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America Brown [2004] [DVD]

Waris Ahluwalia , Karen Black , Paul Black    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £2.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Waris Ahluwalia, Karen Black, Élodie Bouchez, Leo Burmester, Frankie Faison
  • Directors: Paul Black
  • Producers: Paul Black, Andrew Fierberg, Christina Weiss Lurie
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Carnaby Films
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Mar 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000JU9L2E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,983 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Coming of age story features country boy moving to the big city to escape a painful past. Ex hometown football champ Ricky Brown (Ryan Kwanten) has just lost his brother in a tragic accident. The town's expectations of him coupled with his inability to handle the grief and rage involved drive him to pull up stakes and move to the Big Apple. There he seeks counsel with an old hero from his childhood back home, also a handy gridiron star in his day, who is now a priest in Brooklyn. Ricky meets Vera (Natasha Lyonne) a bolshy waitress whose straightforwardness takes him aback and captivates him at the same time. He returns home a changed man, to confront the issues that forced him away, but is he changed enough.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a tiny masterpiece well worth finding 24 Feb 2011
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
A real gem, this much overlooked indie film sporting a killer script with echoes of Midnight Cowboy, some knock out performances especially from the young cast and an easy pace with unsettling flashback narrative inserts that make for a 5 star viewing experience.

As an added bonus the dvd also includes Paul Black's (director) short film Please featuring a young Gerrard Butler before Hollywood got to his teeth
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An obscure gem of an independent movie 3 April 2006
By Library CD Borrower - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I thought I'd write a little blurb about an independent movie I've seen that got little publicity, shown practically nowhere, and has been seen by practically no one. The script is great, though there is very little humor and filled with many awkward silences so it's a bit hard-hitting. But that's understandable knowing the situation the main character is in. The waitress who plays Vera is the same girl who played the "band camp girl" in American Pie movies. She's adorable here as Ricky's first love, and frankly, not quite as flat-chested as she was in those movies - she's grown up some. There isn't really a resolution to Ricky's return except that he faces his fears and goes on with his life. The rest is left up to the imagination. A provocative, well-executed movie worth seeing, a movie better than most major-studio pictures I've seen lately.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fish out of Water, Learning to Swim 14 Nov 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
AMERICA BROWN is one of those little Indie films that creeps up on you and despite the technical flaws and obvious low budget milieu makes a solid impact as a bit a Americana worth visiting.

America Brown aka Ricky Brown (Ryan Kwanten) is a highschool senior who happens to be a football star in his tiny West Texas town where Bo (Leo Burmester) and Coach (Frankie Faison) have pinned there efforts to break into the big time in football if Ricky fulfills his expectations. Ricky lives with his beautician mother (Karen Black) whose strident husband is dead and whose oldest son Daniel (Michael Rapaport) recently died from a heart attack. Ricky needs to breathe and escapes to Brooklyn where he traces down his personal hero, former football Texas star John Cross (Hill Harper) who has become a Catholic priest but has secrets of his own. John takes in Ricky, and Ricky begins to discover the world outside of Texas, loses his virginity to a diner waitress Vera (Natasha Lyonne) and befriends Rosie (Élodie Bouchez), whose attachment to John Cross seems to have some undercurrents. Ricky is all innocence and beautiful youth as he walks the streets of New York in his jeans, cowboy clothes and Stetson - reminiscent of Midnight Cowboy. But as his mind is exposed to the world outside Texas and football he comes to grips with a recurring unbearable nightmare: he feels responsible for his brother Daniel's death. Ricky ultimately returns to his hometown, to his loving mother, and to football, faces his demons, and learns the meaning of becoming a man.

