Sunday, September 20, 2009

Episode 9: "Sixteen Candles"

I love 80s movies. I just love the 80s, everything about it. I wish more than anything that I was a teenager during that period. So, of course, I'm a fan of "Sixteen Candles." Growing up, I had seen bits and pieces of it for a while, since it was always playing on TBS or TNT. I hadn't ever seen the whole thing on TV, which led me to my first "Sixteen Candles" rental.

When I turned 16, my BFF Kristen and her mom hosted an awesome slumber party at their house for my birthday. Like every great slumber party, we had great food and took a trip to Blockbuster for some slumber party rentals. I was so excited because this would be the day I finally watched "Sixteen Candles" AND it was my 16th birthday. Gosh, I thought this was a great idea. I was the only one.

That weekend, there was another big event that competed with my 16th celebration. "My Best Friend's Wedding" was released on VHS. Sure, I liked the movie ok, but I didn't love it like everyone else did. I didn't watch that scene with the people randomly singing at the dinner table over and over like most 15-16 year old girls. I didn't get the soundtrack so I could sing and dance to that dumb "Wishin and Hopin" song. I was either talked into renting it or someone bought it for me as a present, I can't quite remember. My great "Sixteen Candles" idea was quickly drowned by the hype of Julia Roberts. My "Sixteen Candles" experience on my 16th birthday was booed and "My Best Friend's Wedding" was shoved into the VCR.

I don't remember most of that party. I'm sure I had a great time and I know my friends were really great. The only thing that I can truly remember about turning 16 was hating "My Best Friend's Wedding" and realizing that most of my friends didn't care about the 80s like I did. I was a loner. I wasn't the popular kid at my own 16th birthday. I began to relate with Molly Ringwald and pouted a little. For MY 16th birthday, I didn't get a cute Jake Ryan like Molly, I got a pet fish that died by the time I opened my presents.

Jake Ryan is WAY out of her league,

So I've totally seen parts of "Sixteen Candles" about a dozen times in my life but I've never bothered to follow through with it. Also, I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure that this is the movie that a certain youth minister who shall remain nameless tried to show us at some sort of gathering. It got turned off within 10 minutes, leading to a lot of, "I don't remember it being that bad!" comments. To be fair, I might have made the same mistake. How in the world this got a PG rating is beyond me. Somebody must have owed John Hughes a major favor. I'm pretty sure this is the film that led to the PG-13 rating.

Anyway, I've got to say I wasn't all that impressed by this movie. I have the feeling that two things have happened with this movie: 1.) it brings forth nostalgic feelings for anyone who saw this movie growing up and therefore has been made out to be better than it is. I know I'm guilty of this with movies like "Can't Hardly Wait" so it makes sense; 2.) because of point number one, "Sixteen Candles" has been grandfathered into a "classic" status that it maybe doesn't really deserve. This happens A LOT with comedies because people just remember laughing a lot when they were 16 or 18 and haven't stopped to think about whether or not it holds up. See also: "Animal House" and "Caddyshack."

Personally I'd probably be in the same boat with the rest of Lindsey's 16 year old friends: I'd rather watch "My Best Friend's Wedding." I think that it's a funnier movie quite honestly. Sure, Julia Roberts has been in my top 5 celebrity crushes since I was old enough to have a crush and was only recently bumped from number one status (Rachel McAdams). But really it's all about the characters. I don't love any of the characters in "Sixteen Candles" which is a HUGE letdown for me given how great Hughes was at creating characters in his other films. "Ferris Beuller," "Planes Trains and Automobiles" and "Home Alone" are a few of my all time favorite movies and the reason is that, between all the over the top ridiculousness, the characters are phenomenally appealing. I did not feel the same way about Samantha Baker or her wacky friends as I did about Kevin McAllister or Del Griffith. It's not a bad movie by any means and I had some laughs. But a classic it is not, at least for this guy. B-.

