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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "Igby Goes Down" (with screenshots)



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#1 of 18 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 13 2003 - 11:35 PM

Posted Image

Igby Goes Down






Studio: MGM
Year: 2002
Rated: R
Film Length: 98
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish



Insanity is relative


One of the toughest jobs I sometimes find as a
reviewer is trying to make sense of what I just
watched. Such is the case with Igby Goes Down.
On the one hand, I found it to be a film full of
witty dialogue and superb performances by its
entire cast. On the other hand, it's a film
filled with losers making it one of the most
depressing films I have seen.

Posted ImagePosted Image

Igby (Kieran Culkin) is a young boy who is
desperately trying to escape the horrors of his
everyday life. He comes from a severely dysfunctional
New York City family. There's his schizophrenic
father, Jason (Bill Pullman); highly authorative
Mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon); and overachieving
brother Ollie (Ryan Phillippe). It's no wonder that
a coldhearted family like this has produced a brat
like Igby who is repeatedly breaking out of military
school and meeting up with various eccentrics, all
while working for his godfather, D.H. (Jeff Goldblum).



How is the transfer?


Picture quality is fairly sharp and detailed here
with no visible grain to be seen anywhere. Colors
are well represented and balanced with accurate
flesh tones. Not much more can be said here other
than this is a nice transfer.

Posted Image

The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix supports this film well.
The front channels provide robust, bass-heavy audio.
You'll even hear your subwoofer accent the beats of
the film's rock soundtrack. The rears are sparingly
used to provide the ambient noises of New York City
and various weather elements. Unfortunately, the
rears don't add much support to the film's soundtrack
adding more reverb than anything else.


Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image

A full-length commentary with Kieran Culkin
and Director Burr Steers isn't overly technical,
playing more like two buddies casually sitting in
front of the TV, laughing along at the film and
their fellow cast members. Steers points out many
of the tricks he used (such as hat wearing) to
preserve the film's time line continuity, as well
as various changes he had to make in dialogue.
The director chose to shoot this film in Super
35mm, and talks about how artists like Fiorucci
inspired many of his most intimate shots. Though
I skimmed through most of this commentary, what I
heard was more playful banter than anything overly
interesting, though throughout Steers does manage
to help the viewer better understand his characters.

Posted Image

In Search Of Igby begins with the entire
cast of the film giving us short quips about the
storyline as we are introduced to first-time director
Burr Steers who talks about what it was like to write
and structure a film like this. One would have thought
that it would be difficult making a low-budget film
ith a relatively well-known cast, but Producer Mark
Weber explains that it was the love of doing a
project like this that brought everyone together and
made this an effortless film to make. In fact, the
entire cast seems not only to be highly motivated
by the film's script, but the fact that actors like
Sarandon and Goldblum are involved.
(length: approx. 16 minutes)

There are of 10 minutes of deleted scenes
presented here, most of which are flashbacks that
further look at the relationship brothers between
Igby and Ollie and their father (Bill Pullman).
Most interesting to see is a hospital scene where
a particular line that Sarandon utters to a doctor
was removed purely on speculation that the MPAA
would be disgruntled over it. Though all the footage
shown here further expands upon these characters,
it became difficult to watch for it truly shows
what bastards all of these people are. You can
watch these deleted scenes with or without the
optional commentary by director Burr Steers.

The film's orignial theatrical trailer is
included here as well as a Photo gallery
with approximately 45 behind-the-scenes stills that
you can browse through using your DVD remote. MGM
has also included trailers for their Thelma &
Louise
and The Usual Suspects SE DVDs.


Final Thoughts

Posted Image

Somehow I feel like I missed the point of this
film. Igby Goes Down manages to assemble
a fine cast who give remarkably strong performances.
Problem is, the movie is filled with such utterly
irritating characters that it quickly wears out its
welcome and you find yourself no longer caring about
any of it. Whether you like this coming-of-age
film or not will most likely depend on your mood
at the moment. While I can't help but think some
of you will view this film as a masterpiece in the
veign of Catcher In The Rye, it's certainly
not a film I can readily recommend.


Release Date: February 4, 2003


All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted January 14 2003 - 01:08 AM

Thanks for the review. This film was critically lauded last year & I plan to check it out. Looks like I'll rent though.
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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   ben hunt

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Posted January 14 2003 - 01:54 AM

I thought this movie was great. Good review. I didn't know it was out on DVD so soon. I'll be picking it up.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Joe_C

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Posted January 21 2003 - 10:28 AM

My roommate and I saw it together the other day and we both thought it was a extremely well-written, well-acted film with very interesting characters who had to deal with getting shit on over and over again. The film club on our campus (UCLA) showed it to about 200 of us and nearly everyone came out just raving about it. It was successful enough to warrant three more showings to about the same number of people each time. I was a little surprised to see that it's already on DVD. Oh well, another release to pick up!
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#5 of 18 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted June 06 2003 - 04:15 PM

(In all honesty and sincerity)

Am I the only one who is truly at a loss for words on this? I got through watching about an hours worth of this DVD and turned it off. I've NEVER done this before with ANY of the hundreds of DVD's I've watched (and I sat through all of "Master of Disguise" last night).

I wish there was one sort of redeeming quality to latch onto, but every corner the movie turned just irritated me more and more!!!!! I don't think I can manage to finish watching this movie. I am absolutely amazed at how awful I thought this was. REALLY! I am completely baffled as to how much I couldn't stand this movie. I may not like every movie I buy, but at least I can appreciate them for what they are and move on, but I just can't seem to get by this one.....

