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Quint was pleasantly surprised by The Perks of Being A Wallflower starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller!

Published at: Sept. 30, 2012, 11:48 a.m. CST by quint

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here, taking a break from Fantastic Fest catch-up to talk about a decidedly un-Fantastic Fest style movie, the teen coming of age flick THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

For me, 2012 is officially the year of surprising turns from previously written-off actors. I’m calling it. First Channing Tatum turned in his first leading performance where he didn’t look confused and bored in 21 Jump Street, then Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart both proved they had personality in On the Road and now Logan Lerman pushes aside his recent incredibly shitty run of Percy Jackson and PWSA’s The Three Musketeers and turns in subtle, empathetic performance in Perks.

 

 

Perks is definitely a performance-driven film. Not to take away from author/screenwriter/director Stephen Chbosky’s work, but this story depends heavily on us, the audience, buying the friendship and romance between a small group of high school outcasts. That’s kind of a staple of this kind of coming of age story, actually. John Hughes’ work wouldn’t have been as effective had he not found his red-headed muse, for instance.

The biggest hurdle this film has to overcome is making the audience buy that Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller would have been dorks in high school. Watson in particular had a lot to prove here because one glace at her looks and one sampling of her outgoing personality add up to most-popular-girl-in-school to me.

Let’s just put it this way, I wasn’t personally ostracized in high school, but nobody would ever confuse me for being a popular kid and I sure as shit didn’t have Hermione in my circle of friends.

Knowing little about the source material going in I was pleasantly surprised that all three leads were able to strike that perfect damaged-but-in-a-realistic-way note that we need to believe these pretty people don’t fit in with their peers.

On paper, Lerman gets the most time exploring his hang ups. We know he’s seen much tragedy in his young life, but he’s not doing the typical kind of acting out. He’s withdrawn. His family seems to walk on eggshells around him, he’s starting high school which is traumatic anyway, but he’s doing it without a single friend.

He gravitates towards this counter-culture brother/sister team (Miller and Watson), pulled in by Miller’s cult of personality and then kept in place by his sheer attraction to Watson. And I don’t just mean physical attraction. There’s that spark to this girl that Watson does a brilliant job of creating that makes her at once vulnerable and empowered. We’ve all known girls like Sam and most of us guys have crushed real hard on girls like Sam.

 

 

The supporting cast is also strong here. Paul Rudd gets to be that awesome teacher that inspires the more creative of his students, Tom Savini pops up as the angry shop teacher, Johnny Simmons plays against type a bit as the school jock, Melanie Lynskey gets to do… well, something different… as Aunt Helen and Mae Whitman plays the nightmare girlfriend perfectly (trust me on this one, I know this character well).

The drama to this movie isn’t anything new, but these characters bring some new life to a well-used story. Chbosky’s direction isn’t flashy, but gets the job done. He lets the story unfold at the pace set by the characters, which is probably the best decision he could have made as a director.

One other thing I want to point out before wrapping up is that I think Chbosky unintentionally cast the perfect remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in this movie. Doing the interactive Rocky Horror midnights is one of the things this group takes part in and seeing Ezra Miller as Frank and Emma Watson as Janet was a bit of a “Holy shit, that would actually work” lightning bolt. In the scene, Lerman has to step in to play Rocky, but he’d be a great Brad, too. Just sayin’.

Okay, where was I? Ah, yes. The wrap up. Okay, so listen. This kind of movie isn’t really seen these days in the wide-release market. It’s a charming, quiet coming of age drama that is deeply engrossing and doesn’t play to the cheap seats. Usually in order to watch movies that strike that tone you have to attend a few film festivals and be willing to sit through a whole bunch of pretentious shit to find something like this. So, be thankful we have this kind of storytelling as an option in theaters this weekend.

 

 

It’s a good fall film season so far. The Master, Looper, End of Watch, Perks… there’s a good crop of flicks out right now. I hear Hotel Transylvania is good, too, as is Pitch Perfect, but I have yet to catch those. Let’s keep our fingers crossed this trend keeps up!

-Eric Vespe
”Quint”
quint@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 30, 2012, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Yes, three upper class really good looking kids have it so tough

    by Raptor Jesus

    How dramatic.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Quint wants to ram his harpoon...

    by Vladimir I. Lenin

    ...into a certain girl who was part of Harry Potter.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 1:13 p.m. CST

    There's no way in Hades I'll ever watch this...

    by torpedoboy

    ...and WHY is Tom Savini anywhere near this project?