Best character: How about I just go with John Cusak's character just because I like John Cusak.

Best scene: The wedding scene.
The bride passing out all over the place was pretty funny.

Best line:
Ginny - "I really love Rudy. He is totally enamored of me. I mean, I've had other men love me before, but not for 6 months in a row."

Keep the change ya' filthy animals,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Episode 8: "Unbreakable"

There are two reasons why people don't like "Unbreakable." One, they don't like the ending or two, it's not like "The Sixth Sense." If you fall into category one, then OK, we can agree to disagree. If you fall into category two, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

"Unbreakable" was M. Night Shyamalan's less heralded follow up to the world beater that was "The Sixth Sense." Had it come out before "Sixth Sense" or been one of his later films, I think it would have garnered a little more success. Everyone wanted Shyamalan to replicate (or maybe even duplicate exactly) "Sixth Sense" and when he (shockingly, I know) made a movie that stood on its own and was in many ways different from "Sixth Sense," people revolted. Stupid.

The thing about Shyamalan's movies, though, is not the big twist at the end. He usually throws that in there to keep "Sixth Sense" fans mildly happy. His films are character studies and "Unbreakable" is no exception. There are only 4 real characters in this movie and he develops each of them methodically. Sure, one of them is a closet super hero and one of them is potentially crazy, but those facts are almost afterthoughts to the evolution of the characters and the intersections of their lives. What you have here are very real life issues (father-son relationship, husband-wife problems, mid life crisis) explored in the context of a man discovering that he essentially has super powers. The relationship between David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son Joseph is particularly well done.

"Unbreakable" is a fine film that deserves a second chance if you saw it in the context of, "This is going to be the next "Sixth Sense!"" You've got Bruce Willis at his best and Samuel L. Jackson before he went crazy. (Seriously, look at his post-2000 IMDB page and find the good.) Shyamalan's shots are, as always, BRILLIANT and his use of color is just as legendary here as it is in "Sixth Sense" and everything else he did up until "The Happening." It is an excellent precursor to the dark superhero movies that have become all the rage of late and highly underrated. B+.

On a side note, my DVD kept skipping so now I have a legit excuse to buy it on Blu-ray. There's a bright blue lining to every annoying DVD screw up.

Best character: Elijah Price, Samuel L. Jackson
It's not often that I compliment Jackson's acting anymore as he's become a walking parody of his former self. But here he is pitch perfect as the crazy comic book guy.

Best scene: Bruce Willis and his son lifting weights
Simple shots like this exemplify Shyamalan's brilliance. It just makes me wish he could do that consistently for the whole movie in his post-"Village" work.

Best quote: Audrey Dunn (Robin Wright Penn) - "No shooting friends, Joseph!"

I have two broken fingers right now so I guess I can't be Unbreakable,

"Unbreakable" through Lindsey's eyes:

"Unbreakable" is one movie on Brian's list that I've always wanted to see and I have no idea why I hadn't seen it before now. I love M. Night Shamalama movies. I even tried to like "The Happening." My Home Friends and I always make a big deal about seeing his movies. One time, we even stayed in a burning building, hoping that they would put the fire out, so we could see the midnight showing of one of his premieres. So, I was actually thrilled to see this one.

I was totally into the movie while we were watching. I was creeped out by the characters and I refused to let myself wander to discover the "surprise" ending. Then we got to the end, and well.... I definitely replied "That's it?" I liked the idea of the ending but I felt like I had just watched the end of a lawyer TV show or Unsolved Mysteries, where they type out on screen the happenings of the characters following that scene. As Brian likes to compare moments to, it was like an SNL skit. They just don't know how to wrap it up. So it ends with an awkward jig on camera.

All in all, I thought it was a good movie, I just needed five more minutes of wrapping up. I didn't need necessarily a bigger ending, I just needed more screen time, rather than the "Where are they now?" type-up like on "Intervention."

"It's like I'm walking on sunshine,"