Coming-of-age stories of any kind, be they a movie, book, play, or show, always run the risk of coming across as too didactic or inauthentic about the ages they are depicting. These flawed productions look back as a jaded adult would, failing to realize the enormity of a first heartbreak or a falling out with a friend. They often try too hard to imitate teens speaking with fabricated slang and forced catchphrases. However, a coming-of-age story told adequately not only allows the audience to get a glimpse of what types of adults these characters will become but harnesses the natural energy of youth into something electrifying. Demanding the audiences attention from the start, allowing problems to be as dramatic and significant as the kids believe they are, even if they are trivial in the grand scheme of things. An American In Texas, a new coming-of-age movie from co-writer/ director Anthony Pedone, opens with the president announcing the official start of the Gulf War. Interspersed throughout the real news footage is a flurry of masked teens destroying a house with bats, hammers, and other tools. From this brief opening, it becomes impossible to look away as the movie unfolds realistically and intriguingly. Chad (James Paxton) is the lead singer of a punk band with his friends Paul (J. R. Villarreal) Billy (Tony Cavalero. Zac (Sam Dillon. They are saving all their money from menial jobs to escape the small town of Victoria, Texas after graduation to record a few songs and make it big. Along the way, Chad falls for the new girl in town, Kara (Charlotte Best) and they all cross the line with their parents and the cops. “…makes you want to pump your fist in the air. ” So far this probably sounds somewhat generic and pedestrian. But there is an honesty to the characters that overcomes the plots more cliched moments. Zac and Paul have a big fight and, while it is over a trivial misunderstanding about their band Surgeon Generals Warning, it is resolved in a way that makes sense. Its the kind of drama that seems like big stakes at age 17, but diminishes the more you learn about the world. Kara and Chad have a falling out but revelations give more weight to this issue, and its resolution is authentic and sweet. Beyond Pedone and Stephen Floyds sincere script lies outstanding visuals. Given this is a drama, that the film contains several memorable sequences and distinct imagery proves Pedone is a director to watch. Considering this is only his third film, and first full narrative, the way the films set design, the interplay of shadow and light, and camera angles all gracefully immerse you into the headspace of the ensemble is impressive. The two directors of photography, Bianca Butti and Julian Quiambao, have lensed a film with evocative scenery, making the characters and their plights simultaneously volatile and beautiful. The scene shown off in the most common poster for the movie- involving fireworks- elegantly illustrates the attitude of these teens, and does so in visually engaging fashion. “…memorable sequences and distinct imagery. ” Of course, all of this would be for naught if the acting were not up to par. Everyone proves up to the task, though, with Paxton commanding the screen with ease and mesmerizing the audience with each spontaneous action. Dillon is having fun, and that enthusiasm translates well from the screen. Just after the one full gig, we see the band perform he is out mingling with the crowd looking as content and pleased as can be. J. Villarreal is the emotional core, though, and, as Paul, he is astounding. It morphs into a tender and sweet performance by the tragic end. Charlotte Best bursts off the screen with charisma to spare and hits every beat from the joyous highs to the shuddersome lows. Tony Cavalero is spellbinding and his breakdown at the end of the film–seeing him destroy a house himself–is so persuasive and compelling, it is no doubt one of the best performances of 2017. Holt Boggs is Earl Doonan, Karas stepdad, and he plays the slimy, sadistic angle well. Anthony Pedone himself has a small role as a detective, and he acquits himself very well. Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra has a pivotal minor part as the mayor of Victoria. He plays it straight and is immensely enjoyable. Each member of the cast does an incredible job, and even when it seems like stunt casting, such as the case with Barry Corbins three minutes of screentime, the director is still able to get the absolute most of his capable players. “…the cast does an incredible job…” SGW (the abbreviation for the band) play with the manic abandon primarily associated with Fugazi and Bad Religion. It does appear that each of the actors is playing their respective instruments themselves, lending their practices and shows a lived-in quality that allows you to feel their commitment to the music. That the soundtrack, excluding what SGW plays, makes you want to pump your fist in the air with all your might probably isnt surprising given the plot and who is in it. However, there is artistry in choosing the right song for the right moment; just ask Suicide Squad, whose soundtrack was full of enjoyable and fist-pumping songs, though their placement in the movie was nonsensical and incongruous with the scene at hand most of the time. Here, though, each song illuminates the characters inner thoughts in a way reminiscent of song usage in American Graffiti. That the actual score, courtesy of Trevor Dunn, is just as inspiring and great perfectly illustrates how hard everyone involved worked to make each moment feel as real and human as possible. The beats the story hit arent exactly new, but it is told beautifully. Favoring visuals and lighting to get into the characters headspace, all performed with great aplomb, An American In Texas is an emotionally fulfilling and exuberant experience. Seek this out as soon as possible. An American In Texas (2017) Directed by Anthony Pedone. Written by Anthony Pedone, Stephen Floyd. Starring J. Villarreal, James Paxton, Charlotte Best, Holt Boggs, Sam Dillon, Anthony Pedone, Jello Biafra. Grade: A Join our Film Threat Newsletter.
