HTF REVIEW: "Riding In Cars With Boys" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 4, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Riding in Cars with Boys

    She did everything wrong,
    but got everything right.

    An amazing little film.
    Beverly (Drew Barrymore) is a beautiful, smart
    teenage girl growing up in a small town during
    the early sixties. All she wants out of life
    is to meet the man of her dreams and make something
    out of herself. Unfortunately, she meets Ray
    (Steve Zahn), a boy who has nothing going for him.
    Beverly soon becomes pregnant, and finds her life
    is suddenly put on hold, much to the dismay of her
    police sergeant father (James Woods) who isn't
    very proud at this point.
    From Director Penny Marshall (A League of their
    own; Big) comes the story of a girl who had dreams
    but became sidetracked with a newborn son, a bad
    marriage and a drug-addicted husband. Through
    these obstacles, Beverly makes a life that's
    more than she ever imagined.
    I found this film to be quite remarkable. It's
    an extremely well acted, well told story that takes
    us through three decades of a girl's troubled life.
    The film is based on a true story, and knowing this,
    I found it to be incredibly depressing to know how
    much emotional pain these characters endured. Still,
    Drew Barrymore manages to keep the story lively,
    with a remarkable acting performance. It's incredible
    to sit and watch her character grow from innocence
    to adulthood.
    How is the transfer?
    Columbia has put out another remarkable transfer.
    The anamorphic (1.85:1) transfer is gorgeous.
    Picture remains beautifully crisp and clear without
    a hint of grain. The colors simply look incredible
    from dark night scenes where Christmas lights twinkle
    a rainbow of colors to bright snowy days where every
    color stands out against the snow covered background.
    This digitally mastered transfer looks so good, it
    almost looks hi-def. I have posted one of my favorite
    shots from the film. Look how beautiful young
    Amelia (Skye McCole Bartusiak) looks in this shot,
    with the colors of her clothing against the white
    snowy contrast.
    The 5.1 Dolby surround mix is very good in that
    it's not overwhelming. While sound remains very
    clear and robust across the front three speakers,
    the rears are used mostly for accenting music and
    a few rear action effects. What I did note most
    about the rears was the constant sound of wind
    noise during the outdoor scenes. It became a sort
    of soothing effect that really added to the film.
    Special Features
    It's nice to see that Columbia had as much
    faith in this film as it deserved and created a
    very nice Special Edition that has an abundant
    amount of added material.
    As you pop in the disc, a really cool animated
    menu that consists of a drive-in movie screen
    appears. Scenes from the film play out as cars
    drive past. Menu selections appear at the bottom
    of the screen.
    In addition to a running commentary by Drew
    There are four behind-the-scenes featurettes and
    an additional HBO making-of Special included on this
    Let's begin with Drew's trailer tour, which
    gives us the opportunity to meet the real person
    behind the character Drew portrays. We see Drew
    and Beverly on the set together, as Drew talks about
    how well they bonded with each other. Drew then
    walks us through a multitude of snapshots of
    Beverly, her ex-husband and son. After watching the
    film, I was quite taken back by these real-life
    snapshots that I was now able to easily relate to.
    I think viewers will be amazed by Bev and
    Ray's house: recreating reality. This is one
    of those behind-the-scenes pieces that makes you
    say..."wow!". The film's set designer shows us
    not only how an entire neighborhood was built for
    this movie, but how moving tracks within the house
    allowed for the filmmakers to shoot inside space
    that was very small. It's a fascinating look at
    how a set designer overcomes obstacles and keeps
    a very small house continually interesting for the
    viewing audience. My only complaint with this
    piece is that the set designer's name is never
    credited in this featurette.
    One of the most important props in this film are
    The Cars that represent the 35 years this
    story is based upon. Actor James Woods is given a
    tour of the film's back lot where rows of vintage
    cars are stored. We learn the importance of using
    just the right colored automobile for each scene
    as blending of costume colors is a major concern.
    James Woods keep this short 3-minute piece very
    lively, thanks to his sense of humor.
    Beverly and Jason: Sons and Lovers takes
    us a little further into the real-lives of Beverly
    and Jason (who we meet for the first time). Producer
    James L. Brooks and Director Penny Marshall talk
    about how these real lives inspired the film. Through
    early snapshots and interviews with the real Beverly
    and Jason, we learn a little more about their lives
    growing up together, and the book that was written
    about those lives. Of course, you can imagine the
    personal memories that were stirred up when Beverly
    visited the film's set for the very first time.
    The HBO making-of Special is not just
    another one of those promotional fluff pieces
    that give a general oversight of the film. While
    this 20-minute special does covers most of the
    featurette material already presented, there is
    lots of fairly interesting new material included,
    including the original hair and make-up test for
    Drew and the other cast members. We also learn
    a little more about creating the aging process
    that was so vitally important for a film that
    covered 35 years of Bev's life. What I also found
    fascinating about this special was the attention
    given to Penny Marshall's direction. We see many
    clips of Penny on the set interacting with the other
    cast members. She's a director that really puts her
    heart and soul into her films.
    In addition to the film's original trailer
    there are trailers for Charlie's Angels and
    A League of their own.
    A Filmography of all the major cast members
    and Director Penny Marshall is also presented.
    Final Thoughts
    While there are so many coming-of-age stories
    about boys to men, this is the first such story
    I have seen about a girl's difficult life growing
    into womanhood.
    What makes this film so amazing to watch are
    the performances by Drew Barrymore and Steve Zahn.
    To watch these characters age on screen so remarkably
    well is an amazing experience.
    I have to also give kudos to Logan Lerman, the
    young actor who portrays Jason at age 8. He is
    just so cute, and his performance is outstanding.
    Fans of The Sopranos will also have a nice
    warm feeling through the very first moments of the
    film. I won't say anything more.
    The more I write about this film, the more I
    realize how much I enjoyed Riding in cars with
    boys. I think the film deserves to be seen,
    and it is my hope that all of you rent this film
    and perhaps enjoy it as much as I did to worthy a
    sale copy.
    Release Date: March 19, 2002
  2. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

    Mar 6, 2001
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    This is not a film I probably would have rented, let alone purchased. Your review has changed that, Ron. I will put it on my list. Thanks.
  3. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

    Oct 11, 2000
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    I'll check it out as a rental, thanks Ron.

  4. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

    Jan 6, 2002
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    Saw this in the theater, cute little movie, but I dont think I'll buy it.
  5. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

    Aug 24, 2001
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    thanks ron for the wonderful review will have to rent this movie or buy it. keep up your wonderful work
  6. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Look like I have to add this to a possible DVD purchase later on now. Dang it, your reviews are just too good, Ron ^^.
  7. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

    May 11, 2001
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    Joseph E Fisher
    I've been wanting to see this one too. Some of the footage was shot near where I work in Tuckahoe, NY.

  8. Kristian Sorensen

    Oct 5, 1999
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    I saw this in the theater and really enjoyed it. Great performances and a good little movie. Cuddle up with your girlfriend and a bottle of redwine.

  9. Matt Bloxham

    Matt Bloxham Agent

    Jul 11, 2001
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    I didn't see this in the theater, but I know that my wife wants to see it, so I know that we will be renting it[​IMG] Sounds like a great movie, thanks for another great review Ron.
  10. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

    Nov 2, 1998
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    Barrymore's commentary is wonderful; she's extremely sweet, funny, entertaining and passionate in her discussion of the film.
  11. Scott Burke

    Scott Burke Second Unit

    Nov 27, 2000
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    United States
    Real Name:
    Scott B.
    I just saw this today, and I really enjoyed this movie myself. I actually might buy this one as well.

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