Directed by Reverge Anselmo.
Written by Reverge Anselmo.
Starring Jonathan Tucker, Rachel Leigh Cook and Val Kilmer.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 5/22/04
It always amazes me that films featuring B-level stars somehow get
by me; films that I never even hear about, and one day, whammo,
there they are at the multiplex down the street. "Stateside"
is that way, and I think it flew under the radar for one major
This movie blows.
Now, as bad as this movie is, it does have one saving grace.
First, the plot: a high school kid named Mark (Jonathan
Tucker) seems to be headed nowhere when he gets into a car accident
while drinking and driving. Faced with the possibility of some
time in juvenile detention, Mark's rich-guy dad (Joe Mantegna) works
a plea bargain with the courts to send his child to the Marine Corps
instead of heading off to serve time...and, right before he leaves
to serve his time, he meets a schizophrenic rock star named Dori
Lawrence (Rachel Leigh Cook), falls in love, and begins a
long-distance relationship with this crazy bitch that likes to
mutilate herself. And, it's a match made in heaven!
The film is almost as wacko as Dori, not because of any kind of
strange Charlie Kaufman influence or "Jacob's Ladder"-style
plotting, but because there is just a large collection of very
random stars and almost all of them accomplish nothing for the
film's 90-minute running time. Hey, look, there's Carrie
Fisher, and she spouts off lines about blowjobs! Hey, look,
there's Ed Begley Jr., and he totally fucks up his faux-Irish
accent! Hey, look, there's Penny Marshall...smoking a
cigarette! Mantegna looks as bad as his character is written,
and the once-promising Cook does a so-so job with her krazy
kharacter. (Seriously, I just feel bad for where Cook's career
has gone since "Josie and the Pussycats" bombed three years ago; she
had that photo spread in FHM a few years ago, and everyone
thought she would be a star, and then whammo! Direct-to-video
became her bread-and-butter. So sad, so sad.)
Tucker is asked to do the most work here, but his transformation
from don't-give-a-shit youth to Marine manhood just doesn't flow
naturally; in one scene, he's clueless in class; fifteen screen
minutes later, he's showing his maid how to correctly iron every
part of his uniform. In many ways, the romance in "Stateside"
reminded me of how the romance in
gets setup; flyboy meets girl and sleeps with her the night before
leaving, and they spend the rest of their time lusting after each
other, although we audience members have a hard time connecting with
why the twosome is attracted to each other in the first place.
At least in "Cold Mountain", the scenes between the lovers meeting
were marginally interesting; in "Stateside", we really get nothing
with the Dori character, except the continuous update that she is
Only one man saves "Stateside" from Hard Vice status: Val
Kilmer, starring in a brief role here at the drill sergeant that
whips the young Mark into shape when he first arrives at camp.
Seeming to lap up parts of Clint Eastwood from "Heartbreak Ridge"
and R. Lee Ermey from "Full Metal Jacket", Kilmer can be seen
actively chewing the fat while spouting off his lines; I'm not sure
how large the check was, but Kilmer at least makes his scenes worth
Otherwise, "Stateside" joins the parade of bad movies that have
tainted our nation in the first half of 2004. Will the second
half of the year bring me any movie hope?
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard