Seems like it is a comic book kind of day. Watched Kick-Ass earlier, then decided to watch some episodes of The Flash as I finished writing the review. Then after doing some laundry and dishes, I played through some of the Lego Batman 3 DLC that I have not played yet before writing the review for this movie. This is one of those movies that I had heard about but never saw in theaters and even when it was available to rent, I never got around to renting it. Then when all of the various Blockbusters were closing, I decided to go ahead and buy Art School Confidential so I could finally see it.
The plot: All his life, Jerome has wanted to be an artist so he decides to enroll at an urban college called Strathmore. When he gets to his dorm, he finds himself rooming with Mathew, a fashion major, and Vince, a film major who wants to shoot a movie about the Strathmore Strangler, a killer who has been terrorizing the campus area. During his art class, he meets Bardo, who tries to help him figure out the college scene, but also meet a girl. However, though he goes on several dates, Jerome has his heart set on Audrey, an art model who was in the brochure for the school. One night, Bardo takes Jerome to meet Jimmy, a failed artist who is now a rather belligerent drunk who tells Jerome that the only way to succeed in the art world is if he learns to “suck cock and lick assholes.” During a class one day where they evaluate each other’s paintings, Jerome gets frustrated and winds up mocking one of the student’s paintings, causing most of the class to think he is a jerk, but one guy, Jonah, tells Jerome he agrees with him. While at a classmates gallery, Jerome finally gets to meet Audrey and they end up hanging out the rest of the night. As the weeks go by, Jerome finds himself becoming more disillusioned with his art class and finds himself in a competition with Jonah, not just in the class, but also over Audrey. Feeling lost on what to do, regarding his art, Jerome talks to his professor’s advise, who tells Jerome to experiment more with his style. Jerome takes his advise and feels good when he sees that he received an A for his art but when he notices everyone else got an A, he feels even more disillusioned. As he reads his professor’s critic, he is joined by Audrey and Jonah and as Jonah brags about getting an A, Jerome lets him know that everyone received an A. When Audrey mentions a showing for a successful school alumni that she is attending, Jerome manages to get a job as a bartender for the event, but he is heartbroken when he sees that Audrey brought Jonah as her escort for the event. Feeling depressed, Jerome pays a visit to Jimmy, and Jimmy winds up showing Jerome his paintings, which happen to be paintings of the Strathmore Strangler’s victims and then gives Jerome one of his paintings as a gift before he leaves. Jerome heads back to the campus art gallery and posts the picture Jimmy gave him on his wall before he breaks down and kisses the picture he drew of Audrey. Meanwhile, Audrey finds another painting that Jerome did of her and realizes that she might have feelings for him. After talking with Bardo in a local bar, Jerome returns to the gallery, only to find Jonah there taking pictures of the painting that Jimmy had given him. When another student tells Jerome that Jonah was interested in the painting, Jerome attempts to recreate Jimmy’s painting, but when he fails at that, he goes back to Jimmy’s and asks for the rest of the paintings. Jimmy agrees and Jerome grabs the other paintings, but accidentally lets his lit cigarette fall onto Jimmy’s floor. Meanwhile, Jonah is working on a painting at his house when his wife starts questioning him before telling him some people are here to see him. Jonah heads upstairs, where it is shown that Jonah is actually an undercover cop and he suspects Jerome of being the Strathmore Strangler, but the chief of police wants more proof before they proceed any further. The next day, Jerome posts his picture up for a competition but when Jonah wins it, he admits defeat to Jonah. When Jerome leaves, he heads to Jimmy’s apartment, only to find that the building had burned down, killing everyone. Meanwhile, Jonah is walking with Audrey to a meeting when he sees someone appear to be shot and he attacks the shooter, only to realize that it was merely some students shooting a movie. Just then, Jonah’s supervisor appears and Audrey realizes that Jonah had lied to her about who he was. As the police begin searching for Jerome, Jerome heads to the roof of a building and prepares to jump when he is tackled by the police and arrested as the Strathmore Strangler. Becoming an infamous celebrity, Jonah now finds himself wanted by the art world, and his manager decides it is best for Jerome to stay in prison followed by a lengthy trial, in order to keep his name in the spotlight. After speaking with his manager and lawyer, Jerome is visited by Audrey and the two share a kiss through the glass.
Art School Confidential was viewed negatively by the critics, earning only a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The director, Terry Zwigoff, said that “Everybody hated that film. I didn’t think it was so bad. At least compared to all that other shit out there, anyway.” Aside from the critics, the audiences also didn’t care for the film as it only made over $3 million off of a $5 million budget.
You know, I honestly don’t remember what I was expecting when I first watched this movie but it wasn’t what I watched. Regardless, I didn’t think this was that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, primarily between Max Minghella and Sophia Myles. I think Max did a good job in showing Jerome’s becoming further disillusioned by how the art world really is rather than what he expected it to be. The writing was decent and the story moved along pretty well. There wasn’t much in the way of action or suspense, merely the typical drama you would expect to see concerning a college freshman. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a decent film worth giving a shot.
Rating: 3 out of 5