Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie with Abe: Beware the Gonzo

Beware the Gonzo
Directed by Bryan Goluboff
Released September 9, 2011

High school movies are quite popular. There’s an endless variety of specific storylines and character types, but there are always certain common elements. Nerds and jocks are present in any high school setting, and many films take the side of the less conventionally popular people. “Beware the Gonzo” does just that, aggrandizing its hero Gonzo Gillman (Ezra Miller) and following his quest to start a revolution with the publication of a rather biting underground newspaper. It’s without doubt an engaging plot that picks determined characters as its protagonists, proving to be energetic and entertaining, even if it isn’t brimming over with originality.

Ezra Miller stars in the film

One thing that “Beware the Gonzo” does well, which many other such films haven’t always done, is that it doesn’t hold back its characters. Gonzo is an absolutely unfiltered kid with a serious bone to pick with society, and he isn’t going to stop until he’s absolutely heard and then some. He’s the perfect ringleader for his band of misfits because, for all his eccentricities, he could still pass for cool since he’s not the dork with big glasses or the science nerd. Gonzo’s place in the social hierarchy, however, is quickly defined by the way that blond-haired jock Gavin Reilly (Jesse McCartney) ruins the school and bosses him around.

Ezra Miller and Zoe Kravitz star in the film

Unlike many other high school movies and television shows, the actors in the lead roles actually have recent memories of their own time spent maneuvering through those difficult years. Eighteen-year-old Miller describes how he “had a hard time in high school and felt the need to be outspoken.” Miller shares some of his character’s passion, citing Democracy Now as his daily read and exhibiting similar antiestablishment flair while discussing the film. Twenty-three-year-old Zoe Kravitz says that she had one really bad year of high school in Florida before moving to New York. Both very accurately portray the agonies and ridiculousness that those four years can bring.

Ezra Miller and Zoe Kravitz discuss the film

“Beware the Gonzo” stays true to its central focus, leaving top-billed adult actors Campbell Scott and Amy Sedaris to quietly play the roles of Gonzo’s parents only as called upon, spotlighting its younger stars as appropriate. Miller, previously seen in recurring guest spots on “Royal Pains” and “Californication,” has a furious fire burning within him that makes him just right for this part and should translate to great roles in the future. Kravitz also performs commendably, giving her another fine star turn this year after “X-Men: First Class.” Even Jesse McCartney, who I last saw in the WB’s “Summerland,” does just what he needs to in order to create a highly detestable villain. This is a purely fun and energizing experience that, for what it is, is perfectly impressive and acceptable.


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