Jacob Wysocki is a real talent and is perfect for the lead role. I think the movie wouldn't have been as endearing as it is if it wasn't for John C. Reilly playing Mr. Fitzgerald. Yes, not a lot of things happened in the movie, but that's actually the beauty of it.
You just want to feel pity for Terri the first time you see him going to school in his pajamas. But as the film goes on, pity becomes the last thing you want to feel for him. There's a movie I saw a few years back (let's pretend I have forgotten title) and it's something about a fat teenage girl. Although the performances were undeniably praiseworthy, for me the whole movie thrived on hatred and a truckload more of negative stuff. Terri, on the other hand, is all about some raw human being goodness. If only all the people out there had a bit of Terri in them, then there'd be hope for humanity.
3 1/2 Stars 1-27-14
"We've all been there."
Terri is a fresh little indie dramedy that features two outstanding performances from Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly. Jacob Wysocki plays the title role and it's his first feature performance ever. He's really good, but I don't think he's ever going to break the typecasting. I see he's already lined up for a film called Fat Kid Rules the World. John C. Reilly is at his best in movies like this. It seems like he's getting back to doing more and more indie stuff, and I love it. 2010 had Cyrus, this year he starred in Cedar Rapids and Terri.
It should come as no surprise that this movie isn't very plot heavy. It is a character study and a pretty damn good one at that. Terri is an overweight teen, who lives with his uncle. He doesn't know where his mom is and he doesn't know where his dad is. Being as overweight as he is; he's obviously going to get made fun of. The fact that he only wears pajamas just makes matters worse. He is able to forge a friendship with the vice principal of his high school though. The two help each other out.
Terri is one of those movies that is classified as a comedy, even though it is never laugh out loud hilarious. It has some funny moments, but it never creates laughs just because. It worries more about the characters, most notably Terri. In another movie Terri may have been exploited for laughs, which would have been easy. A three hundred pound teen wearing pajamas could be funny. But in this movie we don't laugh because we get to know him and we feel for him. Even though I have very little in common with Terri, I found myself trying to relate to his situations.
Terri isn't going to excite you. It is slow paced and nothing much happens. Many people just can't handle movies like this and I don't particularly blame them. I can see how movies of this type could come of as pointless and just a waste of time, but I love these types of movies. I love Terri not only because it's different, but because it's realistic and easy to relate to.
Fans of coming of age movies, indie movies, and patient storytelling should rejoice in Terri. But if you're looking for a comedy that will make you laugh endlessly, you may want to look elsewhere.
This is an extremely long slow paced Indie film, who is beyond stupid. I was really looking forward for this film, but it is a huge mess. A totally out there film with nothing to offer but some good acting from Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly, everything else is plain dumb.
This movie tells the story of Terri, a problematic, overweight, teenager who lives in a town of freaks. He finds Mr. Fitzgerald who attempts to help him, and this is basically the story of these two and how similar they are to each other.
I am not even going to expand on how bad this movie is, but basically - it tries so hard to be a cult film with a deeper meaning, but really there isn't any. The characters are dull, the soundtrack is lame, and the pace of this movie is horrible.
Overall don't waste your time with Terri. As you know I am a big fan of Indie films, but this one right here my friends, this one is trash.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I knew this kid growing up who tied flaming tennis balls to cats' tails and loved every minute of it. I think he's a cop now.
Director: Azazel Jacobs
Summary: Working with screenwriter Patrick Dewitt, filmmaker Azazel Jacobs crafts a poignant coming-of-age tale about Terri (Jacob Wysocki), an overweight orphan who, while struggling to find acceptance with his peers, forms an unlikely friendship with his vice principal (John C. Reilly).
My Thoughts: "You were either a Terri in school, if not, you probably knew one. That's what makes this film so great is that the character's are realistic. These are people you could know, or maybe even be like. Jacob Wysocki gives a fantastic performance as Terri. Terri is a bit of an outcast because of his weight and he is a bit of a loner. He has no friends and no real adult supervision or guidance besides an Uncle James. But unfortunately Terri takes care of James instead of vice versa because the uncle is quite ill. They never really actually say what is wrong with the uncle though. Terri is a lonely person that takes a liking to his principle Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly). They actually are both lonely souls and that is what seems to make them ideal companions. Terri looking more for a friend and an adult he can talk to, and Fitzgerald wanting to help the kids that remind him of himself at that age. These character's are all well written and realistic and all the actor's give great performances. It's not an film that everyone is going to enjoy. Especially if you don't like slow burning character driven plots. I happen to be one who does, when they are made right. If you happen to be one of those people too, then don't miss out on seeing "Terri".
