Good Son

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The Good Son is quite craptacular!

Oct 8, 2002 (Updated Apr 28, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:Culkin tries playing a cereal killer; he and Elijah Wood do well together

Cons:The whole thing is just silly; and yet the kids are the most believable characters.

The Bottom Line: It's heat-of-the-moment suspenseful, but looking back it's all kind of silly.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie's plot.

Did you know Macaulay Culkin (the famous "Home Alone" kid) just turned 22 on Aug. 26, 2002? I just had to mention it, because on that same day, his "other" movie, "The Good Son" became an addition to my collection and I had no idea. "The Good Son" is one of the most memorable movies I've ever seen, but after seven years, I gotta tell you it sure isn't the same as it used to be.

Henry (Macaulay Culkin) teams up (or screams up) with fellow ten-year old Mark (Elijah Wood) to live out this horrifyingly horrifying tale. We also have David Morse (the Brutal guy from The Green Mile) as Mark's father. And then Culkin's little sister Quinn gets in on the action and plays... who else? Henry's sister, Connie.

It starts out as a pretty typical story of Mark, a soccer-playing kid being dragged away to the hospital, where he ends up having to watch his mother die. His father is due for a two week meeting on another continent, so Mark gets to stay with his aunt and uncle in a secluded million-dollar house off in the cliffs. This is where Henry and Connie show up, as his cousins.

You've just seen your mother die and you're sleeping in strange surroundings. Chances are you're going to need a little comfort. Mark seeks it by hanging out with Henry, releasing his tension by hurling rocks through old windows and fleeing guard dogs. Henry and Connie compete for Mark's attention in typical brother-sister fashion. And the aunt and uncle? Well, they just kind of hang out.

Of course, you know it's only a matter of time before Henry's true colors start to come out. They did a pretty good job of spacing this out, beginning with "small" things like Henry saving Mark from falling out of a treehouse, but before pulling him up, asking "If I let you go, do you think you could fly?"... and eventually leading into Henry shooting a dog with his very own homemade gun that shoots screws. Obviously, Henry needs to have those screws pretty tight in there to compensate for the loose ones in his head.

The shit really hits the fan when Henry looks down over the bridge, sporting that same smile he once did for the Salt Man when he was reunited with his daughter. Only this time, he is smiling with approval as a ten-car wreck unfolds on the road below. A wreck that Henry himself caused. I can't help but laugh now when I see it.

Henry's got bigger fish to fry, though... so what does Mark do? I guess you'll have to see for yourself.

So what exactly is the problem here? First off, the whole thing is just beyond silly. It's completely unbelievable that a kid of that age could pull off such drastic tricks and get away with it. Sure, they manage to throw in the hint of a motive for every crime he commits, but a rubber ducky? Give me a break. I realize that nowadays kids are shooting up schools, but you know what? Even if the effect is a lot bigger, it doesn't take a whole lot of anger or premeditation to walk in and pull a trigger. The consequences of such an action are not as forseeable as, say, a kid swinging his sister out onto thin ice, and then lying there next to her and pretending to give her a hand to pull her tiny little body out of the subzero slush, now that's not only sick but it's unbelievable. It's bad enough that with all the people standing there watching, not one of them can even tell he pulls his hand out of reach just when she's about to get a hold of it.

The aunt and uncle always have to either show up at all the convenient times (such as when Mark has a pair of scissors to Henry's throat), or not be there at all. They don't even seem like characters, they're just robots going through the motions. The aunt wrestles with the memory of her lost third child, but when things start to unravel, it's like they just want to get it over with as quickly as possible. When she and Henry finally get to take a walk alone, it's not even two minutes before she asks, "Did you kill your little brother?" To which he responds, "What if I did?" Case closed.

Then there's the ending. Oh my God, that one came way too soon. I remember the ending being a lot better than this! So we've gotten to where things are really out of hand. Mark has called his father and told him what's going on, and his father is allegedly "on his way". But he never actually shows up. In fact, nobody else besides Mark ever finds out what Henry is really up to until the last three minutes of the movie, when Henry tries to push his own mother off the edge of a cliff. Well now she knows, doesn't she? Next thing you know, somehow the two boys are hanging off of the cliff, and the mother, with one holding on to each hand, has to decide which one to give up. Spooktacular indeed-o. Once she's made her decision, we zoom away, and we get a 15-20 second speech from the surviving son, and that's it. This will undoubtedly make anyone's top five "rushed endings" list with very little trouble.

"The Good Son" is actually decent for some good suspense the first time you watch it. Just don't expect to develop a long-term relationship with it because there is nothing to make you come back.

Movie Reviews, Music Reviews, and other Nonsense
http://www.flamepillar.com


Recommend this product? No


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12

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