmore meets Usual Suspects". The story follows these twenty-somethings playing teens as they traverse their existence at a private high school. Bruce Willis plays excellently his over-the-top self as the militaristic principal. Mischa Barton fills the role as the hot girl on campus, but she did much better overall in Closing the Ring than here. Regardless of the props and older looking feel, this actually takes place in present day, but kudos to the crew in making a teen film exist without modern appliances (cells, new computers, etc.). Some outstanding supporting performances from Michael Rapaport and Josh Pais compliment some solid writing and storytelling. But mostly, this will help bring Reece Thompson's name to the spotlight as he gave a very believable performance carrying the central character (nerd turns popular turns scapegoat turns becoming a man).
The supplements are somewhat thorough and center on scenes, but no documentaries. Includes: * 5:40 minutes of alternate opening scenes. For what the end result was, I am glad they cut these as they both revealed too much information about what would become the plot twists later. * 20:35 minutes of extended and alternate scenes. The story lines they removed actually make it a better film with more interesting twists, but it was still nice to see what they had filmed originally. * 6:45 minutes of deleted scenes, decent but forgettable. * Commentary by the writers and director (some of the previous features listed have an optional commentary also). They had a great time making the commentary, and since there is no making-of it was the only way to hear how everything came to be. I had to wait 23 minutes into it to hear why the film looks like it could take place in the 80s but wasn't. All of the anecdotes and humor behind the scenes make the listen worthwhile - it definitely had customers paying attention to what was playing with some of their rogue dialogue.
Four stars for the film, one for the supplements. Not a mainstream high school film by any means, just a solid independent attempt at creating a surreal world of this private high school."
Not Your Average Teen Movie
Movie Lover | Seoul, South Korea | 11/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only similarity between this movie and other mindless fluff that passes for teen movies is that this is set in a high school; after that, all bets are off. This is actually teen noir, much like Brick, but this movie takes its inspiration from Chinatown. I'm not going to give anything away, but I like the lead actor; he nails the part, and Bruce Willis steals every scene he's in with his quiet intensity. I'll admit I wasn't sure about this, so I rented it first, but now I'm going to buy it."
WHAT OTHER TEEN MOVIES ASPIRE TO
Margaux Paschke | New York | 04/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best teen movies I have seen in a while. It reminds me of Brick but a much better version. The lead character, Funke, is wildly original and rings true. Other characters are more stereotypical but still interesting and even funny.
Basically, this is a story about trying to climb the high school social ladder. An average guy (Funke) tries to leave his mark as he shoots for the prestigious Northwestern summer internship for journalism. When his theory about who stole the SAT tests gets published in his private school's newspaper, all heck breaks loose. Funke wins the bid for the internship as long as the fact checker from Northwestern gives the green light. The fact checker's introduction pushes the movie into high gear as Funke needs to get to the real truth of his story or risk his bright and shiny future.
We find Bruce Willis as an over-the-top Principal who loves to relive his military days and he's funny yet creepy and might offend some. The love interest is Mischa Barton and we all know how this is going to end, even Funke although he desperately tries to avoid it. Although most of the characters are classic high school stereotypes, it works for this film as we can all identify with Funke's plight. This movie touched on all the different social classes you will find at school: the kids who are popular, the kids who hang around popular kids and those who are not even part of the social scene. I really liked that the actor playing Funke looked real (his hair was sticking out sometimes, his skin was spotty, etc.) and not Hollywood perfect.
I highly recommend this film for watching something different. It was amusing. This movie did not unravel at the end like so many others I have watched recently and made a good point about high school."