Not a bad film yet a great one. What really carries this film throughout is the great acting by everyone and also how real it was. The story wasn't that interesting. Not your typical movie so watch at own risk.
A hit at the Sundance 2011 Film Festival, 'Terri' is a moving and often funny film about the relationship between Terri, an oversized teen misfit, and the garrulous but well-meaning vice principal (John C. Reilly) who takes an interest in him.
Centers on a large 15-year-old boy in a small town as he struggles to adjust to his difficult life.
Terri is an extremely heartfelt movie without ever being sobby or begging for sympathy. Jacob Wysocki as Terri, is just a marvelous choice. He portrays a strong, but lonely teen suffering from, like we all do at some point, loneliness. Another performance that was particularly well played was by John C. Reilly as the equally lonely, and pretty miserable vice president of Terri's school. He and Terri begin a friendship that seems very raw and real. The supporting performances also were very good including Bridger Zadina as Chad, Terri's misfit friend who likes pulling hair out of his head. Also Creed Bratton as Terri's somewhat delusional uncle, and Olivia Crocicchia as Terri's love interest. While I was watching Terri, I found myself laughing, not chuckling, at many of the jokes. Terri is a truly funny movie, because it's realistic humor that many people can relate to: the ups and downs of high school. But in the end, Terri isn't a movie. It's a bold statement about life. Everything in Terri is amazing; the acting, the setting, the themes. And by the end of the movie, you realize there's hope for every teenage misfit in high school, as long as they have a fraction of the heart Terri has.
Jacobs resolutely refuses to abide by the conventions of narrative cinema. I applaud this avant-garde stance. But it's awfully hard to make storylessness work cinematically, and Jacobs doesn't find a way to pull it off. He's got a lot of great ideas, but he is having trouble bringing his ideas to the screen in an engaging way.
What I basically saw here was an imitation of Todd Solondz, who himself has sputtered to a standstill as an artist.
I was mesmerized by the understated performance of John C. Reilly and equally surprised by the star-making potential of the lead Jacob Wysocki... it was a real pleasure enjoying the chemistry of those actors used in best possible way! This extremely fresh, funny and perky movie will take you on a bittersweet journey which you'll have to enjoy...
Now, I know that plenty of indie films of this type are known to have long periods of simply nothing, but here, I don't know if I can say that the film does nothing, because I don't exactly understand how "nothing" can get repetative. Well, eitherway, what little that does actually happen in this film is likely to happen again later on down the road, which further pads out a film already overdrawn by loose editing enough. I mean, Terri doesn't even confront John Reilly's character, Mr. Fitzgerald, until 15 minute-wait, it was only 15 minutes in. Funny, it felt like close to 40 minutes, because not only is the film padded out and rather dull in tone, but the pacing is slow, maybe not to a "Munich" degree, but still enough so that it only slows the momentum of the film down even more. Outside of that, there's really nothing terribly distinctive about this film, as it falls into so many convention of films of its type, and if it doesn't, it makes little effort to transcend and add to the genre. It's a film that doesn't stand a terribly great chance at being mediocre, let alone bad, but neither does it stand as worthy of high praise, Roger Ebert. However, no matter how much this film descends into the conventional attributes and flaws of its genre, films of this type are unendiably respectable, and this film is no exception, because for misstep, it picks itself back up almost - nay - "entirely" because of the human aspects.
Films of this type are notoriously realistic, and although this film hits the occasional point where it's a touch more exaggerated than usual, this film is still pretty down-to-earth. I'm really digging on the portrayal of the teenagers in this film, because it shows us the kind of stupid, nasy, immature little plagues on humanity most of them are. No, but seriously though, the film has a mostly realist view on its characters, exploring the depths in the humanity of every individual in a fashion that's familiar, but still effective, and what liberties they do take in reality still manage to fit and serve the story, not letting you forget that this is not only a study on the behavior of people like this, but a study on the life of an individual that serves as more than just an audience avatar. Of course, the person who really sells both his individuality and avatar status is our lead, Jacob Wysocki, who isn't giving a particularly powerful performance, but has enough charm and humanity in his presence to keep the film afloat. The same can be said about John C. Reilly, who may be playing John C. Reilly, but nobody does it better, and sure enough, his electric charm makes every moment with him - limited though, those moments may be - really enjoyable, partially because when he is on, Wysocki right there by his side, helping to create some firecracker chemistry. Wysocki has chemistry with just about everyone in the film, and it really adds to the human element, but that humanity is at its most energized during the handful of moments shared by Reilly and Wysocki, and everytime they're on screen together, the film really livens up. Those and a good deal of other moments in the film are charming, genuine and likeable enough to make the film worth the watch - nay - the enjoyment, because although there's nothing terribly impacting about the film, it's still an ultimately awarding experience.
