CPD Classics: The Breakfast Club (1985) Review

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Emilio Estevez
Anthony Michael Hall
Judd Nelson
Molly Ringwald
Ally Sheedy
Paul Gleason
John Kapelos
John Hughes (uncredited – as Mr Johnson)

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Breakfast Club storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes, while facing a villainous principal.

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My Opinion:

I figured I should end this blogathon with my review of my very favorite John Hughes movie: The Breakfast Club. So don’t worry everyone – THIS IS THE FINAL REVIEW OF THE JOHN HUGHES BLOGATHON. (Unless I quickly watch the DVD I just received in the mail). 😉

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As always, I struggle the most when writing about the films that I really love. What is it about The Breakfast Club? Why do so many people of my generation hold this movie so dear? (And some from a whole new generation. Or two. Or three. HOW many generations have there been since I was a teenager?? Man I’m old…). All I know is that we have John Hughes to thank for it. The actors chosen all did a great job and everything but it’s the writing of John Hughes that really spoke to teenagers everywhere. And he’s never been bettered. Why can’t they make teen movies like these anymore?

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For me, I could really relate to The Breakfast Club because it felt EXACTLY like my high school. My high school was also very small, in the Midwest (not far from where the fictional Shermer, Illinois would be), and it was full of cliques. And the thought of a group of teens from these different worlds coming together and finding that they had a lot more in common than they realized was such a lovely thought. Okay – I’m not completely sure how realistic THAT was but it was still great watching the relationships develop between the characters in this movie.

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Most of all, it was seeing that each of these teens had their own problems & fears (even the popular princess & the athlete!). And having five such different characters meant that every teen watching would be able to relate to at least one of them. Me? I was a combination of the basket case, the brain, and a tiny bit of the princess. My boyfriend was the criminal (Totally. He even looked a bit like John Bender). So the one I could relate to the least was the athlete (But this was probably the largest social group in my school. Stupid sports! I sucked at sports. I had no chance of being popular!). Well, I was a cheerleader. Shh – don’t tell anyone that. How freaking embarrassing… Rah rah rah and all that bullshit. Blech!

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Summary:

The Breakfast Club “spoke” to me as a teenager the way it did to countless teens then and even to some of them today. It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t so different after all. We all have the same thoughts and fears and we all just want to belong, whether we admit to it or not. John Hughes knew exactly what was in a teenager’s heart and mind and was able to beautifully capture this in the teen movies that he wrote. This is the most apparent in The Breakfast Club, which is why it’s my favorite John Hughes film and a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9.5/10

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009) Review

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009 Documentary)

Directed by Matt Austin

Written by:
Matt Austin
Michael Facciolo
Kari Hollend
Lenny Panzer

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Don’t You Forget About Me is a 2009 Canadian documentary film about screenwriter, director, and producer John Hughes. The film specifically focused on Hughes’ fade from prominence in the early 1990s. It details the journey of a group of young filmmakers who go in search of the reclusive icon, documenting their search through interviews of the people with whom Hughes had worked and fans of his films.

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My Opinion:

Obviously, I was interested in watching this documentary as, like the filmmakers, I grew up with and love John Hughes teen movies and was sad that he stopped making those types of films and that he pretty much disappeared from Hollywood. I think it’s quite a sad story and, as we know, he died too young from a heart attack at the age of 59 on August 6, 2009, just after this documentary was filmed.

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This is worth a watch for anyone who is a big fan of Hughes but not so much worth a watch if you’re not. The best part by far was seeing all the interviews with those who had worked with Hughes and those who were influenced by his work. It’s pretty impressive that they were able to get as many people together for this documentary as they did. The following are just some of the people they interviewed:

Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Ally Sheedy
Judd Nelson
Kelly LeBrock
Mia Sara
Alan Ruck
Kevin Smith
Roger Ebert
Richard Roeper
Jim Kerr

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As for the rest of the documentary, I was hoping for something a bit more in-depth on why they thought Hughes had disappeared but we don’t really get this from the filmmakers. They talk a bit about their favorite Hughes films and what those movies meant to them but we don’t really hear anything new. I was a little confused by a couple things too. They say they spent two years (or maybe it was two and a half) on this documentary. I don’t think this is a spoiler: they drive to Chicago to try to track down John Hughes & interview him (I won’t say whether they manage to or not). But, once they get there, they sit down and start writing out some questions to ask him. Then they try to decide how to go about contacting him: walk right up to his house & talk to him or give him a letter or what. They write the letter right outside his house. In two years they didn’t think to have any of this prepared until they arrived in Chicago to try to meet with Hughes???

