VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

We watched a few flashback movies this week, and this was the one we watched right after Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I thought it was quite comparable to Ferris Bueller, but for some reason, Carolyn disagreed.

Carolyn’s thinking was more along the lines that this movie was alright, but that not much happened plotwise. “It wasn’t particularly hilarious… It was decent, though.”

Basically, it was about one year in high school.  It follows kids around from the first day of school through the last day of school/graduation dance.  You have the hot senior who struggles with finding a good job, you have his sophomore sister struggling to lose her virginity, you have her friend who is dating an older guy, you have the guy who likes the sophomore but is too shy to make a move, you have his best friend who ends up sleeping with the sophomore, and then you have a stoner surfer dude who is barely related to the rest of the cast but is just thrown in so you can have a stoner surfer dude.  And the hardass teacher who just wants to get his class to learn American History, but thinks everyone is on dope.
There were conflicts (losing virginity, dealing with jerks who don’t call after you put out, other jerks who desert you when you need them, best friends sleeping with the girl you like, abortion, getting the girl, etc).
From the director of Clueless, and the writer of Vanilla Sky & Singles. David Lynch was the studio-chosen director, but he didn’t want to do a comedy.
With Sean Penn (Milk, 21 Grams), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Weeds, Road To Perdition, eXistenZ, The Hudsucker Proxy, Single White Female), Judge Reinhold (Stripes, Gremlins, Swing Vote, Arrested Development, he’the Honorable Judge Reinhold in both Arrested Development and Clerks:TAS), Robert Romanus (hey, he was his character from this movie, “Mike Damone”, in one episode of Family Guy! Other than that, he was in American Pie 7: The Book Of Love). Mr. Hand went on to be the only actor to reprise his role in the short-lived 7-episode “Fast Times” TV series.
AND NIC CAGE! NIC CAGE’S FIRST-EVER MOVIE! He has no speaking lines (except in the TV-only version) and is on-screen for only a few seconds. He is credited as Nicolas Coppola.

3 of the actors won Oscars for Best Actor in later movies.

Bonus points for featuring a copy of Artchur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End book, 14 clips of old-school videogames, and epilogues for the main characters’ ultimate fate after the movie ended. Unlike Carolyn, I think this was a great stoner high school comedy.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083929/combined

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.2/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, 7.9/10 IMDB.

I rated this a bit lower than Carolyn… Maybe it didn’t live up to my hyped up expectations. That is the problem with going back and watching old things. Nostalgia causes us to remember things as being better than they really were.

But this was still awesome. I had totally forgotten the context of “Bueller? Bueller?”.  And knowing the principal in the movie has now been arrested for child porn kind of adds an interesting flavor to his acting. This movie is an undeniable classic.  It still holds up.  Not so much of a party movie, but the execution of everything unfolding works out well.

Kid decides to skip school with his best friend and his girlfriend and have a Ferrari-ride caper around the city, while dodging his parents and principal. Sort of a predecessor to Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (there was an actual Ferris Bueller show that didn’t do as well as Parker Lewis Can’t Lose…. because the fact of the matter was that Parker Lewis was a better Ferris Bueller than the Ferris Bueller they had for the TV series.)

Starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck as the tightly-wound hypochondriac best friend (Star Trek 7, Speed, I Love You Beth Cooper, Twister, The Edge, eps of Mad About You, principal in The Happening); Mia Sara as the girlfriend (Harley Quinn from Birds Of Prey, Timecop); Ben Stein (famous role for him), Jeffrey Jones as the principal (Sleepy Hollow, 4 eps of Invader Zim, Justice League, Beetlejuice, The Devil’s Advocate), Jennifer Grey as the sister (Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn), Cindy Pickett as the mom (Sex And Death 101 — also as someone’s mother), Lyman Ward as the dad (Not Another Teen Movie), Edie McClurg as the principal’s secretary (Wreck-It Ralph, The Life & Times Of Tim, and of course, she was Mrs. Poole from Valerie/Valerie’s Family/The Hogans), and also a bit part from Charlie Sheen. I totally didn’t see Louie Anderson (Life With Louie), but he was in there too. I also didn’t notice Kristy Swanson (Buffy The Vampire Slayer [the movie], Hot Shots, 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag, Dude, Where’s My Car?)

“To produce the desired drugged-out effect for his role as the drug addict in the police station, Charlie Sheen stayed awake for more than 48 hours before the scene was shot.” Staying up for 48 hours and playing druggies is a gateway drug to being Charlie Sheen…

Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Ferris’s parents, married in real life after filming this movie. Awwwww.

 

Jeremy Turn3r: “It’s funny how, aside from this movie, Broderick has mostly made a career out of playing guileless, wide-eyed doofuses. Yet in this movie he’s motherfucking Machiavelli.”

Sheer Panic: “Ferris Bueller will always be a 10/10 for me.”

