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  • "Sketches" (aka "Breaking all rules") was a 80's dramedy that was shot in 1989 but not released until 1992, where it played in a limited release before fading into obscurity. Neither title really makes sense though.

    I remember catching parts of it on TV at night in the late 90's. I recently watched the film and I was pleasantly surprised at how well crafted and touching the performances are. "Sketches" deals with the devastating issue of cancer and how 3 friends confront and cope with the disease by going on a road trip. The film is as touching as it humorous. A touch balance the direct seems to pull off. C. Thomas Howell (too bad his career tanked after the classic underrated "Soul Man") and Johnathan Silverman are good in their roles but a young Jason Bateman easily stills the show as the friend stricken with the disease. I was very impressed with how realistically he portrayed a cancer victim (having seen first hand a relative die from the disease).

    Overall, "Sketches" is a funny yet tragic 80's buddy film that manages to balance the laughs with the tears. I just wish there was more info on the making of the film and would love to know why exactly it was shelved for 3 years. This film deserves a bigger audience and more praise. 10/10
  • bkoganbing25 May 2006
    Breaking the Rules was one of those films that slipped in and out of theaters before it could develop a following. If it were not for video I think very few would have seen it and that would have been a pity.

    Three childhood chums have gone their separate ways. In fact two of them are downright hostile to each other. The third, Jason Bateman, succeeds in bringing the other two to some kind of a truce and all three take an automobile trip out west. Bateman feels compelled to do it, he's under a deadline literally. He's got a rare and rapidly growing form of leukemia and has little time left.

    C. Thomas Howell and Jonathan Silverman play the other two friends, but it's Jason Bateman's touching performance as their dying chum that really drives the film.

    Bateman's career was in limbo at the time. He had left The Hogan Family and it would be many years before he got another break in Arrested Development. Had this film been better promoted he might have been doing better a whole lot sooner.

    Annie Potts plays the waitress all three pick up on their way to California and she scores well in her role. But it's really a triple buddy picture with a tragic twist.

    Catch it if you can when it's broadcast.
  • For such a high scoring film, I can't believe comments haven't been made about such a powerfully moving film such as Sketches. The first time I saw this film, I was unaware of the main storyline. I laughed, I cried, I was moved. I have recommended this film to a number of people and so far no-one has been disappointed. I would definitely recommend this to anybody with feeling. If you have a beating heart - you too will be moved. The way Phil (Bateman) deals with his disease, makes you proud to be his friend. Shows a number of mixed reactions from his friends, and you can relate to every one of them. I have now seen this movie more than 15 times, and each time I came away with something new.
  • Havan_IronOak11 August 2001
    I'm always a sucker for those `what can you say about a girl/guy who's died' kinda movies. From Love Story to Torch Song Trilogy to Brian's Song, in the movies there is a certain sort of nobility endowed by dying. It's a mystery that we all fear and wonder about and ultimately face more or less on our own. There may be others present but we do it alone in our own, individual ways.

    What's important is what goes before and what we have done for those that we leave behind.

    This movie deals with that issue and does it in a life affirming way. What Phil (Jason Bateman) does for Gene (C. Thomas Howell) and Rob (Jonathon Silverman) is get them back together as friends, and helps them deal with his impending death while dealing with it himself in the best way that he can. Yes, this theme has been done before. Yes there are aspects that are completely ignored. And Yes, some parts could have been done better, but overall I'm glad that I saw this movie and think that many others would be too.

    The movie is bittersweet without being maudlin. It has heart and lets the viewer see the emotions of three young men, no mean feat for a movie. When Mary Klinglitch (Annie Potts) joins the group it somehow allows the guys to drop some of their masculine bravado and her presence seems to make the group `whole'. Perhaps its her presence that makes it ok for these guys to be `Breaking the Rules' about way men behave when together.
  • Shazam-Cap23 March 2005
    I would highly recommend this comedy-drama to anyone. I sincerely enjoyed this gem of a movie. The acting was great and sincere. It was funny. It was serious and thought provoking. It had some sad moments and some thrilling moments. In the end, it made me cry, so it is definitely an emotional movie.

