When a movie is just like every other movie of its type, it really has to be done well to be tolerable.
In this case, "Pieces of April," written and directed by Peter Hedges and released in 2003 (which was just broadcast on PBS, Channel 13) hits a lot of notes of a young indie director's movie:
Hot girl in counter-cultural clothing and makeup - check.
On-location shooting - check.
Estranged family that doesn't understand her - check.
Arguments between mom and dad - check.
Road trip - check.
Oddball urban characters - check.
Rough, trash-strewn, graffiti-covered urban landscape - check.
Generally quiet soundscape - check.
Girl breaks down in tears - check.
Bikers - check.
Reconciliation with family at the end - check.
It was a story of a young woman (Katie Holmes) living in an inner-city neighborhood with her boyfriend (Derek Luke) preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her family. The family happened to include her terminally-ill mom (Patricia Clarkson), and this was the first time that the girl had ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner.
This film proved that just because a film is a lot like many other films doesn't mean it can't be very good.
"The Patriot," on the other hand...