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Running With Scissors
DVD disk
Jan 31, 2007 By: Jason Adams
Running With Scissors order
Director:
Ryan Murphy

Actors:
Joseph Cross
Annette Bening
Brian Cox

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After being abandoned by his fame-obsessed mother and alcoholic father, a teenage boy is forced to live with his mom’s insane therapist and the man’s equally disturbing family.

Based on Augusten Burroughs' bestselling memoir.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Quirky characters and absurd situations can be used to great effect in film, both comedic and dramatic. Wes Anderson movies, for example, are good at balancing this line. RUNNING WITH SCISSORS…not so much.

Likeability; therein lies the rub. The real challenge is making offbeat characters you can connect with, who aren’t just weird for the sake of being weird. [cough] Napoleon Dynamite [/cough] And there wasn’t a single character in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS I particularly cared about. It’s not just that they behave strangely (Oh look, little Augusten is covering the dog in tin foil. How cute…), but they all treat each other like crap. Every five seconds there’s either a screaming match or someone says or does something random and inappropriate. By the time Brian Cox forced his family to stare at the bowel movement he just relinquished in the toilet, I decided A) I just wasn’t getting this movie or B) there wasn’t anything to get. Probably B.

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS does sport a quite a cast—Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, an unbelievably hot Evan Rachel Wood—each of whom does well in their respective roles. It just doesn’t help that their roles require them to be annoying for the majority of their screentime, save for Baldwin, who, between THE DEPARTED and 30 Rock, seems to have found his calling in scene-stealing supporting roles. The standout though is Annette Bening, who plays Burroughs’ mentally unstable mother. Even though you want to slap the ever-loving smack out of her character, Bening’s performance is still pretty great. Her final scene packs a surprising emotional punch, although it’s not enough to salvage everything that came before it. If I want to see a bunch of loonies yell at each other, I’ll just turn on MTV.
THE EXTRAS
It’s interesting hearing Burroughs’ take on his life vs. the movie, but other than that you’re not given much.

Inside Outsiders (8:25): A featurette with the actors giving their thoughts on making the characters “human.” Annette Bening says she feels sympathy for her character, even though the movie doesn’t. Well, that doesn’t exactly do the audience any good, does it?

A Personal Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (5:56): The author/main character talks about adapting his life in to a book/movie and how he survived his childhood. If half of what happens in this movie is true, it’s a miracle Burroughs doesn’t just sit in the corner, sucking his thumb in the fetal position.

Creating the Cuckoos Nest (4:30): A quick piece on the production design and creating the atmosphere of insanity.

An assortment of Previews ranging from SPIDERMAN 3 to ADAPTATION.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Despite the suggestion from every literary hipster at my school, I never read Augusten Burrow’s 2002 memoir of the same name, so I’m not sure if the source material is this drab and the movie is just a faithful adaptation, or if the filmmakers turned the book in to two hours of mental torture porn. Either way, it was a pretty painful experience, although it did introduce the great word “masturbatorium” in to my vocabulary.

Extra Tidbit: Joseph Cross, who plays Augusten Burroughs, is not the same actor who played Bobby Drake aka Iceman in the X-MEN movies. Even though he looks exactly like him.
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