Monday, July 12, 2010

Episode 19: "Wish Upon a Star"

There are a few things that make the recipe for a great movie in my book.  All I need are the following items: high schoolers, popular girl and nerdy girl switch places, and makeovers.  Give me at least two of those things and I can guarantee you I will love the movie. I can pull out the inner 8 year old in me pretty quickly when it comes to these dumb movies.  I know the whole time that they are not Good Movies, but I enjoy them.  "Wish Upon a Star" includes all of those wonderful items.  I knew Brian would love this movie because of the plot and his favorite actress, Katherine Heigl.

This movie is the classic Disney Channel Original Movie plot with the popular older sister and nerdy younger sister making a wish on a star (duh, check out the title) and they switch places "Freaky Friday" style.  Of course this switch comes at THE worst time.  Poor Popular Sister has been nominated for Homecoming Queen and Nerdy Sister is about to submit her invention for the Science Fair.  I don't want to give TOO much away because I know you were already changing your Netflix Que when you read that this movie involves high schoolers switching places.  I won't completely ruin the movie for you, BUT I will say Popular Sister doesn't win because Regina George steals the crown after recovering from her bus accident.

This is a girly movie all the way through, but it's still a great "I'm home sick and need something on" movie.  In high school and college, this movie made the rotation along with "Clueless" and "10 Things I Hate About You" during every sick day.  Also, these girls wore some rockin' mid 90s outfits that you won't want to miss.

Thank you Mandy for always viewing this winner with me,

Obviously from Lindsey's description you can imagine my great concern going into "Wish Upon a Star."

Strike 1: mid-90s made-for-Disney-channel fluff.
Strike 2: cliche switching places by the two main characters. Seriously, how many times has this been done?
Strike 3: Katherine Heigl. I hate Katherine Heigl. I'm not sure exactly why I hate her, but I do. Maybe it's her insistence on movies that don't appeal to me or other normal humans ("Killers" for example), maybe it's that her character on "Grey's Anatomy" is one of my 10 least favorite characters in the history of TV, maybe it's just that her teeth bother me. Whatever it is, I can't stand her and her presence in a movie almost always makes me want to kick a small dog.

But I must say, as far as mid-90s cliche characters switching places movies starring Katherine Heigl go, this isn't half bad. Not good, you understand. I'm not adding "Wish Upon a Star" to my list of 100 Favorite Movies nor submitting it to AFI for their next rankings extravaganza. But it's not terrible. No small dogs were kicked, there was no gnashing of teeth, and I was able to sit through it with only minimal grunting, though this might be due, in part, to the number of Fruit by the Foots I ingested while viewing. (Fruit by the Feet?) You can't be really upset when eating Fruit by the Foot, can you?

Oh, but we're burying the lead here. Forget Katherine Heigl. The important player in this film is Danielle Harris. Who is Danielle Harris, you ask? Danielle Harris played T.K. Keiner (Harley Keiner's little sister) on "Boy Meets World," the preeminent coming-of-age story of our time. If you don't remember (how dare you!), Cory Matthews dated T.K. for one episode in the pre-Cory and Topanga Forever days of "BMW," ultimately breaking up with her despite threats from Harley. When I recognized T.K. I knew I couldn't hate "Wish Upon a Star" if for no other reason than the fact that it gave me time to ponder the greatness of "BMW" for one more hour of my day than I usually do.

Grade: C+

If only Regina George actually was in this movie,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Episode 18: "Iron Man"

First off, yeah, it's been a while. What can I say? We're busy, important humans. Plus there's a whole lot of great TV to watch in the Spring and classic movies take a back seat to Jack Bauer. Now on to the topic at hand.

I don't feel obligated to summarize "Iron Man" for three reasons:
1.) It premiered only two years ago;
2.) The sequel is currently rocking the box office;
3.) Everyone and my mom saw this. EVERYONE. It made $525 million dollars worldwide. I know for a fact that my dog has seen "Iron Man" a minimum of three times.

Lindsey, however, just missed out on seeing it. She and I weren't quite dating when it debuted so she wasn't contractually obligated to see the borderline action-packed guy movies like she is now. (I actually had that put into the marriage license.) Lucky for her, this sucker got franchised and I had to get her up to date before the open of "Iron Man 2." Thanks, Hollywood.

"Iron Man" is rare on two levels:

1.) It is an unapologetic comic-book-action-blockbuster that is extremely well written, directed, and acted. In fact, I would say there aren't 5 movies of the same genre from the last decade that are as good from a quality filmmaking standpoint as "Iron Man";
2.) It ranks high on rewatchability. I loved this the first time around and I've seen it a half dozen or so times since, but watching it last week was just about as good as the first time. It just doesn't get old.

Aside from the witty, comic dialogue that slyly tiptoes into campy territory and excellent action sequences, "Iron Man" holds a special place in my heart for vaulting one Robert Downey, Jr. back into the limelight. For my money, RDJ is one of the very best actors of his generation, and the movie world missed him during his self-inflicted, drug addled "vacation." Sure, he started his comeback in 2005 with "Good Night and Good Luck" (and the awesomely underrated "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang") but "Iron Man" is what brought him back to stardom and my little piece of Movie World is so much better for it. All told, "Iron Man" is an absolute blast that I personally consider to be one of the best comic-book-inspired movies of all time, possibly second only to "The Dark Knight." A.

Best character: RDJ (Tony Stark)
Gwenyth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard are all solid. But Downey was pretty much born to play Tony Stark.

Best scene: The prototype development
There are probably better scenes in the movie, but I just really enjoy Tony's back and forth with the robot and the destruction of his classic car collection.

Best line:
Pepper (walking in on Stark in the Iron Man suit): What is going on in here?!
Stark: Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing.

Rewatchability should be a real word,

"Iron Man" through Lindsey's eyes:

I wasn't ever AGAINST seeing "Iron Man" I just didn't have a desire. I know everyone saw the movie when it came out. Even my baby 3 year olds in my speech class saw this movie. I should be ashamed of myself for not catching the latest popular movie before a 3 year old that can't even say a 3-4 word sentence. There is no way these kids could have followed the story line and THEY gave it two thumbs up. So it must be able to hold my attention span throughout.

Before seeing the film, I knew I would like at least one thing, Robert Downey Jr. Oh Rob, how I loved you at such a young age. He made an impression in my life when I was just a young girl. "Chances Are" opened my heart to him. How could you not love a movie about a dead husband reincarnated into another body and later falling in love with his own daughter? Now THAT is movie masterpiece. Then came "Soapdish". That was the best movie I ever viewed in the Wedgwood Dollar Theater. I loved watching Rob and my dear Sister Act friend Whoopi while chomping on some cheap Dollar Theater Nachos. If people think "Iron Man" led him to a greater career, they are WRONG. His career peaked early in my life and now he's just playing roles to keep him busy and out of jail.

To be honest, I saw "Iron Man" right before I saw "Iron Man 2" so I actually can't tell the difference between the two. They're just all one movie in my mind. I was entertained the whole time and I would watch it again. I think I may have even said "I loved it" after the viewing. Thank goodness for a humorous movie. This girl can't take it when we have to watch a non-comedy. My mind is out the door fast.

Who knew Gwyneth Paltrow was in Iron Man,