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Lives of
Alter Boys


movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)

NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by oddesttree who says..."This movie is funny, but it's definitely of the dark, wry humor. Everyone has issues (the self-absorbed Mimi, the clockwork D.H., the cheerfully soulless Oliver, the anguished Igby), but in the end there's hope that at least Igby is striking out in his own way. As cliche as it is to compare Igby Goes Down to this generation's Catcher in the Rye, I think I would probably sum it up as such."

This movie starts in Mimi's (Susan Sarandon) bedroom, where she is in bed, snoring loudly, while her sons Oliver (Ryan Phillipe) and Igby (Kieran Caulkin) look on. They wait, and when she continues to snore, Oliver gets a bag from his coat pocket and puts it over her head, then wrap a scarf around her neck. She wakes, sucks in the bag, gasps, and sucks in the bag. A spoon falls onto the carpet.

It's then a flashback to Igby's childhood in the Slocumb household. They're very well-off, but it's clearly dysfunctional: his parents despise each other, and his father is gradually losing his mind. (He will later be in a mental institution.)

Then we see Igby as a teenager, and how he's been kicked out of yet another private East-coast academy. Mimi berates him and beats him in the hallway, yelling about why he can't be like his brother Oliver, a well-behaved and ambitious college student at Columbia, who is watching on with cool detachment. Igby is then sent to military school, where he still has easy access to pot and where he is hazed by classmates who beat him ("Igby... goes down.) He's not reformed, although at a dinner with his mother, his brother, and his godfather D.H. (Jeff Goldblum), he pretends to be by speaking in clipped, correct phrases and using military terms. They accept his transformation, and D.H. offers Igby a job for the summer, and Igby pries an invitation to D.H.'s Hampton residence on weekends. But back at home, Igby steals his mother's credit card, and escapes to the O'Hare Hilton where he is promptly caught the next morning. Igby is talking to a psychologist at school, who hits him when Igby puts down the counselor's credentials.

Mimi is now in the hospital for some tests, where she exchanges some cutting words with the lisping hospital intern when he cautions her about her abusing prescription drug use. She's getting a masectomy, and while D.H. relates this to Igby, all he asks about is if D.H.'s house is on the beach. As promised, D.H. takes Igby into the city, and speaks to him in the car of how the world should be run by contracts, as it outlines relationships and makes things easier. Igby signs a contract.

Meanwhile, Mimi is throwing up in the bathroom from chemo, with Oliver waiting to hand her a towel. He's an obedient son but fastidious and often cold, and is the one that she tells her plans to, and these plans mostly regard Igby's admission into another school (this time, St. Anthony's.) It's not a secret that Igby despises his mother, and it seems kind of funny that Mimi returns the regard.

Igby's job for D.H. is to remodel one of his properties, a studio in New York City that's for Rachel (Amanda Peet), an artist who also happens to be D.H.'s mistress. Igby is sexually attracted to Rachel, and can't stop looking at her while she's walking around, critiquing the place.

Then Igby's off to the Hamtpons, where he's greeted by a crowd of wealthy and (mostly) beautiful people, and he's looking around for Rachel but instead finds Suki (a Claire Danes I hadn't recognized until reading the credits), an aid for the caterer , who brushes him off. Later, inside the house, Igby finds Rachel and asks her for a cigarette, which his brother Oliver would walk up and throw into Igby's own drink. D.H.'s oblivious and chattery wife Bunny is then introduced (by D.H., no less) to Rachel, and before anything disruptive could happen, D.H. rushes Bunny away, and because Rachel wanted to spite D.H., she gives him her phone number and tells him he can come visit her anytime.

Igby is escorted back to military school as the fall semester starts, but he runs away by telling the chauffeur that it is Mimi's birthday (which it was) and that he needed to buy a present for her. He runs away to Rachel's place and meets Rachel's artist friend, Russel; she's not very happy to see him, and tells him that he may stay in secret but only for a couple of days, and that there's a key outside on the window ledge but it's D.H.'s key, and it must be there when D.H. looks for it. He and Rachel eventually have sex.