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Summary:

A documentary worth watching if you love John Hughes films as you get to see some interesting interviews with those he worked with and those he influenced. However, you won’t really learn anything new or get an in-depth look into the man and why he disappeared from the scene. It’s also a little disappointing that there’s no focus whatsoever on any of his movies other than a few teen ones (what’s wrong with the Vacation movies? Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Etc?). Like I say – I do recommend this if you like John Hughes but I was a little uncomfortable at the thought of fans trying to track him down as I think he wanted a peaceful life with his family. And knowing that he died so soon afterwards made watching this even harder. (Please read below the picture for something I DO highly recommend….) And for another opinion on this documentary from another fan of John Hughes, you can read Rob’s thoughts over at his MovieRob blog HERE.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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**To be honest, if you’re a John Hughes fan (or even if you’re not), I’ve been meaning to share this absolutely fascinating piece from a girl who was pen pals with Hughes from 1985-1987 (and more beyond). THIS should be read by everyone – Hughes lovers or even those who are simply interested in being writers or just knowing a bit more about the feelings of someone who was in the public eye. It’s a brilliant insight into the man & you will learn much more about him from this lovely piece written by a girl called Alison Byrne Fields than you will from watching this documentary. Please read this – It will be well worth your time (and there’s more to be read if you wish to explore more about John Hughes on her blog). Link here: Sincerely, John Hughes

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John Hughes Mini-Reviews By Mr Mutant

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I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. So, since starting my little blog here in November 2012 I’ve asked the hubby, Mr Mutant, to contribute several times. I even let him go to a few movies without me as long as he’d review those movies for my blog (where’s my Evil Dead & Robocop remake reviews, dude?? Hmmm???). So, FINALLY, he’s decided he’d like to join in on something. All it took was a John Hughes Blogathon. Yes, he loves his movies too and, quite frankly, it’s a big part of the reason why we got married. So thank you, John Hughes, for helping to bring us together. For the most part. You know, on those days where we like each other. 😉

So let’s hear Mr Mutant’s quick thoughts on every John Hughes movie that he’s seen! Thank you, Mr Mutant! *KissHugCuddle*

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(Artwork by Robert Wolverton)

John Hughes Mini-Reviews

Weird Science

Supercalifragilisticoingoboingodocious….!!

Sixteen Candles

Ranting, raving, racism and rape-ism wrapped up like a birthday gift in this often hilarious “bittersweet sixteen” moment.

The Breakfast Club

Five teens eloquently impart never-bettered observations for every generation’s inner high schooler… and take a toke while they’re at it.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The essence of teenage wisdom distilled into a day’s adventure, alongside a water tower, a symphony of synthetic sickness samples and a fake Ferrari… This film IS the 80s to me.

National Lampoon’s Vacation

Clever script ruined by studio meddling.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation

Cack. This helped give American tourists a bad rep in Europe for decades.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Affectionate classic festive cheese (shitter is full!).

Uncle Buck

Dated but still have much love for this one, warts and all!

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Top notch comedy worth repeat views – it’s like a pair of warm pillows – by that I mean welcoming and reassuring, as opposed to hairy arse!

Home Alone

Pure Christmas MAGIC with added sadomasochistic hi-jinks.

Career Opportunities

The essence of shit on a shiny silver disc. With added boobs.

Pretty In Pink

“Otis. I love Otis…”And even though I shouldn’t, I love this…. “Love is real… Real is love”.

The Great Outdoors

Squeak squeak squeeeeak. (Translation: gotta love John Candy but OMFG make it stop!!!)

Drillbit Taylor

Drillbit to the left temple. Next…???!!!???

Maid In Manhattan

Sappy but not as bad as I feared. A near love letter to Manhattan that fails to come close to matching his love letters to the Chicago area.

Home Alone 2

More pure Christmas magic from the tail end of that still-innocent era in American family film… with pigeons and skyscrapers to boot!

Some Kind Of Wonderful

Pretty In Pink in reverse – this underrated 80s high schooler that’s not quite as strong but has almost as many quotable lines… And the right ending!

Mr Mom

Heavily dated but the comedy encapsulates the changing family and working values of the early 80s.

Baby’s Day Out

Agony for adults, but somewhat fun for children (and occasionally for your inner child).

Miracle On 34th Street

Pointless remake still keeps the magic of Christmas alive despite serious flaws in this version.

Curly Sue

The one that made us all realise that even the mighty Hughes could lose his mojo.

She’s Having A Baby

Semi autobiographical and semi yawnsome – but did Kevin Bacon’s character here steal that yellow cab in Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Hughes fans need answers!

Haven’t seen:

Beethoven
Just Visiting
Flubber
101 Dalmatians
Dennis
Dutch
Class Reunion
Reach The Rock
Savage Islands
Tajna Nikole Tesle

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Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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For this final guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon, we have Eric of The IPC – the guy who inspired me to take on this crazy project that ended up being way bigger than I ever could have dreamed. And it’s all because I decided to pick on him one day for being a teenager in the 80s yet not watching all the 80’s John Hughes teen films! Thanks for being such a good sport through all of this Eric (but, REALLY? you REALLY didn’t like Uncle Buck?! Man…). Anyway, I adore Sixteen Candles (and I reviewed it as well too right HERE. PLUG!). So let’s see how much Eric suffered while watching the true Hughes classic Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984)

When Cinema Parrot Disco first approached us with the idea of this blogathon, I was hesitant about watching some teen movies from my teens that I had never had any desire at all to see but then she coerced me threatened me made it her life’s ambition to hunt me down and provide violence to my flesh I happily volunteered and ordered up a few of these. If you read what I did on The Breakfast Club, you might remember that I didn’t care for it too much so I was NOT excited about popping in this one and sitting through it. But I did because I am a man of my word and I do what I say I will and I am a completist and all of that shit and what can I say but I actually liked this and thought it was pretty fucking funny. “Candles” was a little bit more saucy than “Club” coming in with a set of boobs, some cussin’ and even some implied sex. WHAT?