Soundwav: “I once read a comparison of FBDO to fight club that was amazing. That ferris only existed as a fantastical figment of an awkward boys mind to cope with an overbearing father and a lack of friends. I’d post a link if I wasn’t afk and hammered.”

J. Walter S: The Ferris Bueller Fight Club Theory

 

Carolyn: Heh, that’s very interesting.

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091042/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Living End (1992) [Gregg Araki]

Clio: 2/5 stars, 4/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 6.2/10 IMDB.

This is the last remaining Gregg Araki movie that we had not seen, which I am still able to obtain. I still can’t get a hold of “The Long Weekend (O’Despair) (1989)” and “Three Bewildered People in the Night (1987)”. So we’ve seen 8 out of 10 [not counting his MTV pilot as a movie].

Unfortunately, this early Araki work is lacking the directorial, surreal/psychedelic flair that he developed later on in his career. Visual-wise, it’s not as “fun” as his later work. However, bonus points for a 3 KMFDM songs and a Chemlab song.

I think maybe he realized his movies were too dark, brooding, and dare I say boring — so he threw in a lot of quirkiness to lighten the load a little bit. A little sugar to coat the bitter pill. And it works. He’s become one of my top 15 directors, and my favorite gay director (though I find his sexuality irrelevant, it does explain the gay focus of many of his movies).

I really like most of his movies, and this is the order I like them in: Smiley Face, Kaboom, Splendor, The Doom Generation, Mysterious Skin, Nowhere, Totally Fucked Up, The Living End (this one). So yeah, I’m a bit disappointed, but I knew this would happen, because Totally Fucked Up wasn’t that great either.

These early movies are some of the bleakest, most nihilistic, despair-ridden shit I’ve ever seen.

Plotwise, an HIV+ gay guy meets another HIV+ gay drifter homeless guy who ends up getting into some trouble. So the homeless guy convinces the somewhat tame guy to go on the run together.
You’d think with being on the run, that something would happen. No. Not much really happens. This story isn’t even really about the journey. There’s just not much that happens. I fell asleep repeatedly because it was some of the most boring shit I’ve ever seen.

The tame gay guy had a female best friend, who worried about him, and as a result, she ignored/was bitchy with her boyfriend and his needs. I guess if tame guy wasn’t gay, then they’d be a couple, so she probably took it hard because of that… But she’s barely in any scenes, so no…. There’s no romantic angle with her. There’s really not much to this movie besides nihilistic despair.

I’d recommend this for Gregg Araki completists only. Proceed with extreme caution.

Castwise, none of the actors are really in anything significant, EXCEPT Daisy of “Fern & Daisy”, who’s been in a LOT of movies. I still don’t remember her. And the “Twist Master” was in a lot of stuff too. But yea. For the most part, this movie is lacking any significant cast.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104745/combined

ANOTHER REVIEW HERE.

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Repo Man (1984)

Clio: 4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.7/10 IMDB.

Interesting movie about a punk who gets into the car repossession industry.  It was kind of random.  Guy stops punk on the street, gives him a line about having a pregnant wife and needing someone to drive the other car.  Next thing you know, hey, that was a lie, and you’re now a repo-man. You poured a beer on the floor of our office? You’re hired! Now let’s do some speed.  By the way… repo-men have rivals.  Who knew?

And oh…. There’s a $20K bounty on a Chevy Malibu that some underage chick says has the corpse of an alien in the trunk. But don’t actually look in the trunk. You will vaporize like a scene from The Day After (1983).

And what’s with the generic beer? White can with the word “beer” on it? THE EXACT SAME CAN was in The Living End (1992) (Gregg Araki) … I’m thinking Araki must be doing an homage to this movie.

P.S. Only movie I’ve ever seen a mosh pit to Circle Jerks in. Actually, the nerd guy in the convenience store who got his forehead price-tagged? He ended up JOINING the Circle Jerks after this movie! And he was originally hired as a production assistant. That’s quite a strange path from “guy who would have been in the credits of a movie I watched once” to “guy who played in a band and who’s audio will come out of my speakers on a weekly basis for the rest of my life”. Major bonus points for the soundtrack in general. He was also in another punk movie we watched a long time ago — That Darn Punk (2001). And oh, the actual Circle Jerks play a lounge band covering the Circle Jerks. Weird, meta shit!

Anyway… This was good. I don’t normally go for movies this old, but I do here. Thanks for the recommendation, Sean.

Starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton (We just saw him in Seven Psychopaths, he was also in The Avengers, Wild At Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me).
With Tracey Walter (City Slickers, Erin Brockovich).
The girl Olivia Barash went nowhere. She was in the sequel that finally came out 25 years later, which nobody really likes. But then again, a lot of people in this movie had shitty careers, but still got to be in the sequel.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087995/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Robot & Frank (2012)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 7.1/10 IMDB. [Odd–It’s rare that we rate lower than the general public…]

A major component in me wanting to see this movie was the technological interest. But obviously I knew it wasn’t going to be about the robot’s technology. The robot is practically a MacGuffin. It’s really about the human. It’s really about us: This movie is about how the people of the future–us–will interact with the A.I.-driven, seemingly-sentient future robots that will be taking care of us when we get old.

