A film that comes highly recommended is Class Rank, a teen comedy about two ambitious outsiders named Bernard Flannigan (Skyler Gisondo) and Veronica Krauss (Olivia Holt) who plan to reform the school board system. Veronica is mortified that she’s rated #2 in her class, thus believing her dreams of attending Yale are shattered. She enlists Bernard to run for office and, if he’s elected, he could be the deciding vote to abolish the ranking system. Buoyed by Gisondo and Holt’s innate chemistry and some excellent work from its ensemble (including Bruce Dern as Bernard’s grandfather and Kathleen Chalfant as Dern’s potential love interest), Class Rank is a more than worthy watch.
“I’m really happy with the way it turned out,” said Gisondo, best known for his work on Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. “It’s a really wonderful, heartfelt movie. It certainly felt like it was from another era – (it was) almost an 80s movie just in the earnestness of the characters and the sincerity of it. I really think it’s a lovely little film.”
Gisondo also credits director Eric Stoltz, a filmmaker whose acting credits include the 80s flick Some Kind of Wonderful and Mask, for making Class Rank a memorable experience.“His notes and direction – it was never heavy handed,” said Gisondo. “It was always more open ended and he would just like swing by and drop an idea for you to mull over. I remember there was one time where there was this scene with me and Olivia and we’re in this field. It was this very sweet moment and I threw in something at the end. I don’t know – it was sort of silly. I was going more for the joke of the moment. He kinda strolled by and said, ‘Do you think Bernard has ever been this close to a girl before physically?’ I laughed and said ‘You’re right.’ He said ‘Okay’ and wandered off. And after that the scene took on a more intimate, vulnerable feeling.”
Along with Stoltz, Gisondo has a wonderful anecdote about working with Dern, an actor whose body of work includes The Driver, Last Man Standing, and Nebraska. Click on the media bar to hear Gisondo offer up his thoughts on Dern:
Class Rank is now playing in select theaters and is available On Demand and Digital.