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Terri (2011)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/11/2011

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/24/2011

I've written about this before, but it's an idea which bears repeating: There are "middle of the road" kids in high school. However, if you base your knowledge of American schools solely on movies, you would never think this, as we are only presented with the extreme ends of the spectrum. We either get the "loser" kids who are poor or have severe emotional problem or the elite students who are rich and shallow. I'm not saying that a movie should focus on these "average" students, but couldn't one at least wander through a scene? Is that too much to ask? What movie has gotten me all up in arms? Terri, a bleak movie which is yet another "high school is hell" piece.

Jacob Wysocki stars as the titular role in Terri, an overweight boy who lives with his Uncle James (Creed Bratton). Uncle James suffers from either Alzheimers or dementia (we aren't told), and they are very poor, living in a cluttered old house and eating beans on toast. Terri has reached the point where he simply doesn't care what people think about him, so he's begun to wear pajamas to school. This catches the eye of the principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly), who calls Terri into his office and tells him that he wants to start seeing him on a weekly basis, to just talk. Chad (Bridger Zadina), a boy who apparently has trichotillomania, is another one of the kids who sees Mr. Fitzgerald and he and Terri become awkward friends. Although Terri sits somewhere on the outside of high school society, he's not oblivious to other students and he constantly finds himself watching Heather (Olivia Crocicchia), and when she has trouble, he comes to her aid. Despite not planning it, Terri has built a small circle of friends.

Terri plays like the 1995 movie Angus had it been directed by Larry Clark. In fact, Terri owes a lot to Angus, as both movies are about socially-awkward overweight high-school boys who live with an elderly relative and pine for the pretty girl at school. However, the makers of Angus understood the importance of levity, whereas Co-Writer/Director Azazel Jacobs either forgot or declined to put this into Terri, and the movie suffers for it.

The result is a movie which has no idea how to balance out emotions. The trailer for Terri made it look like a quirky indie comedy. Well, the quirky and indie are there, but trust me, the comedy isn't. Well, there are some scenes which I'm sure that the "hip" indie-theater cruising types found funny, but for the most part, the film is free of any happy emotions. Otherwise, we are treated to scene after scene of Terri being teased by his classmates, Terri having to help Uncle James, or Terri sitting alone. This in not to mention the scenes of animal cruelty and teenage promiscuity.

Is there a silver lining here? If so, I never saw it. The movie seems to want to send a message that outcasts can always rely on each other for company, but even that seems misleading. We never learn anything about Terri's past and the whole subplot with Mr. Fitzgerald goes nowhere. The movie is well-acted and well-shot, but the story goes nowhere. I'm not saying that Terri should have had an unnecessarily happy ending, but at some point during the movie, I should have felt as if the film had a point.

Terri wastes one of my favorites from The Office on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good and they are done in a natural way, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image shows a fairly good level of detail and the depth is about what one would expect from a modern film on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.9 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a fairly quiet movie, but we do get noticeable stereo effects in the classroom and hallway scenes. The in-film music provides nice stereo and surround effects as well and shows good separation.

The Terri Blu-ray Disc contains only two extras. "A Look Inside Terri" (10 minutes) is an interview with Director Azazel Jacobs who describes the origins of the story, the casting, and the film's production. We also hear from star Jacob Wysocki. The piece contains a nice amount of on-set footage, but we are usually seeing this while we listen to someone speak. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 8 minutes. All of these are simply extended versions of scenes which are in the finished film, and the only new thing that we learn is that Chad's family has money.

Review Copyright 2011 by Mike Long