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  • The kind of movie you either will like or you won't. I liked it quite a bit for what Michel Gondry was experimenting with, which was a cinema that is both very real and yet fantastic at the same time; when the kids tell their stories, be they funny, dramatic, sad, strange, it carries those qualities Gondry can bring to elevate the material through his grungy-magical (is that a term? I just made it up so there) aesthetic. When we see the teenagers driving a beat-up old car, it's shot to look a little warped as if from a camera phone, but not just any phone.

    This isn't reality TV. It's writing and filmmaking and while you won't get stellar acting across the board from these non-professionals, all acting under their own names, some of them are quite good and are able to bring the text to life. It's almost like Speed meets My Dinner with Andre, if that makes sense - you're stuck on this bus for the long haul, and it'll be suspenseful... there will also be a lot of talk, and buffoonery, and, really, genuine emotion at this turning point of the end of a school year with some betrayals and bewilderment going around.

    And while the first two-thirds are mostly a lot of fun, the final third, when the bus crowd thins out, becomes even more interesting than it was before when it focuses on Michael and Teresa, and another kid who we haven't seen much of (wrapped up in a comic-book and in headphones), and that scene in particular is great for these guys having (or thinking they have) grown up just on this bus ride alone. It's a heart-to-heart scene that shows after all of the bluster and big talk from the group- in-the-back, being down to earth is the tough part and what makes kids into the outcasts and bullies and bystanders and so on.

    It's sometimes rambling, sometimes unfocused, but that too is part of the charm. And, in a sense, this becomes Gondry's most surprising feature in the sense that he isn't with star-power team-ups (Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Gael Garcia Bernal, Seth Rogen, etc), or with his large grab-bag of surreal/magic-fiction camera and mis-en-scene tricks. Not to say there aren't exceptions - at one point, if I'm not mistaken, Jesus comes on to the bus to break up what could be an escalation-cum- fight on the bus - but it's really just a bunch of slices of life strung together, maybe not too unlike Spike Lee's Get on the Bus but without the baggage of the Million-Man-March message. What is it like to be a teenager, not just in the Bronx but anywhere? Teenagers especially would do well to watch a movie like this, which paints a more captivating and, for me at least, entertaining portrait of life than an MTV show could do. It doesn't stop for a chance to be funny, sometimes with ridiculous results, but its got a big heart and that's what is always wonderful about this director.
  • I'm hardly write a review, but I feel weird why this Gondry's movie doesn't have any. He is the greatest director of the 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'. So, this movie is about a bunch of school kids who just done their job and this will be their last bus ride as a school kids.Many things happen and what's fun is everything happen on the bus, love, bullies, forbidden chit-chat, family and many more in this 110 minutes movie. For me, this movie is just simple, like just an experiment of Gondry to make something different in teen movie. I love to hear their conversation,as real as their use their real name. Some scene look predictable and stupid but it's still fun, I'm enjoying myself. This unrealistic beautiful carnival!
  • I know many are shocked at this film but I can say first hand that not all public high school kids are like that and not all high school kids that misbehave dismiss further education. I rode the bus my entire education from elementary to high school in Washington DC and I can say school is very interesting but on the bus it's the adults that were my entertainment, not the kids.

    Also, I lived in Washington Heights in Manhattan and formerly Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. I'm currently in Jersey. They are in the Bronx. It's a tough burough to grow up in. I believe the movie stayed pretty true of life a kid from the projects. I don't know if it's true for the bus ride (I only took the bus in Queens and Manhattan. I take the subway mostly) but I don't need to. They are kids being kids and I love it. It brought back memories I almost forgot. Everything was relatable from the couple loving and fighting to the jokes to the unfortunate deaths. This is high school. This is life.

    I got out alive and ironically joined the Army lol but went on to college and own my own venture as a stylist and a designer so every kid has a dream big or small. Half the time it's not the school system, it's the social surroundings, the culture, the family household, and the lack thereof.

    All in all, it was a true depiction of what it's like to be young and free.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Have you ever been riding along peacefully on the good old MTA, when all of a sudden at the next stop, a mob of kids just out of school fills the subway car or bus with raucous noise and energy? Often this can be quite an unnerving experience, to say the least. It was a similar experience that led French director, Michel Gondry, to make the fresh and original, dramedy, "The We and the I" which opened March 8th.

    It's the last day of school, and a quiet city bus is transformed into a quasi detention center as it is filled with a gaggle of inner city teenagers getting ready for summer vacation. Gondry does not paint a glossy picture here. A group of bullies occupy the back row, where two elementary school kids are threatened, and an elderly woman is ordered to give up her seat. Near the front of the bus, a self absorbed princess (Laidychen Carrasco) agonizes over her sweet 16 party invitation list, and soon what seems to be a troubled young lady (Teresa Lynn) appears with a new blond wig only to encounter the relentless mockery of her peers, as she pines for one of the mean kids (Michael Brodie) . Vignettes make up the bulk of the largely plot less film. Save for the flashbacks, most of the action takes place on the bus.

