HERE ON EARTH (2000)

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Christopher (spoilers!)

I had never heard of this movie before. I understand why because this movie is certainly awful but it definitely fits the it’s-so-bad-it’s-good category. This movie really makes no sense and whenever a movie has to do with kids and death it’s almost always over the top and so obviously aimed at children. (As a side note this is the same reason I really want to check out The Fault In Our Stars, I imagine these movies being very similar.) So the story follows this giant dick who goes to school at a rich private school, apparently in the middle of nowhere in this east coast mountain town. He gets into trouble by racing other kids and blowing up a gas station. This scene is pretty good for a lot of reasons. First, the race happens only cause our main character harasses the town locals, who are called Putties? Like Power Rangers? Although they never explain why they are called Putties, you just find out later that the town has a similar name. But Chris Klein is the only on that wants to race. Even his own friends keep telling him they should leave the locals alone. Second, they race out of town, driving down straight roads then all of a sudden they’re right back in their town…do all roads lead to this tiny town? Third, they blow up the town restaurant and no one gets hurt? The scene before everyone was sitting eating, what happened to that?

This movie has a lot wrong with it and when you watch it and you think it’s terrible and bad, it only increases. I would totally recommend this movie to anyone!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

From the leg to the liver. That was the biggest thing I remembered from this movie, and it’s still the thing that comes to mind whenever I think about it. That should be the movie’s tag line.

Let me explain. In Here on Earth, Chris Klein plays Kelley, a rich boarding school kid. We have no idea where this school is, or the town that the school is in, although because Boston is later mentioned I guess we can assume it’s somewhere in idyllic, farm-covered Massachusetts. Kelley is an asshole. How do we know this? He gets a car (a very mom-friendly silver Mercedes that all of his classmates go nuts over, even though I’m sure all of their moms have the same one) from his father because he won’t be able to come to his graduation. He’s told by the dean that because cars are not allowed on campus it will be kept in the garage. That concept alone doesn’t make a ton of sense, but whatever. That night, Kelley and two of his friends sneak the car out and decide to go for a ride in town.

They end up at Mable’s Table, a local tiny diner attached to a gas station. Kelley calls the people there “putties,” which is never explained, but there is immediate animosity between the boarding school kids and the diner patrons. Working there is Samantha (Leelee Sobieski), whose family owns the restaurant. Her boyfriend, Jasper (Josh Hartnett) is also there, apparently leading the “putties” against Kelley and his friends. Except . . . Kelley’s friends aren’t assholes. They don’t want to go in the diner. They don’t want to make trouble with the locals. They don’t want to talk to anyone else, they just want to order milkshakes and go back to the school. Kelley is the only one being a huge asshole, and also being a dick misogynist toward Samantha, which riles up Jasper even more. Kelley and his friends end up racing Jasper and his friends, where they make what we can only assume is a giant circle in this never-ending town, because they start at Mable’s Table and end up right back there, but not before running into the gas station, destroying their cars, and burning down the restaurant.

The judge won’t accept Kelley’s father’s offer to pay for the rebuilding, and instead puts Kelley and Jasper to work to help rebuild in exchange for them not having the accident on their permanent record. Sooo . . . best deal ever? Kelley’s father flips out, because apparently the closest motel is 50 miles away. Okay, stop. My mom currently lives in a town of 4,500 people that has 3 hotels. This mystery town apparently is home to a giant boarding school. And there are NO hotels within 50 miles? What an insanely huge stretch just to make the story convenient. Because there are no hotels, Kelley has to stay with Jasper and his family over the summer while he works.

Here’s where I want to point out the fact that everyone in this movie is a huge asshole except for Bruce Greenwood, who plays Samantha’s dad. Kelley’s a dick. Jasper’s a dick. Jasper’s family are assholes to Kelley. And as we will soon found out, Samantha is basically a piece of shit too. Why? Because out of absolutely nowhere, Samantha starts to show interest in Kelley, and in about 5 minutes of screen time they’re in love. All of this is totally unknown to Jasper, who has been Samantha’s boyfriend for an unknown number of years but they’ve at least been friends since childhood. Samantha never seems to have the slightest regard for Jasper, so she and Kelley openly display their relationship around town, which includes making out in the grocery store where Jasper’s best friend works. He catches Samantha and Kelley, of course, and that’s how Jasper finds out. Samantha acts like Jasper is 5 years old; she never comes out and tells him exactly what’s going on and why, she just dances around the subject until Jasper appears to get the picture that she’s cheated on him and she’s leaving him. How nice!

So Samantha and Kelley sleep together and have this star-crossed-esque romance against everyone’s wishes, which includes Samantha spending a weekend alone in Boston with Kelley. But then, when there’s maybe 20 or 30 minutes left in the movie, Samantha falls down while running through a field with Kelley. When Kelley goes to her, she’s hugging her knee, and we find out that SAMANTHA IS DYING OF CANCER. How is this explained to us? She had cancer in her leg, and now it’s in her liver. The line “It went from her leg to her liver,” is uttered. Now, I’m not saying that can’t happen or anything. But this insanely simplified version of what’s happened (she had cancer in her leg and now it’s in her liver and she’s going to die) just makes it so comical, it’s as if Tyler Perry did the research. So then everyone makes up in light of the fact that Samantha is going to die, then she dies, THE END.

I love how fucking stupid this movie is. This may be one of the first movies I ever watched solely because I knew it was going to be bad, and I saw this when I was 12. So 12 year-old me thought this sappy teen romance drama was insane and stupid, so what do you think adults will think of this? It’s just kind of amazing. I will say though that I’ve on and off had “Where You Are” stuck in my head ever since we’ve watched this and I’m now pretty sure that that song is the only remotely decent thing to ever come from this movie. Except for the medical diagnosis of “It spread from the leg to the liver.”

 

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