Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pretentious Film Awards 2009--Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Pretentious Film Awards! Like last year, the first category to be announced is Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. And the reliable women are:

Jennifer Coolidge in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Years of reliable yet undemanding supporting work may still have made this turn surprising for some people who don't realize how tonally perfect and welcome she is here.

Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
For imbuing what could read as a stock character with a predictable plot "twist" (Oh my God, she's married?!) with intelligence, sexiness and zeal. I called this wrong. I NEVER thought the Academy would go for something this finely hewned and understated. And they (probably...knock on wood) will.

Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
For imbuing an unnecessarily and unrealistically obnoxiously written character with humanity, layers and heart. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Mo'Nique - Precious
The film sidesteps one of Mary's greatest transgressions in Sapphire's novel, possibly glossing it over because the audience may not be able to handle it. Therein lay a great challenge for any actor. Horrifyingly portray an unspeakable act that takes place off screen. And yet, for all of Mary's frighteningly loud hostility (handled with aplomb), Mo'Nique provides unprecedented chills with a hauntingly pitch-perfect reading of "Come take care of mommy, Precious."

Samantha Morton - The Messenger
For wisely resisting the urge to overplay the sadness and resignation. Her scene in the mall is memorable and miraculously never dips into realms of preachiness. She deftly handles a role that could have read as ill-fitting as her character's clothing.

Diane Kruger and Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds. Both are sensational and handle Quentin Tarantino's dialogue with skill and finesse. But how to choose between naughty fun treason and quiet meticulous vengeance, respectively? Marion Cotillard is fabulous in Nine, both comparatively and in her own right.

Kate del Castillo can't really keep up with Tilda Swinton in Julia, but she puts forth a valiant and respectable effort. Rosamund Pike is a welcome breath of fresh air in An Education, even if it happens to be all surface.

What's to Come

Hello all. I will begin posting my year end film awards today. As a result, my "Best of the Aughts" series will have to take a backseat.

I will also be posting brief thoughts on the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, though I have decided not to cover Oscar precursors nearly as heavily as I did last year. Anyway, coming soon are the 2nd Annual Pretentious Film Award Nominees for Best Supporting Actress.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Recent Reviews--Reader Beware (Extremely Stream of Conscious) Part 3

Here we go. Last batch.

(500) Days of Summer
Almost an inverse reaction to District 9 in that I had a lot more reservations about this film on my initial viewing. I think I said something to the effect of "I don't want to see any more romcoms about white twenty-somethings that rely on their soundtrack as a plot device." That may still be a valid point, but upon subsequent returns, (500) Days of Summer actually continues to rise in my estimation, specifically its screenplay and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's wonderful lead performance. Zooey Deschanel, who I've heard referred to as "just okay" by even ardent fans of the film is quite good here in her role that's a delightful male fantasy. Certainly better than she's receiving credit for. Like Precious, it contains little experiments here and there that are hit or miss, but they add to the film's overall charm. I can't wait to see how Oscar treats it.
Grade: B

The Hurt Locker
Nothing would please me more than to see Kathryn Bigelow ride her legion of critics awards all the way to a best directing Oscar. It would be so satisfying, not only because she'd be the first woman to win but also because she so richly deserves it. The Hurt Locker remains one of my most vivid movie-watching experiences of 2009. After two viewings months apart, it still won't let go. The images, the sounds, the acting...it all just lingers with you for so long after you've left the theater. This is one of the best pictures of the year and of the decade.
Grade: A

Funny People
I enjoyed Judd Apatow's first two outings immensely, despite their flaws. Both 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up are funny and entertaining, while being too long, too unfocused and a tad too self-consciously heteronormative. The problem with Funny People is that it has all of the flaws of his earlier work and none of the virtues. I'll admit that I like my films to be on the shorter end (90 to 120 minutes unless they need to be longer). This film has NO business being only twenty minutes shorter than The English Patient. It's so unpleasantly and unevenly misanthropic, with Adam Sandler bearing the bulk of the blame. I get that he and Apatow are friends, but...Sandler is not nearly self-aware or endearing enough as an actor to be in on the joke that is himself. Sorry. The only reason why this film isn't an "F" is because it introduced the world to Raaaaaaaandy.
Grade: D

Whatever Works
So, okay. It's not as good as Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It's a little grating. Patricia Clarkson and Evan Rachel Wood are playing caricatures. But God help me, I didn't think this film was nearly as bad as everyone said it was. It's deeply flawed, even when you compare it to Woody Allen's recent uneven body of work. But I found it pretty damn entertaining. In a lot of ways, it almost felt like an extended episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and not just because of the presence of Larry David. It's not great. But the naysayers really went for the throat on this one and I don't understand all the rage.
Grade: B-

I would say that it's not as funny as Borat, but I'm not even sure that's the problem. Have you rewatched Borat? It doesn't really hold up. What made Borat funny was the fact that, with the exception of the fans of "The Ali G Show," most people were unfamiliar with Sacha Baron Cohen and his antics. It felt fresh and irreverent, where Bruno three years later feels boring and predictable in its attempts to offend. I knew every moment when I was supposed to laugh, but the film (with the exception of one sequence) never quite got me there. It would have probably been smarter to make this film a little sooner. The dust had settled on Borat long before this hit theaters.
Grade: D

An ambitious, meditative sci-fi film that really touches emotionally. Reminiscent of Silent Running, this film falls just short of being the masterpiece that many rabid fans declared it to be. It does boast an impressive, award-worthy turn from Sam Rockwell and left very few dry eyes in the theater by the time the credits were rolling. Oh, and can Kevin Spacey stick to voice acting from here on out? He's never been better.
Grade: B

I get that this documentary sparked a little bit of a celebration in the gay community. I understand that there's something satisfying about the outing of closeted conservative politicians who implement and support hateful, discriminatory legislation by day and suck dick by night. I read all of that. But I found this documentary to be an incredibly facile, reductive exercise in schadenfreude that left a very bad taste in my mouth. I'm against the idea of "outing" people on principle, even in this case and the fact that the film seems so fixated with hurting these men rather than bringing about any real change makes me unable to fully get behind it. It's very similar to how I feel about those who celebrated when Larry Craig got arrested. It's ironic, certainly. But Larry Craig's arrest is hardly a shot-in-the-arm for the gay rights movement.
Grade: C

The Girlfriend Experience
Steven Soderbergh is often more interesting when he's being experimental, with Erin Brockovich being the notable exception. I haven't seen The Informant! so I can't make that assessment this time around, but I found this to be a fascinating outing and one that generated one of the most heated post-movie discussions I've ever been involved in. Adult film star Sasha Grey proves to be little more than a cipher through which Soderbergh is expressing his ideas, but she still manages to eke out a respectable performance.
Grade: B

State of Play
I'm curious to see if the British miniseries is as interminably boring and forgettable as this. It's not a bad film, but I literally forgot that I saw it like a week later. Hasn't Russell Crowe been gaining weight for a role for the past fifteen years or something? Dude, wear it well and own it.
Grade: B-

I saw this in Atlanta on MLK weekend. The most fun I've ever had at the movies where the fun was not derived from the actual movie. Naturi Naughton's performance as Li'l Kim is, believe it or not, worth a revisit to this film. I kind of think she nails it. Too bad about the rest of the film, though.
Grade: C-

Recent Reviews--Reader Beware (Extremely Stream of Conscious) Part 2

Here we go again. I've recovered from thinking about Invictus.

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Um...what do I even say about this? It's certainly never boring. Nicholas Cage is more watchable than he's been in years. Jennifer Coolidge turns in a specifically plucky and in-your-face supporting turn that, were it any other actress performing in any other film, would surely garner some awards attention. This is a film that commences, already in realms of Bjork eccentricity and crescendoes gradually into full-tilt Brian Wilson insanity. For that, I've got to respect it and I kind of expect no less than Werner Herzog, who I had the pleasure of hearing speak in person after a screening of this film.
Grade: B-