Young Australian actor Ryan Kwanten, complete with authentic Texan twang, creates a character impossible not to love. His mixture of optimism, naiveté, and inner torture is a fine portrayal of a gifted sportsman challenging what his world expects of him. The remainder of the cast is likewise very fine. London born, Canadian writer/director Paul Black gifts us with his first feature film here and he seems to have all of the makings of a truly fine artist. Watch for his future work! Recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
1.0 out of 5 stars Every which way but together. 6 May 2013
By Pegasuslover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this movie in the gay/lesbian section on Amazon ... it had only one "somewhat" suggestion that anyone in this film was "thinking about" being gay. The screen play for this movie was so oddball and disjointed that it made the story uncomfortable to watch. And that was too bad, because the main actor did a good job expressing his confusion (at least with the script he was given) about where his life was headed. Yet another "lost opportunity" for a film to show the many facets to arrival at one's self worth. I can not recommend this movie to anyone ... I will be junking my copy.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete--Spoiler Alert! 24 Jan 2007
By William B. Whalen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is one of the most imcomplete films I've ever seen. If "Ricky Brown" weren't such a likable and attractive character, I believe this film would have been unbearable. The character of the ex football player turned priest was just weird. His silence throughout the first half of the film was either bad direction or a case of over-emoting. I really wanted to like this film, as the preview on In Demand made it seem good. Actually, the preview on In Demand made it seem like a very different movie. All the characters have secrets that are never revealed, so it makes it kind of annoying trying to guess what motivates them, if anything motivates them. Apparently, Ricky Brown is gay and has decided to quit football and work in his mothers beauty shop because that's what all gay men do. But in the end you see him practicing for football. Also when Ricky, who we have discovered is gay, leaves New York, he kisses Vera goodbye as though he's in love with her. It really makes no sense. I think this film has a good premise and some decent performances, but it ultimately goes nowhere. Again, I went into it really expecting to like it, but it just didn't make the grade.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing film with poorly drawn characters 9 Oct 2008
By Jonathan Appleseed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This review contains spoilers.

Without a rather moving and effective scene at the 1:03 mark of the film, this might have been a complete loss.

There were so many things that didn't make sense, and in the end the moral of the story, frankly, really ticked me off. "Just go and play football, son, use the gifts that God has given you, or I will throw you behind bars."

We're given hints that Ricky, played in sporadic bursts of hokey and endearing by Ryan Kwatsen, might be gay. At a young age he was in his mother's hair salon with his mother and her employees, and his older brother - a cliché of clichés of ignorance - stormed in and told him to stop what he was doing. The problem was, Ricky was just sitting in a chair surrounded by women. We don't know what he was doing. But his brother called him a sissy, and we assume this scarred him.

Yet when Ricky gets to New York he finds himself taken by the first woman he bumps into - literally. And she is no prize (all apologies to the actress). What he sees in her was invisible to me. She was crass and unattractive, and it's difficult to believe that Ricky, a very handsome and charming young man, would fall for her. I think the people casting the film made a mistake. The two, together, were as mismatched as any couple I've seen on the screen, and more mismatched than almost any couple I've seen in real life.

We learn, later, about the possibility of his homosexuality, so his reaction when he first meets Vera puzzles us more. He's instantly delighted, and follows her - stalks her, really - for many, many, many blocks. It's a bit creepy.

I said there were things that didn't make sense. The film twisted them around before tying them together. I'm just going to tie them together. Here's what happened.

Ricky wanted to quit football. We don't really know why, though he did say that he wanted to "work with Mama". Ostensibly in her hair salon. Which ostensibly signals to us that he's gay. What else would that tell us? Sure, there are straight male hair dressers. A former partner was a gay hair dresser, and through him I met a few straight male hair dressers. That's not the point. The point is that the stereotype exists, so to introduce Ricky wanting to be a hair dresser (surely he didn't want to sweep floors or shampoo hair), especially when juxtaposed against him being one of the best high school quarterbacks to ever come out of Texas, can really mean only one thing.

So, Ricky wants to quit football and work with Mama. His brother doesn't like this. They get into a fight in front of their home and Ricky wins. But his brother drops dead. His brother died of a heart attack. Not because of anything Ricky did, he died, as their mother tells us, because his heart was broken by football. Huh?

Ricky flees to New York. Why? To connect with a priest who used to play football for his high school, and who used to be great. Why does he do this? I have no idea. They didn't have any conversations worthy of mention. In fact, the priest himself had very few conversations worthy of mention. We do discover that he's fathered an illegitimate child - wait. What? A plot twist? No. Plot twists come out of the organic nature of the story. This came out of nowhere.

Ricky messes around with the girl he's met, though we don't know how far it's gone. Then he goes back home. Why? I don't know. He had a crying fit at the 1:03 mark, and he hugged the priest. Apparently that was cathartic. He went back home and played football. He told his mama that he'd met a girl, and his mama cried.

What? Are we now to assume that the message of this film is that proper men, and especially proper men who play football can't be gay?

I'm confused.

And that about sums it up.
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