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Speaking of Breakfast Club, there’s something I forgot about when I was writing my piece the other day. There’s a scene late in the movie where everyone fucking gets together and smokes some dope and bonds like they’re a bunch of hippies in some commune. After smoking some weed, the jock (Emilio Estevez) goes running around the library like he’s on PCP, screaming and dancing and he might have ripped his shirt off – I forget. But I remember watching that scene and thinking – WHAT THE FUCK? I’ve smoked some grass in my days and not ONCE have I ever had the desire to go running around anything or screaming or dancing. In fact. I’ve acted up MUCH less on The Pot than when I’ve had a shitpot worth of cocktails. READ: seven Long Island Iced Teas = running around my city naked; a hit off a 4 foot bong = sitting on the couch watching FEAST trying to remember my name.

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Anyway… so SIXTEEN CANDLES is pretty funny. Really. I LOLed quite a few times. I noticed though, one thing that really bothered me and when I went looking for pics of this on the internet I can’t believe that I couldn’t find a picture of this…. somewhere after the credits, Ringwald is taking the most inappropriate test that could possibly be imagined in a public school setting but – at the top… there’s this….!

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Sorry for the poor graphic arrow but what the FUCK’s a CONFIDENTAIL???? Is that the rear end of your best friend and confidante? How did the filmmakers miss this? What kind of teacher would ask that first question?? Oh well – who hasn’t seen this except for me? It’s your typical coming of age teen movie where the chick gets the guy of her dreams in the end and the dorky guy gets laid. In between there’s a bunch of zany shenanigans and all of that, including a Chinese foreign exchange student. One of the funnier lines of the movie? Chinese dude eats a quiche for the first time ever and really loves it. “How do you spell this word ‘QUICHE’?” he asks sporting a shit eating grin. “You don’t spell it son,” says the grandpa. “You eat it.” LOL HAHAHAHAHAHA

Thanks Mutant!!

Maid In Manhattan (2002) Review

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Maid In Manhattan (2002)

Directed by Wayne Wang

Story by John Hughes

Starring:
Jennifer Lopez
Ralph Fiennes
Natasha Richardson
Stanley Tucci (TUCCI!)
Tyler Posey
Frances Conroy
Chris Eigeman
Amy Sedaris
Marissa Matrone
Priscilla Lopez
Bob Hoskins
Lisa Roberts Gillan
Maddie Corman (Hey! It’s the middle sister in Some Kind Of Wonderful!)

Running time: 105 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Rich politician guy falls in love with a maid when he mistakes her for a guest at the hotel where she works. Blah blah. You’ve seen this before. No surprises here.

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My Opinion:

I actually went to see this when it came out back in 2002. It was needing a review for this blogathon so I gave it a quick, half-assed re-watch the other day (only one or two Hughes movies will end up not being reviewed. That’s an AMAZING turnout. Thank you everyone!). So… What can I say about Maid In Manhattan?

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Is it predictable? Oh HELL yeah! Every step of the way! Is it romantic? Meh – as much as any girly rom-com is these days. Are the characters likeable? Luckily, they actually are pretty likeable in this one, which is about all you can ask for from a lot of rom-coms. Does it feel like a John Hughes movie? Not in the slightest. The story is by him – I don’t know if there was much involvement from him beyond that. Probably not. So there’s none of the old John Hughes classic lines & characters in this movie. Don’t watch this one expecting any Hughes-ness – there’s not a trace of it to be found.

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However, it’s not a horrible movie. I am NOT a “rom-com” girl. I’m a movie lover and will watch most anything, though, so I’ve seen my fair share of this genre. This is a respectable enough entry. If you DO love this genre, I think you’d like Maid In Manhattan just fine. It’s not “smart” like something like The Devil Wears Prada (I like that one. And, hey – Stanley Tucci is in that AND this! Love my Tucci! Hmm… That sounds kinky….). BUT it’s not as dumb as, say, a Kate Hudson rom-com.