The Road
Gorgeously shot, necessarily slow paced and well-acted. This is a film that was made with such a full understanding of its almost unfilmable source material. I believe that this is the best film that could have been made based on Cormac McCarthy's staggering and beautiful novel. If it can't be my beloved Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) who grabs that fifth best actor slot that seems to be up for grabs, then I'm totally pulling for Viggo Mortensen who is wonderful here. Kodi Smit-McPhee also impresses, sidestepping the usual cliches of child acting. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's dark, foreboding score brought tears to my eyes. Is this a perfect film? No. Far from it. I could have done without the beefing up of Charlize Theron's part, not because I have anything against her, nor because it's so untrue to the novel, but because it's so unnecessary. It is, however, a solid film. Certainly more worthy of the zero conversation its generating.
Grade: B+

While not terrible, it stinks to high heaven of unrealized potential, even if you don't hold it up against the beautiful Danish original. It's on Netflix watch instantly. Check it out. I'm not a Tobey Maguire fan. At all. I find him to be incredibly blank and corpse-like as an actor. That being said, I'm fully willing to admit that my bias against him may be clouding my judgment, but I did not understand one note of his performance here. He's so shrill on one end and vacant on the other, beyond the requirements of the role in both cases. Natalie Portman is already behind an 8 ball, miscast as a small town, all-American former cheerleader/ war widow. I'll give her that. But she brings few notes to the table. Jake Gyllenhaal tries his best, but ultimately suffers from lack of a good script/good screen partners to play off of. Props to young Bailee Madison, who plays Portman and Maguire's oldest daughter with shocking aplomb and believability. But she's not enough to save the film.
Grade: C+

Up in the Air
I've already spoken about this film briefly. It's very well-made. Polished seems to be the word that comes to mind. It's also superbly acted. This is one of the few cases in recent memory where I'm legitimately behind the Oscar buzz for every performer. Especially the women. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are fantastic. But the best of the year talk...I'm just not there. Sorry. I enjoyed it, certainly. But it's not a game-changer by any stretch of the imagination. Outside of the aforementioned performances, I seldom think about any specific aspects of Up in the Air less than two months later. The way it sidesteps addressing job loss and the recession in any sort of meaningful way is a bit of a headscratcher, as is its need to spend some twenty minutes at the wedding of two characters who we don't know or care anything about. That being said, it's a good, if over-praised film. Not nearly as great as its lovers would have you believe. Not nearly as bad as its haters would have you believe. A very pleasant movie-going experience. I certainly smiled.
Grade: B

Paranormal Activity
Grade: D

Julie & Julia
What a complete trifle of a film, even when you take into account Streep's enjoyable and overly praised performance. I cannot even remember the last time I violently disliked such a seemingly innocuous film. The Julia Child portion of the film is fine (and that's being generous). Streep is good (as usual) and she has some seriously heartwarming chemistry with Stanley Tucci. If Tucci's getting Oscar buzz, fine but why couldn't it have been for this instead of The Lovely Bones? The Julie Powell portion of the film is absolutely atrocious in a way that every review that says so can't possibly prepare you for. Seriously, Nora Ephron...you curse my beloved Amy Adams with a character and direction as needlessly hostile as her haircut, force me to watch her be mean to Chris Messina for two hours and then expect me NOT to react with vitriol? Nope. Not going to happen.
Grade: C

Tilda Swinton is absolutely fearless. Only she could take a completely, almost cartoonishly unlikeable character who makes obvious mistake after obvious mistake and make it layered, interesting and modulated. There are so many notes in her performance as the title character that it's practically a symphony. The film is exciting too, if a bit overlong. I leaned forward, I held my breath and I gasped more times than I can remember. Tilda Swinton is exactly the type of actress that we need more of. Someone who doesn't take a project unless she sees that there is something interesting, peculiar and spectacular to do. I said it before and I'll say it again. Tilda Swinton is absolutely, 100% fearless and the fact that she already has an Oscar makes me think the AMPAS voters must have been whacked out on cough-medicine that year or something. Actresses as specifically and startlingly talented as her often go without big laurels. I pray she continues to make movies like this until she's 95.
Grade: B

