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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Mean Creek (2004) (Read 9,502 times)
josephk
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Mean Creek (2004)
18. Jan 2004 at 02:24
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I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone has mentioned this upcoming film here yet. I just created a profile for it.


Was originally set for release this month, but either it was an extremely low-profile release or the date has been pushed back a bit.

Anyway, it looks interesting and stars two young actors that I am very fond of: Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley.

The official website ( (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)) says this:

Set in a small Oregon town where secrets are hard to keep and lies even harder,
Mean Creek flows with a simple elegance of truth and consequences as it follows a crisis in the lives of its teen characters, keenly directed by first-timer Jacob Aaron Estes.

The journey within begins as a plot for playful payback on a local troublemaker; the journey onscreen begins with a river, as a ragtag group of troubled-and-not teenagers set out on a boat trip to celebrate the birthday of their youngest member. As a sort of boyish Heart of Darkness trip develops, cracks in the crew form when some of the teens have second thoughts about what they are about to do.

Photographed in mossy greens and bark-colored skies, Mean Creek exposes a strange natural growth that appears in the nuanced performances of a fantastic cast, almost as if audience and child are forced to grow up together. What is so fascinating is watching an instinct-driven morality play itself out, swirl in fits and starts, float along for a while, and then finally settle into decisions that will haunt the characters for the rest of their lives.

--------------------------------

There are a few pics, taken from the official website.

Rory Culkin:
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With Ryan Kelley and others:
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« Last Edit: 07. Jul 2008 at 05:31 by Zabladowski »  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #1 - 19. Jan 2004 at 00:27
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This movie debuts later today at the Sundance film festival. It's definitely on my wish list as well.
  
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Sir Jacob
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #2 - 25. Jan 2004 at 17:25
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Here's one of the comments in one of the threads on the IMDb message board for it that makes it sound interesting, too:

<i>I too saw it at Sundance and really enjoyed the film. Most of the characters were really solid with a couple having nice development through the film. I also liked that the film had a "Stand By Me" quality to it (no adult interaction).

Dave</i>

I'm like you, josephk.  I want to see anything that Rory Culkin is in.  Smiley

Love,
Sir J
  
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josephk
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #3 - 25. Jan 2004 at 17:41
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there's one thing that annoys me, though. who does the culkin brothers' hair? why do they all have to have that annoying hairdo, with the bangs thrown to the side and falling over the left eye? kieran had the same look around that age and i'm pretty sure macauley had a similar hairstyle at some point.

i don't want to start another debate about boys and hairstyle. i know that people can have really strong opinions on that issue. Cheesy But I just wanted to state that opinion. Smiley
  
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cal-Q-L8
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #4 - 01. Feb 2004 at 06:11
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Thanks for the alert Joseph

..at least three of my favourite boy actors in recent years together in one movie. I'll watch a Culkin in anything even if their hairstyles don't meet the jk seal of approval Smiley
  
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gee
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #5 - 04. Feb 2004 at 15:17
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i hope that movies comes out in wide realease i really want to see it.
  
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ryan_kelley4eva
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #6 - 18. Feb 2004 at 06:58
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Ryan kelley is an absolutly brilliant one of a kind actor, and I can't wait to see him in mean creek, someone back me up here! lol, anyone see him in smallville, you know, the poor abused kid who could read people's minds, and then he was in another episode, he was the first guest star to be brought back to smallville, and he took up almost every scene...if you haven't seen him act you must... Roll Eyes

Oh and if you want his unnofficial no.1 website:

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

Good luck! for some reason, lol, pls reply
luv cesca
xxx

p.s.Ryan kelley is da best!
  
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Sir Jacob
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #7 - 18. Feb 2004 at 13:07
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Hey there, ryan_kelly4eva, glad to have you do a post here at BA.  :bigok:

I hope that Ryan Kelley has chanced upon your site (if you're the one who started that fansite!), and knows what a great fan he has out there.  You did a real nice job with your personal website, too.   Grin

Do you mind if I copy and paste this?  (Gosh, I hope you don't.  I'll edit this if you don't want it here, though)

<i>Ryan Kelley was born in Glen Ellyn Illinoison 31st August, 1986, so he has just turned 17. He has fourteen brother and sister, nine of which are adopted. (But he doesn't think of them that way!) Ryan is the fifth eldest in his family. He enjoys Rap and alternative music and he likes the work of sean
connery and Val Kilmer!</i>

I just found that very interesting info, that many of our members and visitors here might not know.

