Directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
Written by Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed.
Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed and Holly Hunter.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 9/3/03
Ahh, I remember being 13 years old. I was a
loser (hopefully, that has changed), had the braces, glasses that
were so large you couldn’t tell I had cheekbones, and I was gangly
as all get out. For kicks after school, I used to play Lazer Tag
with my boys Chi-hung, Jeff Wang and Denny Adams; on weekends, our
foursome would go to Putt-Putt Golf and Games for Super Saturdays.
You know the drill: unlimited golf, 20 tokens, the hot dog and the
Coke, all for something sick, like $7 from 8 AM – noon every
Saturday of the year. I came home from school, did my homework,
played video games, and on certain nights and weekends, played
Little League ball. I had some female friends, but I was certainly
not “hangin’ out” with any females, if you know what I mean. But, I
remember seventh grade being some good times.
Ahh, “Thirteen.” Smart, nice, attractive
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood; don’t worry, I didn’t think there were any
girls named “Evan” either) likes her loser friends but would love to
trade up, so she makes advances towards super-cool hottie Evie
(Nikki Reed) with hopes of changing her social class for the
better. After proving herself by jacking a wallet from a woman’s
purse on Rodeo Drive, Evie allows Tracy into her circle, much to the
chagrin of her struggling single-mom beautician (Holly Hunter), who
senses that things are about to get intense with Evie around, and
boy, is she right. Shoplifting is just the tip of the iceberg, as
we ride the Grizzly with this terrible twosome through drug use,
drug dealing, rampant sex acts, unnecessary dieting, self-inflicted
torture, and more over the course of its 90-minute running time.
In fact, by the time we meet Evie’s
“guardian” Brooke (Deborah Unger) and learn that Brooke has had
some...surgery, I was in shock overload and was wishing the film
would figure out a way to turn it down a notch. Not because the
things Tracy goes through were too intense for me, I just didn’t see
where director Catherine Hardwicke would take her film towards any
logical conclusion. I can believe that there are girls like this
out there, but as I described in the first paragraph, I am as far
from what these girls are as is possible, so by the THIRD FUCKING
SCENE where Tracy is cutting her arms with some scissors because she
is upset, I literally turned to my friend Lauren and said “Okay, I
get that she needs to cut herself. Why did I need to see that
again?” As you can imagine, all of the parents drink or smoke in
this film as ways to forget themselves; Evie has a seemingly endless
string of coke she deals to other kids in school; where does she get
it? I don’t know much about belly-button piercings, but it felt
like something was glazed over after THAT scene in the film. Tracy
gets attacked by two girls after school; for what? They’re never
seen again. “24” star Sarah Clarke shows up as a friend of the
Hunter character; Clarke’s character just seems to kind of be
around, like she had a bigger part but it was partially cut in
the editing room. You have random scenes with chickens, pigs,
deadbeat dads and Kip Pardue, with the best line of the film:
The film is very well-acted; although it was
frequently ridiculous, the performance by Wood was truly remarkable
and Hunter was in fine form. I was intrigued by the fact that these
two white girls only hook up or have sex with black guys throughout
the film and no one makes any note of this; I didn’t need an
explanation, I just was surprised by how that element was handled.
The soundtrack is great, and the shaky-camera cinematography worked
with this kind of movie. As an added bonus, you have a scene where
one character uses the C-word on another for no apparent reason.
LOVE useless profanity.
But, I just left the theater feeling like
“Thirteen” was way overdone for shock value. This might be the most
overrated film of the summer. Alright, but not great.
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