Review of Wide Awake (1998)

22 Nov

Wide Awake (1998) is a family/drama/comedy film, also known as M.Night Shyamalan’s second movie, also known as the movie that totally bombed and didn’t make Shyamalan famous.

Directed by the Indian-born director M. Night Shyamalan (Praying With Anger (1992), The Sixth Sense (1999)), who is known for making movies with twist endings.

Written by M. Night Shyamalan (Stuart Little (1999), Unbreakable (2000)), he also used to make good movies, now he’s generally considered a hack.

Starring: Joseph Cross, Dana Delany, Denis Leary, Robert Loggia, Rosie O’Donnell, Julia Stiles and others.

As you can see there’s quite a few well-known actors here. Ok, obviously, Cross and Stiles became more known later, but still it is a solid ensemble for a low-budget family movie. And the performances are quite good. Cross isn’t a terribly annoying (although he is on the verge of being) little kid. When at the beginning he states “People think I ask too many questions,” you already know that he is one of those children. His parents are well portrayed too, but they aren’t in the movie a lot. Rosie O’Donnell is cast as a nun, obsessed with baseball, which suits her, seems a bit forced, but might be my favorite character in the movie.

O’Donnell’s character got me thinking a bit more and realised that this is what christian fundamentalists would imagine is the perfect career choice for a christian lesbian woman. As we all known you can’t be gay and believe in god. For that you will be ass-raped by Jesus Christ himself during his frequent visits to the depths of hell. So what you should do, not to anger God, is say goodbye to all the worldly pleasures and become a monk or a nun. Your only choice is either having sex with your own gender (and burn in hell) or choose absolute abstinence.

It also made me think, why would anyone ever send their child to a parochial school? It seems like the most depressing place ever. It teaches you to be stiff, wear short pants and not question God. It just made me sad. Although, if they can teach these 11-year-olds to write essays like the main kid did at the end, props for them. It’s quite obvious it’s the work of a screenwriter, who hasn’t met kids of this age for a while.

This really feels like a made-for-TV family movie. In a sense that you might turn on the TV in a weekend morning and while waking up watch this. Although, you might see that until the very end it’s actually a depressing movie. It isn’t fun or entertaining. For a family movie I don’t think there’s much that kids would enjoy about it and the parents will wonder why the hell are they watching this overly sappy family movie, that even their kids don’t like.

In one scene the kid just runs past a statue of Jesus, while yelling “Holy Shit” like six times. Can you really do that in a movie and have it rated PG?

The kid’s grandfather is dead and it was unclear to me at times if I was seeing flashbacks with him or the kid was just imagining him.

Other than it being very cheesy at times, you can’t tell this is a Shyamalan movie. That is until the end of course, where he inserts this unnecessary plot twist, which is barely a twist, since if it had been cut, nothing would have changed.

I can’t recommend it to anyone really, because it’s too depressing for young children, too cute for teenagers and too naive for the adults. It’s a mediocre movie and the only reason to see it might be if you’re curious about Shyamalan’s early work.

"Hey man, do you think we're latently gay?" "Shh, just hold my hand..."

One Response to “Review of Wide Awake (1998)”

  1. Majkel Dzordan December 4, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    Nice blog, thanks for sharing 🙂

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