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DVD Reviews

HTF Review: "From Justin To Kelly"

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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 22 2003 - 11:10 AM

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From Justin To Kelly

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Year: 2003

Rated: PG

Film Length: 81 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: Full Screen encoded 1.33:1 & Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 on the reverse side (Double Sided, Single Layer)

Audio: DD 5.1 (English) Subtitles in English and Spanish

Bonus features:
-Never-before-seen extended movie version with 2 new dance numbers
-Full length commentary by Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, and Director Robert Iscove
-Behind-the-scenes featurettes
-From Justin To Kelly "Video Scrapbook"
-Deleted Scenes
-Gag Reel[/b]

Release Date: August 26, 2003


Ladies and gentleman, the DVD release you have all been so anxiously awaiting these past few months! The stupendous, the uncompromising.... "From Justin To Kelly"! ........(complete silence in the crowd)........*crickets*......

When I first opened the box and saw this DVD sitting there, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. "Lovely" I thought sarcastically. Strangely enough however, as dorky as this movie seemed to me when I saw the commercial spots for it on TV, I was still curious as to what the movie was like. Well, be careful what you wish for people!

This is the movie description from the back of the DVD cover. "America's favorite "Idols" Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson make the leap to the big screen in this high-energy comedy set during spring break in Miami-where the music, dancing, and fun in the sun never stop. It's love at first splash when a shy singer (Clarkson) from Texas hooks up with a cute Pennsylvania college student (Guarini) at the ultimate beach party, but a series of mix-ups and misunderstanding may prevent their budding romance from reaching the final round!

The movie starts out kind of funny as Kelly is singing her heart out on stage at the Texas bar she works for. As the camera swings around however, we find out she is only singing to a crowd of one. Its a cowboy/hick guy named Luke (Christopher Bryan) who apparently is Kelly's biggest fan and comes to all of her shows. The Luke character strongly reminds me of that guy "Ace" from "The Real World, Paris". Kelly has to explain to Luke that she is not interested in him romantically. She then she finds her two best friends, Alexa (Katherine Bailess) and Kaya (Anika Noni Rose), waiting for her at the bar, having missed their flight down to Florida for Spring Break. Kelly is the only one of them with a car, so they convince her to go and drive down to Miami. This is where our story kicks off.

When the story flips over to Justin's introduction, we find him cruising the beach with HIS two best friends, Brandon (Greg Siff) and Eddie (Brian Deitzen). The story goes that Brandon and Justin, the "Pennsylvania Posse", have their own little company that promotes parties for clubs at Spring Break. Supposedly their parties are the "ultimate" each year and are very popular. One of the biggest downsides of this movie for me, starts right in the begining when we meet the 'Brandon' character. The minute this guy hits the screen and opens his mouth, it makes me cringe. He is the stereotypical "superficial" kind of guy. You know the ones that have no brain, aren't particularly good looking, and think they are WAY cooler than they actually are? If any character ruins the movie for me, it's this guy.

Literally 6 mintues and 50 seconds into the movie, we have our first character busting into song, and suddenly the entire beach full of strangers are now perfectly choreographed and singing and dancing. Obviously I knew the movie was the "musical" type of genre, but I still can't help feeling embarrassed. It's just such a weird thing to watch. Do you ever sometimes get so embarrassed for someone, that you have to look away? Well I do! Like when you watch the people that are trying out for "American Idol" that get up there in front of the 3 judges and make complete fools out of themselves? I get goosebumps when I feel embarrassed for someone. Let me tell you, at 6 minutes and 50 seconds into this movie, I got goosebumps! However, the song that they sing for this dance number, is actually pretty cool. Every main character in the movie does their own singing part. I liked it a lot. Most of them sing really good. However, Brandon really sucks at it. No singing talent whatsoever! On the other hand, anytime Kelly is singing, it's really powerful. There is definitely a reason she won American Idol. Justin is also an excellent singer. After the first dance number, I got used to the singing and dancing stuff for the most part.