    Even though I knew what to expect, or so I thought, the movie caught me off guard with a surprise twist and a very emotional one.

    I also liked the singing and music in this film. The soundtrack to it must be awesome. The singing was just fantastic. The performances were powerful and enthralling.

    All in all Breaking the Rules (Sketches) was class-A entertainment and worth viewing by anyone wanting to see a really good show with some substance. I can't recommend it enough. I give it a thumbs up.

    See this movie. You won't be disappointed.
  • Filmed in 1989, sat on the shelf for 3 years, and that is where it should have stayed. Starring C. Thomas Howell should have been another indication, apart from one or two of his early movies, he hasn't been in a decent film since. I should have known better than to sit thru this waste of celluloid. No wonder they changed the title, as it is also known as Sketches, I don't know what that title has to do with the movie, makes it sound like stand up comedy. Where do I apply for my 100 minutes back? Sad, it had good performances by the three main actors, but the totally unrealistic characters and situations along the way just ruined the movie. So, don't believe all those positive reviews, probably from people belonging to the movie, and save yourself 100 minutes for something worthwhile. And if you do decide to waste your time, remember, I told you so!!
  • casper-123 December 2005
    I have to say I'm pretty shocked at the number of positive reviews of this "movie". I stumbled across it today on free TV and was stunned at how awful it was. I pity anyone who sat through this 15 times. I have a deep and embarrassing soft spot for anything mildly sappy but come on, this was atrocious. The scene where C. Thomas is insulting Annie Potts and the guys are "arguing" over her was horrendously written and acted. Nothing felt true or real or honest in this programmed maudlin mess. I wonder if this was the movie that sent C.T. to drinking.

    The cast is all very capable and have been good elsewhere but god, I was just cringing for Annie Potts having to spit out tasteless dialogue while mauling Jonathan Silverman as Bateman and Howell watch from the bed. And the cancer makeup on Bateman was terribly done. Didn't buy it for a second.
  • I haven't seen this movie in seven years, and I still have vivid memories of its awfulness. Cliched and predictable, and featuring a trio of really horrible performances (poor Annie Potts keeps a brave game face, despite the horror of the script), this is one of the most godawful flicks ever. (One character is dying, but by the end of the film you'll want to see ALL of them croak.)

    Look up Ebert's review on the web, it's one of his rare "no-stars" write-ups, which the film richly deserves.
  • "BREAKING THE RULES" has a good cast and a competent storyline that provides an "anything can happen" atmosphere, yet the end result is far from satisfying.

    With Neal Israel at the helm, and the talents of Jonathan Silverman, Jason Bateman, C. Thomas Howell and Annie Potts, I expected much more, but the overall feel of the film is that of "un-feeling". Most of the situations are just not funny, and I wish I could care for the plight of these characters, but I didn't.

    There are all too many implausibilities that plague the film and take away from it's potential. For example, Howell, Bateman and Silverman have several moments in the film where they "croon" out a few tunes, and their stand-in singing voices are beyond unbelievable, which ultimately distracts the possible fun of these scenes.

