starring: river phoenix & lilli taylor and a bunch of people i've never seen before
director: nancy savoca
my overall rating: 7.5/10
so this is the director of such "hits" as If These Walls Could Talk (or segments thereof) and a bunch of TV stuff i've never heard of. that definitely wasn't the motivating factor or reasoning behind me renting this film from netflix. i really was intrigued by the river phonex/lily taylor aspect - i love both of these actors and the premise was interesting.
the film is set in the early 60's, right at the start of the vietnam war. 4 marine buddies are playing a lame game that basically involves a certain amount of misogyny for personal gain. the setup is that the river phoenix character is kind of a typical young naive guy who has a lot of anger towards the world and has chosen to "better himself" through service to his country. little does he know what he's getting himself involved in, right? well sort of.
the plot really doesn't center on the conflict in vietnam, it's just a backdrop to the story - which is in itself somewhat refreshing. the story revolves around the two characters played by phoenix and taylor, who are involved in a sort of innocence and naiveté that is somewhat charming (and predictable). there is nothing particularly complex about this story, but it has a certain something to it. probably because it seems to be a very accurate period piece and the characters and their story seems real.
i think the acting is pretty good, considering there aren't really any moments in which the actors could particularly excell or show themselves in. it's a quiet movie, but very poignant. i am a bit annoyed by the ending - it's disappointing and abrupt. personally, i wanted more - and was actually intrigued by the way they showed the turning of an era and the reactions people had to marines during the war. it's subtle, but well done - and i just wasn't satisfied with such a quiet ending but at least it wasn't cliched. or was it? see for yourself...
anyway i really love lily taylor, she is always sort of playing "herself" but i enjoy watching her, she's absolutely charming and genuine.
maybe i'm just really sentimental but i thought it was kind of a surprisingly accurate portrayal of sweet/awkward first love experiences - yeah i am sentimental :)