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: Confessions Of A Sociopathic Social Climber (2005) (TV)

Jennifer Love Hewitt in her bra a lot. Now learn to hate her guts. That’s basically the gist of the movie.

Clint: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 4.8/10 IMDB.

Yea… This just wasn’t that great.

I kinda didn’t catch that it was a Made-For-TV movie. Oops.

We only managed to watch this via random selection from unwatched movies, as it was not something we’d seek out directly.

You build a good hate for her. You get to stare at her hotness a lot. She is a total bitch. A real piece of shit. There are a few laughs, but ultimately it has to kind of get sappy.

This movie was poorly written too. That was apparent in the first 2 minutes.

However, the clumsiness kind of made it have a quirky, fun feel at times. Some of the supporting characters were more interesting than the main characters. And JLH was freaking hot in this, but maybe that’s just me.

Too bad she was such a total bitch in this movie.. But, that’s kind of the point. I was definitely reminded of someone when watching this…

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420560/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Gridlock’d (1997)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

So…. first movie we watch this year opens with a New Year’s Eve countdown… What are the odds of that? Compute them for me, please.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  I thought this was going to be more of a caper, but it turned out to not be as funny as I was hoping.  It was more a commentary about how messed up the system is for drug addicts who want to get help to kick the habit.  It was pretty interesting, and it was lighthearted enough to not bring us down too much.

Clint: I can still see why this has “comedy” listed as one of its IMDB genres, but I should have noticed “Comedy | Crime | Drama” having “drama” right there at the end.  If the only thing between drama and comedy is crime, then it verges on dramedy territory. I hate expecting humor and getting little. But this still had comedic elements all the way through to the end. It was kind of a black comedy. Depressing yet unexpectedly funny at the same time.  I don’t know that I’d recommend it, but it had its interesting moments.

Written & directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall (directed 1 ep of Firefly).

Starring Tupac Shakur as Ezekiel ‘Spoon’ Whitmore. One of the last 2 movies he appeared in.
Tim Roth (Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, The Incredible Hulk (2008), Funny Games, The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover) as Alexander ‘Stretch’ Rawland.
Thandie Newton (2012, Run Fatboy Run, The Chronicles Of Riddick, Interview With The Vampire, Mission Impossible 2, 1 ep of American Dad) as Barbara ‘Cookie’ Cook.
Lucy Liu as Cee-Cee. (Why the hell didn’t I recognize her?)
Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dick Tracy, Gross Anatomy, 1 ep of Men In Black:TAS, 1 ep of God The Devil And Bob, 1 ep of Weird Science, 1 ep of Lois & Clark) as Mr. Woodson.
Howard Hesseman (Halloween 2 (2009), WKRP In Cincinnati, 7 eps of Soap, 3 eps of That 70’s Show) as Blind Man.
James Pickens Jr. (19 eps of The X-Files, 19 eps of Roseanne, 2 eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 2 eps of Six Feet Under) as Supervisor.
Tom Towles (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Grindhouse, The Devil’s Rejects, Night Of The Living Dead, 1 ep of Firefly, 1 ep of Malcolm In The Middle) as D-Reper’s Henchman.
Tom Wright (The Onion Movie, Live!, 2 eps of 24, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Koolaid.
Richmond Arquette (A Midsummer’s Night Rave, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Smashed, Scream 3, Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) as Resident Doctor.
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Die Hard 2, 1 ep of The Sopranos, and the director of this movie) as D-Reper.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119225/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) [Finland]

 A Finnish film subverting the Christmas legend with a twist.  Entertaining, though somewhat slow in parts.  The execution could have been better, but hey, it’s not a blockbuster-funded endeavor. It’s Finland. Still fun to see Santa Claus depicted as an evil demon. The ending was downright funny.

Written & directed by Jalmari Helander.

Starring a bunch of Finnish actors:
Onni Tommila as Pietari Kontio.
Jorma Tommila as Rauno Kontio, his father.
Tommi Korpela as Aimo.
Rauno Juvonen as Piiparinen.
Per Christian Ellefsen as Riley.
Ilmari Järvenpää as Juuso, Pietari’s naughty friend.
Peeter Jakobi as Pietari’s Elf.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1401143/combined