    This is not a bad film, but it could have been so much better.
  • fmarkland323 October 2019
    A terminal man with cancer(Bateman) goes on a road trip with his two estranged friends (Howell and Silverman) who vow to go separate ways afterwards only to meet a quirky waitress (Potts) along the way before truths are exchanged, bonds are rebuild and hijinks ensue. This movie is really something else, utterly ridiculous and painfully written. Breaking The Rules (in which no rules are broken) features really good acting from the four leads, indeed Jason Bateman and C. Thomas Howell are highly underrated actors, but this material gives them nothing to work with. The biggest problem is how terrible the comedy scenes are, like nothing here is funny, but even worse is how terribly directed these scenes are. The stuff that deals with Bateman's cancer are admittedly sort of moving, and at times we are invested in the plight of Bateman. One great set piece in a very poorly written scene finds C. Thonas Howell getting angry at Bateman for being sick and giving his cancer drugs angrily. You hope this they turn this into something honest, but just when the scene builds momentum, it is half heartedly resolved and dropped for the comedy angle. This movie is godawful as a comedy because it's just not funny, but you sort of see the vision in the drama. One figures this movie would be far better had they gone the drama route, but because much of the comedy is jarring it totally kills the actual dramatic element. In the end this movie should be less funny and more dramatic, but the director has no conviction in his material, you have good actors who sell the drama, but the comedy is so stupid and so lame it cheapens everything else. In such terms, it's like asking out a woman, and then saying 'Just Kidding' before she says yes or no. It indicates a level of having so little faith in your product, that you labor for a cheap laugh and in doing so make the drama irrelevant and make the experience pathetic.

    * Out Of 4-(Bad)
  • aashdon15 February 2011
    I saw this movie by chance after my best friend died and lived her last moments very much like Jason Bateman's character in this movie.

    As fate would have it I'm presently dealing with a life threatening illness and striving to do what's important before my turn to cross over happens (whether 10 weeks or 20 years from now).

    The relationship parts of Breaking the Rules was spot on. When time is short all emotions are on the table. This movie portrayed the denial, anger, bargaining, depression, etc stages of grief well.

    Although I was annoyed by the scene where Jason Bateman's character deals with a friend wailing and pounding on a junkyard car as mellow dramatic, the movie accurately showed how grief and loss are not always rational emotions in full action. In other words as annoying that scene came across to me, it still was realistically done.

    Other accurate portrayals I give this movie kudos for are the parts where the guys are having fun in Reno, stopping to ice skate, horse back ride, blow fire balls during an impromptu bar fight, get married, etc. These guys keep being young guys in the face of terminal illness.

    Although clothing and music seemed very out dated in proportion to this movie's release date, Breaking the Rules is a must see movie in my opinion.
  • jabahog-605-58586410 December 2009
    I remember watching this in '94 and loved every single bit of it!! I still do, and I'm glad Showtime ran the film. I had to DVR it cause I cant find a DVD of this film anywhere. Great story, great acting, and a very "real" feel to it. Certain bonds will never break. I have this on VHS - "Breaking The Rules", but it is edited. "Sketches" isn't, and I'm glad for that. It shows the realness of the story, and humor in certain situations. I think there should be more movies like this. The cast did a wonderful job, and it's good to see this trio together. I hope this film will come out in print again. It would be nice to see on Blue Ray. Also is a definite owner for all ages. "I got tired of secondary smoke inhalation." - Phil
  • I can't really say enough about this movie. I'm now in my mid-30's and miss the days when movies like this were new. Yes, the acting had it's moments of pure cheese, and the audio dubbing left some things to be desired, but the ESSENCE of the movie was flawless...

    Jason Bateman and the rest of the cast of this film did an excellent job of playing their roles. The actual context of the movie has been done over and over again, but I've personally never seen one done better than this movie. The entire film is a roller coaster of emotions, but in the will nail you. I'm a full-grown man, and openly admit that this film had me in tears at the end. Such a moving and emotional film. I'm surprised this never made it big.

