Desert Blue

"Good"

Desert Blue Review


Would you believe me if I told you someone has made a movie about teenagers that doesn't revolve around the sex lives of unrealistically urbane high school juniors?

I don't even remember the last time I saw a juvie movie like "Desert Blue," a very rural comedy featuring a ensemble cast of talented rising stars (as opposed to the WB variety) playing teenagers who (gasp!) act like teenagers.

They're bored and discontented. They hang out and drink beer for the sake of drinking beer. They toy with intellectualism, peppering their attempts at depth with the word "dude." They neck a lot because unlike those urbane movie teens, that's what most teenagers do far more often than they have sex.

Like a studio teenager movie, "Desert Blue" is a little silly, but in an off-the-wall way only an indie could get away with. The story turns on a quarantine imposed in Baxter, California, population 87, after a tanker truck spills possibly toxic soda pop. But that admittedly absurd plot device is little more than a tongue-in-cheek jumping off point for 27-year-old writer-director Morgan J. Freeman, whose "Hurricane Streets" was a 1997 Sundance fave.

The movie arrives in this virtually abandon mining town of dirt roads and sagebrush horizons on the heels of Skye (Kate Hudson), a Hollywood starlet with her own TV show. She gets trapped by the quarantine while reluctantly spending quality time with her annoyingly unsophisticated dad (John Heard), a scruffy professor who teaches a course called Pop Culture and the Roadside Attraction. The stop in Baxter was his idea -- it has the world's largest ice cream cone.

But "Desert Blue" is smarter than to go overboard with pampered Skye fretting missed auditions and the lack of cell phone coverage. There is a little bit of that, but Skye soon falls in with the disaffected, disenchanted and terminally glazed with boredom local kids, whose empty-berg options lead to nights of non-revelry that frequently begin with someone saying "You guys wanna party at the aqueduct tonight?" or "It's Pete! He's got the potato cannon!"

Largely character driven -- although the picture toys with a conspiracy subplot involving the soda spill and the FBI -- "Desert Blue's" modest success is thanks to the great cast of young talent.

Hudson (currently most famous for being Goldie Hawn's daughter) smartly resists the temptation to take her spoiled actress character over the top, giving the down-to-earth part of Skye the opportunity to find out how much she has in common with Baxter's trapped youth.

Reigning indie princess Christina Ricci is the town rebel -- the sheriff's morbid daughter with raccoon eyeliner and a penchant for pipe bombs. Casey Affleck is the local hero of the all-terrain-vehicle racing circuit who is determined to circumvent the FBI's quarantine road block. Brendon Sexton III (who starred in "Hurricane Streets") plays the son of a failed Baxter businessman who in the wake if his dad's death is pursuing his ironic dream of building Baxter a water park.

"Desert Blue" is not genius, but for the right, young audience it will have a definite resonance. But without any teen flick outrageousness or upstart network divas in the cast to draw legions of lowest-common-denominator teens like sheep, I don't know how it's going to find an audience. Especially since its being booked mostly in big city arthouse venues, where life in a town of 87 people isn't likely to ring any bells with moviegoers.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th June 1999

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Ignite Entertainment, HSX Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Pete Kepler, as Skye Davidson, as Blue Baxter, as Ely Jackson, as Cale, as Sandy, as Billy Baxter, as Prof. Lance Davidson, as Haley Gordon, as Dr. Gordon, Lee Holmes as Deputy Keeler, as Caroline Baxter, as Sheriff Jackson, as Agent Frank Bellows, as Agent Summers, as KBLU Radio DJ (voice), as Mickey Moonday (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.