Did I mention I didn't like this movie? Posted Image

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted June 08 2003 - 04:02 AM

So... you want to tell us how you really feel Mark? Posted Image

--
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#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Patrick_L

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Posted June 08 2003 - 05:46 AM

then why bother buying it. i thought the movie was great, btw.


#8 of 18 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted June 08 2003 - 05:53 AM

[quote] then why bother buying it. [quote]I bought it as a "Blind Buy". I meant, I don't always like every "blind Buy", but I can usually find something redeming about it. I have no problems if people liked it. I understand that my point of view is only 1 of many, but I just had to write about the fact that I didn't find it good at all.

I wrote it more to the fact that I am absolutely amazed that I felt this way. Usually I can sit through a bad movie and not feel the need to be so vocal about it, but I could barely sit through this. I just needed to vent and see if anyone else felt the same way I did. That's all.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted June 08 2003 - 07:21 AM

So what about it didn't you like? I thought it was just OK, not great, but I'll watch it again.
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#10 of 18 OFFLINE   JayF

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Posted June 08 2003 - 08:48 AM

Mark- Maybe you should force yourself to finish it. I couldn't stand it at first either... the Caulkin character was such a little sh*t it was really turning me off. But unbelievably by the end I found I had been hooked and it actually evoked some emotion, which I thought was a great reflection on the screenplay to make you actually care for such an ***hole.

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric Walsh

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:15 AM

The second viewing really sealed this for me as a great film. The first time I saw it I was very disappointed and annoyed because I thought I would like it but I didn't. Then I tried it again and ended up really appreciating it. Maybe check it out again knowing what to expect and you will see some value in it somewhere. I mean you already own it so why not? -Eric

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   Jason Kleeberg

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:24 AM

I love this movie. It's definitely in my top twenty list.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:24 AM

[quote] the Caulkin character was such a little sh*t it was really turning me off. [quote]I think this is what turned me off as well. I guess I couldn't get past the fact that I wanted to smack him upside the head Posted Image

I actually just finished watching it this afternoon. The end was ok, but I can't say that it saved the movie for me. And I still wanted to smack him at the end. Posted Image

The other thing that really got me, was the all of the praise it got. I originally wasn't going to buy it, but I kept reading good things about it.

Again, I know my opinion is one of many, but doesn't it just bug the hell out of you when everyone likes something and you just can't stand it? Doesn't it actually make you hate it more? Hmmm? That sounds like a good thread to start Posted Image

Oh well, no big loss. I just needed to vent.

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:28 AM

I would love to take a poll and find out the age group of people who loved the movie. I would tend to think that younger people (under 30) would like this more than the 30 and over group. I would think the under 30 would relate more to Culkins char. and agree with his actions whereas the over 30 group would just be truned off (as I was) with what he did.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 08 2003 - 11:47 AM

[quote] I would tend to think that younger people (under 30) would like this more than the 30 and over group. [quote]
I'm considerably older than 30 and loved it. My review from its theatrical release is here. Scroll up two posts to find someone whose reaction mirrors yours. (My advice to anyone considering a blind buy of an arthouse film: Check the big "alternative" thread in Movies. The film you're considering has probably been reviewed there; there's an index on the first page that's regularly updated.)

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#16 of 18 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted June 08 2003 - 12:32 PM

[quote] I would tend to think that younger people (under 30) would like this more than the 30 and over group. [quote] Gah, I hate when people say stuff like this, on the one hand because I always seem to wind up on the other side of it (and, yeah, I pretty much despised Igby when I saw it about a week before my 29th birthday), and on the other because it's often a SWAG based upon one person trying to extrapolate why he or she thought one way onto the population at large.

I'm pretty sure I hated it because, despite being chock full of excellent performances (can anyone remember the last time Jeff Goldblum actually acted before this film?), it's basically a "whining rich white people movie". Didn't like It Runs In The Family for pretty much the same reason, but I'm not sure I'd feel confident on saying "if you liked/hated..." based on that.

Oh, and there are at least two alterna-threads, although I believe the 2003 edition has a link back to the 2002 one.
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#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 08 2003 - 04:16 PM

[quote] Oh, and there are at least two alterna-threads, although I believe the 2003 edition has a link back to the 2002 one. [quote]
I tend to think of it as one big continuing thread, broken into year-long "chapters". The 2001 and 2002 installments are in the Software Archive. The current, 2003 installment is in the Movies forum.

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#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted June 09 2003 - 04:02 AM

i'm over 30 and i thought this movie was pretty good. if i saw it used i'd possibly pick it up.

i actually liked how irritating culkin's character was. he's basically a wandering, uninspired, spoiled rich kid trying to figure out what to do with his life. he meets all these bizarre people (including goldblum - who is really the *true* a-hole of the picture) and just skates through it all.

i thought phillipe did a great job showing ambivalence (sp?) towards the whole situation.

i think one of my favorite scenes was when peet's character got all dressed up in that pink outfit - trying to be the pure and innocent person we all know she's not. goldblum takes one look at her and walks out of the restaurant...can't tell me we didn't all know it was over at that point.

although i certainly don't know if this is how rich new yorkers behave ( Posted Image ) it was certainly an interesting character study. i liked it more then the royal tenenbaums (sp?) - that's for sure.
 





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