Ruthless High School Dean of Discipline, Mr. Quint, has one mission: to preserve order in his classrooms by any means necessary. This mission is successful until his cruel tactics push Bruce Bauer’s bunch of misfits too far and they decide to end Quint’s reign one spitball at a time.
The Last Straw feels like it was ripped out from an episode of an after school sitcom rather than a feature length film.
The Ultimate Confrontation – The entire plot of The Last Straw is building up to one confrontation between the students and teacher. And while the scope of the confrontations is limited, it does allow for some fun moments.
More Boring Than Funny – The Last Straw is labeled as a comedy, and while I can tell where all the jokes are supposed to be, they mostly fall flat. They come off cheesy, unbelievable and overall boring. There were some things that were funny, but more in a “what the heck just happened” kind of way.
Camera Focus and Exposure – Indie films can often have a difficult time getting decent camera work because of budget limitations. Even then the goal is to make them as consistent as possible. The problem here though is that some scenes had the focus and exposure completely off. These scenes are then cut in between perfectly focused shots making it really disorienting.
After School Sitcom – This is the biggest problem with The Last Straw, it feels like it should be a 30 minute episode of a cartoon or a Disney Channel after school sitcom. The problem arises when you take that simplistic and juvenile of a premise, stretch it over an hour and a half and then add adult language. It just doesn’t fit and should have been handled differently. And, who knows, maybe that is what the director was going for, a kind of satire to those kinds of kid comedies. Even if that was the intention, the execution was completely off.
Stereotypes – Movies and TV in the past have not been known to depict high school very accurately. This can be easily seen is shows like Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. A major flaw in them is the us of over-the-top stereotypes. You always have the cool kids, the bullies, the friend, and the jocks. While most entertainment mediums have decided to move away from these obvious stereotypes, The Last Straw holds onto them with a death grip. There is one moment where the nerds even give high fives and say “Chess club!” It just doesn’t make sense why, in 2016, someone would write a movie with such boring and overused stereotype.
The Writing – I think that the majority of the “after school sitcom” effect was because of the writing. About 90% of the dialog just seems out of place. A better writer on the film could have been the saving grace. But as I say before, they probably should have written it as an episode for Disney Channel and called it good.
This is director Stolis Hadjicharalamous’ first go at a feature film. While I hope the best for him, I’d say stay away from The Last Straw as much as possible.