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New Port South 2001
Description: A group of teenagers want to rebel vs the administrators and teachers (the system) in their suburban Chicago high school named Fresh Port South
Released: 07 Sep 2001 Director: Kyle Cooper Writers: James Hughes Actors: Blake Shields, Will Estes, Kevin Christy, Melissa George Genres: Drama
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New Port South Reviews:

NEW PORT SOUTH Aspect ratio: 1.85:1Sound formats: Dolby Digital / DTS / SDDSAn unhappy student (Blake Shields) is prompted into rebellion vs his teachers by what he sees as the mean-spirited bureaucracy of high school life, and his anarchy is fuelled by the storyline of a former student who appears to have been institutionalized vs his will by an aggressive school administration.An ode to conformity. Written by James Hughes (son of John) and directed by Kyle Cooper, NEW PORT SOUTH is an odd but intriguing film, in which Shields and his cohorts are roused to action by a series of unconnected incidents which start to form a recognizable pattern of manipulation and tyranny by teachers vs students. However, those drawn by the promise of seeing Authority Humbled are in for a nasty surprise: By concealing the truth of what happened to the former student whose incarceration sparks Shields' crusade, Hughes is able to fashion a climactic twist which fully undermines the central narrative, though not before Shields is unmasked as a tyrant-in-waiting, no better than the uncaring faculty he seeks to denounce. In another words, guidelines are there for a reason, no matter how petty they may seem, or how belligerently they may be applied by malicious teachers exercising a Hitler complex, while rebellion - no matter how well-intentioned - breeds corruption and anarchy. So knuckle down, children - do as you're told, agree the disrespectful method you're treated by some of your teachers, and whatever you do, DON'T ROCK THE BOAT...All dubious sermonizing aside, the film is ignited by its powerful cast of talented newcomers, including Shields as the increasingly disaffected protagonist (his showdown with snotty history teacher Todd Field crackles with true tension), and Will Estes as the aspiring artist forced to select between obedience to his teachers or the moral uncertainty of his friends' rebellion. Curiously, director Cooper doesn't exploit Estes' teen idol nice looks and refuses to indulge a romantic subplot with Estes' fellow student Melissa George, who hovers on the sidelines like an afterthought. However, despite its skewed viewpoint and a couple of confusing narrative leaps - one of the school jocks rallies too quickly to The Cause after being humiliated in a war which ends with him having a staple-gun fired into his face, and there's a near-riot which erupts for no obvious reason during the final sequence - the film is compelling in its own quiet way, and cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchía makes a true virtue of the wintry Illinois locations.


"John Hughes' son wrote a high school drama! Wow!" I thought as I checked the flick's database here on IMDb, late on a Saturday night, having found myself watching the opening credits on BBC2.I've just complete watching it, and sadly it was downhill from there on. Arguably you can't spoil a movie this poor, but I'll leave the spoilers out of this review... There's an terrible lot of style over very tiny substance: unfortunately the style hasn't dated too well in the eight years since its release. As for the substance, the movie tries to pose an interesting look at the nature of control in society through the microcosm of school-life; but beneath the shiny veneer, a remotely meaningful or relevant argument fails to materialise. Characters are painted in childishly broad strokes, falling into the type of generic stereotypes the writer's father sought to question in Breakfast Club. Director Kyle Cooper does a decent job keeping the pace up (perhaps relying a tiny too much on montages of information, which later becomes a tiresome device, but at least pushes the storyline along), but his efforts don't sufficiently detract from the terrible script and bizarre casting (how anyone is supposed to side with 'Maddox', when Blake Shields gurns and glowers his method through the part, I just can't understand), not to mention the numerous gaping plot holes (I'm all for constructive license, but when the "bad guys" know the identities of the "good guys" making their lives a misery, but fail to act in any method to stop them, you really have to wonder why this script didn't undergo other several re-drafts before production - did Daddy even read it?).I'm sure a younger audience might receive some enjoyment from this movie (and all power to them), but they're really better off sticking with Hughes Sr.'s high school output, and if the concept of school-time rebellion is what really appeals, the 1968 classic "If..." is a much more satisfying examination of the subject.


About five mins in, and I saw where this was heading. Bunch of high school children receive annoyed by the school's administration and thoughts of rebellion begin fomenting. I told to my girlfriend: if it gets below a 5 on IMDb, I'll go and read a book. It got 5.0, so she persuaded me to go on watching. What are the nice things? Well, it is a nice thing this movie does not have a story, because you would surely be distracted from it by the editing. It's like the student's drawing that was torn up by one of the teachers, all the footage for this movie was slash up in a freak accident involving a meat-grinder, and left half the stock destroyed, with the another half spliced into two-second bits. Even in a ten-second stage of the local TV news, there are about six cuts and three various angles. And then there are the montages. These are all set to electronic music, which forewarns you of yet other montage, so that like Pavlov's dog you begin cringing each time you hear it, which is about each three minutes. Oh, I was supposed to tell what's nice about this film. Well, the movie was shot very well, with a great color palette, that nicely matched the emotional content - such as there was - of the scenes. Okay, actually with the film's major flaw, and it wasn't the story, or lack thereof. The director made that fatal mistake of leading you astray about folks and situations, not by intelligent storytelling, but by being highly selective about what to present about the main characters. That's just cheating. I guess he did it in order to create the central hero more likable. But it just became plain annoying. If the storyline is full of holes, it's no nice trying to patch it up by misdirecting the viewer. And often there wasn't even any mission to it. And then the ending. Basically, the main villain of the peace turns out be an okay guy, if a coward. Plus it turns what seemed to be the entire mission of the movie, that you could stand up for a just cause on its head, by the already mentioned misdirection, and makes it into a mission about the nature of revolutions, that was already made, and much better, by animal farm. It also committed what I call the Bill Cosby sin: no matter how things may seem at first, in the end adults are everytime right, and kids everytime wrong. And let's face it: unless you're me, that's just not true.



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