    People who give this a low to no rating are narrow minded people who only think that epic films truly deserve high ratings, and anyone PAID to give a review of a movie, you can just take their advice and throw it out of the window. The majority rules in movie rating and the majority of people who've seen it, LOVED it, as did I. I will find this somewhere and make a DVD out of it. Must see film if you're a child of the 80s-90s.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Breaking the Rules' had the potential to be a much better film than it actually was. The cast alone--Bateman, Howell, Silverman, and Potts--might be what lures many to this film so many years after its release. The story, too, of the invincible road trip which inevitably leads to self-discovery among three friends who must sort out their differences and come to terms with one of them dying from an inoperable cancer. But the plot soon becomes one of an overachiever dramedy once it moves beyond reasonable bounds of the sentimental childhood friends story and tries to be too much all at once. I find the backstory (and later, the cheesy music performances that remind me of the 'Zack Attack' show from Saved by the Bell) about the desired career path to music particularly annoying. Not to mention Howell's once-again rather wooden acting as he tries to force this attitude of anger at his friend's sometimes idiotic ideas for adventure before he dies.

    Bateman, Silverman, and Howell play three childhood friends who part ways after college. After having surprisingly ditched college just a month shy of graduation despite his genius appeal, Bateman's character, Phil, calls the boys home to Ohio with word of his engagement. It's also an attempt to establish a truce between two of the friends--Gene (C. Thomas Howell) and Rob (Jonathan Silverman).

    When they find out that the engagement is a scam and that Phil actually has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer, the boys head off to California where Phil intends to audition for Jeopardy. Along the way, of course, they have the usual ill-bode road trip of self-discovery with the friends struggling to come to terms with the fact that Phil is dying. This leads to both good times and bad. And, in particular, along the way, they meet Mary, a small-town waitress (played by the excellent Annie Potts) who is somewhat the neutral force among all of them (and eventually even the bitter Gene).

    It's not bad and had the writers at least tried to avoid its overachiever moments, it would not have been a great comedy, but at least some moments would not have been so cheesy. Nonetheless, I would recommend this one for fans of the cast. Jonathan Silverman sticks to his shtick in this one, and resembles his love-desperate character, Appleby, in Stealing Home.
  • In this touching buddy "dramadey" (Drama/Comedy) Three long since separated friends (portrayed flawlessly by budding stars Jason Bateman, C. Thomas Howell, and Jonathan Silverman) Phil, Gene, and Rob are brought back together for one last fling when one of them is diagnosed with Lukemia. The diagnosis sends them on a cross country odyssey of self-discovery to play Jeopardy, find love, surf, and repair a long fractured friendship.

    The performance of Annie Potts (yes Annie Potts!) as the artistic diner waitress who decided to tag along halfway through the trip adds some spice to the all boy gumbo is only overshadowed by the appearance of a special "unbearable" guest at the campsite!

    Contrary to what some other posters say, this movie is ALL about special effects: The "Special Effect" it has on your heart. By simply combining honesty, pain, pure uncut drama, comedy, uncensored emotion,a mullet wig and eventually a truthful reaction to what Phil is actually feeling...were all the special effects I'll ever need. (Along with the Bate-cam video point of view shots of course!)

    Phil sums it all up in one zen line: "I have questions. That's why I want to be on Jeopardy. Jeopardy gives you all the answers, all you have to do is come up with the questions.
  • How can you enjoy a movie when your ripping it into little pieces and analyzing it.

    This movie wasn't about the money apparently.

    It was dedicated to S.I. I don't know who that is, but it was dedicated to them never the less. I like the movie a lot. Any movie that can move you that much is a great movie.

    I got all I wanted from it.


    Enough said.
  • The movie was not exactly a tear jerker, I've seen other movies that are a lot more sad, this one is sad but doesnt make a downpoor. The angry guy really annoyed me a lot, and I don't understand how this girl could be such a hor and yet be so tender hearted. What they needed to do is leave him in a hospital, not on some road trip.
  • nancy2407 December 2008
    I just watched this movie on a lazy snowy Sunday and have to say that I think it was a delight to watch! It leaves you with that feel good feeling. The dynamics of the three friends and their journey demonstrates that life is worth living and you have to enjoy it to the hilt! There were some twists in it that I totally did not expect. I laughed, cried and rolled my eyes watching it - Jason Bateman was stunning, C. Thomas Howell was a joy to watch and Jonathan Silverman gave a fantastic performance! Annie Potts is a delightful addition to round out the cast. The soundtrack has some awesome tunes that just "go" with the film. Oh and the circa 1990 clothes and hairstyles will bring you back to a simpler time, before the internet and cell phones.