IMDB says it was a comedy, but it was more of a drama with an interesting premise. On the surface, a retired cat burglar’s kids become concerned about his deteriorating mental health, so the son purchases a robot caretaker for the father. Robo-friendship ensues. But can you really be friends with a robot? The robot actually has some very profound things to say, and exhibits a duality: Does it have a soul of sorts, or is it truly a mindless automaton? Determinism vs free will? Yea, some.

Some people have problems with this movie’s minor flaws. Some people think it’s brilliant and beautiful. Carolyn & I were somewhere in between.

With Frank Langella (Superman Returns), Jeremy Sisto (Billy from Six Feet Under), Susan Sarandon (Janet from Rocky Horror, and it was a coincidence that Brad was in another movie we watched this week…), James Marsden (Superman Returns, Scott Summers from the X-Men movies), Liv Tyler (as the daughter), and Peter Sarsgaard (Green Lantern (2011), Knight And Day, The Salton Sea) as the voice of the robot.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1990314/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: What’s Your Number? (2011)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

This was watched mostly because we are Anna Faris fans…We’ve watched 18 of her 35 movies. It was a fun movie, but once you get over the initial ride and look back on the movie, one realizes it wasn’t quite as good of a movie as how enjoyable it was to watch. This may be in part because we think Anna Faris is hot. Anyway, her character was kind of insane in this movie. And that was amusing.

However, despite all that, this boils down to basically being a cute movie that became pretty predictable, even for a rom-com..  It was more about the ride, than having a unique plot–that’s for sure.  It definitely could have been a lot funnier if it had been done right.

The plot is basically: Girl realizes she’s slept with a lot of guys, but there’s never been a Mr. Right.  She doesn’t want to increase the number of guys she’s slept with past 20 (because of a Woman’s Magazine article), so she decides [highlight for spoilers] to exclusively sleep with past ex-boyfriends in order to not increase that number, and see if their lives have changed for the better. [END SPOILERS]

It could have been better. But I don’t regret watching it. Laughs and hotties is sufficient.

Cast:
One of her love interests is Chris Evans (Captain America, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Fantastic 4, Not Another Teen Movie). He’s pretty prominent in this movie, playing a sleazy douchebag womanizer.
Anna Faris’s sister is Ari Graynor (Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, some eps of American Dad, 4 eps of The Sopranos).
Her mom is Blythe Danner (Meet The Fockers movies, TONS of other stuff).
Her dad is Ed Begley, Jr. (Pineapple Express, TONS of other stuff).
Ex-boyfriend 1 is Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes, Spock from new Star Trek).
“Disgusting Donald” is played by Chris Pratt, her real-life husband (!!).
The douchebag boss (Joel McHale) was in The Informant!, The Onion Movie, Spider-Man 2, Community, and wrote a season of The Soup.
There’s also bit appearances with Adam Sandberg and Aziz Ansari.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770703/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Miss Nobody (2010)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 5.3/10 IMDB.

Pretty funny! This is about as black comedy as you can get.

A movie about a kind of humble, shy secretary rising to power by accidentally becoming a serial killer. A series of unfortunate events. Gradual loss of morality. Shit gets insanely out of hand. And then a couple twists.

This is no masterpiece… And I feel like I’ve sort of watched similar plots in other movies before.  But it’s done well, it looks good, it’s fun to watch, and it’s unique, so there’s that.

Main character is Leslie Bibb (Sex & Death 101, Talladega Nights, Wristcutters:A Love Story, Iron Man 1 & 2, and of course one ep of Nip/Tuck), with a weird haircut, playing herself all shy and humble. Her boss, Brandon Routh, was Superman in Superman Returns. Barry Bostwick (Brad from Rocky Horror Picture Show) is in this as a preacher. Adam Goldberg (Dazed And Confused, Saving Private Ryan, A Beautiful Mind) is the cop — kind of an unlikely casting if you ask me. Missi Pyle (Visioneers, Harold & Kumar 2, Pretty Ugly People, Live!, Anchorman, Dodgeball, 50 First Dates, Big Fish, Galaxy Quest) is a prominent character. as a brunette — I had no clue how stunning she is. Usually prefer blondes. No longer sure about Missi. She’s got the mean-hot bitchy-hot look mastered.  Vivica Fox (Kill Bill, Batman & Idle Hands, Robin 1997) is in this movie, but then there’s also a character named Vivica Fox played by someone else. I’m so confused, IMDB. Halp.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1129427/