or How Chris Can Be A Totally Manic Crackhead
….. by TeeJay
What once used to be The Beautiful Ordinary turned into Remember The Daze. And maybe that’s just as well, because I’m not sure what was shown of the last day of high school of this group of young people was really all that ordinary or beautiful. The movie itself is not plot-driven, it doesn’t tell one distinct story, it is more of a portrait of a day in (if I may quote) “teenage wasteland of suburbia” in 1999, following a group of teenagers around for a day, showing their interconnections and problems in every day life. It is a portrait that works on many levels and that shows many layers. It is very much a cross section of any group of high school students on their last day of school. We have the slightly naive cheerleader, the attractive and outgoing party girl and her rebel sister, the goody-two-shoes straight-A student, the introverted photographer, the ambitious but misguided dreamer, the easygoing slacker and his manic, weed-addicted brother, the secretly lesbian couple, the bullying thug, the guy who’d love to be a part of the gang but never quite is, the bragging yet unsure pretender, the carefree beer junkie, the zany crackpot–a melting pot of characters who all have different approaches to life and different goals for the future. What this movie manages to do quite beautifully is to bring them all together and show how they interact. Old connections break and new ones are formed. Everyone’s coming together to party and celebrate the end of one chapter in life in their own way. There’s smoking, there’s alcohol, there’s drugs, and it all seems like a normal way of life for these kids. And in between all of the madness and drug-excesses, existential questions mingle with mundane trifles so that the viewer almost doesn’t notice the struggle that some of the characters are going through. It is very refreshing to see that we’re not presented with such an in-your-face dramatic processing of conflicts such as insecurity about sexual orientation or dealing with an abusive boyfriend. And yet, below the surface, it still makes you wonder and makes you aware that these problems exist in society and that people have to deal with them every day. What makes this movie stand out is that it also does not focus on one small group of characters. Remember The Daze uses a huge ensemble cast, and almost every character gets an equal amount of screentime which makes the viewer have an insight into his or her life enough to get a fundamental idea about their personality and way of life. I also have a hard time singling out one actor that I think did a more outstanding job than the others, I feel everyone did great. Though of course I need to talk about Chris, as this is the main reason I watched the movie. Once again, I was completely impressed. I can only underline that he is a true chameleon, I’ve never seen him play anything like the character of Felix before. He’s a total maniac, and also slightly creepy. Chris himself said that his character is “constantly smoking a ton of drugs”. And that, he is. And he also acts that way, but not as the chilled-out kind but by being permanently high-strung and jittery and sometimes not quite coherent. Interesting to watch is the dynamic between Felix and Mod, the character played by Sean, Chris’s little brother. Originally, Chris told us, Felix wasn’t supposed to be Mod’s brother, he was just a guy Mod hung out with. But when Chris showed an interest in the role, the script was rewritten so that they were brothers. The chemistry between Mod and Felix is just right, Chris and Sean did an excellent job. Also impressive, I found, was Michael Welch. He plays the zany crackpot. A bit of a goofy misfit with starkly blue hair who will say what he thinks and will do whatever he wants to do. He’s the kind of guy that will make everyone laugh but might turn out the disgrace of the party by doing something totally inappropriate. Put him next to Luke Girardi from Joan of Arcadia, and you wouldn’t believe these two guys are played by the same actor. (Which also applies to Felix and Adam Rove, by the way.) My final impression after a first viewing is that this is a movie that you can easily watch multiple times and still discover something new every time. You can pick certain characters and focus on them, and pick different characters for each repeat viewing. You get to see life in all these different facets through these different characters, and that’s what makes it interesting.
Felix. I think we should let Chris speak for himself about what this character is gonna be like, since he told us a little bit about Felix in an interview in October 2006: “I play almost a crackhead. I play this guy who’s all over the place, he’s really wiry, and he’s constantly smoking a ton of drugs.” That’s a pretty accurate description. Felix is very high-strung, and always talking way too fast. He’s kinda creepy, definitely not the kind of guy you wanna have following you around or hitting on you. He loves his brother Mod, but only as long as he can use him to help him out or sell drugs for him. This role is definitely something Chris has never played before, but he does it beautifully and convincingly.
In the interview we did with him in 2006, Chris told us something that turned out really interesting. Read for yourself: “I don’t know how it’ll come out, but at the time I was really proud of it. It’s like one scene where they let me— I told them, I was like, will you just let me tell a story? And they were like, What do you mean? I had one line in the thing, and it was something like “Oh yeah.” That’s all I say, is like two words. And I was like, Will you just let me tell a story right here, and they’re like, Sure. So I started telling this crazy story and they just let me keep going and going and going and going and finally it ended, and everybody was, all the others actors were kinda sitting there like, Oh-kay! It was really funny, and they said they loved it and kept it in the movie. So hopefully it will be something really cool, but totally different.” If you wanna look out for the scene, it’s at the party where he’s standing outside in the back garden with a group of people and starts talking about his own graduation.
