Friday, May 25, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 27 - SMALL WONDERS (1996)

- RATED G but the word "pissed" is used.
- Directed by Allan Miller
- Running time: 1hr 17min.

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)

This Documentary was the basis for the Wes Craven film, MUSIC OF THE HEART (1999) starring Meryl Streep (who got a nomination for it).  It follows Roberta Guaspari, a violin instructor who specializes in teaching young inner city kids in New York the violin.  The movie shows kids from the ages of 5 to 17 learning how to play.  There are interviews with the kids and Roberta as well as footage of her teaching the kids.

I won't deny that this subject is important.  I think it's essential to teach kids productive and artistic things.  Roberta comes across as stern and caring, but a bit egotistical if I'm being honest.  Some of the little kids almost look as they were forced to play the violin by their parents.  But most seem to enjoy it.  This is also a bit of an important subject to me because I had private violin lessons from ages 5 to 15 (but then traded my fiddle in for a Bass Guitar cause it was 1992 and that was the thing to do back then I guess).  I even was humming along to some of the tunes that I used to play.

Unfortunately, the Documentary is not put together very well.  The cameraman never seems to know where the focus is, and the editing couldn't be more amateurish.  The transitions are piss poor, often fading out right in the middle of when someone talking.  I guess what they were saying wasn't important, huh?  Dumb.

The movie builds up to a big charity concert at the end with the kids playing with some of the most established fiddle players, but the movie is put together in such a sloppy fashion that it wouldn't even be acceptable for a PBS special.  I'm shocked that this was nominated for best Documentary by the Academy, and HOOP DREAMS was not.  Weird!

** (out of ****)

No comments:

Post a Comment