Dorian's Movie Reviews

Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.  
Scale 1 - 5
Riding In Cars With Boys
2001, Columbia
Directed by Penny Marshall
Screenplay by Morgan Upton Ward
Based on a book by Beverly Donofrio


Life is what happens while you are making other plans. Beverly Donofrio (Drew Barrymore) wants to go to college and make something of herself, a writer, but she makes a tragic mistake early in her life. She gets pregnant, and like most women in her position in the 1960s, to preserve her family's sanity she has to drop out of high school and marry a man who she knows is not the right man. It is a mistake that binds her to a town she doesn't like, jobs she hates, a man she doesn't truly love, and a child who prevents her from even finishing high school.

With indominatable determination, Bev strives hard to finish her education and reach her goal, only to have life throw obstacle after obstacle at her. But she perseveres in spite of it all. Finally Bev and her son, and then Bev and her father come face to face with all of their resentments. This is a comedy in the classical sense in that it is a drama in which we laugh at our plight.

We are always working on the "seam side" of the quilt of our life and rarely get a chance to see the beautiful picture on the other side. This true story of the first 35 years of Bev Donofrio's life shows that the things that we resent, the obstacles and people (family) that seem to stand in our way, turn out to be the very things that make us the people we are. Experience makes us who we are, and writers write about experience.

The 1960s settings are as very real as the action. The musical selections from the periods fit well. The casting was right on target, with superb actors bringing the characters to life. Steve Zahn delivered a very believable Ray Hasek, Bev's husband. Director Penny Marshall delivered a story that communicated well.

I give this well put together movie four spotlights out of a possible five for the writing, acting, directing, production design (sets), music, characterization, depth of plot, cinematography, editing, and casting. It carries a PG-13 rating for thematic elements, drug and sexual content. . . Enjoy!

- Dorian


  • 5 Spotlights: The best of movie making, well worth seeing
  • 4 Spotlights: Good movie for the genre; may have minor technical or story problems but they hardly harm the enjoyment; clearly worth seeing; (most movies)
  • 3 Spotlights: Not bad, but has problems - worth seeing
  • 2 Spotlights: Caution - a "B" movie, probably will appeal only to some
  • 1 Spotlight: Caution - not recommended for any audience (will probably never be given)

Note: No half spotlights are given.

My reviews are not based much on my personal taste, or any standard besides entertainment value. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.

- Dorian Scott Cole

Inevitable Legal Disclaimer: The views expressed on this page are only opinions and should be regarded as opinions by the reader.

Other distribution restrictions: None

Main Page