A quirky teen with a penchant for war reenactments, Kelly Ernswiler obsesses over military tactics with his buddy Bart. The school bully is one of Kelly's regular headaches, and he also has to deal with a frustrating situation at home, where his father is a recovering drug addict. Kelly's life gets even more complicated when he falls for Tabby, Bart's pretty and soon-to-be-wed older sister.
everything you have heard about this movie is true.
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An Exercise In Nonsense
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A movie that not only functions as a solid scarefest but a razor-sharp satire.
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This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.
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I'm an easy-2-please kind of a person. With all the crap coming out of Hollywood, all I ask these days is that movies DON'T SUCK. I don't ask that they be good. This movie fails to meet even that low standard I've set. Hollywood crap would be better.Various reviews below pointed out the movie failed because of this or that. Whatever the reason, it isn't even a half-decent after-school special.Flaw #0: The movie just drags. If this weren't a HBO's Project Green Ligh (PGL) production I would have changed the channel after 15 minutes (30 minutes max).Flaw #1: I guess the main point of using "new" directors is to get a fresh look and style that studio films lack. The standard studio look and style would have been a plus. The "look" couldn't be blander, boring even. Flaw #2: The main character (Kelly) is an unlikable smart-mouth / smart-a**.I think they were trying to portray Kelly as quick-witted tortured soul but failed miserably. Sometimes there's that kid in every high school who is going through some undeserved hardship and you sympathize with him/her. But then there's that smart-mouth a**hole who deserve all the trouble he/she bring onto themselves. Kelly is that a**hole. Why would I care for his troubles?Flaw #3: the climax of the film (where he is kissed by an older woman and then eventually emotionally hurt by her) is so short and thin I almost missed it.Flaw #4: there's nothing new. Style is... no style. The main character (Kelly) is in conflict with his parents. Kelly gets into trouble at school because he is an outsider. He loves a girl/woman who is out of his league. Kelly is tormented by a school bully. Kelly takes revenge on the bully via some "smart", unique and a clever way. Another girl has a crush on Kelly but he doesn't seem to notice her. Yada, yada, yada...Flaw #5: the story is told in such a way that I can't identify with anybody's pains. Not the main character (Kelly), the older woman who's marrying a man she doesn't love, the mother who is troubled by the schism between the father and the son, the father who might be dying, the friend who's life is already planned out by his father, more Yada, yada, yada...Flaw #6: The actor Shia (Kelly) over acts every scene. I read in other review how good his acting is in this film, but I strongly disagree. His over acting isn't obvious as the cheesy double takes in a comedy, but still bad. Compare his acting with the young actors in "Stand by me" and you'll agree that it is bad.=== If you look at other reviews below, there is a large cluster of positive reviews early in the movie's release. I suspect these are people who:(1) are fans of PGL, (2) are fellow filmmakers who sympathize with the difficulty of directing a film, (3) were expecting a train-wreak like the first PGL's "Stolen Summer" but got something "better", (4) got caught up in the PGL's "opening night" fanfare. Almost all later reviews are very negative, in contrast. Go do the math.Even if you get a chance to see this movie on cable TV "for free"... don't bother. It is a complete waste of your 1.5 hours.
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I was disappointed by this movie. i watched the Project Greenlight series every week, and i thought it was gonna be okay. what brought it down was all the stuff they didn't put in.they cut out a lot of good stuff. as for that shia kid; he's okay. he was good in Holes, but he seemed like a smartass in this movie. hopefully he'll move on to better things. i heard someone say he's the next john cusack; that's only gonna happen if this kid gets a new attitude and starts looking for better material. Ben affleck and matt damon have done better, and i hope they do better. this is another project greenlight disappointment.out of 4 possible stars, i give this 2 stars.
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"The Battle of Shaker Heights" focuses on a pedantic high school dweeb (LaBeouf) and his involvements with WWII reenactments, a payback prank on a bully, and, most of all, his affections for two girls. An unfortunate little coming-of-ageish flick, "Battle" is lacking in depth, homogeneity, continuity, and the breadth of things we like to see in stories, characters, and screenplays. Unoriginal, unimaginative, off target, and with too much invested in a rather annoying central character, "Battle" isn't all bad and does manage some warmth, personality, and charm though it's largely overshadowed by its many deficits. Passable stuff which will likely play best with teens. (C)
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Like many folks who watched Project Greenlight, I was hoping that the HBO show was just being dramatic and playful about the filmmaking events... but at the end of the day, everything would be okay.Unfortunately for the BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS, everything is not okay.With a million budget, this team had the tools to make a decent movie. All one has to do is look at CLERKS, CHASING AMY, the original HALLOWEEN, and BETTER LUCK TOMORROW to see what can be done for a few hundred grand or less. Instead, SHAKER HEIGHTS looks like it was made by a group that concluded a million dollars was no money and they'd put on a good show (more for the HBO audience than the theatre audience, apparently).Once the project was picked, this group had the luxury of making a feature film without using their own money, going in debt to finish it up, feverishly look for investors, or the chore of finding a distributor (that may explain the mediocre result). This movie had NINE PRODUCERS, TWO DIRECTORS, and THE WRITER ON SET to answer questions. Sadly, it looks like little got done.The directors adding a custom "Hot Lips" license plate to the army Jeep served no grand purpose. That use of thought and power could have been better served elsewhere. As a whole, the movie looked like it was hacked to pieces in the editing bay. One minute the lead character Kelly (played quite nicely by Shia LeBeouf) gets to drive the Jeep... then he's huffing it on a bike... then he has the Jeep again... then is back huffing it on the bike. It looks like info was missing as to why the character would alternate.As far as locations, they didn't have many: 3 houses, a school, a hospital, some woods, and a grocery store. Funny thing was, there were never many customers in the store. Heck, the Quick Stop in CLERKS had more customers (a.k.a. production value).Even more strange, the filmmakers appeared to recycle establishing shots. I could swear I saw the same establishing shots of Kelly's house and the grocery store recycled as if they didn't shoot different angles... and used the same shot more than once.Then, there is 'the kiss.' We've waited most of the movie for Kelly's big kiss with 'Tabby' (Amy Smart's character)... and it's a Jr. High kiss.All in all, THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS plays like a cheap TV movie that lacked a clear leader.In the future, I hope Miramax and Project Greenlight takes a good look at their system. Maybe a million dollars is too much... maybe nine producers are too many... maybe the crews are too big... maybe having too many trucks doesn't allow the filmmakers to be mobile and do better work.But one thing is certain: With all the resources given, the movies of Project Greenlight need to get better than the first two.