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    Standing By Yourself

    No kidding

    In "Standing By Yourself," an upstate New York teenager turns the camera on himself and his buddies for a close-up look at their banal and ultimately sad daily existence.


    Josh Koury has made one of the most depressing movies of the year. And I'm not trying to say that in a bad way — "Standing By Yourself" is a really worthwhile hourlong documentary about a group of teenagers killing time in Clinton and Utica, New York. But the bleakness of their lives is only amplified by their very ordinariness. It's not a story of stunning revelations or catastrophic doom — it's just a story about going nowhere.

    Produced by: Josh Koury.
    Featuring: Josh Siegfried, Adam Koury, Helen Koury, Roselyn Siegfried, Richard Koury Sr., Richard Koury Jr., Brandon Shorey, Dick Hunk, J.J. Angerosa, Heather Snoggle, Roger Bitteaker, Danielle Bookus, Dan English, Dave Teeple, Dave Goodfriend, Laura Ray, Jules..
    Koury turned a camera on himself and his pals driving around, hanging out in parking lots, drinking, smoking, popping pills and acting like idiots. When there's no booze, they "Tussin" — i.e., down a bottle of cough medicine for its measly alcohol content. This is not groundbreaking subject matter, exactly, but it isn't really being offered as a juvenile-delinquency expose — just a close-up chronicle of a few kids' daily life.

    Along the way, we get a good look at Koury's buddy Josh Siegfried, who's the only one of these kids who's going somewhere — down. At the beginning of the film he's a cheeky kid out for fun with his friends. After spending a little time in jail, he returns with a mohawk, a casually racist attitude, and a more serious determination to screw up. By the end, he's in a perpetual daze, and all he can talk about is taking drugs and getting more drugs. The humanity is draining out of him by the day. I saw the same kind of zombification happen to plenty of kids growing up in a place far from Clinton, N.Y., and "Standing By Yourself" just shows one of these extremely sad stories from a best-friend's-eye view. It made my heart ache.

    MAY 15, 2002

    Reader comments on Standing By Yourself:

  • [no subject]   from Dave, Aug 29, 2002
  • Re: [no subject]   from heather "snoggle", Oct 7, 2002
  • josh koury is lame as hell   from sarah siegfried, Feb 20, 2003
  • Josh and Brandon.   from sara a., Jul 2, 2003
  • [no subject]   from william seth, Sep 1, 2005
  • A quick note   from Josh, Oct 30, 2006

  • Post a comment on "Standing By Yourself"