C47Houston Flix Review:

"Lars, The Emo Kid"



A young high school teen finds himself falling into a depression after the death of his best friend as a result of a suicide. Trying to cope with his friends' death, his school life seems to take a turn for the worse until he finds friendship with a group of people that seem to "understand" his pain in this feature comedy/drama motion picture by Director Joe Grisaffi titled "Lars The Emo Kid".  

Inspired by the script and short film with the same name and written by Paxton Gilmore, "Lars The Emo Kid", the feature movie, follows Lars Hyde (played by Mr. Gilmore) a high school teen coping with the suicide death of his best friend Evan, (played by  Nicholas Mills). At school, Lars finds that he is having trouble adjusting and clearly he starts falling deeper into a black hole of depression and self-abuse. 

People handle death in different ways and as the story progresses Evan’s girlfriend Rosemary (played by Nicole Elliott) seems to be handling things okay, although she is worried that Lars is falling apart and becoming more depressed. Adding to his frustration, Lars is being tormented on a daily basis by the jocks, specifically, Blake (played by Eric Schneider), Evan’s older brother and one time friend of Lars. To top things off, his parents are separating and Lars’ father is, as well, not handling the separation very well and not setting a good example for Lars.

 On the edge and looking at a gravestone, Lars is determine to continue his self-abuse and sinks to the point of wanting to end it all. Alone, depressed and contemplating the idea of ending his life, Lars runs into Leonard (played by Tyler Tackett), Donnie (played by David Simpson), Gina (played by Alyssia Dujmovich, and Emily (played by Rebecca Bertot) a group of Goth's and Emo’s.  With some things in common and some things uncommon, Lars is in a world of pain, sorrow and emotions, an emo's life.

Our assessment: Written by Paxton Gilmore the story was interesting and, at the same time, had a comedic flare to it.  I don't know if it was sarcasm or simply a very dry sense of humor, but it was a humorous look at some topical issues as depression, self-abuse, bullying and friendships.  The story, itself, was a little confusing in that there wasn’t a reference point for the viewer to start from leading to a conflict resolution. There were several interpretations, from some of the audience members, about what was going on in this movie. On the one hand, you have Lars who is depressed and showing signs of depression and loathing as a result of the death of his friend Evan, on the other hand you have Lars who exhibits “Emo” characteristics (a loose definition of the concept and one meaning “emotional”), perhaps not due to the death of Evan.  And, even further you have Lars exhibiting a love for Evan that causes Lars to exhibit suicidal traits. Whichever way one reads this plot, Lars is nonetheless finding himself.  In this story, Mr. Gilmore actually gives the audience two definitions of “emo”, Lars’ definition and Leonard’s definition either way you look at it “Lars the Emo Kid” is a good story by Mr. Gilmore.

Directing: Directed by Joe Grisaffi, “Lars The Emo Kid” is by far, his best directed feature movie and one in which he has NOT written AND directed. Mr. Grisaffi’s past achievements include two hit feature movies “Dead of Knight” and “Conjoined”, among others and two excellent examples of fine movie making. As Joe, stated at the screening, “this is not a horror film”.  Mr. Grisaffi has come a long way in applying his movie-making skills and techniques to this current endeavor. The movie itself was very focused; sound was consistent throughout the entire movie considering that very little ADR was performed on this feature, that according to the director. The sound itself was rich and deep with no noticeable echoing (a common mistake in a lot of amateur independent movies). The director was able to get some very nice performances from the actors.  He did a great job and everything came together in this example of moviemaking. Mr. Grisaffi took his time in completing this movie. “Lars” has been in the works since, somewhere around 2011 and this work shows the aptitude of a group of very talented movie-makers.

The Technical Side:  Director Joe Grisaffi was the cinematographer in "Lars". Again, sound was excellent, camera was focused and he was able to bring out the best in his actors. Blocking was outstanding, lighting was impressive, set design was simple but it worked for the type of movie, costumes were "real", camera work was creative and interesting, editing was moved the story along very nicely, cuts were seamless and flowing, transitions were, as well, seamless, unremarkable and moved the story through each stage of from beginning, to the middle, the climax and to the very end. Music complimented the overall tone of the movie using, some music that may be classified as “emo”, color grading was well done, visual effects by DWN Productions was outstanding and makeup was excellent. The production and post-production team did an excellent job in creating a very well made movie from beginning to the end.

 The Acting:  There were several characters in this movie that stood out. Saying that, all the actors did a fantastic job in their performances. In any movie you will have the principals and supporting cast. We are not going to go through all the cast member and assess their performances. We will say, however, that some of the most prevalent characters were played by played by Paxton Gilmore, Tyler Tackett, Nicole Elliott, Eric Schneider, Jeremiah Kliesing, Sara Gaston and Mark Roberts. Their performances were outstanding and carried this movie. Very nice job from all of the cast.