Anyway, this first dance scene is were Justin and Kelly meet for the first time. After running through the gambit of partners, they finally find each other and do a bit of dancing together. I guess this is where you could say the "spark of interest" starts. And OH MY GOD, right after this scene, that damn Brandon character does the absolute WORST white boy rap I have ever heard in my life. He makes Vanilla Ice look like a GREEK GOD! And the way he raps it, you can tell that the real-life actor, Greg, thinks he is so cool doing it. Talk about GOOSEBUMPS! Utterly horrid! Especially irritating is that the movie makes Brandon out to supposedly be some chick magnet who gets any and every girl he wants. PUH-LEASE! Whoever casted this guy should be blacklisted.

As you can tell by now, this movie is just a modern day version of a Frankie and Annette movie. It has no substance, and is a very basic story line. No suprizes here though, I am sure.

Basically, the rest of the story is that Kelly's friend Alexa, aka the "Blonde Bitch", likes Justin as well. There is a scene were Justin is running away from some girls that want free passes to one of the parties he is promoting. He escapes into the bathroom only to find out he ended up in the girls bathroom with Kelly. After he escapes out the window, Kelly writes her number on a napkin and throws it out the window. It lands in a puddle and washes off her number. So Justin finds Alexa to get Kelly's number. Alexa actually gives Justin HER phone number instead. This is where the roots of all the deception start. Justin sends text messages to Alexa, who he thinks is Kelly. Alexa sends back messages saying she is not interested in Justin. But then when Justin meets Kelly face to face, he gets a different vibe. Kelly and Justing set a time and place to meet. Then when Kelly tells Alexa the plan, Alexa text messages Justin a change of plans and location. This of course leads to Kelly being stood up and Justin being stood up. Alexa always ends up being in the right place and the right time to try and work her moves on a Kelly-less Justin. Her plan works, as Justin and Kelly get more and more pissed off and confused at each others motives. "She likes me, she doesn't, he likes me, he doesn't like me" kind of thing. This basically happens in one form or another throughout the movie until they finally figure out what Alexa is doing. Once everything is out in the air, Justin and Kelly can finally confess their love for each other and live happily ever after dancing and singing their way through life. The end.

I can't say that I disliked the movie. I think the one thing that kept me from going belly up is the suprizingly good songs. Especially the songs that only Kelly and Justin sing. I was also suprized about the acting ability of both Kelly and Justin. They actually did a really good job considering it's their first acting gig. I have seen much, much worse acting. Read "Greg Siff".

However I must warn you that there is a sequence where Alexa has her own singing and dance number. I have one phrase for you, "Nails on a chalkboard". That girl is major eye candy, but yikes, why did they make her sing? I have another word for you, "goosebumps".

Picture quality for this DVD was actually pretty darn good. The picture had a very nice vibrancy to it. I especially liked sunny scenes where they were outside, or at the beach. The picture has a nice crispness to it, generally. According to power DVD, the video bitrate is 9.80Mbps. The only scene I noticed that was slightly soft and possibly a little washed out color wise, was Alexa's dance number. However, she was in a club, and its looks like the entire set had a slight fog applied so that you could see the beams in the overhead dance floor light. I am sure this was the culprit.

The colors were saturated. Skin tones, I thought, were spot on. They were usually rich and lush. At first I wasn't sure of the black levels, but there were some good night scenes at the beach. You almost couldn't distinguish the black on the screen from the black bars. I'd say that is pretty good in my book.

There were only a few points where the video wasn't perfect. I did notice some gradiation in solid colors. For instance right before Kelly is supposed to do the bikini contest, the girls are talking in front one of those big blue blowup platforms on the beach. You could notice the gradiation in the solid blue. Also, some problems in a scene where Kelly is buying a hotdog at a stand next to some palm trees. As the camera moves in, you can see some pixelation on the palm tree trunks and the guys standing by the trees.

