It's not a big-name cast, but there are some people you might recognize. One of the biggest names here will be David Carradine, who plays a poet/writer/underground filmmaker whom Archie interviews. At one point Archie sees a counselor played by Tony Hale, and he eventually sees a psychiatrist played by Joe Mantegna. Archie's mom is played by Nora Dunn. And there's another boy in the school played incredibly well by Michael Welch, who is best known as Mike Newton from the Twilight flicks. Everybody's acting, especially Gabriel Sunday and Brooke Nevin, is magnificent from start to finish, and there's not a single person not used to their full potential in their given roles.
But this movie's highlight isn't the acting, really. No, it's the style. I've never seen anything like this movie. It's like a stream-of-consciousness inside the mind of a movie-loving, depressed, ADD teen. It's something totally unique that I couldn't even begin to explain it. I mean, the best I could do would be this: Take Bang Bang You're Dead (and change the topic from school shootings to suicide), Quentin Tarantino's knack for referencing other films, Edgar Wright's insane kinetic editing, the mile-a-minute style of Run Lola Run (including random animation), some visual cues from a Morgan Spurlock documentary, the originality of an indie film, blend everything together and multiply it by about five. Then you might have some idea of what this movie has to offer.
But unlike a lot of movies that are this stylistic, it has enough substance to match toe-to-toe. This is an intensely emotional film, one that might even bring some to tears. It definitely has a message and power behind it. The characters are strong, as well, able to carry the weight of the film on their shoulders. So while you're catching all the movie reference (and there are a lot... I mean, there's even a moment where he's whispering to himself "His name was Robert Paulson," and if you're not listening, you'll totally miss it), you're also being served an intense and solid film on every other level.
This movie is the type of movie that makes you go "This is why movies are made." Is it a cinematic masterpiece to go down in the history books? Probably not. But the imagination and love and heart and emotion and time that went into the making of this movie is clearly evident. This is not another film just put out quickly to appease the masses. It's art without being pretentious. It's a film with a unique vision and an important message, and I think it should be a film everyone--especially film fans--should see at least once.
Royale With Cheese
(P.S. It also has a really good soundtrack. You can enlarge the poster and see a listing of bands.)