Monday, November 12, 2007

Not Like Everyone Else - TV movie

This interesting sounding film highlights some of the problems faced by high school people bullying others,

Not Like Everyone Else
Randee Dawn

9 p.m. Monday, July 10 Lifetime There's a lot going on in Lifetime's new original movie, "Not Like Everyone Else," about the real-life struggle of Brandi Blackbear (Alia Shawkat), an Oklahoma teen expelled from school in 1999 for practicing witchcraft, who enlisted the ACLU to bring suit. In part it is a nightmare about teachers policing students; in part it is about civil rights; in part it is about "Mean Girls"/"Heathers" bullying outsiders/freethinkers; and in part it is a father-daughter reconciliation. But since it's a Lifetime movie, it really has to be about a woman standing up for her rights -- possibly the least relevant angle of this busy yet inert film. Executive produced by Lifetime regulars Michael Jaffe and Howard Braunstein, "Everyone Else" has moments. Brandi's mom (the delightful, earthy Illeana Douglas) accepts her Gothic, budding horror-writer daughter, and judicious use of handheld cameras lend scenes a documentary freshness. But "Everyone Else" fails to find its focus, and flat acting and tin-eared dialogue turn those scenes into an extended "Unsolved Mysteries" re-enactment. Blackbear's story -- which exposed the draconian measures visited on teens post-Columbine -- has a larger message to impart about jumping to conclusions in the skittish wake of tragedy. But next time, filmmakers should let Brandi write this particular horror story herself.

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