One day on the street he meets up with Suki, who lures him to the park with some pot where they exchange philosophies. A man from Igby's former military school comes to look for him, but he's funnily turned away by a flamboyent Russel. By this time, Suki and Igby have a semi friendship, where they meet at a diner and have ice cream; he wants to escape, perhaps by joining the Peace Corps, but Suki tells him that he needs three years of college to join and he hasn't even graduated from high school yet. She expresses interest that wherever he goes, she will accompany him. They return back to Rachel's place, but D.H. is there. It's a very tense atmosphere; he hadn't known that Igby was staying there, and D.H. gives an ugly little "well, well" laugh and pulls out some money for Igby before he leaves. Rachel is angry that Igby had shown up, and when he cracks that perhaps this month she'll have to pay her bills, she beats him before she runs after D.H. Suki comes in and finds Igby hurt, and takes care of him when they start kissing and one thing led to another.

Igby recounts a story to Suki, of when he was little and brushing his teeth in the bathroom; his father comes in, and steps fully dressed into the shower; cries, and breaks the glass, and while blood is all over the ground and him, his father says, "I just feel this great, great pressure upon me..."

One morning at Rachel's apartment, the two wake up to Oliver standing over them. Oliver informs Igby that Mimi is coming to the city next weekend, but Igby retorts that he's taking his GED before that. Through some manuvering reminiscent of his role in Cruel Intentions, Oliver escorts Suki home, where he relates some dysfunctional family stories, the story of Igby's name, and D.H.'s talent at making wealth but not being exactly a passionate human being, and seduces Suki at the same time. Another scene is Rachel grooming herself for a meeting with D.H.; it's a scene without words, just music, as she dresses in front of Russel and Igby in a demure white outfit, and meets D.H. in a restaurant where after she sits down, he picks up his coat and in a disgusted huff, leaves.

Igby and Suki go to the site of Igby's GED exam, where he is angry with her for befriending Oliver, and she defends herself in that they're closer in age, and share the same interests, etc. Mimi visits for the weekend as promised, and Igby informs her that he wants his inheritance now, as his father had provided Oliver; but Mimi tells him that his father had not done the same for Igby, so in truth Igby has no money at all. She then relates that she'd had dinner with Oliver and his "city" girlfriend (apparently he's got a couple scattered around), whom Igby realizes to be Suki. Going home, Igby hears a message from Russell that warns Rachel that the "recent supply" was tainted; true enough, Rachel had already taken the drugs and was OD'ed on her bed. He calls D.H., who comes to the hospital and takes Igby back to Rachel's; while Igby is groping for the key on the window ledge as D.H. is talking of Igby's parents' marriage and repeatedly calling him "my boy", D.H. seems overtaken by some rage and beats him up. The next morning, Oliver patches Igby up, and Igby runs to Suki's and tells her that they have to leave the East immediately to their Californian adventure. She doesn't open the door, but tell him that while they're friends, she won't go with him; they both sit on their opposite sides and cry. Oliver comes out of Suki's, and tells Igby that he is a glutton for punishment. Igby leaves to Russell's, where he is given a job as a drug dealer. He wakes up one morning to have Russell tell him that Mimi is dying, and that Oliver had left a ticket for Igby to go home. He find Rachel passed out in the bathroom; she's clearly ill and high, and still in love with D.H.; Igby puts her in the tub, and she wakes up to tell him, "Oh, Igby, your mom..." before she passes out again. Igby goes back to Mimi's.

The scene is once again Mimi's bedroom, where she's tucked in bed. Her sons and her talk, and Mimi gives Igby a check and reveals glibly that D.H. is Igby's real father, but this news is relatively accepted by all without fuss. Oliver picks up a bowl and spoon, and he tells her curtly, "Make sure you eat it all, I don't want to do it again." He then proceeds to feed her poison, while Igby watches;

she passes out, and they both watch her as the clock ticks.

It's back to the beginning. Mimi's face is blue, and they take the bag off her head. Igby climbs on the bed, and sobs over his mother's corpse; he pounds it as well, and tells her to wake up. However, she's dead, and Igby makes some wickedly funny telephone calls to his relatives: "Hello, Aunt Mary? It's Igby. Yes, yes, I'm sure she would like to, but you see, she's dead" and he hangs up. Igby doesn't plan stick around to attend the funeral, but instead tells Oliver that he's got a ticket to California, and Oliver should understand. They have an awkward parting and when Igby hugs Oliver, his glass slips from his fingers and his Bloody Mary-ish type drink shatters (in fact, if pills and drugs are everyone's vices, alcohol is Oliver's addiction as he is rarely without a drink.) We see Mimi's funeral, and how Igby did show up to stand in the back pews; he visits his father in the asylum, and kisses him on the forehead before he is shown, flying on an airplane.


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