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Middle of Nowhere [Blu-ray] [Import]

Eva Amurri Martino , Anton Yelchin , John Stockwell    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray

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Product Description

From the director of Blue Crush comes Middle of Nowhere, a witty, warm-hearted comedy about two precocious teens and their unusual families. A pair of co-workers at a small-town water park --- restless troublemaker Dorian (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek) and the tightly wound Grace (Eva Amurri, Californication) -- form an unlikely bond when Dorian cooks up an illicit plan to earn big money. With no assistance from a flaky, free-spending mom (Oscar winner Susan Sarandon) and competition from a sexy younger sister (Willa Holland, Legion), Grace needs all the help she can get if she's going to make it to college.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Blue Sept. 25 2010
By Eric Sanberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I don't know where this movie came from. I don't recall its being released in the theaters though, with this cast, it's difficult to believe it's direct to video. But, whatever the case, this is a rare find. It's an indy type film with nothing but writing and acting at its core. No big sets or fancy frou frou. Just a good story with a well honed cast and adroit handling by the director.

Anton Yelchin plays a bright, beyond his years, but troublesome teen who is one step away from the military academy. He has been banished to a water park for the summer where he performs a lackluster job. Eva Amurri also works there and can go to college if she can come up with the trump. Mom (Susan Sarandon) can't help her unless one of her schemes comes to fruition. She's more interested in trying to launch a modeling career for her younger daughter. Yelchin convinces Amurri that helping him sell weed to the locals is a quick way to make the dough necessary for college. She ends up agreeing and that's when things start to happen.

They could not have picked a better actress than Eva Amurri to play Sarandon's daughter. They look so similar it's difficult to believe they're not related in real life. And both do an excellent job here. I suppose I've like Yelchin enough in the few movies I've seen him in but he builds a great character here. I wanted to sit and have a beer with this guy. He is someone I truly wanted to get to know which says as much for the script as it does for his acting.

This is a slice of life type movie where everyone is in a sort of limbo. They are on their way somewhere but can't quite find the key to the door. They also have some serious baggage from their pasts which they need to drop in order to move on. Things DO come to a head and some crap hits the fan but they come to realize them for what they are and resolve themselves to deal with them instead of letting them ruin or scar them.

This movie doesn't take any obvious turns and doesn't feel a need to tie everything up in the end which I liked. I would like to re-visit all them in a few years and see what happens to them. How will their lives turn out?

This is just a plain, good movie. There is one plot point that might be a bit forced but it's a minor argument compared to the greatness in everything else that happens. I don't know if this will change your life but it's much more than a popcorn movie. If you're looking for something with meat on it's bones this is a great choice.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning Love Without Parental Model July 17 2010
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE is one of those surprise films that appear to have gone direct to DVD - not because they are unworthy of theater showing but because they are thinking films rather than explosively entertaining/CGI/3D extravaganzas. The script (Michelle Morgan) is smart, the concepts are viable and refreshingly not overdone, the direction (John Stockwell) shows great respect for the talents of the actors, and the cast is as solid as could be assembled for a film about touchy subjects. The theme that is born at the beginning of this film and grows in importance right to the end is the parent/child conundrum: when is parenting adequate and what are the drivers for dysfunctional family units.

Grace Berry (Eva Amurri, in a very natural and focused tough role) explains to a college scholarship counselor (Sharon London) that she needs financial aid to begin her higher education to become a doctor, but though she is a brilliant student, the counselor refuses to award a scholarship because of Grace's exceptionally bad credit rating. Distraught, Grace challenges her mother Rhonda (Susan Sarandon) when she discovers Rhonda has used Grace's name to open credit cards and has spent them to the limit. Grace needs big money to attend college and her summer job at the water park in town is minimum wage only. Also working at the water park is the happy-go-lucky Dorian (Anton Yelchin) who flirts with disaster, having found an 'extra job' selling weed to the rich folks of the city. After a lot of patter Dorian gently coerces Grace into being his driver (Dorian has no car, having been grounded for misbehavior by his grumpy uncle who is serving as relief for Dorian's adoptive parents), and the two begin a quality friendship that fills emotional and financial gaps in each of their lives.

But the truth about Grace and Dorian's parents surfaces: Dorian was given up by his 15-year-old mother for religious reasons and has been placed with quasi-appropriate wealthy parents; Grace lives with the knowledge that her father committed suicide only to come to discover that the suicide was the result of discovering that Rhonda was (and still is) having an affair with his brother Bob (William Haze). Grace's discovery comes through a conversation with her Aunt Polly (Karen Bramen, in an excellent role for this new actress) and Grace's mother-favored younger sister Taylor (Willa Holland), and the revelation sets off a series of events that propels the story to an end. Yes, there are sidebars expected in stories of teenagers: Grace falls in lust with rich kid Ben (Justin Chatwin); Taylor rebels against her mother by cutting her hair thus ending her mother's obsession with Taylor's becoming a model and Taylor seduces Dorian; Dorian confronts his birth mother; there are fights where Dorian is injured and finds himself alone without family support. But without a sugarcoated finale, the film ends quietly, affirming the importance of friends - a kind of love than can replace gaping holes in family relationships.

