Modern Classic: Kicking and Screaming

May 7th, 2008


I recently re-watched Noah Baumbach’s (The Squid and the Whale) 1995 film following the stuck-in-neutral lives of recent college graduates who can’t quite work-up the courage to leave the familiarity of college life. I saw the film when it came out, one year after I graduated college, and wasn’t crazy about it. The movie probably struck a raw nerve, since much of what the main characters go through over the course of the film mirrored what many college grads like myself faced in the early to mid ‘90s. There is Grover (Josh Hamilton), whose girlfriend Jane has left for Prague, but Grover can’t seem to bring himself to join her, preferring the more predictable existence of living with college buddies. Grover’s roommates include Max (Chris Eigeman), who hangs around the house doing crossword puzzles. Then there is Otis (Carlos Jacott), who can’t seem to muster the gumption to get on a plane to Milwaukee and engineering school (he also thinks a pajama top can pass as formal wear). And finally, there is Skippy (Jason Wiles), who doesn’t seem to have any aspirations other than reading all the American great short novels.

Kicking and Screaming
has actually aged far better than its contemporaries, like Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites. That film attempted to cover all those Gen-X issues Newsweek reported back in the day. I’m sure some compare this film to those of Wilt Stillman, but I think Baumbach is a better filmmaker. I certainly like the characters in Baumbach’s films better than in Stillman’s. Those guys in Kicking and Screaming are flawed in ways almost all of us can relate to — whether we want to or not.

Entry Filed under: Film

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brian  |  May 28th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Valarie saw Kicking and Screaming at the New York Film Fest when it came out but wasn’t that into it either. His film before K&S (which I forget the name of) is better, and I really like The Squid & The Whale. (It’s “really dense.”)

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