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'Brick' Takes a Clever Look at Suburban Adolescence

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Our critic, Bob Mondello, was skeptical, but, eventually, he was won over.

BOB MONDELLO: As with any good noir film, we begin with a corpse, blonde, attractive, lying in a storm drain, except that it's not night or raining or glistening with neon. Everything is bright and suburban, and the blonde, Emily, is a teenager. So is her ex-boyfriend, Brendan, who tries, with a nerdy high-school buddy, to puzzle out what she was trying to tell him in her last phone call.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRICK)

JOSEPH GORDON: Unidentified Man: Brick?

LEVITT: Unidentified Man: Or bad brick?

LEVITT: Unidentified Man: Tug?

LEVITT: Unidentified Man: Por frisco?

LEVITT: Unidentified Man: Pin?

LEVITT: END SOUNDBITE

MONDELLO: Unidentified Man: Dope-runner, right?

LEVITT: Big time.

BLOCK: END SOUNDBITE

MONDELLO: START MOVIE CLIP

BLOCK: I thought we had orange juice, Brendan. I'm sorry. How about some Tang? No, that's more like soda, isn't it?

LEVITT: Unidentified Woman: Oh, wait a minute. We have apple juice here if you'd like that.

LEVITT: Unidentified Woman: It's country style.

LEVITT: Unidentified Woman: And I'll even give it to you in a little country glass. How about that? Okay, well, I'm going to go sit in the other room.

LUKAS HAAS: END SOUNDBITE

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.