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Ralph Fiennes & especially Jennifer Lopez do just fine in this one – you like their characters & want them to live “happily every after”. I didn’t fully buy a romance between the two of them but, whatever. I really liked the boy playing J-Lo’s son – he’s smart and sweet & the two of them have a good relationship. There are a lot of good supporting characters and it’s a shame we don’t actually get to see more of them (including Stanley Tucci & Bob Hoskins). The only complaint would be that they made Natasha Richardson’s character a little TOO annoying (but you’re not meant to like her). The best thing about this movie is that it DOES manage to give the audience plenty of characters they’ll like and, as I said, that’s about all you can ask for from a rom-com. It’s really not too much to ask yet plenty movies in this genre don’t manage it (for instance – those damn Kate Hudson movies. Ugh!). Maid In Manhattan won’t change your life but it won’t exactly ruin your day either. I think this is one time where people have judged this movie too harshly (the IMDB rating is very low. 4.9? Too harsh). Chill, people! It’s a bit of light entertainment.

My Rating: 6/10

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The Great Outdoors (1988) Review

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The Great Outdoors (1988)

Directed by Howard Deutch

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Dan Aykroyd
John Candy
Stephanie Faracy
Annette Bening
Robert Prosky
Chris Young
Ian Giatti
Hillary and Rebecca Gordon
Lucy Deakins
Bart the Bear

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
John Candy plans to enjoy a nice vacation with his family but his annoying in-laws show up & ruin everything.

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My Opinion:

I watched this the other day just in case I needed to review it. Then the lovely Smash reviewed it for me (she’s awesomely hilarious so you should just go & read her review instead of mine. seriously – I suck). 🙂 So I wasn’t going to review this. But then I remembered way back to December 2013…. You see, I started this blog at the end of 2012 & then kept a very anal list of EVERY movie I watched in 2013 (list HERE). Then, by December 2013, I suddenly went a bit mental & decided that I NEEDED to review every freaking one of those 2013 movies that I’d watched and I think I still had about 12 or so un-reviewed (that’s probably not a word). So I quickly cranked out 12 or so shitty reviews. So to save myself that same panic come December 2014, I better review this fucker now! (Yeah – I’ve started a 2014 list. Here it is! I’m already behind!)

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I’m glad Smash loved this movie. I can see why. It’s the type of movie where, if you saw it at the time and pretty much grew up with it, you’ll have fond memories of it. I did see it years ago but only once and I didn’t remember too much beyond the waterskiing scene. Having re-watched it again for the first time in years, I’m afraid to say that it hasn’t aged that well. To compare it to other Hughes movies, I’d say it especially hasn’t aged well compared to Planes, Trains & Automobiles or Uncle Buck, both of which I think many people would still enjoy today even if they’re watching them for the very first time. The Great Outdoors was 1988 but something about it makes it feel even older than that. I’d say that even the first two Vacation films feel a bit more “fresh” than this one. (Sorry – don’t hate me! It’s still a fun movie and, as I said, I can understand why some would be very fond of it).

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The characters: John Candy – loveable as always. Dan Aykroyd – fine. as Dan Aykroyd-y as always. The kids – fine, nothing special (but I did like how the twin girls were a bit like The Shining twins). The wives – fine. Annette Bening’s character was a little annoying. Umm… Oh! Lucy Deakins – She’s a cutie. I don’t know why she wasn’t in more stuff. Here’s an embarrassing confession (luckily, no one reads my reviews anyway. ha!) – I LOVE a little movie she was in called The Boy Who Could Fly. That movie ROCKS! And the boy in the title was played by Jay Underwood, who also played Bug in Uncle Buck with John Candy! There you go – six degrees of Kevin Bacon (who was in Planes, Trains & Automobiles with John Candy who was in The Great Outdoors with Annette Bening who is married to Warren Beatty who has had sex with most of Hollywood which will somehow also connect him to Kevin Bacon and where the fuck am I going with this?!).

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I’m tired. The Great Outdoors is dated but John Candy is in it and we all love him so who cares. The Vacation films are better. As is Planes, Trains & Automobiles. And Uncle Buck. And Home Alone. And all of the teen John Hughes movies. But it’s better than Baby’s Day Out!

My Rating: 6/10

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Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes, once again, from Rob of Movie Rob. Thanks, Rob! He liked Pretty In Pink after just recently watching it for the first time so let’s now hear his thoughts on Some Kind Of Wonderful. 🙂

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“Keith… you’re losing it. And when it’s lost, all you are is a loser.” – Watts

Number of Times Seen – at least 5 times (Theater in 1987, cable, video and 12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A poor kid who falls in love with a rich girl is helped by his tomboy friend in order to win her over. Little does he know, that she is in love with him too.

My Take on it – What would you do if you were one of the most successful filmmakers of 1980’s teen films and the studio forced you to change the ending of your movie?

You’d do what John Hughes did.. Remake the movie with slightly different characters and keep the ending you always wanted.

I use to love this movie as a teen because it showed that sometimes as a teen you don’t know what’s right for you and are willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want. And then in a moment of clarity, you realize that you made a mistake and are able to rectify that mistake.

Wouldn’t it be great if life was so simple?

That statement is both allegorical to this movie and to the situation Hughes was in himself when he chose to make this movie.

