Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Author(s): Tony
Location: Pittsburgh


Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written by Todd Solondz
Produced by Anne Carey
Music by Thomas Newman

Main Cast

Michael Angarano as Kelly Eilers
Michelle Pfeiffer as Donna Eilers
David Cross as Benny
Hanna Hall as Sandra Eilers
Emma Stone as Jaymie

Tagline: "Where all your bench dreams won't come true"

Synopsis: In a small town in West Virginia, a low cost apartment plaza rests upon a hill with a spiral road leading to it. It's called "Hillview Gardens", the scenery is full of bushes, trees, and more importantly benches. On those benches are the Hillview residents that consistently spend their lives staring at people walking by with their noisy kids playing in the grass, only few hold steady jobs and have most of their teeth. It is the joke of the town. In building 304, apartment number 6 lives the Eilers family. All of his life Kelly Eilers has lived there and has been ridiculed for it. He's a quiet, long haired, metal head senior in high school that doesn't cause trouble but hates the community at Hillview and the students. His father left him when he was 3 and his mother Donna suffers from manic depression and pathological lying but holds a job at "Kids and Youth", a company that investigates in broken homes to see if the household is suitable for children. It makes steady money but she refuses to move due to the free water bill Hillview provides. His sister Sandra goes to WVU spending the majority of her days a cynical drunk that dates men twice her age that her mother hates. She's recently brought her latest boyfriend over, Benny, a computer genius that teaches programming at a community college.

However, Kelly has big dreams. His main objective is to leave the Hillview lifestyle and get accepted into a quality college and earn respect. He's best friends with his childhood sweetheart Jaymie who puts Kelly in line when life gets him down. There are side tracks though, his mothers job has caused animosity towards himself and the bigger brothers and sisters of the children his mother put into foster care. Since Benny has been coming over he's been spending time with Kelly without his family knowing. He enrages Kellys negative thoughts and makes him want to vent against the world, because of this the two have planned to rebel against the school and hack into the main computer to crash the entire system. Meanwhile Donna looks at the path her daughter has taken with her choice of boys and ethics, her condition worsens her to want to end her life, also being a single and lonely mother. Her only happiness is that one day her son will exceed his potential and become successful. Kellys caught in a dysfunctional mess, he tells Jaymie about his scheme with Benny and how he's going to do it tomorrow. Not only is she ashamed and heart broken, but it eventually leads to her informing the school about tomorrows actions, which leads to Kelly being expelled from the school. Benny never saw Kelly again, nor Sandra. With no shot at landing any big time scholarships, Kelly must hold his family together, figure out a plan b, and of course deal with the stares and gawks from the Hillview public.

What the Press would say:

The Academy has its hands full with the joy-inducing, scathing black comedy "Hillview". Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris return with a fresh, new satirical dark comedy that delivers another handful of wonderful to watch characters that you've related too perhaps once or twice in your life. They set the mood perfectly with an opening shot of the some what beautiful landscaping of the apartment complex, but it's the people inside that makes this film work. The Eilers family could be the family down the street that you never wanted to know. Kelly Eilers lives with his mother and gets often visits from his sister and her new found boyfriend. The witty and intellectual dialogue makes the conflicts these characters face into a comedic frenzy, but yet a touch of realistic grieving and sympathy.

Firing off is young Michael Angarano who took the daring responsibility of playing our lead protagonist Kelly Eilers. The world is stacked against Kelly, from his name inter-gender name to where he lives, nothing comes easy for him. Angarano shows a gigantic step in talent playing the self inflicted, emotionally tortured teenager that has to win us over with his quirky situations and uncontrollable hilarity. His mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is the star to watch in the best supporting actress category. She brings a strong, unbalanced performance with a mixture of insanity and humble emotions, she has to with her role, playing a manic depressive single mother that takes children away from their families, the role is merciless, yet unforgettable. And to put the fire out is David Cross, who is the chink in the chain in this dysfunctional family. Cross brings his charming and astonishing comedy to the script being the thorn in everyones side, including the audience. When things go well, Cross is there to bring the mood down, but in a completely satirical, hilarious manner. It's a role you love to hate, and Cross exceeds expectations as the some what pedophilic, computer nerd that enjoys bringing down the morale of others.

"Hillview" is a story that anyone can relate too, with its realistic approach to human behavior without any special effects or silly premise. Without one actor or character in this film, something would be out of place. Each cast and crew members job is virtually important to a film like this, where in most cases it wouldn't be. It's climax may end on a bad note, but within the last ten minutes our characters learn more about themselves then they have in their life. They are there for each other, even in a wacky, crazy antic sense. "Hillview" is sure to bring tears to your eyes, whether from it's spot on humor or it's pragmatic approach to life.


Best Picture - Todd Solondz and Anne Carey
Best Director - Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Best Actor - Michael Angarano
Best Supporting Actress - Michelle Pfeiffer
Best Supporting Actor - David Cross
Best Original Screenplay - Todd Solondz

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