Review – Milk Money (1994)

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milk-money-5937387fdfd10Welcome to Beloved Coming-of-Age Week: Day 5. Yes, this is the last day to talk about coming-of-age films, and while I am glad to have done this week, I am also relieved to be at the end. I’m not always the biggest fans of these films, even though a good portion of these films were actually really good. That being said, this is the final film of the week. Next week, we’ll be doing Genius Week, which I’ll talk about five different films centered on brilliant minds, so look out for that. Today, we talk about Milk Money, a film I have been trying to find for years…but I couldn’t recall the title. Well, I’ve got the title, and here we go.

Milk Money centers around a group of young male friends who want collect money to go to a city in order to see a woman naked for the first time ever. Never did one of them imagine that they’d find a potential love interest for his lonely father at home. So, she is brought to their home following a mysterious death of her pimp – and she has to keep a low profile to stay hidden from the thugs that believe she stole her pimp’s money. While there, she does begin to fall for the father.

I’ll tell you really quick why I’ve been looking for this movie. When preparing for this coming-of-age week, I knew Stand By Me was going to be among the mix. For a long time, I’ve been looking for something I could only define as the “naked lady” version of Stand by Me. While the boys on the train tracks are looking for a missing dead body, these boys in another state are looking for a naked woman…that’s how I always saw it, but I could never find the movie. That being said, this movie is both exactly how I remember it…and exactly the opposite. I remember the overall goal as finding the woman – but that was just the introduction – the whole matchmaking thing was the inciting incident and so-forth, which was an interesting change for me – a good change.

I was also unsure if you could even consider this a coming-of-age film from memory, especially since it seemed to be a random comedy about a matchmaking kid. Interestingly enough, there is a deeper theme in the mix for the boys – and it has everything to do with growing up and learning about sex and how our curiosities can wander and dart around quite frequently, which I found really refreshing. This film was both coming-of-age…and a romantic comedy.

However, let’s break the movie down bit-by-bit and see where it went right and wrong.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2

First off, we have the people score, which got a pretty decent score. Being somewhat of a family film, the acting was not the best. I think, for the most part, the kids could’ve benefited from a little more practice in that area. The characters were all pretty memorable and diverse and I couldn’t really see myself casting anyone else in these roles. That being said, I hardly think there were enough characters to deep importance among them. You had the girl, the dad, the son, and the evil henchman – those were all important, but you also had a lot of useless characters as well, which hurts this subcategory. Finally, I would definitely say that all of the characters had a really strong chemistry with one another.

WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 1|Story – 2|Origianality – 2|Interesting – 2

Alright, so the writing score also got a pretty decent score. The dialogue wasn’t really all that memorable, though, and it had a problem with the film’s balance. It had one too many storylines going on at once. You had the kids’ sexuality storyline that continues throughout the film, you have the rom-com storyline, which takes up most of the film as well, and then you have the kids’ romantic interests, which wasn’t important, and the entire henchmen coming after her thing tipped it over the edge. It’s a pretty interesting story, though, one that I can’t say I’ve really seen anywhere before. We’ve seen matchmaking films before, but the theme here was honestly pretty good.

BTS SCORE – 5/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1

Now, as you can see, the BTS score suffered a little bit, that’s because everything here was mostly unsurprising and typical. Things like the visuals, directing, and editing didn’t seem to have any real challenges there, and just seemed to exist normally. Because I remembered this a little bit different, I was my own source of advertisement, in which I falsely advertised it to myself. Finally, there was nothing about the music that really called out to me. This entire category was as blatantly basic as you can get.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2

Now, here’s a score that actually got a perfect score. The introduction got us acquainted with the world the kids were in and what they were going to do. It even got us acquainted with Ed Harris’s character. At that point, we get the inciting incident when the kids go look for the naked lady and ultimately bring her home. The obstacles are all very clear since we had henchmen heading that way, and given her occupation, she sticks out like a sore thumb for people who went into business with her in the past. The climax is pretty satisfying, and there is definitely a returning to a new norm.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 5/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience In – 1

Next, we ask ourselves how entertaining it is in general, right, because that’s actually a really important part in film and critics should take that into consideration. It was definitely rewatchable, I’m living proof. It’s also a lot of fun to watch in general. I don’t think I’ll ever buy or own this film, and I don’t really care to talk to people about it, but it does sometimes suck the audience in, but only sometimes. Take that as you will.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 35/50
Coming-of-Age – 10|Comedy – 5|Romance – 10|Stand by Me – 0|Halfway Decent – 10

Now, onto the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the movie. First of all, how is it as a coming-of-age film? Weirdly enough, I wasn’t really expecting a true coming-of-age film, and maybe that’s not what it is, but the heart of a good coming-of-age film is certainly there, it just also has an interesting plot to coincide with that. How was the comedy? Well, even though it’s listed as a rom-com, you might not always click with the jokes. Some of them are aged a bit with pop culture references you may not actually understand. The romance, on the other hand, was pretty good. It had the chemistry between the dad and the girl, but it also had the friendships between the kids and their relationship with the woman. Next, I had placed similarities between this and Stand by Me in my mind, and the truth is…that was a poor memory on my part, so no points there. Finally, was it halfway decent? Actually, it was, very much so.

TOTAL – 71/100

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