In 1998, I thought “Disturbing Behavior” was an elite portrayal of high school as a conformity factory, as that concept was a new discovery for me at the time. While the theme is now old hat, the movie still makes me smile as it meets at the intersection of blunt metaphor and derivative sci-fi warning but comes off as a dark comedy. It features a dizzying variety of performances in a tight 84 minutes, cut down by the studio into almost a trailer of itself. It’s a crystallization of 1998 (flannel), yet it exists in a parallel reality (“razor”). It’s not objectively great – and I can see why some people hate it — but it’s so fun to watch.
Roswell’s” Max and Liz are my favorite TV couple of the “meant to be together” type. There’s admittedly something fantastical, idealistic and possibly even unhealthy about fixating on this type of love. But it’s so beautifully portrayed thanks to the chemistry between shy starman Max (Jason Behr) and journal-writing girl-next-door Liz (Shiri Appleby) that I allow myself this one diversion into the idea of soulmates.
“Disturbing Behavior” – This is the pleasant surprise of the summer movie season. David Nutter’s film is a powerful treatise on a major problem in society and, specifically, high school: The expectation that everyone conform to the arbitrary rules of the establishment. The film begins as a new student (James Marsden) comes to Cradle Bay Island and befriends two classmates (Nick Stahl and Katie Holmes) who also don’t “fit in.” They soon discover that if you’re not “perfect,” you will be, thanks to Frankenstein-like experimentation on the part of the twisted school counselor. The story may seem a little farfetched, but it works because it is rooted in reality. Observe the final scene and ask yourself what the film is saying about society. “Disturbing Behavior” is a chilling, insightful movie. A+
– John Hansen, NDSU Spectrum, Sept. 1, 1998