One big flub I did notice while watching the movie a second time, was a "frame dropout" or "jolt". It comes right around the 41:00 minute mark where the cast sings a "Grease" inspired song. Justin starts off the song and rises from his table. Then he does this little dance move where he is throwing his shoulders forward. As he is pulling off the move, he "jolts" forward. I played it over and over, and the best way I can describe it, is that it looks like someone cut out 2 or 3 frames of film, and then spliced it back together. It is very noticable to me. I should point out that I do not find any scratches on the DVD.

Throughout the flick, there are a few instances where you will see pixelation and jagged edges on people. I only noticed it on white, or light skinned people that were in the background. Keep in mind I was really looking for stuff too. Chances are you may never see any of these problems. Really, the only scene where its easy to spot video problems is scenes where the sky was overcast. Mainly the first song with Justin and Kelly when they are alone on a boat. The sky looks like grey and white snow. Some definite video noise. I am not sure what to call it. Compression artifacting? Gradiation? My best guess would be to call it grain. I am not always positive what lingo to associate with what I am seeing. (Any help from you guys would be nice)

Here are some screen shots for you.

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Picture Rating:
Picture: 4 / 5
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The sound wasn't perfect, but it was good. It was especially good on the songs. The music was clear and loud. In fact, the only sightly irritating thing was that the dialog was a tad quiet. But, when the music kicked in, it really kicked in. I found that I turned up the sound to hear the dialog better, but when a song came on, I had to turn it down. This movie is almost exclusively front soundstage. I never once noticed any surround sound. I am sure there is some there, but it was not enough for me to notice at the volume I was watching at. I didn't have the volume up very loud (-17 to -22ish). However, due to the type of movie, I didn't expect any rear sound. No car chases, no gunshots, no explosions, no flyovers, usually means not much happening in the rear.

This movie does have some very nice LFE tho! Man, when those songs kicked in, I got a VERY nice bump in the bass department. We're talking a nice DEEP bass, not a boomy bass. Turn up the volume at 6:50 into the movie. The song "The Luv" has some nice deep reaching bass. The song is cool and funky. I liked it a lot. A couple of notes I wrote down when watching, puts a "cool song" at the 41:00 minute mark. This song reminds me of something out of "Grease". I liked how they put it together. I also have the notes "OMG, please stop with the white dork rapping!!!" somewhere around the 41:00 minute mark. Again, for such a corny movie, especially in this day and age, I am really impressed by the quality of most of the songs. I also have notes for "BASS" at the 57:00 mark. Yet another cool and bass heavy song.

The last song "Anytime" was my favorite of the movie. It starts off with Kelly, and Justin joins her toward the end. That was the moment that I finally realized that I MUST own a Kelly Clarkson CD. Her voice is just awesome and she has such command of her singing. "Anytime", is very powerful, and I cannot tell you how much I love this song. It gave me the "good" goosebumps.

The worst song of the movie by far is the ending entire cast dance number. They do a rendition of "That's the way I like it". I hated every minute of it. We also get treated to another horrid "Brandon rap" again!! ARRRRGGG!

Sound Rating:
Sound: 4 / 5
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This DVD has some pretty good extras considering the movie. I was expecting a bare bones type of DVD. Not so! They have some pretty nice stuff. I also should say that I watched the extended version of the movie with the 2 extra dance numbers.

Commentaries with Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, and Director Robert Iscove.

The cool thing about the commentaries is that it's Justin and Kelly's first time seeing the movie. I thought that was kinda neat. There is a lot of suprize reactions for the two with certain scenes and little tidbits of info from the director. Most of their reactions involve the word "Cool!" To my delight, there is also a little bit of ragging on Greg Siff, aka "Brandon". Just as I thought, the guy is pretty much an idiot in real life. They were saying that he was so proud of his retarded little rap that he had to do. We find out that he wrote it himself. Gee, imagine that? They also talked about how the idiot was convinced that Theresa San Nichols, who plays the beach cop that continually writes Brandon tickets throughout the entire movie, actually liked him in real life even though she has a boyfriend. "Brandon" gets Officer Cutler in the end of the movie, not so for Greg Siff, however. hehe.

