Death is a Tragedy, not a Solution: The VK-a-thon continues

Lord, I love this man!

Two years ago, I finally came to grips with the post-traumatic stress I experienced after the AtS episode “Home” aired enough to watch Vincent Kartheiser in roles other than Connor, although not actually playing Connor himself (O.K., so I have issues. Like *you’re* so non-neurotic?) The Vincent Kartheiser-a-thon was born. Since then, I have gathered together quite a collection of films featuring this amazing actor. Not quite the full oeuvre; no one could have the full oeuvre given the mysteriously *bad* luck VK’s films have had with distribution.

But I have done mini-reviews for the ones I have or have seen:

The Indian in the Cupboard, Alaska, Masterminds, All I Wanna Do, Another Day in Paradise, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, Luckytown, Bad Seed, The Unsaid

Heaven Sent, Ricky 6

So, continuing in this vein, I give you

Dandelion (2005)

Other notables: Mare Winningham, Michelle Forbes

Summary: A boy learns the true meaning of love and feeling and from that learns how not to play the victim.

Fucked-up Vinnie: Mason is obsessed with death, particularly his own. The first scene will tell you this. This is the kind of kid who will take the rap for an accidental hit-and-run committed by his father because he thinks he deserves it. Luckily, love comes his way and he learns another way to be, and a new appreciation for life, even when it throws you shit.

Brat Quotient: 2/10. Not really bratty, so much as sullen, depressed, and obsessive. But with that patented VK sweetness. You’ll recognize the classic Vinnie-isms in Mason’s facial expressions and gestures.

The hair: Season 4 Connoresque with a slightly trim. Two thumbs up.

Other notes: The imagery is a little odd in places, and the pace of the film is slow and uneventful. But I think the tone is supposed to give you a feel for Mason’s mood. Some beautiful cinematography. The crux of the movie is these two teenagers struggling to overcome the way they were raised to think about love and relationships. Mason’s family is rather dead of real emotion. If they love each other, they don’t know how to show it. Danny has been raised by a mother who is distrustful of men after bad experiences with them and tries to pass on that distrust to Danny, which you see reflected in the way she interacts with boys. There is an interesting scene where she comes on to Mason at a party thinking that’s what boys expect of her, and he stops her because he doesn’t want a cheap casual encounter with her. He wants something deeper. Probably craves it, given his family life. I guess the question is–did Danny die by an unfortunate drug-induced accident, or was it suicide? I think if I was a teen girl in love and my mother wanted to move, I’d run away and stay with my boyfriend. But maybe she didn’t trust Mason on some deep level. Or maybe it was just drugs that made her reasoning impaired.

Bottom line: This movie doesn’t shy away from the crap life sends you, but the character learns and grows and moves on in life at the end of the movie. I rather like films that don’t let their characters succumb to tragedy and crime and depression at the end just to prove how “deep” they are. More often than not, life goes on and you have to learn how to live it.

warning: Spoilers above for the movie and its ending.

Additional thoughts added since I first posted.

31 thoughts on “Death is a Tragedy, not a Solution: The VK-a-thon continues

  1. I’m jealous. There’s no prayer of me getting that out here unless I sign up for netflix which I have no intention of doing since I never watch enough movies to make it worth the dough. Pouts

  2. I’m sorry to hear that. I use Netflix almost exclusively to catch up with TV shows I miss. I rarely rent films from them since I don’t watch that many movies.

    But now I wish I could buy this movie, so I’m pouting, too.

  3. I signed up for netflix to get the movie. After I return it I’ll cancel. If you can find a half price for one month deal, then cancel after you return the film, might be worth it.

  4. Not for sale at all. Not yet. I get my info on it from here:

    What is it with the inaccessibility of VK’s movies? You end up having to buy them on E-Bay, used Amazon marketplace, or just reading about them at because they don’t sell them any normal way!

  5. Netflix is the only way I can watch TV anymore. I’m just too forgetful of when shows are on. Setting up the VCR is no help as I forget about that, too.


  6. And it’s not like they’re so weird or something that they’re unmarketable. They have a lot more market appeal than most of the crap you dig through in the bargain mark-downs bin at the video store.

  7. Ah, see, I use my computer in the Lazy Boy chair that’s parked right in front of the television. But I have my TV going 24-7 with DVDs and video tapes and my brain is totally elsewhere when shows come on. I set the calendar program on my computer to pop up and remind me when “Lost” comes on 15 minutes before it starts, and I’m so engrossed in either the video I’m watching, or whatever I’m writing, I think, “Eh–I’ll download it later.” Too lazy too get out of the chair and pop in a blank video tape.


    ; )

  8. Sounds like an interesting movie.

    I wish VK movies were easier to get a hold of. Sadly, the only ones I’ve got are C&PiS and ADiP. Damn VK and his brilliance in hardly distributed indie flicks.

  9. Well, and it seems you make it harder on yourself owning any of them if you insist on only owning DVD! I have Alaska, Masterminds, Another Day in Paradise, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, Luckytown, The Unsaid, Heaven Sent, and Ricky 6, almost all on home-made VHS (taped off tapes).

  10. I would get them on VHS, if I could. I actually got really made at my local video store because they threw out their copy of ADiP a WEEK before I came in asking about it. Stupid video stores and getting rid of video….

  11. That’s not a bad idea, though. If stores are phasing out VHS, you should ask around to as many as them as possible, seeing what movies they have that you can snatch up…..

  12. This was the first Vinnie movie I saw. I really liked the cinematography, but I was annoyed by a couple of things. It didn’t make sense to me that Mason thought he deserved to go to prison, and it irked me that Danny committed suicide (I thought we were supposed to think it was suicide, though I suppose it could have been accidental due to the drugs she was on).
    But VK was pretty and the character he played was kind of sweet, if screwed-up. So I’ve seen worse.

  13. Dandelion

    Dandelion is one my favoured Vincent movies so far, I love it for so many reasons, that it would take hours to post it 🙂 So far I agree with you statements. The answer to your question is for me, that she killed herself. I think she wasn’t so strong as she wanted to be and she was worn out by her dominate mom (I love MF in this part… actually I’m a big fan of her and happy, zhat she made it to this years Fedcon:-) and felt helpless at that point. I’m not even sure, if there was really a “soft” way out for her, we don’t know, if she was already 18, right? It would be very hard, but possible in Germany, but I can’t say anything about some “in the middle of nowhere” in the US.

  14. Re: Dandelion

    I get so weary of movies where a character chooses suicide as a way out of their situation. It’s over used, in my opinion. It’s not that I want a happy, happy ending, but just something…unexpected.

  15. Re: Dandelion

    I understand what you mean. But for me Dandelion was more about Masons choice to live as a conscious decision and less about Danny’s Character. I was just responding in my former post to your “question” if she killed herself or not. For me she was just someone who finally drive him to realize that by making this not very inventive choice by herself.

    So what end Dandelion should have, if you could write it?

  16. Re: Dandelion

    Well, like you, I was less interested in Danny’s choice, than Mason’s, which was unexpected…for a VK movie! I suppose I would have had them run off together, although, if you want a cliche, that’s one for sure!

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