The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete tells the story of Mister (Skylan Brooks), 13, a boy who just failed the eighth grade. His mother (Jennifer Hudson) is a junkie who spends all their money on drugs. There’s hardly anything to eat at home. She’s also taken in Pete (Ethan Dizon), a nine-year-old Korean boy. At first, Mister resents the younger boy’s intrusion, but when his mother is arrested – she also sells drugs and works as a prostitute – and he and Pete escape authorities, he begins to appreciate Pete’s company. Especially when he finds out that not only does Pete’s junkie mother abuse and neglect him, but he’s also abused by a neighbor.
Following the arrest, the two boys go back to the apartment, where they try to make do with what little food they have, but eventually, Mister comes up with an idea to get more food. That doesn’t go well, but Mister has another plan. He has a flyer about TV auditions being held on August 7 in Beverly Hills. He practices a monologue and is certain he’ll be chosen. He’s so sure of it that he tells everyone he’s moving to Beverly Hills.
When Mister finds out his mother has been released, but hasn’t returned home, he feels shocked and hurt at first, but finally goes looking for her. He gets little help and no sympathy from the deadbeats, drug dealers and junkies that surround him. With the authorities constantly after him to put him in juvenile detention, he begins to realize, little by little, that he can’t survive on his own. That’s when the story takes an unexpected turn.
The boys in the movie are perfectly cast – Skylan Brooks is a sullen Mister, angry about the cards life has dealt him. He plays Mister to perfection, just as you would imagine a boy in that situation would act – angry, but also hurt and afraid. Pete, played by Ethan Dizon, is a little boy who just wants to get along with people and live a happy life without having to resort to crime to survive. Despite his troubled history, he’s an upbeat, friendly little kid. He looks up to Mister and tries not to be a burden on him. Ethan plays him with an innocence that makes him lovable. It’s hard not to feel enormous empathy for these two boys.
Although Jennifer Hudson doesn’t have a lot of onscreen time, her performance is pitch perfect as a woman who needs drugs and does terrible things to survive, but has a big heart. She hates what she’s become and she tries to do what’s best for her son.
The extras on the DVD include an interesting “Rehearsal to Scene” comparison of Skylan rehearsing his scenes with crew members standing in as his co-stars, then each actual scene from the movie follows. It’s one of the best extras on a DVD I’ve ever seen and perfect for people who are curious about the moviemaking process. The deleted scenes are fantastic too, because it gives you a look at what happened to two characters – especially one main one, whose future is left up in the air in the final cut of the film. The deleted scenes tell you what happens to him and makes for a more satisfying ending. Other extras include “Bootcamp – Skateboard Instruction Video” in which we see Skylan learning to skateboard for the movie and “Bootcamp – Drug Counselor Character Research.” Other DVDs releasing this week include: The Art of the Steal, The Human Scale and The Banshee Chapter. ~Alexandra Heilbron