Hughes was so adamant at making everyone know about his frustration that he ever wanted to cast Molly Ringwald in the Main female part. She declined and was never asked to be in another John Hughes movie ever again.

In her stead, Hughes hired Lea Thompson who ended up falling in love with the director of the movie Howard Deutch and they have been married ever since.

Besides Thompson, this movie features Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson (who I still have a strong crush on to this day).

The themes and situations of this movie and Pretty in Pink (1986) are so blatant that you would have to be a complete idiot to not realize that they are basically the same movie but with different happy endings.

Having only watched Pretty in Pink (1986) very recently, I actually think the opposite. In my mind, this movie is the original with the correct ending and the other is the “remake” with the wrong ending. 🙂

Bottom Line – Great “remake” of Pretty in Pink (1986) that actually has the proper ending. Excellent cast.
Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

Drillbit Taylor (2008) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rhetologue’s Movie Logs. Thank you for the reviews for this blogathon! Let’s see what he thought of Drillbit Taylor. 🙂

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Drillbit Taylor is the tale of an ass kicking hobo that has the hallmarks of a John Hughes’ movie but in Seth Rogen’s hands. Movie Logs reviews this odd team up for Cinema Parrot Disco.

Drillbit Taylor follows three high school friends who, in finding themselves mercilessly bullied, hire a homeless man pretending to be a martial arts expert to defend them while at school.

Now, I was previously under the impression that Drillbit Taylor was the work of Seth Rogen but that’s only part of the story. It seems John Hughes pitched this story under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes, obviously a practice he was in the habit of doing when the idea was a little bit…poop. Drillbit Taylor is within a list that also includes Maid in Manhattan and the Beethoven franchise. In fact, Drillbit was Hughes’ last film before his death in 2009.

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For Seth Rogen, being a part of this project was probably an amazing opportunity. His own career has been tremendously influenced by an irreverent and teen-centric world. From Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) to this year’s Bad Neighbours, his work must have been influenced in some way by the coming of age tales of John Hughes.

Drillbit does have a whiff of the John Hughes about it with its irreverent themes, smartass kids and bizarre story. Yet it’s not particularly strong and that’s kind of the point. This is what John Hughes thinks is sellable but not worthy of his name. How strange is it that what Hughes considered poor seems awfully similar to what Seth Rogen made his name pumping out? This is the biggest problem with Drillbit Taylor – it seems at odds with itself.

The premise is pretty sweet and finds Owen Wilson as an affable wanderer that finds his opportunism and inspiring words fusing into a conscience.

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Though this dynamic is at times compelling it’s never really funny…it just happens and you watch it because it’s there and that’s fine…I guess. Owen Wilson truly holds this movie together with his personal charisma. As Drillbit moves into the school to protect his wards, posing as a substitute teacher, the novelty of the story peeks out from under the banality.

However, when Drillbit starts a relationship with deluded teacher Lisa (Leslie Mann), he finds it harder to keep his old life a secret. He finds himself going head-to-head with two mindless school bullies, played by Drake and Josh’s reformed fat kid – Josh Peck – and the unflinching Alex Frost.

The lies, the economical attempts at romance, the suspense of finding ways to come to his wards’ rescue all help to make Drillbit Taylor watchable yet the balance of humour is not weighted in its favour.

With the help of the near faultless anxiousness of Leslie Mann, it gets so close. Then there’s Danny McBride and Reno 911’s Cedric Yarbrough playing a couple of homeless opportunists that are practically the 3rd baseman waving Owen in for a homer…yet somehow it doesn’t quite get there.

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That might be because the movie struggles to generate empathy for the kids, who are the now generic characters referencing WASP and Jewish culture.

You know, they’re your quintessential chubby and short kid (Troy Gentile as Ryan), skinny and tall kid (Nate Hartley as Wade) and nerdy kid who probably smells of cough syrup and sea salt (David Dorfman as Emmitt). Those character profiles have served Seth Rogen well, as he’s built his whole career on them and hasn’t stopped using them yet. However, in this incarnation, it’s all too predictably placed and paced.

With Rogen writing and producing SuperBad a year earlier it also feels like a bit of a cheeky replication of characters. The kids are a little younger and we gain a little bit more back story, yet it’s ultimately covered ground. The battle rap scene is particularly cringe-worthy and is indicative of how 2000-and-late these characters seem in their contrivances.

This all helmed by director Steven Brill, who is not particularly in the business of making good films. This is the man that has brought us the likes of Little Nicky (2000) and Without a Paddle (2004), being just two of his affronts to cinema. Drillbit Taylor may be his bets movie to date yet it feels more like a weak version of an Adam McKay (Step Brothers, The Other Guys) movie, without the humour to back it up. Visually, Drillbit Taylor is nothing to write home about, and delivers some engaging sequences in all the predictable places if only to keep our attention.

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Last words

“What more could you really want?”

