Finding Meaning in the Mundane: the Ultimate Senior Video Project
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 23m
Director(s): Ethan Eng
Writer(s): Ethan Eng (co-writer,) Justin Morrice (co-writer)
Cast(s): Justin Morrice, Ethan Eng, Kevin Tseng, Kyle Peacock, Mitchell Cidade, Sebastian Neme, Andrew Michalko, Thomas Palewicz, Jayden Frost
Where To Watch: In select theaters starting March 10, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: THERAPY DOGS isn't your typical high school flick. It's a coming-of-age film that takes a refreshing look at the final chapter of teenage life and the beginning of adulthood. Follow Ethan and Justin, two best friends who question whether there's more to their existence than just growing up.
You would be forgiven when watching the film if you thought this was a documentary. Everything about the film screams documentary (outside of one shot.) The film is a mix of JACKASS and every documentary about high schoolers I’ve ever seen, starting with HIGH SCHOOL (1968.) That’s some of the highest praise I can think of for the film. Twenty minutes in, I had no clue what I was watching; moments later, I was hooked and never looked back.
So I had been out of high school for over a decade when Ethan and Justin began developing THERAPY DOGS in 2017. They were just 16, and along with guidance from Matthew Miller and Matt Johnson, they were taught guerrilla filmmaking techniques to bring their vision to life. The film explores Ethan and Justin's experiences and looks into the lives of other students around them at the school.
THERAPY DOGS is unconventional filmmaking. The film uses mixed media techniques like archive footage and illustrations to provide a unique perspective on teenage life. THERAPY DOGS unites like-minded artists, filmmakers, and musicians who share a common vision of reimagining the teenage canon.
One of the film's strengths is its ability to capture the anxiety and feeling of impending adulthood that comes with the realization that the people you see every day for half a decade will soon vanish into the ether. The film subverts the traditional high school narrative by exploring each character's emotional and raw stories, leaving viewers with thought-provoking questions and placing them back into the teenage mindset. This was such an interesting approach; as I mentioned, it's been some time since I walked the halls of my high school, but the rawness of this film sent me right back to those days instantly.
In conclusion, THERAPY DOGS is a fantastic film that challenges conventions, providing a raw and unfiltered portrayal of teenage life that is relatable and thought-provoking. It's a must-watch for anyone struggling with growing up, even those who've already completed high school. THERAPY DOGS isn't just another high school movie; it's an extraordinary work of art.
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[photo courtesy of UTOPIA]