The deserving flick is Brick. The movie that has restored my faith in the movies, after a long, cold season. The concept is classic hard-boiled film noir, set in that more dangerous of places, high school. It sounds a little off at first, but once you get in it, who makes a better femme fatal than the head cheerleader?
The hero of Brick, Brendan Frye, is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who you will not recognize as the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun. He may not look like much, but the ice-cool blood of Sam Spade runs through his veins. This is a guy who will face down a pack of stoners with the line
"You wanna take a swing at me, hash-head? Huh? I got all five senses and I slept last night. That puts me six up on the lot of you."
You wish you were this cool in high school. You will not be able to look away as he tears through the clicks of his school, in a quest to out the people behind the murder of his ex-girlfriend and the people behind them. Like any good noir hero, he will beat-on and be beaten-on, and talk to lovely women who aren’t to be trusted. And the talking is great. This movie has it own slang, some of which I've heard before like "Duck Soup" for easy and "gat" for gun but also some stuff I think the film invented like "scape" for patsy (i.e. scapegoat) and "heel" for walking away. They hand out a little glossary on your way into the theater, just to help you keep up. There are also exchanges like this between the Brendan and Ass. VP Gary Trueman, who plays the flat-foot to Brendan's gumshoe:
Assistant VP Gary Trueman: You've helped this office out before.
Brendan Frye: No, I gave you Jerr to see him eaten, not to see you fed.
Trueman: Fine. And very well put.
Brendan: Accelerated English, Mrs. Kasprzyk.
Trueman: Tough teacher?
Brendan: Tough but fair.
Great stuff. Go see it if you can.