I've only seen Ryan in Stray Dogs, and Stolen Summer.  I really liked him, and purchased Stray Dogs, mostly because of him.  Oh, I guess I saw Roommates, too.  Smiley

Anyway, thanks for joining in and posting your thoughts about Ryan.  Here's a link to our info about him in our database, in case you haven't seen it.  Smiley



Love,
Sir J

P.S. - Your tribute to little Sam Walker made me cry. You have a good heart, and are very talented.
  
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Sir Jacob
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #8 - 18. Feb 2004 at 13:11
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Oh, ryan_kelly4eva, and others who might not know:

Click on the name of the actor to go to the BoyActors profile for an actor in our database, or on the IMDb link to go to their profile for him.  We provide both for the same low cost;  Free!   Grin

Love,
Sir J
  
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #9 - 19. Sep 2004 at 18:15
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Mean Creek finally made its way into my part of the world. I had wanted to see it because of Ryan Kelley, Rory Culkin and the comparisons to Stand By Me; my favorite movie of all time.
Having now seen it, I am sorry to report that my rating in the IMDB puts me in the bottom 10% of those who have rated it.

Let me start with the good news...Ryan Kelley and Rory Culkin fans will be proud of the jobs they did in this film. Carly Schroeder, who was Jake Thomas' adversary in Lizzie McGuire, also gives a strong performance.
Now the bad news.....since this is an ensemble film, Rory's top billing means nothing. Third billed (and 23 year old :pissed: ) Scott Mechlowicz grabs way too much screen time. He is so obviously older than his "classmates" Trevor Morgan and Ryan Kelley that he was a distraction to me. The filmmaker decided to show us more of his character's family life than that of any other character. I didn't want the extra insight into his character. The family backgrounds of Rory and Trevor (who play brothers) and Ryan's characters might have been useful though.
Josh Peck does a credible job with the toughest character.

As for the comparisons to Stand By Me, I believe the reviewers who wrote that were insane! This is how the thinking must have gone... take several juvenile characters together with a dead body out in the woods and what have you got......:idea: Stand By Me!
If this is the level of reasoning it takes, even I could become a film critic. Better comparisons would be Deliverance, Bully, and River's Edge. If you liked any of those three, I'd advise you to disregard my negativity and see it anyway.  Smiley
  
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #10 - 19. Sep 2004 at 22:51
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*chuckles over "I believe the reviewers who wrote that were insane!"*

Zab, you're the kind of film critic I could listen to and trust.  Now I have to see if I can find that movie.

(somehow missed this thread before. I love Ryan Kelley also)
  
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josephk
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #11 - 20. Sep 2004 at 08:09
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Quote:
Now I have to see if I can find that movie.


YA: It's playing in theatres now, so check your local listings.

Zab: I'm going to check this one out as soon as possible, since it's playing here too. I saw the trailer a few times and I know a little bit about the story, and I have to say a comparison to Stand by Me never entered my mind. Bully and River's Edge sound like much more appropriate comparisons indeed.

I would probably go see it even if you had said the movie was a total wreck not worth seeing by anyone - just because Rory and Ryan are in it and I'm a fan of both actors. But now that I've read your review, I will lower my expectations quite a bit. If it's as bad as you say it is, then at least I won't be too disappointed.
  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #12 - 20. Sep 2004 at 19:58
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joseph,

You may like it, indeed most reviews I read (after seeing the film so I wouldn't be prejudiced) were positive...glowing even in some cases. It seems almost a given that you will like it more than I.  Grin

I'll await your review.....

YA,

As joseph pointed out, this is in extremely limited theatrical release. IMDB lists only 25 screenings for it today nationwide......Yahoo Box office said it played on 47 screens last week when it placed 53rd in the box office derby.... so it'll probably be on video within a few months.
  
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josephk
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #13 - 28. Sep 2004 at 22:29
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Finally got around to seeing this one tonight. Would have seen it sooner (since I've been waiting for over a year for it!) but I decided to wait for a friend of mine who also wanted to see it.

In response to Zabladowski's review, let me say first of all that he is absolutely right about two things: it has absolutely nothing to do with Stand by Me and the acting (by everyone involved, not just Ryan Kelley and Rory Culkin) is simply amazing.

Aside from that, I pretty much disagree with everything he said. And, yes, that means I liked it quite a bit. In fact, I'm debating whether I should give it a 9 or a 10.

First, about Rory's screen time. That he gets first billing is irrelevant. I don't think it was deliberately misleading, as he's not famous enough to attract many people to the theatre. The names of the actors who play all six major characters appear at the beginning of the film in alphabetical order. Rory goes first, Scott what's-his-face goes third. (Same order as on IMDb.) All six of them get roughly the same amount of screen time. Most of the movie takes place in one day, when these six characters are alone in the woods together.

