"Remember the Daze" DVD Review
May 29, 2008 by Zach Demeter
Somewhere a studio executive thought it’d be a good idea to spend what money they had and invest it into a teen dramedy. Admirable thought, as they can make quite a bit of bank very easily, but the problem with this idea that this mystery studio head had was to make this not about modern teens, who would see it, but about teens from 1999 and to also overload it with so much objectionable material that it got slapped with an “R” rating, thus denying the core audience from experience the wonders that it held.
Remember the Daze tells the tale of a myriad of high school students on their last day of school and what they do within that first twenty-four hours. Whether they’re looking to party or find out what relationships really matter to them, the wide array of teens and their lives presented here show off an eclectic mix of everyone from the cheerleader to the wannabe superstar. From the first hours of the morning until sun rises again the following day, Remember the Daze shows a side of 1999 suburban teens making "their way through the last day of high school in the last year of the past millennium."
Oh my lord, where do I even start on this one? My mind is swimming with thoughts to spew out about this incredibly horrible film and I’m finding it difficult to find a place to start. From the very beginning Remember the Daze looked to be another pointless film about teens and the drama they deal with, but I didn’t think it’d be this bad. When the DVD arrived and my sister asked what the movie was called, I told her “Remember the Daze,” and jokingly added, “It’s spelled with a Z so they must be all on druggggs!” Apparently I channeled my future self because that was pretty much the entirety of the movie.
The film starts off with a vapid array of teenagers all whining and moaning about the drama in their lives and how this would be their last day of school. We have some who are going to miss high school and others who can’t graduate due to too many failed classes. It’s a huge mixture and not a single one of the twenty some teenagers carried any weight throughout the film and aside from sharing sequences with one another, I honestly didn’t become invested in a single one of the characters. They were on screen for so little time that there was no time to care about a single one of them.
Of course one draining element in the film was the absolutely ridiculous amount of drug use. I’m no prude and I’m well aware that kids do drugs regardless of the advertisements that splatter the TV or what the TV tells them, but these teens are downright addicted to everything. Not a scene would go by without someone saying they couldn’t wait to get “wasted” or “smashed” or “hammered” and it drove me to the point where I wanted to break the DVD in half because it got to be so incredibly stupid. Did these teens even attend high school? All they seem to do is buy truckloads of weed, smoke it and drink beer. I don’t care if it is the end of your high school education, there’s some serious drug usage going on here that just absolutely perplexes me. Weed and beer I can handle, but when two girls start taking psychedelic mushrooms? What the hell. It didn’t help matters that they took them while babysitting some children and the rest of the characters high on weed and drunk on beer while driving all about town. Again, I’m not some overly moral person, but come on. It’s movies like these that end up being the source of trouble in the media (or at least this would be if it had any kind of publicity—I’d never heard of the film until I pulled it out of the mailer envelope). The older audiences the R rating designates will find it stupid and completely worthless to watch while the younger audience that will actually be watching it may be influenced by the rampant drug and alcohol consumption. It’s a complete no-win all around and a complete disaster for me because I had to watch the stupid thing.
But I’m not done yet. No, even in between the completely stupid drug and alcohol aspect of the film (as a side note, I guess they’re all over eighteen since it’s their last year, but considering the rating for the film states that it’s rated R for “pervasive drug and alcohol use, strong language and some sexual content - all involving teens” I’m guessing most are supposed to be under 18) we have characters attempting to actually appeal to our emotions. One family, whom I guess we could call the “core” characters of this film, have two daughters. I guess both graduated, I don’t really know (or care), but one of them is eternally at home and in bed. Why? Is she overly emo and can’t handle school (despite apparently getting A’s on all exams even if she’s never in attendance [how the hell do you manage that anyway?]) or what? We don’t know, she just acts like a complete bitch in every scene we see her in. Her (older?) sister isn’t much better and both ignore their parents completely. In fact I’m pretty sure if any of these were my kids in this film I’d end up decapitating them from the sheer stupidity. If you haven’t been able to tell by now, this movie really just annoyed me to no end and I’m doing my best not to unleash a volley of curses proclaiming it.
I could go on about the completely useless characters who fade in and out of the movie or comment some more on the drug and alcohol usage (95% of everyone in this film are either high or drunk by the end of it). I’ve had my fill of stupid teen movies in the past, but this one attempted to be some kind of emotional look back at their “final day” of school and, along with myself, the majority of the students didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about what was going on. It’s all about the weed and booze and if I wanted to see that I could just watch American Pie again.
There are at least some redeemable qualities in even the worst of comedies. When it comes to bad dramas, however, you’re left with a giant pile of stupid and in Remember the Daze case the pile is monstrously huge. Some may find it has some kind of deeper meaning about the relationships teenagers feel in high school and blah blah blah, but if that’s what this film is about then why does it take place at the end of high school? It’s too late to complain about those feelings now; you’re going to be disbanding from whatever relationships and cliques you were in anyway. There are plenty of films that already did that (and they were actually made in the 90s) so much better than this one could have ever hoped to. Maybe there are some characters here to relate to, but they’re all on screen for so little time that clinging to any one person is ultimately futile.
One thing I will say for the film was that while the premise and characters were absolutely worthless, the actors actually did a fine job. Never once did I find myself saying “Wow these people can’t act”—they all did a great job with what they were given and to the films credit, it never really felt “fake.” I do question what made them want to place this film in the year of 1999, however, as aside from a general lack of cell phones, internet and MySpace references, I don’t really see anything that would have set it apart from a film made about today’s high schools.
Simply put, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about this entire film. No amount of booze or drugs could help this film be any better—in fact, I’m pretty sure watching this film while drunk or high would be a waste of beer and weed. Avoid it unless you can sustain an hour and forty minutes of relentless comments about wanting to get high and drunk without wanting to punch or break something.
Remember the Daze, originally titled “The Beautiful Ordinary” (hey at least the title wasn’t always stupid…it used to be quirky, at least), arrives on DVD in a standard single disc amaray case. Menus are simple and easy to navigate while the interlaced video transfer sports more than a few weaknesses. I don’t know why First Look continues to release their films with interlaced transfers as it’s really quite distracting to watch. Reds are quite compressed on the transfer as well and it’s really quite an unpleasant sight; the 5.1 mix is mostly front focused with rare surround usage. Not that you’ll really care since this movie’s crap anyway (I know I’m really hostile towards this film, I’m just angry I had to spend over an hour and forty minutes to watch it).
The only extra for this film is a behind-the-scenes (11:16) look at the making of it. This is widescreen extra that’s matted in a 4x3 frame and is interlaced all to hell. I think the interlacing has interlacing, because it is absolutely horrendous looking at times. What’s weird is this extra isn’t even advertised as being on here, but…whatever, it doesn’t matter. It looks like home movie footage anyway; not that I mind low budget films as they can be some of the greatest pieces of movie making out there…but there’s just nothing redeemable in this mess. Cast and crew interviews are abound and admittedly the film looked like fun to make...but not enough fun to commit myself to watching it again. Thank goodness there wasn’t a commentary.
A mix of trailers for other films coming from First Look are included, a few of which look rather promising (Meet Bill and War, Inc. in particular; hopefully I don’t lambaste them relentlessly when the time comes to review those releases). Like the film, Avoid this release.
Remember the Daze arrives on DVD on June 3rd.