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All Critics (9)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (1)
| Rotten (8)
The movie needs the audacity of a "Trainspotting" to lift it above the norm.
A dramatized real-life scandal of 1980s prep-school drug dealing plays like a tepid compilation of fictive cliches in The Preppie Connection.
As written, Toby is somewhat of an empty slate, and Mann doesn't do much to fill in the blanks.
This film fails even to evoke the '80s in costumes, soundtrack or other atmospherics.
Nearly everything about "The Preppie Connection" - from the high-school class war to the flat, explanatory narration - has been cribbed from other, better films.
Toby is so un-self-aware that his journey seems like mere obtuseness; what the film has to say about youthful degeneracy is less than zero.
An edgy drama and an effective cautionary tale well worth seeing.
[A] shallow and profoundly unexciting "true-life account" of one student's brief reign as a campus drug lord.
Toby and co. come across as a pale, anti-intellectual imitation of the college-aged friends in Donna Tartt's The Secret History - a novel that explores the roots of its characters' moral recklessness rather than just chalking it up to teenage feelings.
The Preppie Connection is a film based on the 1984 drug scandal at Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite private High School in Connecticut. Toby Hammel (Thomas Mann) is a good student who is awarded a scholarship to this elite private high school, but when he gets there, he discovers, as the poor kid, he doesn't quite fit in. In order to make friends, fit in with the popular kids, and get close to the girl his heart desires, Toby tells them that he can get them whatever drugs they desire. The truth is he has no idea how to do that, but someone as smart as he is was bound to figure it out. As with many of these films, some artistic license was taken, and not everything in the film is exactly what happened, however I find films like that make for the best dramas. Think about it for a second, some things in life happen that are just so strange and twisted that even the best writers couldn't make them up. These films play as more realistic, audiences tend to connect closer with the characters, and they even become invested in the story. I myself went searching Wikipedia afterwards to see what happened to everybody all these years later. The star of the film is Thomas Mann and other than his eerie resemblance to Sid in Lords of Dogtown, I knew nothing about him, but his performance was astonishing. Coming from a bunch of teen party movies to doing something like this was a huge step in the right direction and hopefully a big break for a talented young actor. V star Logan Huffman and newcomer Lucy Fry round out a stellar albeit unknown cast. IFC films are my favorite Independent films, stories based on real life events are my favorite kinds of drama, add to the mix a talented and relatively unknown young cast and you have the recipe for a film that does not disappoint. The Preppie Connection may not have the action or big name star that appeals to many fans, but by in large it is an unforgettable story of just what one person is capable of when properly motivated.
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