Overall, loosely-edited sequences and some repetition exacerbate a dull tone, while the slow pacing exacerbates "every" flaw, and there's just not enough uniqueness in the film to raise it above that, but what makes it ultimately rewarding, nevertheless, is the genuine and often realistic writing that is translated charmingly by our leads, particularly Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly, both of whom deliver electric chemistry that really picks the film up whenever it falls, which isn't to say that there aren't enough highs, otherwise, that ultimately make "Terri" a generally enjoyable portrait on the problems faced by the sensitive youth. Granted, seeing as these are teenagers we're talking about, these aren't "real" problems, and if they are, it's the fault of the stupid kids, but hey, the film's still pretty decent anyways.
2.5/5 - Fair
High School life was in itself a whole new existence; mixed reactions were tossed around like hacky-sacks. Some people look back on their High School career and remember all those good times they have, while others regret what they missed out on, avoided, or weren't able to embrace at the time. Not all High School students are created equal. Some are kind, understanding, and mature; but the reality is that a good number of them are instead nasty, cruel, and still developing in terms of logic and thinking. A lot of movies release each year, attempting to tackle such subjects with both complication and grace; and you might notice that several of them fail. In the worst of years, not one High School-centered movie makes it out alive. But sometimes, there's a movie; and sometimes, it's a movie that can truly reach an audience. Hollywood High School dramas are nigh incapable of doing so; I would personally leave it to the Art-House/Independent crowd of films to deal with such themes and plot elements. Naturally, Art-House and Independent films are simply more true-to-life; made by people in touch with their emotions who don't just get tears for the sake of a pay-check.
I guess this year isn't all that bad; since among other things, 2011 does have one compelling High School drama, and that film is "Terri". It's an intelligent independent drama that truly brings depth to a subject that has been nearly worked to death. It treats High School as a living hell; in which the Guidance Councilor's office is the only place of peace and safety for the few troubled kids. A lot of High School films would rather follow the non-troubled kids; the ones that most teenagers in the target audience will relate to the most, over the misfits presented here. However, I would watch "Terri" over any recent Hollywood-made High School drama any day; if only for the sake of my sanity, which the film respects. It is made for smart movie-goers, those who have lived life and have studied it as much as the first-time director (Azazel Jacobs) and his screenwriter (Patrick DeWitt) have. All their observation and hard work has alas paid off in a rewarding, all-together excellent and emotional resonant movie.
The social outcast that we are introduced to is the titular character, Terri (Jacob Wysocki). He is an obese, quiet High School kid who lives alone with his Uncle (Creed Bratton of "The Office"), who is suffering from some form of dementia, late in his life. Terri is constantly made fun of at school for a number of reasons; a few worth mentioning include his weight, his clothing-of-choice (he wears a pajama outfit to school, claiming them to be comfortable enough for him to be content), and his lack of developed social skills. Terri is lonely, but complex in person. He still holds on to the humanity that many of his peers have since lost in the past few years.
Terri's behavior catches the attention of the school's assistant principle, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly), who goes out of his way to talk to the troubled students of the school at least once every week. He is able to reach Terri through his laid-back persona and whacky sense of humor; and the two become close friends over a short period of time. Mr. Fitzgerald and Terri exchange intelligent, thoughtful dialogue that highlights the kind of philosophy that a Guidance-Counselor-figure should give to a student, which Terri begins to apply to what awaits him in life throughout the second and third acts of the story. He befriends an attractive girl (Olivia Crocicchia), who is herself suffering the consequences of a regrettably true rumor. Terri does not mind the rumor; he is just happy to have a girl talk to him, accept him, and perhaps even love him.
"Terri" does not escape genre conventions. It isn't a comedy, yet there are laughs; although I expect quite a few of them were generated through my own understanding of human behavior. This is something that most High School dramas that come out of Hollywood's hellish gates lack. There's also a sentimental send-off, but I didn't expect anything less, and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining, because I'm not. "Terri" hits all the right notes, and by the end, we are involved enough with the characters to evaluate and emotionally invest in the situation and problems at hand. Wysocki's performance as the main character is sympathetic, sweet, and I believe it's good enough to be deserving of some pretty damn high praise. Reilly is as excellent as ever - as he typically is in his more dramatic roles, something he has been gearing more toward lately - and the actors that portray the various other troubled kids of the school are talented and play the parts accordingly. A lot about this drama shines. It's better than it appears to be, deeper, and about as realistic as it can possibly get. The film sets itself up so that a good number of lonely film buffs can relate to its character. You could be Terri; I could be Terri. He is such a wonderful young man, that perhaps there's a little bit of him in all of us. I loved him about as much as I loved the movie.