Hard hitting, realistic tale of life and death intersecting in small town america.
An American in Texas watch dogs.
You've seen this *sort* of story before. Encapsulated summaries will use words like "alienated. disaffected, and "pessimistic. Middle America" will be in there somewhere too.
I used to be on team "Buck up, lil' cowboy, mocking the apparent privilege and entitlement of young adults, or kids on the cusp of adulthood when they got all moody about their lives and prospects.
But after decades of school shootings, suicides, terrorist attacks, obliteration of our landscape (aesthetically, environmentally, and economically) I give.
I kept thinking about Tuck & Dar from "Made in U.S.A (1987) while watching this. Those two characters existed in the same America. This film, An American in Texas" is set only a few years after Made in U.S.A., but the film itself was made 30 years later and the nihilistic leads from Made in U.S.A. could have stopped for gas in this Texas town, dressed as they were in the earlier movie, and you would not have noticed any stylistic or thematic interruption. Tuck & Dar's Centralia and Times Beach have echoes in the plastic plant which seems almost demonic in this film. Or maybe it's more like Dorian Gray's painting.
You can also bring up the Linklater/Bogosian film Suburbia as a discussion point here (though that was not nearly so dark as this one) and you could even go back to Easy Rider to see where things start to crack in America.
The thing that has to be understood about 1990 is it was not clear that the Gulf War wouldn't turn into a major regional war and result in a draft.
We're now used to these limited foreign adventures in which only the enlisted are involved, but in 1990 our most recent war of reference was Vietnam. The Gulf War was limited, over quickly, and was nothing like Vietnam but when it was happening, it was scary, because then - as now - it was hard to sort propaganda from fact. It turned out to be "v1.0" of modern warfare; these undeclared pseudo-wars on the other side of the globe where no one ever even whispered the term "draft" or "rationing, and which a lot of Americans could even forget were happening.
An American in Texas is set against that backdrop but it is not about that time and place. that time and place is just an excuse to talk about us, now. To talk about the lack of optimism, or if you want to use a really trite term, something like "The Death of the American Dream." The same people who roll their eyes at this now are the same people who have been doing it since the 1960s.
I think the film was excellent and the performances superb. These young actors were incredible, and Barry Corbin is always a welcome presence. You've also got Jello Biafra in a small role, hamming it up (in an otherwise somber film, it's excusable - the directors clearly want you to notice it's Jello playing a Texas politician.)
This is a punk film, not a metal one. In the film, it is 1990 but this is about today, and we've been at this now for a half a century, trying to figure out what's gone wrong. I don't know that we make any progress here in figuring all of that out, but maybe if nothing else, there's cold comfort in recognizing that someone else notices it.
I can find no fault with the performances, script, or direction, and the soundtrack is excellent.
People who hate this film were probably predestined to before the script was ever put to paper. A lot of people either don't see America in these terms or, alternately, are in denial.
It just seems like we could have been, should have been, could be something more.
I liked An American in Texas. It will never have a large audience. But for me, it landed.