Capitalism: A Love Story
Michael Moore doesn't make documentaries. Let's drop that pretense now. He makes film editorials. But his films are (usually) so well-made and entertaining that one can often forgive the shaky facts and misleading interviews. Capitalism: A Love Story is (mostly) no exception. It ranks somewhere in the middle of his films. Better than the middling Sicko and the almost abysmal Fahrenheit 9/11, but not quite as good as the wonderful Roger n' Me and the iconic Bowling for Columbine.
Grade: B

District 9

I certainly enjoyed this more when I first saw it, but it has experienced somewhat of a fast fade in my memory. Its allusions to apartheid feel more heavy-handed and obvious in retrospect, but its scenes of well choreographed action still remain a vivid and positive memory. There was certainly no other film like it in 2009 and I'm excited to see what Neil Blomkamp comes up with next.


Part 3 is coming up soon...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recent Reviews--Reader Beware (Extremely Stream of Conscious) Part 1

We shall return to our "Best of the Aughts" series later this week. It's been ages since I've written a full-length review. Over the holiday, I got insanely caught up on my 2009 releases, so much so that I only have about 3 films left to watch. I thought I'd write one big beautiful post summarizing my feelings about films I've recently watched in an informal fashion. The Academy is nominating 10 films for best picture this year--screw structure.

A Single Man
So replete with good moments and good ideas that one can almost forgive the fact that many of those moments don't connect and many of those ideas aren't fully or richly explored. I was so incredibly moved by Colin Firth's speech about minorities that I almost don't care that I wasn't moved at all by the loss of his lover. Julianne Moore is plucky and fun, though Oscar buzz is a bit of a stretch. I was unbelievably horrified by Nicholas Hoult's performance, then doubly horrified to discover that he's the kid from About a Boy (God, I'm getting old). Yes, it's beautiful but also terribly shallow and unrealized at parts, but I'm being generous because I have a hunch that it's surface-y nature is intended.
Grade: B- (very low B- inching backwards towards a C)

Where the Wild Things Are
Yes, it takes a while to get started and yes it's a little dark for the same youthful audience it desperately needed to attract in order to recoup its budget, but what a wholly engrossing, enriching and beautiful moviegoing experience it was. All of the little flourishes--Karen O's score, Spike Jonze's direction and Max Records pitch-perfectly petulant performance make for an imperfect but resonant piece of cinema that will be talked about for years to come.
Grade: B+

Sin Nombre
Beautifully acted, well-paced and heartwarming, in all the ways that Slumdog Millionaire tried and failed to be (whilst offending many in the process in its failure). It wisely never fetishizes its exotic locale, nor does it try to over explain or provide context into said locale, knowing that doing either would serve to suppress the realness achieved here. And yes, this film was written and directed by a Japanese American. Danny Boyle, take note.
Grade: B+

The Lovely Bones
Not the complete travesty that some are saying, but make no mistake--it's still pretty damn bad. Peter Jackson's direction, while never ambivalent, ranges from heavy-handed to really heavy-handed (every time I even think about thinking about the cross-cutting between Wahlberg smashing the bottle ships and the schooners crashing on the heavenly shore I want to projectile vomit). The characters are written without any semblance of depth or clarity, even Stanley Tucci's bewilderingly lauded supporting turn. Wahlberg suffers from being incredibly miscast and bogged down with a script that's less interested in mining the emotions of a grieving family than it is in allowing Peter Jackson to throw visual flourishes at the audience, like darts at a cork board, and see what sticks. Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli and Rachel Weisz are just some of the talent in this film who I hope took up knitting on set, because there sure as hell wasn't a whole lot for them to do. Seriously...the BFCA nominated Saoirse Ronan for this (and in two categories, no less)?
Grade: C-

