Detention is a 2011 movie starring Josh Hutcherson. Detention is rated R for bloody violence, sexual content, nudity, language, and teen drinking and drug use. Did I mention that this movie stars Josh Hutcherson? Well, it does, and, it’s the best damn movie that kid’s ever been in! Detention, by the way, was directed by Joseph Kahn, and, also stars Shanley Caswell [so adorable!], Alison Woods, Spencer Locke, and Dane Cook(!).
OK, so my daughter would disagree about this being the best movie Josh Hutcherson‘s ever been in. She would say Bridge To Terabithia (2007) or Firehouse Dog (2007) or maybe even Journey 2 (2012). But, since Detention is R-rated [probably Josh’s first!], Gaby has not seen this [although she has seen The Hunger Games (2012) but it’s rated PG-13] to make that definitive decision! At the very least, Detention is the best movie ever with both Josh Hutcherson and Dane Cook in it!
So, what is Detention? Is it a witty, teen comedy? Yes. Is it a gory, slasher film with a sci-fi twist? Yes. Is it a self-referential Scream update for a new generation? Hell, yes it is! This movie is all of that, but, then, throw in The Breakfast Club, Freaky Friday, David Cronenberg‘s The Fly, Knowing (the movie with Nicolas Cage), Edward Scissorhands, The Blob (80’s remake), and Back To the Future! Then, add a whole lot of 90’s nostalgia, a time-travelling bear, a little Patrick Swayze worship [circa Roadhouse], and a boy forced by his father to wear a television set on his hand, and, you’re getting closer to what this movie is. But, this is not a parody, not like Scary Movie. And, just when you think you have this movie figured out, it completely shifts gears, and starts to be about something else, or so it seems.
Basically, this movie, at its core, concerns the students at Grizzly Lake High School who are being killed by someone dressed as the villain from a popular Saw–like movie series called Cinderhella (whose clips are parody). But, that only scratches the surface of what this movie is about before it twists you all over the place (and time itself, even!). Eventually, the main suspects including Clapton (Josh Hutcherson), Ione (Spencer Locke), Riley (Shanley Caswell) and Sander (Aaron David Johnson), are thrown into detention by the Principal Verge (Dane Cook) to figure out who the killer amongst them is.
Seriously, Detention is like nothing you have ever seen before! Or maybe it’s like everything you’ve ever seen before? Whatever! This quirky, quick-witted movie was a pleasant and absolutely, amazingly brilliant surprise! I watched it on demand one Friday night, fell madly in love with it, ordered the DVD, then, watched it, on demand, again Saturday night (it was a 2 day rental)! In fact, much like The Sixth Sense, you have to watch this more than once to piece all the references together.
But, this movie had me sold from the Scream–esque opening sequence in which Taylor (Alison Woods), the uber popular, privileged cheerleader makes the most mundane things seem like life-changing catastrophes as she gets ready for a big day at school! This scene is hysterical! “French toast?” Taylor wonders, finding what her mother has lovingly prepared for breakfast. “Mom, I’m on a no bread diet!” she whines. “Since when?” her mother asks, with maternal concern. “Since now! Ughh! I hate you!! I hope you die!!!” Taylor snaps, and storms off.
Josh Hutcherson not only stars in this brilliant movie, but, he executive produced it, and, now I have the utmost respect for that kid! I’ve always thought Hutcherson was like the Harrison Ford of young actors, which means he plays the same boring character in every damn movie. Even as Peeta in The Hunger Games, he was kind of boring, but, in this movie, as skater dude Clapton Davis, he’s not boring – he’s cool as Hell! Maybe he just needed that R-rating to loosen up a little?
“What does the future hold for Clapton Davis?” Principal Verge asks, with a scornful grin. “Well, I am starting a web site,” Clapton replies. “It’s going to list new releases and review albums from bands that nobody’s heard of except for me …” If you’ve read my blog Rock Chicks Rule!, you know that I am, in fact, Clapton Davis, 30 years later! “Good taste …” Clapton says, a few minutes later, in regards to the fact that only he knows good music, “… is not a democracy.” I LOVE that line!
But, as good as Hutcherson is, Shanley Caswell is even better! She plays Riley Jones, the main protagonist, a suicidal feminist who has a crush on Clapton, who is dating Ione (Spencer Locke). I love this actress! Is it just me, or does Riley Jones kind of look like Dakota Skye [from Dakota Skye (2008) – duh]? Anyway, she plays the best feminist teenager since Katie Strain in the “Terrible Twin Turf Tussle” episode of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil! The twisty story is told mostly through her point of view, and, its “everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” plot works because of her (and Hutcherson). Shanley even offers up a bit of nudity in this movie! Take that, all you tweeny Josh Hutcherson fans! You all so want to watch this because Josh is in it, but, you can’t because its rated R! Ha! Go watch The Hunger Games instead!
Oh, and, the fact that Riley, thinking she’s attending a costume party, dresses as Angela Chase (Claire Daines) from the once great, but short-lived TV series My So-Called Life (1994) is a cool, obscure reference that will probably be lost on everyone but me (because I loved that show)!
The writers (director Joseph Kahn and Mark Palermo) of this movie are my new heroes! I think they made a list of all their favorite movies and then figured out a way to combine all of them into one single movie without it seeming like a whole bunch of different movies all strung together. If that is, in fact, what they tried to do, well, they succeeded! And, on top of that, they peppered in some of the snappiest dialogue, which the director made sure was delivered by the actors at break-neck pacing! Director Kahn previously directed a horrible movie called Torque, and it is so bad, a character even makes fun of it in this movie! When faced with a conundrum, a character says “That makes about as much sense as that movie Torque!” You have to love self-depreciating humor!
Everything about this movie is PERFECT! BRILLIANT! AMAZING! MIND-BOGGLING! INSANE! Forget The Hunger Games franchise, Hutcherson! I mean there’s only one more book after Catching Fire – so, get over yourself, and make more cool movies, like this one!
Yeah, I kind of like this movie. Watch the trailer here:
Believe me, no matter what you think right now – you have no idea what this movie is about!