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Love Me (2012)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/15/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/26/2013
When I was growing up, the teenaged drama was all but unheard of. There had been sincere dramatic films involving teens in the 50s and 60s, but that genre had all but died out (and those films eventually became the fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000.) Sure, there were movies like Firstborn in 1984 which dealt with teens in a dramatic way, but there wasn't much in the way of movies or shows which dealt with teens exclusively. This all changed in 1990 when a little show called Beverly Hills 90210 debuted and set the stage for programming which dealt with the relationships and problems of teens in an overly exaggerated dramatic fashion. This trend has continued to this day, and we are constantly bombarded with movies, television shows and books in which teens struggle with life. Love Me is a film which follows this trend and throws in some thriller elements as well.
As Love Me opens, high school student Melissa Kennedy (Kristina Elliot) disappears. The focus then shifts to Sylvia Potter (Lindsey Shaw), a middle-class girl whose mother has sacrificed to send her to a private school. There, Sylvia enjoys spending time with her friends, Harry (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), Katie (Mikaela Cochrane), Dayln (Kaitlyn Wong), and Brian (Jerritt Boyce). It's implied that Harry and Sylvia once tried dating but it didn't work out, despite the fact that Harry clearly has a thing for her. One day, Lucas Green (Jamie Johnston) gets Sylvia's attention and, despite the fact that she's heard bad things about him, she agrees to go out with him. They hit it off and Sylvia really starts to fall for Lucas. She then learns that he's a suspect in Melissa's disappearance and that he has a violent temper. Has Sylvia become involved with someone who's dangerous?
I'll give this to Love Me, it does try to bring something different to the teen-drama genre. We've seen plenty of movies and shows about young love gone awry (that seems to be all that Nickelodeon shows at night), and most of them focus solely on the melodramatic heartbreaks and how the kids interact. Love Me tries to take this idea one step further by involving the mystery angle. At the outset, the movie reminded me a lot of a more serious version of Scream, with Sylvia being the Sydney Prescott character and Lucas being Billy Loomis. The movie really tried to put out that vibe that these kids were young and hip and into pop culture (specifically comic books in this film) and that they just so happened to be surrounded by a mystery.
However, this Scream-life feeling dissipated and I quickly surmised that I was watching nothing more than a LifeTime movie made for teenagers. This is one of those movies where teens find themselves faced with tough decisions and throw themselves into relationships with wild abandon. You know, the kind of thing which makes me yell "Dude! You're 12!" at the screen. Unlike other entries in this genre, there are some adults present, in the guise of Sylvia's mom and the police investigating the disappearance, but the action focuses almost exclusively on Sylvia and her friends. Thus, we get this love triangle where Sylvia likes Lucas and Harry like Sylvia and Harry dislikes Lucas. The problem is that everyone here is so milquetoast that it's difficult to care about any of it. Everyone here is so stereotypical that most viewers would be hard-pressed to remember a distinguish feature of any of the characters after viewing the film. Sylvia is supposed to be this girl who comes from a different background from her classmates, but they all accept her as she is and she seems no different from them. Is this a new take on a old chestnut, or simply lazy writing?
The movie's biggest flaw is that there's only about 30 minutes worth of story here, but it's been stretched out to 97 minutes. Thus, we get a lot of long and drawn out dialogue scenes and some montages which go nowhere. The movie really shows its stripes when we forget about the police investigation until it suddenly shows up again. Of course, at the end, we learn what really happened to Melissa and it's both convoluted and not very surprising. Let's face it, there's only so many characters in this movie, so someone had to be involved, and as this ain't Fight Club, the "shocking" ending wasn't all that shocking. I suppose the target audience for Love Me would be tweens and teens who watch things like Degrassi, but I can't help but think that they'll find this boring. (And if they've watched many movies, they'll find it unoriginal.) Lindsey Shaw, who looks like a cross between Wendie Malick and Eliza Coupe, has been good in other things, but she needs to avoid projects like this. In the end, I didn't even remotely like Love Me.
Love Me makes it seem incredibly easy to self-publish a comic book on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. This is what we've come to expect from a project shot on HD equipment. The image is solid and maintains the look of film. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is acceptable and the level of detail is good, as the image never goes soft. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.4 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The in-film music sounds fine and fills the speakers. There are some nicely done stereo effect during the school hallway scenes. The surround sound effects are a bit too subtle at times, but they do work during the finale. We get some mild subwoofer effects from the music and during the final confrontation.
The Love Me Blu-ray Disc contains two extra features. "Love Me: Behind the Scenes" (7 minutes) contains a lot of comments from the cast who go about explaining the plot and themes of the film. They also talk about their characters. It's kind of weird to hear the story described over and over again. "Love Me: Stories from the Set" (6 minutes) against has interviews with the cast, but this time, they are intercut with bloopers. The actors talk about the good time they had while making the movie. Lucky.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.