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Stevie (2002), Steve James, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

There’s really only one reaction to this movie: Oy! Such a mess! Crime and Punishment, Nature vs. Nurture, the good of society vs. the aid of one troubled soul. . . and a little retarded dirty dancing, to boot. The same insight into complicated issues that Steve James brought to “Hoop Dreams” is on display here — this character portrait is two-and-a-half hours and there isn’t ten seconds that isn’t absolutely fascinating. My favorite moment is the Aryan Nation neighbor explaining how any object – even a wooden board – can be made into a murder weapon. . .all while wearing a Les Miserables T-shirt! The director is a guilty liberal, yes, but he really holds back and allows you to make up your own opinion. The question: when do you just give up on a fuck-up? When do you stop making excuses for him? When do you move on with your own life? I can’t commend this movie enough.

1 Comment »

  1. I think this documentary is brilliant — as I wrote to you in an email awhile back, he really captures the look and vibe of women in small towns, which hasn’t been accurately represented in movies, unless everyone lived next door to Julia Roberts and Winona Ryder or something and I missed out.

    Even without the vague hints of mental retardation (was this guy developmentally disabled, or just raised completely wrong?), Stevie is any number of guys I’ve known in small towns — stubborn past the point of stupidity. I’ll most likely hunt down a copy of this simply for the feel and atmosphere of Stevie’s warped family and friends.

    Didn’t pick up on the guilty liberal vibe as much as a man who feels guilty because he pursued his movie-making career and completely neglected a troubled kid he had been a “big brother” to … who then turned his own life (and the lives of those around him) into a complete nightmare.

    Comment by Bill R. — May 18, 2006 @ 10:16 am

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