There was also just some talk about how many extras they hired for the beach scenes (300-ish). They were saying that every beach scene was freezing cold and what troupers the cast and extras were. Hardly no complaining at all from them. Apparently they had a lot of problems with the crane shots. Cranes were always breaking on them. We hear a lot of Kelly and Justin critiquing their acting and whatnot. The director talked about how Justin and Kelly were always playing practical jokes on each other throughout filming.

Deleted Scenes

There are 3 short deleted scenes. The first two are nothing special. The 3rd one is kinda funny. A slightly different ending for a certain character.

Video Scrapbook

Basically, this is just a behind the scenes type of extra. Interviews with the cast. Excerpts of footage after scenes. You know, the usual. Good stuff for the Kelly and Justin fans tho.

"Center Stage" With Kelly and Justin

This is more interviews with Kelly and Justin and focuses more on their "American Idol" experiences. Also, stuff about their take on filming their first movie.

Singers Who Dance?.... Dancers Who Sing?

This is more of a focus on choreographer, Travis Payne. More of what his vision for the movie was and things he tried to accomplish. He talked about how anxious he was because of the big task at hand. He had an awful lot of choreographing to do for this movie. We also see tidbits of video from rehearsals of dance numbers.

Gag Reel

Nothing much to talk about here. Nothing really funny. Very bland. Only one part made me chuckle where Kelly flinched because she thought she was going to get hit with a camera crane.

Here are some screen shots of menus:
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Extras Rating:
Extras: 4 / 5
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This is not my usual type of movie. But I also cant say it was necessarily bad either. For me, the music is what saved it. Also the fact that I like both Kelly and Justin helped a bit. They seem like very down to earth people. If the "Brandon" guy wasn't in it, I'd like this movie a whole lot more. I would definitely not mind this movie playing in the background, like if my kids were watching it over and over as they do other movies.

I am RECOMMENDING this movie if you are a Justin or Kelly fan, or a "Frankie and Annette" beach movie fan. For everyone else, when in doubt, rent first! Posted Image


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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Gary->dee



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Posted August 22 2003 - 11:55 AM

Nice review, Adam, technically speaking of course. Very slick. Love the screenshots, even though the blonde chick looks deflated. Posted Image

You might want to consider adding the "(With Screenshots)" thing to the thread title in the future. Just a suggestion. Also, no DVD cover in the beginning of your review?

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 22 2003 - 12:04 PM

Ron actually puts those on the server for us. We post the review, then he puts up the cover, and puts it on the front page.

Its wierd about that blonde chick. Some scenes she looks BIG, other scenes not. Super annoying voice too.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Gary->dee



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Posted August 22 2003 - 12:32 PM

Gotcha, bro. Posted Image

Too much bone showing through her skin. I might get cut by all those hard edges.

Off topic, I hope you review one or both of the Two Towers releases so you could provide us with some awesome screenshots. Posted Image

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 22 2003 - 02:08 PM

Sorry bro, I wont be getting the Two Towers. That would be Michael Elliots to review. He has the New Line studio. Posted Image

Hmm, He might not have got it tho since its releasing on Tuesday. I haven see a review from him on it.

#6 of 19 ONLINE   Stephen_J_H



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Posted August 22 2003 - 02:16 PM

A very diplomatically handled review. Are those of us who love "so bad it's good" movies gonna enjoy this? Going by your review, I would say so.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 22 2003 - 03:18 PM

Are those of us who love "so bad it's good" movies gonna enjoy this? Going by your review, I would say so.

I would have to say a resounding, YES!! Because of all the time I spent with this DVD, (ie; reviewing, screen shots, etc) I like it more and more. Hmmmmm...... should I admit that I have watched it 3 times allready? I really am hooked on the songs. I think I will look for a soundtrack. I have watched the scenes with my favorite songs over and over and over again. My 3 year old daughter likes the movie alot. She likes dancing to the songs.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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Posted August 23 2003 - 03:23 AM

I just might have to give this a rental. I missed the fist season of American Idol and the first half of the second. I always thought Kelly Clarkson was a hottie as well. Posted Image

Are the songs really that catchy? That might be a plus too.
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted August 23 2003 - 04:07 AM

Are the songs really that catchy?

