The producer, Matthew Gielen sent me a screening copy of The Graduates for my review and consideration.
It certainly brought back memories of my own Senior Week, albeit there was a lot less zeitgeist than portrayed in this movie. My senior week was composed of sun, sand and a unending supply of Hurricane's - delivered by my personal concierge. BTW -The bikini was pink, not red.
The writer and director, Ryan Gielen crafted a brilliant movie that reflects an Endless Summer vibe.
The plot of this movie can be summed up with two words: Senior Week.
For those who are unaware, Senior Week, not to be confused with Seniors Week, is a week long celebration of cheap beer, spontaneous hookups (for better or for worse) and red bikinis. A memorable rite of passage into the complex puzzle that is adulthood.
The Graduates follows the senior week exploits of childhood friends and their driver/guru.
Ben - the dark haired, blue eyed dogooder has dreamed of sharing senior week with his best buds before they scatter into the real world. He is also in a state of perpetual lust for Annie, the red bikini girl. The more I watched this character, the more he reminded me of Fry from Futurama - especially with the thing going on with his hair.
Nicky - 18 year-old wanna be gangsta complete a napoleon/daddy complex. He was the most entertaining of the ensemble cast. The actor had a great role and you could see he was relishing the part.
Andy - Here is a young guy suffering from a serious case of girlfriend separation anxiety disorder, coupled with a cellphone texting addiction.
Matty - Everyone's favorite 18 going on 45 year old. He is the mister fix-it for the group - especially when Nicky picks a fight and Matty has to finish it. He is mature, confident and way too good looking to be straight.
Tom aka Tall Silent Dude - I liked the character and his ‘Cool Hand Luke' vibe. You have to see him to appreciate it and his sunglasses.
Josh - The 25 year old driver heading to Ocean City, Md for his 6 or 7th Senior Week. Perhaps this time, he'll get it right. He is the fountain of knowledge that the boys flock to when looking for help with the ladies. Is it me or does the actor seem to be channeling Kramer for this character?
The acting was natural and relaxed, with great chemistry between the starring characters. The script gives a measured look into the obscure world of male bonding and the first steps into adulthood for these guys . The film is supported by talented actors who were able to breathe believability into the roles. Kudos goes to the writer for numerous references to safe sex! I give high marks for the film production, editing, post production and indie music score.
This movie is a great independent film capturing a time in life when your hair is long and your thoughts are short. Yes, I am channeling Kid Rock. It is a jewel of a film that these young actors and actresses can look back on twenty years from now without cringing. So can we.
PS: If a girl pulls a lock of hair behind her ear, that signals she wants that annoying lock of hair out of her face. It is the Little Blue Boxes, guys, not the earlobe!
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