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  • She (Boyle) is a nice, pretty girl but needs a little polish; he (Billy Baldwin) wears shirts by Ralph Lauren. You can see there's trouble a-brewing.

    This movie is probably, unfortunately, of greatest interest for The World of Hibernia magazine cover girl Boyle before she developed her familiar sexy vamp persona. In fact, she seems like an older version of some of those early hair-twisting Winona Ryder characters. Her part is really only of newcomer size. That's sad to say since Boyle's Before and After are so different from one another.

    As for Baldwin, he plays a plausible prep perp. Sandra Bullock has rather a small part, as the girl with the ankh earring. Not much of a characterization there.

    This crime story plays much like a lesser, and fairly routine, episode of "Law & Order", with Danny Aiello standing in for Jerry Orbach and Joanna Kerns doing a blonder version of Michael Moriarty.

    Aiello's experienced flatfoot is the central character. The script tries to humanize him, not entirely successfully, by showing his "pedagogic" side I'll call it. That gives him a certain degree of warmth, but it's really up to Aiello to lend the role his usual identifiability.

    I think it all comes down to how much you like Danny Aiello. It happens I do, but don't consider that a recommendation.
  • Okay, the film was not that great but the story of the preppy murderer, Robert Chambers, played by William Baldwin in a chilling performance. Lara Flynn Boyle plays Jennifer Levin, the victim of the crime. Chambers was the son of a New York City nanny/housekeeper of prominent East Side families who wanted her son to have the same advantages as John F. Kennedy Jr. and Jennifer Levin was a true New Yorker from a family who was well-to-do. He was from the wrong side of the tracks while she was from the right side of the tracks. Her life would end tragically one night in Central Park. Joanna Kerns took a break from her role as Maggie Malone Seaver on Growing Pains to play Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor, and I believe she did a service to the role. The case itself was on the cover People magazine and the New York City tabloids. Of course, Robert Chambers was a good looking man and too nice to be a killer but I think that was why the case brought so much attention. If you have attractive people like Chambers and Levin, you want to know why. If they were unattractive, I think that we would not care for it.
  • I just saw this film for the first time, and I must agree with the previous reviewer - Alec's l'il bro was seriously miscast in the role of a remorseless murderer! While cute during the first 27.8 seconds of the movie, Billy's Basset Hound StaresT grew a little - no, make that extremely - tiresome in very short order. His good looks didn't make up for the fact that he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag, something the producers might have considered when they were looking for someone to play the role of a sociopath.

    The only actor worth watching here was Danny Aiello; in fact most of those who played cops did so with amazing credibility. The interrogation scenes were a joy to watch and actually made you believe that this is what it must really be like (unlike the usual TV in-your-face all-anger-all-the-time TV cop shows).

    In the end, though, I was left with the feeling that if a good actor had played the lead it may have been a better film.
  • This movie is semi-engrossing, featuring a Brat Pack that never could have been. It is certainly worth watching (in fast forward) to marvel at this strange amalgam of stars that don't really go together - two Heathers from HEATHERS, Sandy Bullock, Lara Flynn Boyle. William Devane is as smarmy as ever; Danny Aiello is simultaneously a sensitive cop and an ass with an inferiority complex (bizarre combination). The Chris Isaak soundtrack (was this a big enough movie to have a big recording artist do the soundtrack?) only adds to the movie's surreality, as does the presence of feisty Joanna Kerns, who clearly has a thing for Billy. I'll admit I was drawn to Billy Baldwin's murderous magnetism, but then I started to think about how dangerous that can be. Remember SLIVER? Remember FLATLINERS?
  • This film grinds along at a confusing slow pace for at least half its length. It also has the look and feel of a low budget production. I was debating whether to bail out or to stick it out, perhaps voting a 1 or 2. The glacial and gummy pace of the film is aggravated by some sort of "method" acting in which people mumble, over react, interrupt each other and in striving for a natural quality succeed only in creating a very unnatural one. However after the crime, when the police investigation and the trial start, it becomes rather compelling. So I bumped up my rating. Although I'm glad I stuck it out, my life wouldn't have been much devalued if I hadn't.
  • The majority of the fascination with the "preppie murder" case revolved around the startling good looks and charisma of the man accused. A very rare few are blessed/cursed with the type of beauty that placed Robert Chambers in an elite above and beyond what most can even imagine. A young Elvis Presley, Ricky Martin or Rob Lowe could also be considered among those few. It was easy to believe that once under the spell of such a an intensely magnetic draw, a young girl could become violently obsessed if rejected. It was absolutely impossible for me to buy this scenario with Billy Baldwin - PLEASSSSE! Who casts these things?
  • Update at June 2008

    I came across this feature because it is early Bullock, and have started to wonder what happens when one considers this alongside her maturer work, A Time To Kill of 1996.

    First, there is a massive quality difference, Preppie is blatantly low budget.

    The acting in A Time is solid and real, to me, but Preppie is maybe misunderstood on that point. Look for very weak acting in Preppie I find that it mostly centres on the victim's family. But a couple of girls show it too, even a Heather. Look closer, whenever any actor here has to show deep grief, and the victim's family is rooted in that, then the feel is weak corn. I should interpret the weak acting as due to the direction that the actors received, it likely does not say that they are bad prostitutes.

    Both features had me wanting to switch off. I like nice and easy sort of stories and these are not. I found that A Time started to click, I could follow it and gradually get to like it. Preppie, I switched off and came back to try to do some Heather study and then found it to have some interest further than that.

    The centre, for me, is the pictures of justice that are shown. Each story includes several understandings of justice and not much clicks with me as including anything remotely healthy. Are these pictures intentionally scary? If this is a portrayal of how many understand justice then this planet is in big trouble. Time has scarier justice from start to end?

    *

    Looking at how I understood justice, to me the idea of individual accountability was marred by questions about free will, free will not being as widespread as all that.

    Specialist education as about a potential to be helped, a gentle nursery, towards a fuller free will.

    I now look back and discover that education and health in the UK seem more, for me, about leading me astray, towards less and less free will and a decreasing ability re following society's rules.

    A belief in the strong individual, about a need for others to Pass The Test, about a dog eat dog world? These two features exploring bits about that.

    The killer in Preppie, to me it is so obvious that he is a victim and a disaster too. It is also obvious that when he is – was released from jail that he will be liable to never be properly free because of what I interpret as popular belief systems that fuel an ongoing war against fools. His is a world where the good and the bad play murder games regularly and he is just one of many products of that.

    *

    Harry Potter and The Worst Witch sequels as other explorations re justice and individual development?

    A more positive note. Symbolism. At the start of Preppie it felt possible to view this as a New York fashion show with a feature pasted on as a carrier. Except it is only the hat that the victim wears early on that shines for me. The New Worst Witch series, episode one, from England, has even better hats worn by Millie and Cress. Li-Lo's Get A Clue has no equal.

    This links with my comment re Hangmen 1987.