Callie K. (ballofglitter) from GRAND ISLAND, NE Reviewed on 8/15/2014...
This is a cute movie about altar boys being rebels. It's pretty funny too and the end is really sad. The only thing I didn't care for was a lot through out the movie they have whole scenes of the boys as comic book characters like day dreamer. Once in awhile wouldn't have bothered me but constantly kind of annoyed me.
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Imaginative blend of live action and animation
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 07/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," directed by Peter Care, tells the story of a quartet of Catholic school boys who are engaged in a protracted war against their stern teacher, Sister Assumpta (played by Jodie Foster, who also has a producing credit on the film). One of the boys, Francis (Emile Hirsch) is the primary creator of the boys' alter egos, a group of comic book superheroes. These outcast mutant heroes are brought to life in a series of energetic animated sequences that effectively parallel the main story.The film features solid performances by an excellent cast. Hirsch holds the film together in what is effectively the lead role. As Francis' best friend, Kieran Culkin brings depth to what could have been a stereotypical prankster role. Vincent D'Onofrio gives a nicely understated performance as a nicotine-craving, soccer coaching priest. Jodie Foster has some good moments, but I found her pivotal character to be disappointingly underdeveloped; this lack of insight into Assumpta hurts the symmetry of the film."Dangerous Lives" is an effective mix of humor and adolescent angst, with some really tender and moving moments. Unfortunately, I found the boys' main prank of the film to be just too moronic and unbelievable, and the film seems to lose cohesion towards the end. Still, I can't help but love a film in which the poetry and artwork of William Blake is a key motif."
See it, not just for Jodie Foster
Anna Otto | Seattle, WA United States | 06/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie recently at the Seattle International Film Festival. I admit, out of all the choices, I picked this movie because Jodie was in it, in an unusual role - Assumpta, a nun, teaching in a school. And she was great, even though she had to fill the shoes of someone with seemingly little warmth and a peg leg to boot. She is also one of the producers.But truly, the reasons to see this movie are far more diverse...
The script is touching, funny, and dark - adapted from the debut novel of the late Chris Fuhrman.The protagonists here are the teenage boys, Francis and Tim, who live in a world of their own construction. They're comic book heroes, the nun is a super-villain, and Margie, the girl that Francis is interested in serves as a damsel in distress... Todd MacFarlane, the comic-book genius, created the animated sequences in which the stories spun by the boys come to life. The problems, of course, start when the real world's demands interfere with the fiction. Francis' first love is the first sign of coming-of-age that may tear him apart from the trouble-free (in the adult sense of the word) life. The secret that Margie later reveals is another blow, adding to his confusion. It's hard not to grow apart from his friends in the process.
Tim grows visibly fearful that he may lose his friend, and involves him in the increasingly envelope-pushing, dangerous stunts against their shared enemy, Sister Assumpta. And Francis, probably as unwilling to face the responsibilities and dangers of the real life, goes along with Tim, only to regret it later.It is a testament to the power of the movie that when the credits rolled and "In Memory of Chris Fuhrman" were the first words, the audience gasped in disappointment, as one. Such good novels as the one this movie is based on are hard to come by, and it's a tragedy to lose this wonderful writer. I suppose this review is a recommendation to read the book as well as see the movie."
K. Gittins | CA USA | 08/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not Catholic nor a teen, but I found this movie very interesting and entertaining. The interaction between all the kids was pretty real and the dialog did not seem juvenile. Although not normally a fan of animation, that portion worked OK in this movie because it was the outward expression of the kids' imagination.
Of the 7 primary actors, Jodie Foster had the weakest character as "nunzilla". Perhaps it was just the nature of the character. Vincent D'Onofrio was entertaining as the smoking, swearing priest (and apparently in the book he was a womanizer, too.) The 4 boys were all pretty good, but Jena Malone probably had the toughest role as the girl with a secret, and she was very good.
The whole cougar plot-point was a bit much, and the dog scene came from nowhere, but the rest was very satisfying.
The extras on the DVD were good, too.
P.S. Originally I could not get this DVD to play in "widescreen". Sony said it was a known encoding problem and to change the DVD player setup for TV to "normal letterbox" instead of "normal pan/scan". Worked like a charm. "
A. E Rothert | Edwardsville | 06/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These film was a gem that I was not expecting it to be.Jodie Foster's understated performance in the less-than-glamorous role of Sister Assumpta is excellent, as one tends to expect from her. But it is the young actors who carry the day. Emile Hirsh is quite credible; Jena Malone seems heartbreakingly honest. I was most impressed by Kieran Culkin. This is where the talent landed in the Culkin family-- he greatly outshines any performance ever given by his more-famous big brother.What makes this film special is the mixture of animation and scenes from the banal life of teenage catholic school kids. I was completely drawn into their world. I was throughly entertained by the increasingly daring ways they found to entertain themselves-- in life, in love, in their fantasy world. And here is the key: For the first time since adolesence, I felt the characters were invincible. They did not think of themselves as teenage outcasts, but rather as heros who could do anything and everything. It reminded me of the time in life before one realizes how little one knows, how creul the world can be, and that we are all quite vincible in the end.The film does not cop out in the end either. It is strong through out and ends when it should. (I was certain it would go on to have an everything-is-okay life lesson scene at the end-- to protect revenues, if nothing else. The filmmakers, and producers, were brave enough to skip such common antics.)I have said nothing, really, about the plot. And really, to me, the plot did not matter. It was merely a means of drawing me in to the lives of the characters. I saw the world from their perspective-- as I did when I was the teenage catholic school boy 15 years ago. Again, like in life, it was difficult to "get real" and leave the hope and fantasy for a dose of consequences and ramifications."
ANGST, ADVENTURE, ANIMATION: COMPETENT BUT SCATTERED BLEND
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 09/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting theme: a group of four boys who go to a Catholic school are tired of squirming under the unflinching tyranny of Nun-zilla, their rigorous nun played by Jodie Foster.
With whom they cope by expressing their frustrations through comic-book sketches and imagining themselves as superheroes. The film uses this excuse to smoosh in some fascinating animation sequences illustrating emotional aspects of the story through the eyes of these kids.
This includes several sub-plots and sub-sub-plots: first romances, coming of age, friendship, control versus freedom, even hints of touchy issues like pedophilia (although no, there is nothing creepy actually manifested), etc.
The characters are convincing, and the performances are quite taut all round, so I've had a hard time putting an exact pulse on what the problem is with Altar Boys, because I liked many of the big picture things about it. Perhaps the film took off in too many directions at once. In bringing up all these themes and tropes, several topics are introduced and then frittered away for lack of time. Others are dwelled upon longer than they should have.
Yet, on the whole, Altar Boys works well as a well-done tale of baffled adolescents for whom imagination is not merely a dangerous diversion feared by conservative religious folk, but a veritable cathartic tool.
One minor annoyance with the DVD: the sound of dialogue is about 2 million decibels lower than the sound of the soundtrack that accompanies the animation interludes.