The movie truly belongs to Eva Amurri who proves she is becoming as fine an actress as her mother, Susan Sarandon. The film also allows Anton Yelchin to demonstrate a much broader range to his acting than he has been given before. The entire cast is excellent. This is a coming of age story - with far more attention being paid to the adult end of the developmental spectrum. Grady Harp, July 10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Movie Review! - (...) - @tss5078 Oct. 6 2013
By Todd Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Middle of Nowhere is an independent film and another example of a dark comedy that tries too hard to be funny. They had a weak storyline, but a very strong cast, and I felt it was a film that could have easily been a lot better. Dorian (Anton Yelchin) is a spoiled kid, who never had to work a day in his life. After yet another rebellious act against his parents, the seventeen year old is sent to live with his uncle for the summer. He starts working at the local water park, where he meets Grace (Eva Amurri), a girl who is his complete opposite. She is desperate to earn money for school and Dorian is looking to act out, so the two decide they can both achieve their goals by selling pot together. The story doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me, because the characters are nothing like they describe themselves to be. Dorian is rich and only there for a couple of months, he doesn't need the money, so why take the risk? Grace, she's always had to be the mature one, taking charge of her family, but we don't see her do that at all. The film is definitely a bit strange, while at the same time being somewhat slow and predictable, but what makes it worth seeing is Anton Yelchin. The Russian born, former child actor, has such charisma and really thrives in roles like this. If you saw Charlie Bartlett, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Yelchin is on another level, outgoing, energetic, quick witted, he's the kid in this film, but as it would turn out, he's also the smartest one of all. Yelchin's personality is larger than life and he will completely draw you in, sadly, other than his performance, this film wasn't much of anything. The story is predictable, the humor is dry, and the rest of the cast really wasn't anything special.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Summer Can Change Your Life--A Charming Sleeper With A Terrific Lead Performance Jan. 24 2011
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I have literally seen Anton Yelchin grow up on screen. In truth, he was never my favorite child star and I'm not sure I thought he'd transition effectively from misunderstood youth to leading man material. But taking a page out of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt handbook, Yelchin seems to be doing just fine by picking indie roles that interest him and growing as an actor. His quirky energy and distinctive presence distinguish him from much of young Hollywood, and his ability to have quietly built an impressive resume has been nothing short of amazing. I don't mean to derail my talk about "Middle of Nowhere" to discuss Yelchin, but he ends up being the film's most compelling performance. A solid and appealing sleeper by John Stockwell, "Middle of Nowhere" is one of those quiet little films likely to be discovered and appreciated through the years. It may not be groundbreaking by plotting standards, but it has an overall sincerity that works better than you have any right to expect!

"Middle of Nowhere" tells the story of Grace (Eva Amurri), a bright girl from a troubled family. With big plans to escape from a small town existence, Grace gets little support from her flighty mother (Susan Sarandon). Sarandon focuses all her energy on her younger daughter who she is convinced is "model material." But underlying the difficult family dynamic is the fact that Grace's father committed suicide years ago, and the family has never really dealt with the truths behind the act. New to town is Dorian (Yelchin), an exiled troublemaker spending a back-to-the-basics summer with his uncle. The two form a tentative friendship at the water park where they both work. Grace, desperate for college money, soon gets ensnared in Dorian's extracurricular activities. He is a successful pot dealer, and not without some family demons of his own!

But "Middle of Nowhere" is not just a silly teen caper--it treats its subject matter in a suitably believable way. Quirky and amusing, at first, the film focuses on real life pain and difficult circumstances to fully reveal its three dimensional characters. That's the strength in "Middle of Nowhere"--you'll care about what happens to these kids! Surprisingly free of expected cliche (although Amurri's romance with a privileged boy plays out by the numbers), the relationships established in the film are well conceived. Amurri is steadfast and calm, but it's Yelchin who (once again) steals every scene he's in. A suitably ambiguous ending plays true to his character, and I appreciated the choice that Stockwell made in not wrapping things up with a convenient bow. Warm and sweet, and at times quite funny, "Middle of Nowhere" is a solid sleeper! KGHarris, 1/11.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heading to somewhere July 16 2010
By K. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
NOTHING SCALDS MORE than the moment a teen discovers mom and dad aren't perfect. Not that they make mistakes, everyone does that. No, that parents and other caregivers can make HUGE, life altering errors in judgment for little more reason than "I couldn't help myself."
That's the motivator in this coming of age flick directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush," 2002). Grace (Eva Amurri) can't get into college because of the debt her mother accrued by opening credit cards in her daughter's name without paying them off. Dorian (Anton Yelchin), an adopted teen with a streak of mischief a mile wide, finds himself sent off to spend the summer with his disciplinarian uncles. He comes from the rich side of town, Grace arrives with both feet planted in poor town.
Yet this is no John Hughes Cinderella story. Both teens take jobs at a water park, their mission to sweat and be hassled by bratty kids for minimum wage. But then serious Grace and prankster Dorian form a team and devise a way to make money - illegally - to achieve their goals.
We learn a lot about them and their families and - big surprise - we get to like them. We actually care about their problems. No, there aren't any big tragedies or major triumphs. It's just a story about people trying to get by and it's not too bad. Conversation sounds improvised and natural. Susan Sarandon, Amurri's real mother, and Willa Holland co-star.
Blu-ray video looks just fine with a sprinkling of film grain throughout. Set in Louisiana, color is rich, especially during daylight. Audio is serviceable, mostly front centered and dialogue driven. Extras also include a 26-minute making-of offering interviews with cast and crew, much of which is repeated in a set of individual cast and crew interviews. Also find deleted scenes that were best deleted.

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