Teenage Wasteland

High school and hyperbole go hand in hand. In describing grades 9 through 12, most people declare them the “greatest years of my life!” or “four years of living hell!” Perhaps, that’s why it’s so hard – though dozens of filmmakers try each year -- to depict high school on the big screen. There’s little room for subtlety, for finding middle ground.

In 2006, first-time director Jordan Albertsen took a stab at the genre with The Standard, a little-known indie that somewhat successfully navigated the festival rounds but failed to latch onto a distributor. The film landed a Best Director award for Albertsen at the 2007 Phoenix Film Festival, and returns to the Valley.

The Standard features Alex Frost of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant (Frost bears more than a passing resemblance to high-school-movie staple John Cusack, by the way) as a senior named Dylan, who’s facing all the pressures that come after school (college, responsibility, real life) while dealing with all the pressures in school (sex, drugs, kids with guns).

Mon., March 31, 7 p.m., 2008