Our assessment: Having seen several of Director Joe Grisaffi's other works we went into the theater with an open mind. We were expecting a good movie, but we were not expecting a really good movie. "Lars the Emo Kid" is an excellent example of a well-developed and well-made independent movie, and, a testament of the work of a talented director, writer, producers, cast and crew and casting supervisor who assembled a fantastic group of actors that played well each other.  We enjoyed the movie. It was funny and entertaining. Described as "Napoleon Dynamite" to "Juno" to "Better off Dead"...we think "Lars the Emo Kid" will most likely be a title that other movies will use to describe their movies. We believe that this movie stands on its own. 

C47Houston's TSIRS Rating: C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine and C47Houston WEEKLY using the TSIRS gives "Lars the Emo Kid" a strong 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Title: Lars The Emo Kid

Production Company: Starship Films L.L.C.

Screening Date: Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Screening Venue: The Studio Movie Grill-City Centre, Houston, Texas.

Directed by Joe Grisaffi

Cinematographer: Joe Grisaffi

Written by: Paxton Gilmore

Produced by: Sabrea Somers Munz, Chuck Norfolk and Joe Grisaffi

Associate Produced by: Todd McCammon

Re-recording Sound Mixers: Chris Bourque of Que Sound

Colorist: Dan Diaz

Music Supervision: Sean Fernald

Additional Music Consultation: Teddy Hallaron

Photo Doubles: James Wetuski, Helen Hansen and Kenneth Andrews

Guitar Photo Double: Josh Mansfield

MakeUp:  Rebecca Bertot, Alyssa Rodriguez, Lorena Lopez, Fanci Bernot, Jennifer Kliesing

Sound by: Scott Frank, Chuck Norfolk, Travis Tabuena, Len Wehrung and Channing Whitaker

Visual Effects: Danny McCarty and DWN Productions

2nd Assistant Director: Dimitri Kouzas

Safety Consultant: Mark Chavarria

Wardrobe: Rebecca Bertot

Locations: Molly Vernon

Fight Coordinator: Marcus Sabom

Set Photographers: John St. Germain, Kenneth Lindbloom, Lorena Lopez

Camera Support: Jason Snow

Slate and Editing Associate: Kristen Elliott

Photoshop: Danny Hinojosa

Casting by: Molly Vernon

Casting: Paxton Gilmore as Lars, Tyler Tackett as Leonard, Nicole Elliott as Rosemary, David Simpson as Donnie, Alyssia Dujmovich as Gina, Rebecca Bertot as Emily, Eric Schneider as Blake, Jacob Byrd as Jason, Chris Warren as Skeeter, Air Saturn as Phillip, Roland Ruiz as Adrian, Isaiah Wilson as Tyrell and Nicholas Mills as Evan. Sara Gaston as Cindy, Mark Roberts as Randy, Roxy Vandiver as Miranda, Jeremiah Kliesing as Jerry, Michael Wayne Thomas, Anne Quakenbush, Jake Messinger, Bardia Mattin, Mel House, Dan Braverman, Celeste Roberts, Tiffany Grant, Howard Calvert, Jamelle Kent, Tom Martino, Elizabeth Redpath and Scott Vernon.

Also featuring: Seth Hunter, Joe Grisaffi, Chaz Rodriguez, Tedd Dicus, Marque McCoy, Anthony Contreras, Justin Zapata, Victor Vega, Vicente Vega, Threezo Hill, Brandon Hampton, Ashley Stern, JamesWetuski, Joe Bates, Derek Huey, Pablo Bracho, Grace Powell, Shane Stewart, Janie Stewart, Emma Timmons, Laura Levine, Doug Dreher, Aaron Harrison, Lindsay Mays, Kendra Muecke, Michael Devarrennes, Molly Pedowicz, Kasey James, Jessie Dean, Christopher Riley, Kayla Brocato, Curtisha Baker, Ashton Moore, Kevan Copelin, Kenneth Andrews, Jon Egging, Larry Carrell, Todd Jason Cook, Tom Dujmovich, Arlene Dujmovich, Belinda Owino, Anna Ventura, Rachel Paul, Norma Lipert, Hannah Sweatt, Christopher Nickelson.

IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1884338/

Starship Films: www.facebook.com/starshipfilms 

Lars on Facebook: www.facebook.larstheemokid 

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_CJDeBh71A 

Website: www.LarsTheEmoKid.com 

Written by: H. Luna Jan. 10th, 2015 Copyright C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine/C47Houston WEEKLY




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