If you'd like a dissenting opinion, mine would be NO! I thought the songs were anything BUT catchy. Generic pop drivel across the board - not a memorable tune in the bunch. (And for the record, I'm not a music snob - I like good pop. The songs here just aren't any good.)

I don't think Justin is a truly awful movie because it's too limp and lifeless to muster that sort of reaction. Really terrible flicks make you watch them with mouth agape - Justin just made me yawn. Dull script, bland acting, uninspired songs - it's a snoozer...
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 23 2003 - 04:49 AM

Well there you go, someone who really liked most of the songs, and someone who really hated them. You're just going to have to rent it to know that you hate it. Posted Image Seriously tho, this is one of those movies that you never know who will end up liking it.

I would suspect that 85% of the people who watch this movie, are probably going to hate it. I think I ended up likeing it because I had to spend so much time with it. It grew on me. I went into this thinking I was absolutely going to hate it to death. You never know.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted August 23 2003 - 05:02 AM

Adam, I'll bet that this is the most detailed review of this title anywhere. Nice job.

One technical suggestion - in the future could you downsize the screen grabs a bit? They are so big that I have to scroll horizontally to read the review. I'm running at 1024x768. I would think you'd want to size them so that someone running at 800x600 could read without side scrolling.
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


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Posted August 23 2003 - 06:40 AM

Screen shots have been downsized. Thanx for the tip Craig. My resolution was set really high, so I didnt even think about that.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Daryl L

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Posted August 23 2003 - 08:25 AM


Good review, funny too. First review thats made me laugh so much. I liked it.

As for the movie, I already planned to rent it. I love those old Frankie & Annette beach movies. I started watching the first season of American Idol halfway through the competition. Kelly was my choice for the winner from the git go. I may get bashed extremely hard for this but in my opinion Kelly Clarkson is a better singer than Britney Spears.

Britney is just a basic singer, with big entertainer value(like Madonna entertainment not to mention Britneys figure). Not a very good vocalist though. No strong vocal control like Chritina Aquilara.

Kelly on the other hand is a singer with pretty good vocal control. Kinda midway between Brittney and Christina as a vocalist and the possibility to improve that in time to match Christina's vocal control. Time will tell though as to here entertainer abilities. So yep I'll be viewing this dvd. Kelly's kinda cute too. Too young for me though but baby's got back. Posted Image
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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted August 23 2003 - 03:09 PM

I may get bashed extremely hard for this but in my opinion Kelly Clarkson is a better singer than Britney Spears.
I doubt anyone would argue with that statement. I've never heard Britney do anything that I'd classify as "singing." Posted Image
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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Daryl L

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Posted August 24 2003 - 06:30 AM


LOL, she's more of a lipsync artist huh?
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#16 of 19 OFFLINE   John KB

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Posted August 25 2003 - 02:23 AM

Adam, this really is a great review. Thanks for the time and effort. I also like this movie. I've had the DVD screener for quite some time, but still plan on picking this up tomorrow. Thanks again!

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Yumbo



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Posted August 26 2003 - 08:57 AM

I thought the sound on this was pretty good. I didn't mind the songs either - production quality wise - BASS!

it's a good flick for teenagers. Real Cancun for them, lol.

yes, the video is pretty good.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 27 2003 - 07:46 AM

Great review and awesome screen-shots. Dog-gonnit...I might have to go out now and get a PC with a DVD drive and rent web-space to do the same thing!

Also neat to see how the 1.85:1 image is actually letterboxed in the 16x9 frame to preserve OAR (many "1.85" movies are actually trimmed or open-matted to fill the 1.78:1 frame for 16x9).

Great review. Going strong!!!

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#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted September 01 2003 - 03:37 AM

> Kelly Clarkson is a better singer than Britney Spears.

Most people are.