Scott, who is indeed 23 years old, didn't seem that much older than his two friends, at least not to the point of distracting me from the film. He could probably pass for 20. Trevor Morgan's character looks like he's about 18 or 19. I don't remember them saying anything about being "classmates" so there's no reason why an 18 year old shouldn't hang out with someone who's a year or two older. Even if they were classmates, it wouldn't be impossible. Ryan does look much younger than both of them, but again - some kids do look younger than others at that age.

As for the filmmakers giving us more insight into Scott's character's life than any other, I'm not sure I agree here either. We meet his older brother and his brother's friend, because these two will play a role in the events that unfold. We find out eventually (through dialogue) what happened to his father, and his mother is mentionned once or twice but we never actually see her.

The same is true for all the characters. We know very little about their family lives. And, frankly, this was one of the things I liked about the film. The characters are developped through other means, mostly the actors' subtle performances and the interaction between the characters. We find out bits and pieces about some of the characters' backgrounds through dialogue, but nothing is ever expanded apart. It's all very subtle and the screenwriter/director very carefully stays clear of clichés.

For example, we find out at some point that Ryan Kelley's character lives with his two "fathers" - his dad is gay and lives with another man. The other characters sometimes tease him about it, but it never really becomes a big deal. There's a wonderful scene where the bully character is playing around with his video camera, improvising a rap song while filming himself and others. He points the camera to the other kids in the boat, joking: "Rocky's a pimp, Clyde is a f*g." Everyone is laughing at his goofing around, but you have to see the subtle change in Ryan's facial expression when the other calls him a f*g. His smile just kind of falls off his face and he stares at the video camera as if to say: "where did that come from?" It's a split second, but it reveals volumes about his character.

I haven't seen Deliverance, but Bully and River's Edge are two excellent comparisons for this film. However, Mean Creek is far superior to either of those two in my opinion. Bully was an incredibly awkward mess by Larry Clark (a rather crappity smacked up director with some good ideas, but whose films I find are usually less than satisfactory), and River's Edge, while slightly better, suffered from overacting by Crispin Glover and the usual dull underacting by Keanu Reeves. Mean Creek's strength, on the other hand, is undeniably in the amazing performances turned in by the entire ensemble cast, although a lot has to be said for the fine cliché-free writing (not a superfluous word) and the skillful direction.

One of the characters I found the most appealing, suprisingly, was the only girl in the film, Millie, played brilliantly by Carly Shroeder. Her performance may actually have been my favourite in the film, although it's hard to pick one because they were all so impressive.

In conclusion, I suppose that some of you may also be disappointed by the film if Rory Culkin is the main attraction. He was for me at first, too, but as soon as I started watching I was drawn completely in and enjoyed the movie for everything that it was, not just Rory's presence. If any of you have been paying attention to my reviews and ratings, you will know that I have very specific tastes that don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the majority. I don't expect everybody to like it as much as I have, but to me this was a clear winner - one of my favourite films of the year, so far.
  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Mean Creek (Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley)
Reply #14 - 01. Oct 2004 at 23:14
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joseph,

You may like it


You know when I wrote that originally I was tempted to italicize the you instead of the may, but I thought it looked too presumptuous. I should have stuck with my first impression.  Smiley

Despite the fact that we bitterly disagree on whether this film is must-see material, I think anyone who reads our opinions should be able to predict fairly accurately whether or not they would like the film. I don't disagree with most of what you said, but I would have had very low expectations for Mean Creek after reading it, despite its favorable tone. I absolutely detested River's Edge (another film that attempted to pass off twenty somethings as high schoolers, but I digress) and have shied away from seeing Bully although I will get around to it eventually. Having those films as my reference points I would've known what to expect, that it probably wasn't going to be my cup of tea.

There is one part of your argument that I will take issue with however and that is your position that the Marty character doesn't grab too much running time. Although I concede that this character's brother plays a role in the film, that was the writer's choice. It didn't have to be that way. The writer could have eliminated that character or given him about as much screen time as George's mom, Rocky and Sam's dad, Clyde's dads, or Millie's mom; in short next to none. The writer made a conscious choice to magnify the importance of Marty by making his brother an important supporting character, giving the audience three times as many scenes with Marty's family than with the other character's families and to what purpose? Marty's character was the least interesting and the most cliched, although Trevor Morgan's character was also pretty bland.
For me to set aside some of my hostility toward the  decision to cast Mr. Mechlowicz,  the central character was going to need to be Sam or George and it simply wasn't. Much the same as my problem with Sugar Orange, there is a movie I could love in this story, it just didn't make it on to the screen. :lookaround:
  
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