X-Men: First Class) is DJ Sparks, a popular DJ in one of New York City's premiere clubs. He spins the beats and has a bright future ahead of him in the world of music because of his talents. So it's unfortunate when all of that comes to a pause after a drug overdose lands him in the hospital. Because of his prior drug infractions and because he's a minor, the courts send him to live with his estranged father (Tom Everett Scott) in North Dakota for 12 months of court ordered drug rehabilitation and counseling. In a small army-oriented town, Josh ends up being the DJ for the not-so-great dance team, led by Mary (Kherington Payne of Fame), whose mom (Laura Dern) is psychologically broken after her son's death, and forms a bond with Alex (Josh Duhamel), Josh's soccer-obsessed therapist.
From the outside, Bravetown seems like it's going to be a rough watch, but it comes as a surprise that it isn’t. We start off in a club and veer off into some very different territory. The atmosphere changes and it becomes more subtle, and this is probably due to the change in shift of Lucas Till’s character and the altered direction of the story. This is Daniel Duran’s directorial debut and for a first-time director, he does a pretty good job of keeping the film grounded and focused on the characters, not trying anything too fancy style-wise his first time around and this works just fine.
Ultimately, however, Bravetown is one of those films that can easily be watched from the comfort of one’s home. It has a lot of heart, and while it sometimes trips trying to maintain its fluidity as a drama, the characters (helped by a great cast) and the film’s down-to-earth atmosphere keeps it floating. It has heartwarming moments and interesting back-and-forth between characters, while keeping its story simple, if a little on the sappy side in the end. Not a bad start to Duran’s directing career.
Release Date: May 8, 2015 | Director: Daniel Duran | Screenwriter: Oscar Orlando Torres | Cast: Lucas Till, Josh Duhamel, Laura Dern, Kherington Payne, Maria Bello, Jae Head, Tom Everett Scott | Genre: Drama | MPAA Rating: R for some language, drug use, and brief sexuality