I actually like Drillbit Taylor. It’s a fun movie even if it is pedestrian. It’s enjoyable even if it’s not particularly funny. It delivers some twisted moral but is still somehow inspirational. It achieves some poignancy without being particularly layered. Drillbit Taylor is simultaneously a terrible John Hughes movie, as it has none of the heart of his fare, and a passable Seth Rogen slam piece, as it exists to amuse and to fund Rogen’s money making habit. That’s quite the achievement.

Drillbit Taylor could never be considered a John Hughes movie in its finished form but in some respect it is the same concept as Weird Science – some nerds want to stop being bullied so employ the powers of a magical being to protect and empower them. In the case of Lisa, she was a sexy computer generated genie. In Drillbit’s case he’s a hobo who will say and do anything to make an easy buck until somehow his lies manifest in magical truth. Either way, they end result is still the same and it is that subtext that maintains the spirit of the movie despite its weaknesses.

Truly, Drillbit Taylor is the type of movie that forces you to ask yourself, on a lazy weekend when the remote is just out of reach, “what more could I possibly want?”

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Pretty In Pink (1986) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of Movie Rob. 🙂 Thanks again, Rob! Let’s hear his thoughts on Pretty In Pink

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“We don’t have none of this stuff in the boy’s room! Wait a minute! We don’t got none of this… we don’t got doors on the stalls in the boy’s room, we don’t have, what is this? What’s this? We don’t have a candy machine in the boy’s room!” – Duckie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A poor high school girl is pursued romantically by a rich kid and also has a best friend who is in love with her. She must decide between the two.

My Take on it – I can’t even explain why I’ve never gotten around to seeing this one being that I am a big fan of most of John Hughes’ 80’s teen movies.

Because of this blogathon, I was inspired to finally watch it and I must admit that I somewhat regret never having seen this back when I was a teenager myself.

What’s good about that now is that Hughes was so adept at making us feel as if we were a character in the movie whether it meant spending Saturday in detention, taking a day off of school to have fun or even wanting to be part of the popular crowd that watching this movie made me feel as if I was once again back in High school in the 80’s.

I always liked the Molly Ringwald kinda girls and hated the preppy guys so I could relate. I could probably actually compare myself in some ways to Duckie since I was always friendly with a number of girls in my class who I had hoped would eventually turn into something (but never did) and ultimately felt spurned when they would one night talk about how much they hated so and so and then a few days later would be going out with him.

Never could understand that. (still don’t cause none of them ever married those guys)

John Hughes himself was very upset about the fact that the studio forced an ending of the movie on him that he didn’t want. I agree that this ending was not what I had hoped for. This actually lowers this movies rating a bit for me.

The cast for this movie is filled with numerous up and coming young brat packers; Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, John Cryer, James Spader and Gina Gershon.

Nice cameo by the Diceman, Andrew “Dice” Clay.

Bottom Line – A pretty good Hughes film that once again perfectly captures the high school mood and makes us feel like we are back in time to our teens years. Great cast of brat packers who still are around 30 years later.
Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

Savage Islands (1983) Guest Review

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**Savage Islands (aka Nate And Hayes)

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of Movie Rob! Lol! Seriously – thanks for all the reviews, Rob. 🙂 Especially of these obscure Hughes films! Now let’s see if Rob liked Savage Islands (aka Nate And Hayes)

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“You should feel flattered, missy. Not everyone gets offered to the gods.” – Ben Pease

Number of Times Seen – at least twice (on cable in the 80’s and 14 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A pirate adventure movie that takes place in the Pacific during the 1800s where two men vie for the affections of a beautiful woman.

My Take on it – This movie is one that I recall enjoying as a kid, but couldn’t remember a thing about it. Even when I watched this, nothing seemed familiar until the final scene which I did actually remember in full.

This movie is basically an attempt to create another kind of Indiana Jones type movie but fails more than miserably because none of the characters are fleshed out at all and we just don’t care about any of them no matter what they do.

The plot and script are both pointless and I’m glad that John Hughes wasn’t shunned in Hollywood after writing this drivel because then we would have missed out on his masterpieces which came out not long after this one.

Tommy Lee Jones and Michael O’Keefe are both wasted here as is your time if you actually watch this

Bottom Line – Terrible script and plot not helped in the least by talented actors Tommy Lee Jones and Michael O’Keefe and being written by the then unknown John Hughes

Rating – Razzie Worthy

CPD Classics: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Review

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) by ME!

Directed by Jeremiah Chechik

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Chevy Chase
Beverly D’Angelo
Randy Quaid
Juliette Lewis
Johnny Galecki
John Randolph
Diane Ladd
E.G. Marshall
Doris Roberts
William Hickey
Mae Questel
Miriam Flynn
Nicholas Guest
Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
The Griswolds decide to stay home for Christmas. And this “vacation” is the funniest by far.

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My Opinion:

I love Christmas movies. When I was younger and had time, I’d watch loads of them through all of December. It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, etc etc… I don’t have the time for that these days but there are TWO Christmas movies I still try to watch every December without fail: Scrooged and, of course, this.