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Bummed that AICN is hating on this.

    by BlaGyver

    What appears to be a quality coming-of-age flick is coming out amongst a market that also hosts Glee, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the Step Up movies....and you guys are hating on it? Shit, I want more movies like this.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    By AICN, I mean Talkbackers.

    by BlaGyver

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Hope Emma continues to act

    by performingmonkey

    At one stage she was going to quit acting completely. Good to see her going against that decision and also not just appearing in any old crap (I'm sure she's received countless offers from studios wanting her in their shitty messes). I also hope she doesn't waste any time in getting her sweet freak on in a movie...anytime soon, Emma, would be appreciated!

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Went to the first viewing on Friday

    by themastadon

    AND LOVED IT! This could be my favorite adolescent coming of age story since the Wonder Years. Granted I've been excited for the film since seeing the first trailer, but everything about it was really perfect, even the casting choice of the three as dorks in high school. Growing up in that time I saw so much of myself and my friends in that group. It was spot on, at least from my own experience on so many levels. I encourage everyone to go and see it while they can, this truly is a gem that needs to get more recognition than it probably will. And yes, I totally agree about the Rocky Horror thing mentioned above, when Miller stood under Tim Curry on the screen, I really couldn't tell the difference. GO SEE IT!

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 2:53 p.m. CST

    I am shocked to report that this is a Top 5 movie of the year

    by applescruff

    I expected this to be garbage, but its easily one of the best movies I've seen all year. You're a fucking moron if you let this one pass by without giving it a look.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    At Least The Main Character Has The Good Sense To Wanna Bang Watson

    by HateThaNet

    Harry Potter was written as a complete moron for not wanting to hook up with Hermione haha.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Quint talk to your pal Capone about Hotel T.

    by Logan_1973

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST

    First World Problems: The Movie

    by Scrunchie-Scroochie

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST

    raptor_jesus

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    My thoughts exactly. This looks like the prequel to The Social Network... a hermetically sealed world of ultra-privilege. As grounded in reality as some Disney Channel show

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Alexander Rhodes steals the show

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 5:41 p.m. CST

    In no world of which I'm aware is she an outcast

    by Beebop

    That's just ridiculous that they have her as a social outcast. Good god, look at her. SHe's adorable. She'd have every guy in the school hanging all over her.

  • I am fully comfortable in my sexuality, therefore I have no problem admitting this: one of my best friends, Nick, is really good-looking. He has been. I seem to remember him doing some acting/modeling shit for a really short period of time. when we were in high school. Nick was, and still is, also one of the most hopelessly awkward, introverted kids in our entire school. He has a fuck ton of issues including anxiety and has been seeing a therapist since he was roughly 15 to deal with some of his issues. I won't delve into his home life. In high school, ti didn't matter that he was a very conventionally attractive, in-shape guy. He still had a fuck ton of trouble with girls and being social in general. He's a really great dude, all of these issues aside. Bottom line: He's a really pretty guy. He also had a rough time in high school because of all this. It's possible to be attractive and still have everybody in high school hate you. Personality, shockingly, does play into it quite a bit. Anyone who says otherwise is flat-out wrong.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Yeah, he'd have an easier time at school if he quit shooting them with arrows.

    by thefreshestthing

  • Besides, things are different for good looking girls. High school guys would easily look last any social awkwardness for a girl that looked like Emma. And from the review of this movie it doesn't done like Emma Watson had the same personality issues your buddy had. Come on, do you really deny that the hot chicks on high school (even the one ones with the personality of a plastic plant or the super bitchy ones everyone talked crap about behind her back) were "social outcasts"? The world is their oyster. Well, at least until they get to college and have to compete with the REALLY hot girls.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Nope, she's still Hermione to me.

    by wcolbert

    And so she shall remain until her first nude scene. 10 years of Potter to overcome, this one.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Ezra Miller - always gonna be creepy nutcase 'Kevin". All I see now.

    by Fortunesfool

  • I remember Emma Watson saying she was going to quit acting after Harry Potter, too. It was right after that when I think she actually started to get better at her craft. For me, she is by FAR the worst actor of the three leads in the HP movies. She had good points and bad points and I'm sure it was hard to have a bunch of different men telling you how to act like a teenage girl while you were still trying to figure it out yourself. But in the end she DID become Hermione for me, even if they never did quite get her hair right, and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 4:49 a.m. CST

    The end of We Need To Talk About Kevin was kind of dark?

    by Jaka

    No way! Really? lol The entire movie was dark and the end - which wasn't really the end (it had already happened when the movie starts), but rather the climax - is supposed to be horrifying.

  • Oct. 2, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    just sayin'

    by jim loder

    Hearing more and more morons adding that little bit of insight to their dumb-ass opinions (as if I didn't just unfortunately hear you spew out whatever the fuck you need to point out redundantly with your "just sayin'") is bad enough, but now idiots are typing it into their written work as well? Fuck, Quint, I normally respect your writing and opinions. Please, do us both a favor and don't ever end a sentence with that again. Written or spoken. Distance yourself from the fucktards, don't join them.