I'm not sure if this is the worst film of the year, but it's pretty darn close. It's definitely the worst of my highly anticipated films of 2009. I'm bewildered and appalled by a musical film that is so disgusted and ashamed of the fact that it's a musical. It's like little Sarah Jane trying to pass for white in Imitation of Life. Its lead actor barely sings a note and when he does it's all in his head, because Rob Marshall is apparently in love with that framing device. Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz emerge with good and fine turns, respectively. Kate Hudson flips her hair and dances her ass off in the confines of a horribly atonal number called "Cinema Italiano" that (I'm not joking) had jaws on the FLOOR in the theater, it was so bad. What's more offensive is that said song will probably be nominated for best original song at the Oscars (yuck). I definitely enjoyed Chicago with reservations, and Memoirs of a Geisha is certainly not as bad as I judged it at the time. With his third outing, however, it's clear that Rob Marshall is an incredibly surface-y, haphazard and arbitrary director. He may be the worst person of the past ten years to hold a Directors Guild Award, and yes I'm including Ron Howard.
Grade: D

The Messenger
It certainly meanders in its final act, but never to a severe detriment to the film. Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson do some of their best work in a film that is very stridently unafraid to be about what it's about. Every time these two soldiers go to tell a family about their deceased military loved one (and I counted about 5 or 6), it's felt deeply and unflinchingly. Samantha Morton proves, once again (was there ever a doubt?) that she's one of the most versatile and relevant actors working today. She easily gets best in show laurels for a performance in a role that could have easily read as miscast.
Grade: A-

A Serious Man
Funny, specific, uncomfortable, divisive and without and ending. Yep, it's definitely the Coen brothers. Could this be their pet project? Could this be the film that they've always wanted to make? It certainly feels like it. I know some are calling it too strange, too overpraised and too specific. I read all of that. But I found it to be richly satisfying and incredibly well-observed. And if this film isn't too Jewish for a black Canadian/lapsed Catholic, then it's certainly not too Jewish for anyone else (whatever that means).
Grade: B

Consider this my mea culpa. Even me, for all my cynicism, defenses and (yes) pretension can't deny that Avatar pretty much rocks. Yes, it's often atrociously written (seriously...unobtanium?) and yes, it's a retread of a story that's been told before. And it's a little racist. But it's also spectacularly made, wonderfully told and emotionally resonant (for me, at least). Moreover, it's making it cool to like Titanic again. And I know that the tide has been turning on that one, where it's grudgingly respected rather than universally ridiculed. But Cameron has still got it and Avatar is evidence that he never lost it in the first place.
Grade: B+

I rarely try to delve into the mind of the filmmaker and presume to know his or her intentions when making a film, even when I don't like it. But make no mistake--Clint Eastwood made Invictus to win awards. There's absolutely nothing about this film--how indifferently it's directed and written, how little it tries to do more than scratch the surface of the politics, Eastwood's own political leanings--that leads me to believe otherwise. Nathaniel over at The Film Experience often says it best, so I'll quote. "It's so ham-fistedly unworthy of discussion." That's ALMOST true, except for the fact that even though he lost out on the DGA nomination, Eastwood may still usurp Lee Daniels spot as a best director nominee at the Oscars. Even if I hypothetically hated Precious, one can never call Daniels's direction indifferent or arbitrary. It's such a singular vision, even when it missteps and is certainly more worthy of accolades than Clint Eastwood's rugby game, practically in real time (WTF?). And I know that Precious is viewed as an overwrought melodrama worthy of Lifetime, whereas Invictus is a prestige picture. But even so, a good hamburger is better than a terrible steak. And Precious is a great, well-seasoned hamburger with all the fix-ins on a focaccia bun served on a fluorescent beige platter. Invictus is barely Outback Steakhouse. I'm not one of those who thinks that Morgan Freeman is the best thing since sliced bread and I found this performance to be incredibly uneven and phoned in, as if he knew he would get an Oscar nomination no matter what. In his defense, he was right so why even try? I know this rant borders on excessive, and of course Invictus is not the worst film of the year. But it's just so offensively pedestrian that the acclaim it's receiving inspires rage in me not seen since the likes of A Beautiful Mind.
Grade: C-

And that's the end of Part 1. I'll post Part 2 in a couple of hours. After railing against Invictus, I am spent.

Peace, Love and Pretension

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best of the Aughts Continued--2001

My top ten list from 2001 looked a little something like this...