An American in Texas watch tv. An american in texas watch online. YouTube. Monday June 11th 7:15p TLC CHINESE THEATER, HOLLYWOOD BLVD ★★★★★. “An absolute adrenaline rush of a movie that captured something pure. Ferocious and of the best indie films of the year”... Olsen, UK Fillm Review Although set in 1990, An American in Texas feels strangely relevant to the nations current, never- more-polarized moment. The films energy and ambition surges like a heart-on-sleeve anthem, amps cranked to 11 in a hymn of righteous malcontent and surprising Dollar for Indiewire, WSJ) Director Anthony Pedone, opens with the president announcing the official start of the Gulf War and a flurry of masked teens destroying a house with bats, hammers, and other tools. From this brief opening, it becomes impossible to look away as the movie unfolds realistically and LePire, Film Threat.
An American in Texas watch the trailer.
An American in Texas watch now. Critics Consensus No consensus yet. Tomatometer Not Yet Available TOMATOMETER Total Count: N/A 67% Audience Score User Ratings: 9 An American in Texas Ratings & Reviews Explanation An American in Texas Photos Movie Info Lifelong friends and punk band, SGW (Surgeon General's Warning) look to bust out of small town Texas, as 1990 comes to a close. While the 24 hour newscasts market Operation Desert Storm and devotion to country at any cost, the band drops acid, plays gigs and carries out calculated acts of vandalism around town. Faced with the reality of a dead end job at the chemical plant, a life in the oil field, or fighting a war that has no meaning to them the boys see their band as the one ticket out of town. Rating: NR Genre: Directed By: Written By: Runtime: 97 minutes Studio: Film Exchange Cast Critic Reviews for An American in Texas Audience Reviews for An American in Texas An American in Texas Quotes News & Features.
An American in Texas watch blog. Synopsis Based on a true story, and set in late 1990 against the backdrop of the first gulf war, An American in Texas is the story of lifelong friends as they reach the cusp of adulthood and must decide between the hollow values of corporate careerism; or the narrow way of individualism and freedom. Popular reviews More i was thoroughly confused for the majority of this movie. they would introduce plot elements that i thought would eventually play an important role in the story and then they would just be dropped? i couldnt keep track of the characters individually and what was going on with them because each scene was so short and it would zigzag between the different characters so quickly. i think this was supposed to be commentary on patriotism and capitalism and etc but honestly its message was lost in a plot that was overflowing with different elements. it ended up being incoherent at some points I thought I understood this film until I thought about the storyline for more than 2 seconds Watched this with San Marcos Cinema Club. The movie was all over the place, they would introduce characters and storylines then never talk about them again. I feel like there was a lot of metaphors but they weren't clear or not explained. Just so confusing that I might not recommend to a friend if I had one. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Its the incoherent ramblings of the bullet belt wearing dudes who you used to get drunk with after shows who maybe read part of an article and decided they were anarchists, while still acting like gatekeepers of punk music and being insanely and unapologetically misogynistic in the same breath. Of course its got some flashy bits but on a whole its so forced and juvenile in its approach that it is essentially a humorlous SLC punk. not BAD, so much social commentary on america but i dont know what the they were saying at all DIFF18 #11 - A structural mess, but had its moments Recent reviews James Paxton with blue hair. As everyone says - it doesnt really go anywhere. Also, the writing and acting are p cringe. Its like someone wrote young characters without ever having been young before. A largely pointless movie that never really goes anywhere. If you want to watch a film about counter culture outsiders in a setting thats antagonistic towards them, just watch SLC Punk. While that movie is far from perfect, I feel it pulls off what this one is trying accomplish in a much more enjoyable way. Very incoherent plot that really squanders a lot of potential Centering around a 90s punk band in Texas around the start of US involvement in the war with the middle east, characters and plot points are quickly introduced then cut away from. None of the angst or actual defiance you might expect is there I just found myself confused and bored. Another bummer of a movie damn staying sick from work stinks Popular Lists More tubi US expansive though limited (a few titles are missing from TMDB I need to add) list of my Tubi watchlist (started… 2018/2019 Awards Season This list includes exclusively films nominated for any category in any of the awards considered (documentaries, shorts and TV movies….
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