Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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A long, tedious 'Mile'

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 7, 2002

Movie: Moonlight Mile

  • Rating: PG-13

Summary: Joe's fiance, Diana, is shot and killed three days before their wedding. He is living with her family for an extended period as they cope with her death. Although Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal) is trying to move on to other things in his life, Diana's parents, JoJo (Susan Sarandon) and Ben (Dustin Hoffman), have other plans for him -- especially Ben. All the while, they are involved in a complicated legal battle to give her killer the punishment he deserves. Meanwhile, Joe begins to fall in love with another local girl (who has her own set of issues to deal with).
Moonlight Mile
[Photo: Buena Vista Pictures]
After his fiance dies, Joe, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is confused as he begins to falls for a new woman, Bertie (Ellen Pompeo).

My View: This movie revolves around the very different ways each character handles grief. Several quirks in this film really bugged me. It was extremely slow-paced and tiresome, and the 112 minutes seemed like three hours. The plot was hazy at first, a large mass of jumbled thoughts. The dialogue was convoluted and saturated with expletives. Some of that was balanced out, though, by well-placed humor.

The characters just didn't capture me, either. The memories of Gyllenhaal playing that ungainly idiot in Bubble Boy were hard to shake off, and it was difficult to watch him in a much more staid role. Although Hoffman is one of the best actors out there, and this movie showcased his skill, his character was such a weak man, unable to look his situation in the face, that I couldn't bring myself to respect him. The exception was JoJo; she was cynical and witty.

Recommendations: This deep, thoughtful film wasn't fun to watch. It will take a very patient, analytical person to enjoy this one. It definitely won't be of interest to the under-13 set.

Grade: C

-- Billy Norris, 14, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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