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Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Nearly caught up on these Sundance reviews. I’m not well read on Michael Chabon. He’s one of those authors I keep meaning to just dive into whole-hog and I keep getting distracted by other books and graphic novels. So I can’t write this review as someone who knows the novel. I can’t compare the two, but I can tell you that I greatly enjoyed this film and it hit close to home on a lot of levels. No, not the gay stuff. I know what you guys were thinking, but I don’t want to have sex with Peter Sarsgaard… okay, I do, but in a totally hetero way. What hits close to home is a smaller character in the film played by Mena Suvari. We follow our lead Art (played by Jon Foster) as he spends a summer working at a bookstore. Before he meets the main boyfriend/girlfriend duo of (Cleveland and Jane) played by the heart-stoppingly beautiful Sienna Miller and the likewise handsome Sarsgaard, Art hooks up with his boss played by Suvari. He hooks up with her all over the store, crazy sex everywhere. When that relationship breaks up… well, we see a side of this girl that wasn’t exactly on the surface before. Let’s just say I came out of a relationship recently and the girl portrayed in this movie is so shockingly like the girl I broke up with that I was taken aback. We’ve all had that moment with a film where you suddenly look over your shoulder looking for the guy observing and stealing your life. I know in my heart that this character existed long before my ex, but fuck me, guys. It really was freaky. Kraken even shot me glances every time Suvari did something crazy or mean, holding in laughter since he had front row seats to my crazy break-up. So, I connected to the movie in that way. I’m also a big fan of DREAMERS and this is like an all American version of that story. All three main characters are charismatic, sharing an electric chemistry you hope to find in any movie with a romantic angle, especially one about a triangle. The supporting cast is great, too. Suvari plays her character for all its worth, going the extra mile in every aspect. Nick Nolte plays Art’s dad, a cop with huge ties to the underworld. He’s a shady cat and pretty damn frightening. The adventures our trio go on range from the super sexual to extreme violence, robbery, craziness of all sorts. There’s a slow build of sexual tension between Foster and Miller and at the same time there’s even a sexual tension between Foster and Sarsgaard. It’s an odd movie, but one that I was with every step of the way. I saw many films at Sundance that lost me at points, even movies I liked a lot, but this one of the ones that kept my attention from beginning to end. It’s a multi-layered exploration of reaching manhood. There are many different rights of passage our lead has to go through… from taking responsibility for his own actions, focusing on the long term impact his carefree summer will have on his life, gaining independence from his controlling father. This one isn’t for those who want to check their brain at the door, but it’s also not stuck up its own asshole. It’s one of those rare complicated movies that is also very entertaining. At least I thought so. The IMDB rating is pretty poor on it, but what can I say? I dug it. Only a few more stragglers to clean up and I’ll be rid of Sundance… finally! Keep an eye peeled! -Quint

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST


    by rhcp2sweet

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST


    by jimmy rabbitte

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST

    suvari going the extra mile

    by Holodigm


  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST


    by mr teaspoon


  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST

    The Mysteries of Shitsburgh

    by rbatty024

    Ahhhhh, Sienna Miller, mocking the city of the less glamorous working class.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 12:52 p.m. CST

    From the man who brought you "Dodgeball."

    by Christopher3

    And who the &*^! is Jon Foster?

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Mystery of Pittsburgh...

    by Alkeoholic77

    Does it explain the smell?

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 1:58 p.m. CST

    I would totally love to

    by comedian_x

    read a Pulitzer Prize winning author, but I've got these comic books to read so... yeah. <p> Try some books without pictures for a little bit.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 2:37 p.m. CST


    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Before this fills up with people ripping the Burgh

    by Scrantonicity

    Please remember all the fine movies and TV shows filmed in Pittsburgh. And, I just opened my window and must say I barely smell ANY stench at all. Flee to the Burgh!

