* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Is Rusty James a misplaced [[Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye Holden Caulfield]] or a genuinely brilliant person whose intelligence is undermined by his relentless quest to be like his brother?
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Rusty James' NearDeathExperience.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The film features a stellar soundtrack by Stewart Copeland of ''Music/ThePolice''.
* EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory: The Motorcycle Boy is Jesus. Consider the final moments of the film, when [[spoiler: he [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifices]] himself]] allowing his brother to escape to California, and far away from the unnamed town. Or should I say limbo?
** However, in the book, Rusty James is arrested and unable to save the fish; they die on the floor.
* MomentOfAwesome: The Motorcycle Boy breaking every bone in a guy's body by ramming him with his motorbike.
* TearJerker
* VindicatedByHistory: The movie was mostly poorly received by audience and critics alike, so much that at its world premiere there were several walkouts and at the end of the screening, boos and catcalls. Still, it has been somewhat re-evaluated more recently, being a major influence on Gus Van Sant.
* {{Wangst}}