This is another movie where Chris had the chance to work with two of his Joan of Arcadia co-stars, Michael Welch and Aaron Himelstein. It’s also not the first time he’s working with Amber Heard, she was playing alongside Chris in Alpha Dog. Interestingly, Chris’s younger brother Sean Marquette also stars in this movie. Chris told us how he felt about working with Sean on this movie, read it in his own words: “We haven’t worked together in such a long time. Last time he played me younger on Strong Medicine. That was the last thing… We didn’t really work together, it was just in the same week we were on the same set, and that was it. It was awesome, it was ridiculous, it was really weird. All of a sudden he grew up and he’s this, like, actor. He’s a really great, talented, young actor. It was so weird. I always thought he was really special and really could offer something to whatever he’s working on, but it was like a peer, and it mirrors our life, in a way. Like all of a sudden he’s a young man.” In an interview with Tony Farinella in 2008, Chris again talked about the movie and about working with Sean, and this is what he had to say that time:
TONY: When you first read your character in the script, what were your first impressions of him?
Chris Marquette: This part came about in a much different way than it usually does. My little brother Sean, who is in the movie and plays my little brother in the movie, actually was filming what was called at the time, The Beautiful Ordinary. So he was filming that movie, and he gives me a call one night at around eleven o’clock, and he’s like, “Hey, I’m sitting around with the cast and the director of this thing, and we were talking, and I was wondering are you gonna be working in a couple weeks?” And I was like, “Nah, not yet. I got about a month before I start working.” And he said, “OK. In two weeks, would you come down and maybe play this character in this movie?” And I was like, “Yeah, are you kidding me?” So I had no idea what the movie was about or what character I’d be playing. Any opportunity I have to work with my brother, I just jump at the chance at it, so I just kind of blindly walked into the project and showed up on set about a week later. And the director and I just kind of came up with the character on the spot, actually, and I improvised pretty much all of it, and my brother and I kind of riffed and tried to make some jazz music out of these scenes. So that’s how it came about. Originally, when I got there, the director kind of said, “Hey, listen, I’ve got these couple ideas for this character. Originally, it was supposed to be something completely different than you and much older than you, so what are your thoughts?” And she let me go wild, and that was about it. Felix was born.
TONY: I thought your character was very similar to Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Did you use anybody as inspiration for this character?
Chris Marquette: Yeah. I based this character off a really close friend of mine, who is another actor who I really look up to and admire, named Ben Foster. The idea, originally, was for this guy to be like a Matthew McConaughey, but Matthew McConaughey is like really buff and good looking and can get all the girls, and in Dazed and Confused, he’s a bit creepy. And I, obviously, am the opposite. I’m not the big supermodel-looking guy, so the idea was I’m a lot more creepy and a lot more off-putting, and I think whenever I talked to somebody, I just tried to put them as off-balance as possible. Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused is really slick and really cool, so I tried to play the opposite of that: A guy who is socially awkward rather than socially charming.
TONY: As an actor, what’s it like working on a film with a bunch of actors around your own age? Do you have a certain comfort level with them?
Chris Marquette: A lot of other people in that movie were close, close friends of mine way before the movie: Aaron Himelstein, Michael Welch, Lyndsy Fonseca. And some of those people have become close friends of mine since after that: Melonie Diaz and John Robinson and Dough Smith. It almost feels like we didn’t shoot a movie. The thing about actors is they’re constantly performing in their lives and playing different characters. I go out with my friends, and somehow we end up on some random tangent pretending to be a bunch of wacky people that we aren’t just for fun. So it felt just like that. It was like, “Hey, you’re going to show up to set,” but, really, it felt like somebody called for a house party. And we’re like, “Cool! We’ll be there in an hour.” I’ve worked with a whole cast of adults and young kids, where I’m the only young person there, and then working on a film like that, where it’s all people my age and all my peers is definitely a different experience. And most of the time, it’s much more comfortable, actually, and it was much more comfortable because I knew the people.
Lame. The picture quality isn’t very good and the only special features that is has are a behind-the-scenes video (which had been up on the official website weeks before the DVD came out) and previews for other movies. They sure didn’t put a lot of effort into making this a DVD you really wanna own. At least 3/4 of Chris are on the cover… 😉
The Title Change
In February 2008 the movie underwent a title change. It was renamed from The Beautiful Ordinary to Remember The Daze. Rumor is that this was done to make it sound more like Dazed And Confused, which it is often compared to.
….. Official website (includes trailer) ….. Facebook page ….. Stills and screencaps from the movie ….. Discussion about the movie on the message board ….. Information about director Jessica Manafort on the TISCH website