1. In the Bedroom (Todd Field)
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)
3. Memento (Christopher Nolan)
4. Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann)
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson)
6. Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
7. Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
8. Monster's Ball (Marc Forster)
9. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff)
10. The Believer (Henry Bean)

This is a mostly respectable list. 2001 boasted one of the best lineups for cinema in the aughts. #1 and #2 would probably swap places, then swap back on any given day. Both of these films hold up very well. I have probably returned to Todd Field's disarming debut the most out of all the films on this list. I seldom think about Memento anymore, though it is a singular achievement, without a doubt. Ditto for The Believer, which probably crept its way onto this list because of Ryan Gosling's fiery lead performance. Gosford Park would probably rank higher on this list if I were to make it today, and Ghost World may not make the list at all. I recognize that Zwigoff's biting misanthropic tragicomedy has moments of inspired brilliance, but as a whole I'm forced to admit that it hasn't burned bright in my memory. I'm one of the few people who actually approve of Halle Berry's highly-contested best actress win. I still hold true to that feeling. Having revisited Monster's Ball, I'm not sure it would still make the list, but it's a solid film. Since making this list, I've watched David Lynch's work of sheer brilliance that is Mulholland Drive. Something would have to take take the fall for these masterworks, but surely one of them is not Moulin Rouge! which evokes so many emotions in me (not all positive) but it is never boring or forgettable and I'm not sure it ever will be. For the record, I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch after the fact...I enjoyed it, certainly, but not enough to justify a spot on this list.

Films I Missed: AI: Artificial Intelligence, Bandits, Black Hawk Down, Crazy/Beautiful, Frailty, Iris, In the Mood for Love, Monsoon Wedding, Vanilla Sky.

The Aughts...A film Retrospective: 2000

Since it is all the rage, I've decided to do a retrospective of my favorite films from each year in the aughts, both at the time and how they rate now. This is all leading up to my list of my favorite films from the decade, as well as my favorite of this past year (I still have four big titles I need to see before I can evaluate 2009 in cinema). We'll start off with 2000, obviously.

At the time, my top ten list looked something like this. I'd like to qualify that I was all of 14 years old in 2000. Anyhoo...

1. Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky)
2. American Psycho (Mary Harron)
3. Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett)
4. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
5. Dancer in the Dark (Lars Von Trier)
6. The Gift (Sam Raimi)
7. Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel)
8. Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
9. Erin Brockovich
(Steven Soderbergh)
10. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee)

Wow...I know. It's mostly respectable, I suppose. Ranking American Psycho as my #2 seems very generous, if not completely ridiculous in retrospect. Christian Bale's phenomenal lead performance still burns bright, but the rest of the film...not so much. Requiem for a Dream is a film that (believe it or not) I've revisited several times. It still remains the most indelible movie-watching experience of 2000, but the best? Debatable. The Gift seems like the one I should be making the most apologies for (give or take Ginger Snaps) but both remain watchable, enjoyable fare for me. I'm not sure how they would rank if I were to watch some of the films I've omitted, and retoggle things. Erin Brockovich is one of my favorite movies of all time and I am not apologizing for it (nor am I sure that I should). At the risk of being reductive in my language, it is such a GOOD film. It would definitely rate higher than it did here. I have little or no desire to revisit Dancer in the Dark, Almost Famous or Amores Perros. Should I? With Amores Perros, I definitely hadn't grown tired of Inarritu's overly-maudlin, timeline-in-a-blender style of filmmaking. I find 21 Grams to be so relentlessly and unnecessarily wrenching that it may have made me overly harsh of Babel (but we can discuss that when I get to 2003 and 2006 respectively). I have recently revisited Before Night Falls. While it lacks the emotional punch it had at the time, I still found it compelling.

Still haven't seen: Pollock, You Can Count on Me, Chocolat, High Fidelity, Traffic (I know), Nurse Betty, Wonder Boys, Cast Away, Shadow of the Vampire...among others. I'm sure a lot of these omissions seem glaring and unforgivable, but dude...in August of 2000, I turned FOURTEEN YEARS OLD.