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I don’t think I need to go into this one too much – I’d be very surprised if anyone has actually not seen it. By far the best of the “Vacation” films, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may not be It’s A Wonderful Life but is certainly every bit as much an American Christmas Classic. What I’ve always loved about it is that it SO accurately portrays a fairly typical American Christmas with crazy family (although of course exaggerated for comedic effect). I’m not sure if this one is as successful outside of the US – I WILL admit that it’s very “American”. My British hubby has never been able to relate to this one in the same way that I can and, since living in the UK, I’ve seen that Christmas is quite different here. But that’s probably made me love this movie even more – I can put it on each December and get all warm & fuzzy remembering my Christmases as a kid.

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The other thing I’ve always loved about this movie is that it’s actually REALLY EFFING FUNNY!!! Comedy isn’t exactly my favorite movie genre as there are so few that I’ve found funny over the years. But Christmas Vacation is hilarious. The mishaps with the Christmas lights, the crazy old aunt & uncle, the squirrel, the dry turkey, the cat getting fried, Danny Fucking Kaye, “it is a bit nipply out”, the snobby neighbors, the Star-Spangled Banner, Hallelujah! Holy shit! And, of course…. Cousin Eddie. How awesome is Randy Quaid in this movie? “Shitter was full!”. That’s right, James Stewart – I love you and Zuzu’s petals & your “Attaboy, Clarence” and all that but nothing beats “Shitter was full” when it comes to the all-time best Christmas movie quotes.

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Summary:

This movie never fails to cheer me up. I can’t imagine a Christmas going by without me watching it. It’s very American which makes me feel all nostalgic, it’s funny as hell, and it actually has a lot of heart without being annoyingly saccharine like most Christmas movies are. These are the reasons why National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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**I could only track down the above poster art to Pinterest HERE. And I looooove this piece of artwork from artist Jude Buffum (site HERE).

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Uncle Buck (1989) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes, once again, from my BFF Eric of The IPC (although I’m thinking of finding a new BFF after this review. any takers??). 😉 Kidding, Eric! Thanks again for agreeing to watch all these movies that don’t contain blood or guts or (many) boobs! Now let’s read Eric’s thoughts on Uncle Buck… 🙂 😦

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UNCLE BUCK

In the story of my life, one thing is certainly true: it never fails that I’ll be sitting somewhere, minding my own business, trying to do a good job and not bother anyone and I’ll get yelled at… Whether I was a kid sitting all alone in my room reading comics or playing with my toys, unsuspectingly, my mom would bust into my room and scream at me for something I didn’t know or remember that I did. Or when the co-worker across the hall gets mat at people on HER team – I get yelled at. Or old girlfriends… I’d just be sitting there, watching TV or something and BLAMMO!!! Screamed at. I’ve never understood. “Why do you bother us with this bullshit again, Isaacs???” you scream. Because, just this morning, I was sitting here in my office, eating some cantaloupe from the Hippie grocery store I go to now when I got this email from Cinema Parrot Disco. (The replies are clipped to take up less space).

CPD: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEND ME UNCLE BUCK???!!!??
IPC: Uhhhh… oh shit!! I forgot!! I totally suck!
CPD: SEND IT OVER YOU STUPID FUCK!!!
IPC: Um, well, I can tr-
CPD: OR YOU’RE OUT OF FUCKING LUCK!!!!
IPC: I’ll do m-
CPD: ALL I HEAR IS “CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK”!!!!!
IPC: What ar-
CPD: JUST. GET. OFF. YOUR. ASS.

Of course, that didn’t happen…. right…. right…..

*crickets*

So I rented it up and dodged some meetings and gave it a watch. Now – I’ve seen this before, when it came out in the theater and I remember it being funny so I had high hopes. Oh yeah – who hasn’t seen this? There’s no point in going into a deep plot synopsis because everyone knows about this one. A loud, obnoxious, unemployed fat dude goes to babysit his brother’s kids when he has to go out of town unexpectedly. Hilarity and hi-jinks ensue!! Right?? Right??

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I started it up and was not really enjoying the 1989-ness of it. The dialogue was kind of dopey and forced and the clothing and hairdos…. UGH. Oh – and McCauley Culkin…

And then… at around 30 minutes in, I started to get really bored… so I kind of stopped watching and just did some listening and twirled around in my chair looking for something in my office to entertain me…

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Not there….

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Nope… so then I started taking notes in case I got too bored and might forget what the hell was going on.

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And then that got boring so I made one last note, went outside for some fresh air and then came back resolved to finish this fucker.

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And finish it I did. And I don’t think I laughed once. Not even the Uncle Buck dancing part. The two youngest kids were too sappy and honey drippy cutesy, Uncle Buck was an obnoxious burden of a man, I HATED the teenager, I hated “Bug” and I hated the big warm’n-happy ending. I was slightly amused again when he had to go piss at the elementary school and he was to big for the urinals but that passed quickly. I think I liked this about as much as Zoe liked Ferris… which is Not Much. It’s not SHITFEST worthy but…. YEESH what a bore. Oh well….

