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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Pulling the Wool Over
Proud Parents' Eyes

Graduation on IMDb

Plot Overview

rooster and chickA narrator tells us, “By your senior year in high school, you either know what you want to do, or you don't. But first comes graduation.” Four friends Polly Ann Deeley (Shannon Lucio,) Carl Jenkins (Chris Marquette,) Chauncey “Badboyà” Boyd (Blake Baxendell) and Tom C. Jackson (Chris Lowell) are shown two weeks prior to graduation lined up making a wish and jumping off a rail­road bridge ahead of a speeding train. They are baby birds setting their courses before jumping off into the world. But first they gotta flex their wings a little. They engage in a senior prank to feel their oats. Unfortunately, the police have them surrounded and they're missing graduation.

cop writing ticketTraditionally the authorities turn a blind eye to minor infractions in these cases, and the whole movie seems geared to this practice. Jackson tosses a microwaved dinner uneaten into the trash and no-one berates him for it. Their teacher Mr. Anderson gets away with drinking spiked tea while he teaches. At the prom some­one surrep­titiously doctors the punch bowl. A Goth senior (Jarid Faubel) at the hard­ware store duplicates a key that says, Do not duplicate. Suzy Winters (Aimee Garcia) lost her anarchy duds—but not her hidden tattoo—after her graduation last year. Chauncey sneaks into his girl­friend Polly's bedroom at night. Jackson's latest male house­holder Mike (Huey Lewis) had his love tattoo crudely crossed out after Tom's mom left them for the carpet sales­man. Polly's father Dean Deeley (Adam Arkin) is having an affair with fair Barbara (Jennifer Massey) down at the bank. Once when a drunken desperado tried to rob Dean's bank at knife point, Dean got him a job at Associated—after the fellow lost the knife. In this movie at least there's no penalty for any of that. How bad does a prank have to be to attract a police presence? It's gotta be heroic.


Graduation DayTheir plan was to complete their prank just in time to get to the graduation ceremony for their alibi. They didn't make it and Polly had to extend her graduation speech to allow them more. But instead of her co-conspirators walking through the door, in comes a policeman for a word with Dean and they both high­tail it out of there. Polly abruptly ends her speech for the “leaders of tomorrow” and runs down to the town square where a curious crowd has gathered. The police have blockaded the bank and a take-charge Det. Hale (Larry John Meyers) is giving what looks like catcher signals to snipers on the roof. In the very center of the square stands a statue of Commodore Decatur with his antiquated long rifle held aloft looking to all the world like a conductor orchestrating the melee. The Commodore was a war hero famous for breaking the law to serve the greater good.

If we're looking for biblical guidance, we might turn to, (Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” The four friends could not bear to see their favorite neighbor­hood mom Mrs. J. suffer from cancer, so they determined to raise money for her operation. Rather than interrupt their lives with “summer jobs, over­time, [and] clean[ing] yards,” they cast about for a way to make more money quicker. One would do well not to locate his bank in the shadow of the Commodore. Polly was supposed to deliberately bomb her Biology exam (“neither make thyself over wise”) so she wouldn't make vale­dic­torian and have to give the time-critical graduation speech. Having failed at that, she extended her speech to buy the others time.

laying tilesThe obverse of that maxim is, (Eccl. 7:17) “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” They might have their lives cut short if they got into a shootout with the cops. And it would be foolish to let their wounded bleed out rather than get him medical aid.

Production Values

” (2007) was directed by Michael Mayer. Its story was written by Michael Mayer, and the screen­play was by D. Cory Turner. Production Designer Bruton Jones—who is black—sketched the statue and posed for it. The movie stars Shannon Lucio, Adam Arkin and Chris Marquette. The many young actors performed admirably. Lucio held it together as a key figure. Aimee Garcia juggled her several roles playing business woman, prom date, and hostage with­out missing a beat. The director went for naturalness, not caricature in the teen students, to which end he used local student volunteers for the kids in the halls. Speaking as one who attended high school in the environs of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania where this film was shot, it seemed to me like a page out of memory. They played the bored graduating audience to a tee. sleeping womanSpecial tribute should go to the coaching of the sleeping students who looked like they were really out of it. Huey Lewis appeared in cameo and bearded.

This film is not rated but contains swearing, drinking, some tattoos, bare-chested males, and girls in their undies. It deals with a wasting disease. It is perfectly paced, easy to follow, and difficult to anticipate. It had excellent camera work. American flags were displayed on a porch, on the stage, and in a hardware store.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

“Graduation” really tickled my funny bone. It was also an engaging drama and a serviceable crime caper. There are more elaborate heist flicks one can see, but some­times less is more. I highly recommend this one.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.