STUDIO: Wellspring Media
MSRP: $24.95
RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes
Music video
Original trailer

The Pitch

"An adolescent teen struggles with his sexuality during the hellish period of life known as the middle school years."

The Humans

Fairuza Balk, Tom Gilroy, Lydia Lunch and Kim Dickens. The people with the names you recognize are in it the least.

The Nutshell

Logan and his friend Joey are pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to popularity. Everyone is awkward in middle school, but these two friends take it to a whole different level. They’re so uncool that Joey actually spends time creating lists of activities they could do in order to make themselves more hip. Unfortunately, Joey’s ideas of cool apparently come from watching the Fonz on Happy Days reruns.

Logan had always had a thing for forbidden fruit. Now it was time to seduce the man of his dreams – Chris Hansen.

Joey may be awkward and lame, but Logan has it even harder. He’s only thirteen years old, but he already knows he’s different from most of the other boys at his school. Joey may be focusing on how he can become friends with the popular boys, but Logan is just plain focusing on the boys. When one of the popular guys shows Logan an ounce of friendship, he becomes infatuated with him and has to confront his sexuality and need for affection, the consequences of which could be disastrous.

The Lowdown

At a brisk 81 minutes, Wild Tigers I Have Known is over before you know it. That’s six minutes less than the running time for the remake of Walking Tall. It’s good to know that you can get six more minutes out of the premise of an angry man beating people with a stick than a teenage boy coming to grips with his homosexuality during middle school.

Robin gets dolled up for another erotic encounter with the goddamn Batman.

One could argue that it doesn’t matter what a film’s running time is as long as it’s well spent, but that isn’t the case with this movie. It’s a frustrating affair because the parts that are handled well are fantastic and gripping while the other elements, while visually impressive, drag the film down. The film’s short running time is a pain because it’s a genuinely moving peace and could have been even better with just a few more minutes of character exploration and conflict.

The burden of acting falls squarely on the shoulders of its younger cast. Veterans like Fairuza Balk and Kim Dickens have about five minutes total screen time in the movie and that’s okay. It’s a story about a boy’s self discovery and the character that can obviously tell you the most about that is the boy. Malcolm Stumpf is only sixteen years old and a newcomer to film, but he does a good job with the material given to him. It’s not an easy role to play but he’s definitely game for it.

This is the worst production of The Tigger Movie I’ve ever seen.

When the narrative slows down or becomes disjointed, there’s still plenty to look at. While many of the film’s impressive visuals may not tie too directly into the film’s story, there’s no denying the artistry involved in creating them or how interesting they can be. The cinematographer certainly picks up any slack left by the film’s director and gives the movie a unique visual feel that will be remembered long after the story has faded from a viewer’s memory.

The Package

There’s not much in the way of special features on this disc, unless you consider annoying forced trailers each time you pop in the DVD to be “special.” There are so many previews to skip on this disc that the only thing that rivals it for start time is Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis. One half expects promo logos for Acclaim and Probe Entertainment to pop up before you get to the DVD menu. Putting these trailers in the special features section of the disc would not only be convenient, but it would piss off the consumer less and make them more likely to actually watch the previews.

Tired of the "Yard Sale Drive-By," Jerry resorts to drastic advertising methods.

As it is, the only trailer actually included in the special features is the one for Wild Tigers I Have Known. It’s hard to craft a more annoyingly pretentious trailer than this one, which touts how viewing the film will change your life, cure cancer, lower the federal deficit and get Gary Coleman laid. To make the trailer even worse, it boasts about Gus Van Sant’s producing credit. Perhaps studios are required to alert viewers to Van Sant’s influence in trailers these days, kind of like an emergency broadcast system to warn people of crap.

The special features also include the music video for Emily Jane’s song “Wild Tigers I Have Known.” The video’s visual style is just as interesting as the film’s and helps to liven up what could normally be considered a very boring premise, namely Emily Jane just sitting on her rear end while singing her song. A commentary by the director or cinematographer would have been greatly appreciated for a film like this one, but apparently it just wasn’t meant to be.

Overall: 7.0 out of 10