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 3:56 p.m. CST

    so, it's like the DOOM GENERATION...

    by yourvillainbobby

    Except, ya know, good?

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Rent Kinsey

    by slayers bitch

    Quint rent Kinsey- Peter Sarsgaard has a full frontal nude scene. And makes sweet love with Liam Neeson & then Laura Linney.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 5:30 p.m. CST


    by Harrigan

    Wonderful comment. I'm sure all the other nerds got a big kick out of it.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 5:35 p.m. CST

    'Fills up with people ripping the burgh?'

    by Harrigan

    First off, unless you're from Cleveland you're not allowed to rip. Second, who makes fun of cities on an internet movie website anyhow? You people just sit around cutting down everything under the sun need to pick up a sport.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Agree with Quit, MoP was excellent...

    by SkinJob69

    I saw it near the end of the festival at an 8am showing (when I was sick as hell and half-delirious from sleep deprivation). But before long I was totally invested in the characters and engrossed in the plot.<p> A 'right of passage' story is a fairly good, broad description of the film, and the comparison to the Dreamers is on target.<p>Jon Foster was a bit white-bread and boring, I though, but this is more than compensated for by Miller, Sarsgaard and Suvari (as well as Nick Nolte as Foster's gangster father).<p> Agree that the drama in the Book Barn with Suvari was hysterical. A mini fatal attraction story where a summer fuck-buddy becomes a clingy, vengeful psycho. But before things go awry, there are some hot scenes with Mena (yes, actual nudity!). So bonus there.<p> The love triangle, I thought, was a bit forced. At least the gay affair between the two male leads. There is a scene in here to rival the tent bit in Brokeback Mountain, and again it seemed out of place to me. To me that section came out of nowhere as there was little prior to that, either through action or the narration, to suggest a major gay attraction was developing there. That subplot didn't have a major impact on the film, though, either positive or negative for me.<p> I think if you are invested in Sarsgaard's character (a likeable, charismatic, but deeply troubled guy) the movie works.<p> On the use of Pittsburg in the film: I honestly think this film could have been shot in any midwest city. I didn't really see any 'classic' Pittsburg landmarks in the film, and the cinematography certainly doesn't focus on the town as a 'character' per se. It basically looked like Anytown, USA, which may bother some and please others, depending on their 'Burg bias.

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 9:08 p.m. CST

    The Mystery of Pittsburgh is..

    by haggardatbest do the Penguins always seem to pull a win out of their collective ass in the third period? Without Crosby?! Go Malkin! Go Penguins!

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Jeezus, he's STILL at Sundance?

    by skywalkerfamily

    Dude, the festival's over. Go home!

  • Feb. 22, 2008, 11:49 p.m. CST


    by dudebro22

    you seriously just vented. you know deep down you wrote that hoping your ex-gf would read it...some sort of sick twisted desperate ploy to get her back. she's probably all you think about. don't front.

  • Feb. 23, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST

    It was never a mystery

    by GodMars

    Food poisoning on my 30th was from the cappuccino at the Bee Hive. I've since switched to tea, there.

  • Feb. 23, 2008, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a lot of changes from the book

    by Jack Burton

    Michael Chabon is a fantastic writer. I'm currently reading "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" (the movie adaptation was just announced to be directed by the Coen Brothers)and it is very good so far. And you can't call yourself a comics fan and not have read the Pulitzer prize winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay". Incredible book. However, "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" as a novel left me a bit cold. I know what he was trying to do, but it's been a decade since I graduated college and it just didn't have the same resonance for me as I think it would with someone fresh out of schools and lost in their life. However it sounds like they have changed a lot of what I did enjoy, such as remove the character of Arthur and molding his personality into that of Cleveland. It was also more interesting to have Art's father be a mafia accountant, instead of the cliche dirty cop. And the Mena Suvari character didn't exist either from what I remember. So typical Hollywood book adaptation. May give it a look on DVD but nothing I'm interested in seeing in theaters.