  • Oct. 3, 2012, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Physical attractiveness is the only true social barometer

    by Nintendarth

    People can try to compensate and look for success in other venues, but the ugly will always be truly HATED by humanity, tolerated with buried HATE if the ugly person has desired wealth or power.

  • Oct. 3, 2012, 7:07 p.m. CST

    blagyver

    by Nintendarth

    Nope, sorry. Don't buy it. Socially, he might have been awkward and have trouble asking out girls. Did he ever ASK anyone out? Did they point, laugh and proceee to try to beat him to death for even daring to ask out ANY girl ever? Did they spit on him, literally. When he walked in the room? Did they dump urine on his head? Did he get hospitalized from laughter-accomoanied beatings by five or six people? No? Then he didn't have problems in high school.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 12:31 a.m. CST

    No Hot Chick will ever be an outcast...

    by conspiracy

    Looks are ALL that matters...period. If you think otherwise you are lying to yourself. Business, Politics, Acting, student,....the better looking you are...the more people tend to overlook a whole closet full of bad bad issues and personality flaws.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Nonsense. I knew plenty of hot chicks who were outcasts.

    by Jaka

    The artsy, weird, loner, dorky, bookworm, goth, punk, stoner, etc. kids, male and female, are always outcasts to one degree or another. It's the well-dressed, socially adept, average students, particularly if involved with sports, who don't get picked on.

  • I was (am) a conventionally good looking guy. I was a top level academic student and one of the best all-round athletes in high school. Besides that, I was also a loner (by choice), refused to go to parties (despite being invited most of the time), and didn't respond to the attention I was getting from girls (although I secretly jerk off thinking about them). People just tended to avoid me in the end. They didn't say anything to me. When I spoke in class, people were quiet. If anybody dared be sarcastic, I would immediately get up and walk over to them and ask them if they could repeat this. My bullshit tolerance level was below zero (this mean, even the hint of you trying to say something that displeased me, could result in a marked decrease of your general heath). I enjoyed being the guy that everybody 'avoided.' I remember almost every single person in front of me being bullied, except for me. People were just quiet whenever I entered the room or happen to say something. The shrugged their shoulders and just continued as they were... That's not to say that people didn't *try* to bully me at first. But this was put to a quick end before it really started. The best way to avoid bullying, is to pick out the top bullies, make an example of them (smash their heads in if necessary), and everybody else will leave you the fuck alone, forever. In fact, most will try to be your friend (which is what they tried with me, and I happily rejected their friendship offers). Most people suffer through high school. I was the king. The teachers loved me, even if I insulted them occasionally, and the students just avoided me (best deal if you ask me). I did have about 1 or 2 friends. That's the highest number I'd tolerate (and still do). I still only have about 2 or 3 close friends. And those are the only friends I have. I don't have time for dead weight. And unfortunately, that's what most people are. Does this mean I enjoyed my high school years? Absolutely not. I hated high school, to the point where I just stopped going. There came a point, where I would just come to school to have my name marked off, spend a few minutes insulting everybody, and then I just left for the rest of the day. I think people respected that I just did and said whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Even to this day, I cannot handle any form of rigid structure. I am still at university, trying to piece together a double degree in mathematics/philosophy (working on PhD in math), and I still can't fucking stand the entire institution. So what's my point with all this? Where am I going? My point is: There will always be people like me, who are weird, and never fit in with anything. Refuse to conform to any standard. Many of these people unfortunately are bullied and ostracized. The reason it didn't happen to me, was perhaps my rather harsh upbringing. My parents used to beat the shit out of me (for which I am eternally grateful), and hardened me up to deal with pretty much anybody. My dad was (and probably still is) a raging psychopath, but he still loves me and does almost everything he can for me. Seems contradictory, but it's the truth. Life is not as simple as depicted in the movies. Being awkward doesn't mean you have to take shit from other people. Anybody who's weird/'different' needs to learn to stand up for themselves, and not take the slightest shit from anybody. Doing otherwise, only invites more abuse and cripples your soul to the point where you'll never be able to recover from it. Kids need to learn to fight back, because that's the language the bully understands. Trust me, I know. Every single bully I ever beat up in my life, came to me later and wanted to be my friend. That's the truth. That's what they are like. Although I politely declined their offer, I kinda felt sorry for them later on. Fighting for yourself back in primary school and high school, builds character. It doesn't mean you should get a gun and mass-murder people. It just means, don't be shy to whack somebody over the head with your hand or a stick or whatever is close in sight. :-)

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