Okay, there's probably going to be no better time to bring this up. Jack is the scrawniest, most underdeveloped fifteen-year-old you've ever seen. At first, I thought I had just been ruined by seeing too many twenty-five-year-olds playing high-school kids. But then I did a little research, and I discovered that Anton Yelchin, the actor playing Jack, was actually thirteen going on fourteen when they were shooting the film. Whereas Jack the character is supposed to be fifteen going on sixteen. Two years shouldn't make that much of a difference -- but they really do, especially when that thirteen-year-old looks like he barely knows what puberty is. And there are some scenes in the movie where the difference is really perceptible.
Like this one. Max and Jack walk into the kitchen at Max's house. Max's mother and little brother are there. Max's mother turns around and greets them. Jack V.O.: "When Mrs. Berka smiled at me, I think I turned beet red. I would have stared at her if only I could have figured out how to do it without getting caught." Except that doesn't seem to stop him, because he gapes at her like a dying fish. I'm sorry, but seeing a barely pubescent boy have MILF fantasies about a grown woman (however attractive she may be) makes me feel very dirty. And not in a good way. It's even worse when the alleged MILF stares right back at him, as Mrs. Berka does in this scene. Mrs. Berka offers snacks to Jack and Max, but they decide to escape the impending Dr. Seuss rhyme-scheme, and walk down the hall.
Cut to a scale model of some kind of rural village, with miniature explosions going off among the thatched cottages. Jack and Max are looking on, wearing goggles. There's a model of a helicopter suspended over the village. Oh my God. They're playing "blow up the Vietnamese village." This is so fucking twisted, never mind the fact that in 1982, fifteen-year-old boys barely knew what Vietnam was. Do you think in ten years kids will be playing Abu Ghraib? Max invites Jack to drop a bomb. "No, Max. I outgrew the impulse to blow things up about two years ago. I'm just waiting for you to catch up." Max sets off a particularly large and smoky explosion, explaining "napalm." I think I'm going to be sick.
The front steps of the Berka homestead. Mr. Berka pulls up, and is met by the entire family (plus Jack) at the front door. Mrs. Berka offers to get Mr. Berka a beer, while Max and Mr. Berka toss around a football. Mr. Berka runs into the garbage cans. Mrs. Berka returns with the beer, and after he kisses her, Mr. Berka asks her, "Why are the garbage cans still here? How many times have I asked you to bring them out back?" You have exactly three guesses to figure out where this relationship is going. But if you need more than one, I'll be deeply ashamed to have known you. Jack leaves to get ready for dinner with Dad.