    Rent it, Netflix it, DVR it - but DO watch this movie!
  • On this lazy Sunday afternoon when I should be cleaning my house, I ended up turning on FOX t.v. and this movie was already in progress. Since that's one of the few channels that comes in on my antenna, I just left the t.v. on for company as I made something to eat.

    Of course, I recognize the fact that I was missing something by turning on in the middle, and I didn't know what was really going on in the movie for a while. I remember standing in the kitchen hearing the '90s soundtrack running and thinking of how awful '90s movies were in many cases because of that. I returned to the living room to eat and casually watch the movie and thought to myself, "Why on earth did some idiot programming director decide that THIS would be the movie they'd show this afternoon?!" Oh, then I watched further and found out that Phil was dying. And I'm a sucker for the make-you-wanna-cry movies. I'm no sissy; and I've put it together, and realized that movies like this that make you confront someone's impending death help me little by little to find peace about my own mother's death in 2001.

    I was so touched by the way this movie dealt with death and friendship, that I went from thinking it was horrible and dumb to thinking it was thoughtful, evocative, sentimental, heartfelt and touching (if not totally realistic). And another thing, I went from finding the dialog utterly '90s-moronic and goofy, to finding it appropriate and well-done. (This was after the middle part of the movie in which it is treated as just another buddies-on-a-trip goofoff.) Other movies may deal with death, and may do it better on occasion, but none of them have the incredibly sympathetic Jason Bateman as the dying person. His character and his portrayal are 90% of what I ended up enjoying about Breaking the Rules.
  • Well, Its March 2005 and I wanted to go back and watch older films from the 90's. I saw "sketches" aka breaking the rules and I thought it was perfect. It was fun and enjoyable. The story isn't worried about being predictable it just goes and flows. this movie has great characters and I highly recommend it. (hold me, squeeze me, hold me) in memory of SI. I have never heard of this movie prior to seeing it. I'm not a movie buff but this was incredible. The whole road trip having fun- dying friend thing is touchy. I might be defaming the movies name but it really is a good film. It makes you think and its pretty good and authentic.
  • dogman124a23 December 2004
    Overcast 22's comment were so off base. This movie was entertaining. Movies from the beginning of time have had Whore's (note correct spelling) who had good hearts, and to leave a sick and dying guy in the hospital to croak is simply absurd, the movies whole purpose was to take a road trip as this dying guys swan song and his hope to tie these people together and to heal the rift between the two male best friends of his. SO, Overcast 22 if you remove the premise you dismiss over the warm loving tramp that Annie Potts plays, and simply park the main character in a hospital to die, you have NO MOVIE! The movie was worth seeing notably not by any means a classic but definitely a fair movie, you need to rethink becoming a movie critic.
  • The acting is not the greatest, sound dubbing was a real joke, but the story and the feeling of the movie was amazing. If you watch this movie and don't feel it in your heart, call the coroner... you are dead.

    I would LOVE to have this movie in my DVD collection, I just have to get them to put it on DVD. I personally think it was GREAT! Guys seem to have a problem getting caught showing their feelings. If you have feelings, don't watch this movie with a woman if showing your emotions is a no.. no. If you have ever lost a friend, this will bring back all of the emotions. If you are losing a friend, this movie will hurt even more.

    I take one star for the cheesy acting and the poor dubbing, but the other four stars are solid. I recommend it highly.
  • I saw the movie it was great I think Jonathan Silverman, C. Thomas Howell, Justin Bateman, and Annie Potts did great. It was pretty emotional when Phil (Justin Bateman) was dying. I'm surprised it's not even a cult classic. It would've been nice if they had someone else other than Annie Potts I think she was too old for all three.