    The unsympathetic framing of the students works very well at first. Gondry cast real life New York teenagers from The Point, a community center in the Bronx, to give us a non judgmental glimpse of the world of these teens. Apparently Gondry spent three years work-shopping the story with the kids and it shows. Gondry's facility with the teens is impressive. The cast seem very relaxed and natural, and it almost feels as if we are fellow passengers on the bus as we eavesdrop on the various goings on. Gondry's visual style, used to such effectiveness in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is used to great effect here as well. The exploration of the teens use of video, texting and cell phones is done imaginatively in various flashbacks. The film has comic, almost magical realistic moments, for instance, when Laidychen's brother comes, Jesus like, onto the bus to settle a dispute, or when one of the nerdier kids lays it on thick about partying with Donald Trump.

    Not all is sure footed here. With all of the jumping around between stories, many of the characters seem only partially realized and even cartoonish. More reflective scenes seem forced in the third act. Gondry also treads dangerous racial waters (a la Birth of a Nation) when all the kids lasciviously eye a beautiful white girl, riding her bike in slow motion. Also, I couldn't help but feel uneasy when I found out at the screening that a pivotal scene, where one of the boys breaks up with his lover, was actually an unscripted, and all-too-real moment captured on film. Ethical questions of exploitation did cross my mind--which begs the question if this could not have been more affecting, if it had been a straight documentary.

    The attempt to connect us to the characters ultimately falls flat, and we, notwithstanding the attempts of the filmmakers, still feel like the "other"-- unable to relate to the stereotypes that are left on the screen. Perhaps this is what motivated Gondry, (very awkwardly) , to put a narrated letter at the end credits from the mother of some of the students, expressing gratitude for the kids participation.

    Yet still, the energy and freshness of the teens, and the ambition of Gondry to communicate the journey from peer identity to self direction make this bus ride very worthy of the swipe.
  • i have to say that all the kids who played roles in this film just looked natural and performed well. but when i watched this film i also felt deeply disappointed and in despair. watching those kids riding a bus to their high school and what they did and talked to each other or among them only proved one thing: no wonder our American's public high school education is a total failure. looked at those kids in this film, they just looked like a bunch of thugs-in-progress, males or females, they were all the same. there was no one in this film looked well educated. there's nobody in this film worried about their future. those boys, they were a bunch of bullies, young thugs or just lamers. those girls, their conversation really gave me a nauseating feeling. water bras? this is American higher education in the making? is this what we got from high school education? i've tried so hard to sit tight to keep watching it, but every scene, every word or sentence of the dialog disgusted me to the extreme. i just wondered why we have to pay for these thug-like, hole-like kids with a daily free bus ride to school if they didn't and couldn't learn anything from it? this was one of the worst viewing experience i've ever had, maybe just because it was so true, so ugly and so purposeless of our public high school education. i think that only the kids from such bad high schools would enjoy it completely, because it's what they are doing every day right now, not just on a school bus. i was told how bad the education systems in other countries are, but at least they didn't produce so many young thugs like what we saw in this film. there are so many kids in lot of countries they couldn't have normal education when they grow up and really want it, but we American kids just waste it for nothing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    boring, repetitive, pointless film... did i mention boring? shot constantly hand-held, this is a massive masturbation over teenager's small fights, games, and small stories during a bus ride on the back home from school. after about twenty minutes of teenager bickering and no plot whatsoever, one does wonder why on earth Mr. Gondry felt compelled to make such a vacuous film

    quite a c r a p film compared to all the other masterpieces by Michel Gondry, I had to force my eyes open to get to the boring, non-ending.

    do yourself a favour,save yourself two hours of your life that Mr. Gondry won't give you back.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This has got to be the worst ensemble of characters I've ever seen in a movie. Mean, rude, self-centered, obnoxious, loud, and overall unpleasant to watch, THE WE AND THE I tries to humanize the worst possible people that could ever get on this bus, but only winds up making me hate them more.

    To it's credit, there's some things I like. Michel Gondry remains our most creative filmmaker right now and it's admirable to have his style applied to an urban ghetto setting. Plus, he does great work with mixing two settings to blend two different scenes. There's bits of his creative and whimsical charm sprinkled on this turd, but it helps elevate.

    Sadly, he's still suffers from keeping it all in coherent fashion, and it's even more of an ailment here than anywhere else. The audio is muted by horribly mixed background noise, the dialogue is aimless, there's barely a plot or anything interesting to replace said plot, the acting is terrible, and a lot of subplots go absolutely nowhere.

    But the biggest problem without question is the ducking characters. I hate every single one of them. Annoying, selfish, and at times dangerously close to abusive, I wanted to blow up this whole bus with all of these bastards with it. Not helping the fact that the film resorts to an unearned finale that makes them learn about life via a phony prose about life. It's deafeningly trite and cheap.

    Gondry must be commended for this new angle in his resume, be once again he continues to suck at storytelling. His so-called "veritee" angle of acting directing only highlights how bad his actors are, and the whole thing just reeks of the worst possible people you could make a movie out of.

    Oh, how I wish for another Charlie Kaufman collab.