Tatanka Means Rises to Next Level With 'Tiger Eyes'
By Valerie TalimanThe film, based on the 1981 bestseller, centers on 17-year-old Davey (played by Gossip Girl’s Willa Holland) who is coping with the violent death of her father while helping her depressed mother raise her younger brother. Struggling with grief, they move to New Mexico, where Davey meets Wolf while exploring canyons.
In his glowing review of the film, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine describes Means as the “gamechanger.”
Travers writes: “Everything is being thrown at Davey at once, a new life, a new school, a new friend in Jane, a burgeoning alcoholic played wonderfully by Elise Eberle. The gamechanger for Davey is meeting Martin (Tatanka Means), a Native American known as Wolf. He calls her Tiger. And their romantic connection is handled with rare delicacy by both actors. Wolf is also dealing with sorrow, his father Willie is battling cancer in a local hospital. That Willie is played by Russell Means, the noted political activist and Tatanka's real-life father, brings their scenes together a touching gravity. That Russell Means died shortly after filming is beyond reckoning.”
Tiger Eyes was directed by Judy Blume’s son, Lawrence, 49, who co-wrote the script with his mother. They spent 23 days shooting on location near Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Judy Blume once lived.
When asked how they selected Means for the role of Wolf, Lawrence Blume said, “Our casting director said she knew of a young actor who might be great for the part. We brought him in for an audition and were just blown away. Judy and I looked at each other as soon as he finished reading and said 'That’s Wolf!'"
Sounds good, but not everyone agrees:
By Jessica ShawLet me preface this slam by apologizing to both my 9-year-old self who loved the coming-of-age novel on which this wreck was based, and to Judy Blume, the high priestess of pubescent Jersey girls who authored said teen masterpiece. As at least half the women you know could tell you, Tiger Eyes tells the story of Davey (Arrow’s Willa Holland, making the best of it), who moves to New Mexico with her basket case of a mother (Felicity’s Amy Jo Johnson) after her father is murdered and falls for a nature boy named Wolf (Tatanka Means, lacking one iota of chemistry with his costar). Sadly, this adaptation by first time director Lawrence Blume (yes, Judy's son, in case you were wondering how he landed such a plum gig) is laughably, amateurishly, and Hallmark-Movie-Channel bad. I lost count of how many times poor Holland was forced to do her best pensive-stare-into-the-New-Mexico-yonder. Making matters worse, some of the more daring storylines from when the novel was published back in 1981 (a high school girl getting drunk at school!) come off like a cheesy afterschool special. Best to forget the movie version exists and keep your happy childhood memories intact. C–
Comment: For more on the subject, see Tatanka Means in Banshee
and From More than Frybread to Tiger Eyes
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