|Available at Amazon.com|
Remember the Daze (originally called A Beautiful Ordinary) covers the twenty-four hour period that is the last day of school/the first day of summer for a (large) group of students. Beyond it being the last day of school, there isn’t really a central plot to Daze; instead there are a series of loosely connected plots running concurrently throughout the day.
Four friends (Lucy, Stacy, Brianne and Dawn) and the difficulties of their respective relationships are the closest thing the movie has to a core. However, the cast of Remember The Daze is huge. Not only that but just about everyone has their own arc or mini-arc that runs throughout the film.
The huge cast and myriad of storylines are something of a mixed bag. The movie starts off really slowly as it struggles to introduce so many characters to the audience. Out of necessity these early scenes are often filled with heavy-handed exposition where characters quickly tell each other things they already know for the audience’s benefit. And even after all that time is spent on exposition it can still be tricky to keep track of everyone (though it does get easier as the movie progresses).
On the plus side, with so many different plot threads to follow, the movie never stops too long on any one specific thread. So even if you aren’t a fan of a particular character or storyline, the characters rarely have a chance to overstay their welcome.
As I was watching the movie, I thought it was going to be nearly impossible for the movie to have any sort of even remotely satisfying ending. Some of the storylines were obviously going to end on a happy note, some on a not so happy note and some were up in the air. So it wasn’t like the movie could have a single event that somehow serves as a climax to all those stories. To my surprise, the movie does actually have a satisfying ending despite that formidable handicap.
Another nice thing about Remember the Daze‘s ending is that there’s a nice variety in the resolutions. Not everyone solves their problem(s) and lives happily ever after. Nor does the movie end with everyone’s lives in ruins. Some characters do manage to fix (or at least make progress in fixing) whatever problems they were facing. Other characters end up worse off than they started and still others simply get a better idea of what their problem actually is. The lack of universal closure is refreshing.
On another note, for no readily apparent reason, Remember the Daze is set in 1999. This is reflected in a few of the soundtrack choices and the occasional dialog equating a new millennium with a new stage in a character’s life, but the movie probably wouldn’t have been substantially different had it been set in the present.
The title and the DVD art create the expectation that you’re going to be getting a typical teen sex comedy but Remember the Daze isn’t your average teen sex comedy. There’s lots of drug use (lots of lots) but the sexuality is kind of tame and the comedy often takes a backseat to the drama that is the character’s lives. That’s not to say that Remember the Daze is a bad movie (in fact, I quite enjoyed it), but the movie does suffer from a somewhat misleading presentation.
Remember the Daze is not a perfect movie. The movie struggles to get off the ground under the weight of introducing its gigantic cast and at times it can be difficult to keep all the storylines clear. With all that being said, it’s an unusual, and quite enjoyable, exploration of the lives of a high school students.
The video is presented in 2.35:1 and the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.
Previews for Senior Skip Day, Change, War, Inc., and 2 Tickets to Paradise
Behind the Scenes – With a running time of eleven minutes, this is a fairly standard behind-the-scenes featurette. Much like the movie, very little time is spent with any one cast or crew member.
Remember the Daze is a fun movie but the DVD is pretty lacking in the special features – and it really would have been the perfect candidate for a commentary track (or even multiple tracks. If you’re looking for a different take on the teens graduate from high school genre, it’s at least worth a rental.
First Look Studios presents Remember the Daze. Directed by: Jess Manafort. Starring: Amber Heard, Marnette Patterson, Melonie Diaz, Lyndsy Fonseca.Written by Jess Manafort. Running time: 101 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: June 3, 2008. Available at Amazon.com