THANKS FOR HAVING ME OVER ALL THOSE TIMES MUTANT!! Your blogathon has been EPIC!!
Internet hugs!!

BYE!!!

Love,

Eric

P.S. In the opening, if you can’t read my shitty handwriting… WHY was the dog in the closed clothes dryer when the kids got home from school???? Is that where he sleeps during the day?? Does he see the kids off to school and then slip into the laundry room, open the dryer with his finger and thumb and then close it when he’s in???

Also – if Uncle Buck has to microwave Maizy’s socks because he can’t open the washing machine… couldn’t he just stick them in the dryer?? Even the dog can open the dryer.

P.P.S. In that scene where Culkin is looking through the mail slot trying to see who’s ringing the bell and he sees those three dudes looking back at him. Is that supposed to be some reference to or foreshadowing for that Home Alone movie?

The Great Outdoors (1988) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Smash of Smashing Through Life!. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Smash! Now let’s see what she thinks of The Great Outdoors. 🙂

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The Great Outdoors

This is a great movie. Straight up, I can’t put it any simpler than that. This is one of those movies that makes me feel all warm and gooey inside because of the overflowing childhood nostalgia that comes with every viewing. It’s the kind of movie I watched once and then loved it so much that I re-watched it hundreds of times over the course of my childhood. And I’ll probably watch it another couple hundred times in the years to come.

It’s summertime, and that means family vacation for the Ripleys. Chet Ripley is excited to take his wife and their two boys vacationing at a lake resort in Wisconsin for some much needed family bonding. Unfortunately for Chet, his sister-in-law and her obnoxious husband show up at the cottage unexpectedly and totally horn in on his vacation. And they’ve got their creepy twin girls in tow, too. Like all family vacations there are ups and downs, so a whole bunch of petty bickering accompanies all of the ooey gooey sappy family moments to even things out. But in the end, they all have an unforgettable summer together. I’m not going to waste too much time on plot because I’m sure most of you are familiar with this one, so that’s the gist of it.

There are so many memorable scenes in this movie:
– The raccoons raiding the garbage bins chattering to each other about how hotdogs are made up of lips and assholes
– The grizzly bears climbing all over the cars because Chet put out candy bars to attract them
– The water skiing scene, c’mon. It’s John Candy on water skiis. Who can resist that! “You bastard! You bastard!”
– The guy that gets struck by lightening so many times that he’s a stuttering mess
– The epic steak eating challenge at the local bar, old 96’er a 96 ounce steak… and he does it! He’s got the free t-shirt to show for it
– When the bat gets trapped in the cottage and the men have to try and catch it, all bundled up in homemade armour
– When the teenager rubs his pool cue unknowingly between a cute girl’s legs and somehow it leads to a passionate summer romance
– And who could forget, the bald-headed bear who eventually becomes a bald-assed bear

I mean, this is a really freaking memorable movie. Even that great dance sequence that plays to the tune of Wilson Pickett’s Land of a 1000 Dances during the end credits, man I love that shit. Because of that dance sequence, this is probably one of the only movies that I actually watch all the way through the end credits. And I dance along with it too, because I have to. The power of Aykroyd compels me.

John Candy is/was a Canadian National Treasure. I mean, who doesn’t love John Candy to pieces? Assholes, that’s who. And Dan Aykroyd ain’t no slouch either. The guy is a freaking Blues Brother after all (and also Canadian, might I remind you.) It’s a double whammy of comedic awesomeness from two of the best Canucks to ever make their mark on the silver screen.

The characters are all very relatable, the story moves along at that wonderful never-a-dull-moment pace, and the by the end of you almost feel like you’ve been on the vacation too. Overall, The Great Outdoors is a really fun viewing experience and has endless re-watchability. If you haven’t yet seen this movie, then pop it on one rainy hungover afternoon this coming summer. It’ll be the perfect way to spend your day, I promise.

Baby’s Day Out (1994) Guest Review

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This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Anna of Film Grimoire. Thanks for the reviews, Anna! Let’s see what she has to say about Baby’s Day Out. 🙂

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John Hughes Blogathon: Baby’s Day Out (1994)

I chose this film for this amazing John Hughes blogathon because my partner watched this film over and over again as a child and still insists, to this day, that it’s one of the best childhood films ever. I watched it with him, and attempted to see it through the eyes of a child.

Baby’s Day Out (1994) follows the exploits of Baby Bink who is captured and ransomed by three criminal buffoons, one of whom is played by Joe Mantegna (think Fat Tony from The Simpsons). However, Baby Bink is much smarter than the three crims assume and evades capture in various locations that feature in his favourite book. The film is constructed around these various locations and contains a whole bunch of slapstick humour. John Hughes both wrote and produced this film.

In terms of the cast, Lara Flynn Boyle plays Baby Bink’s worried mother with a refined sense of superiority. Cynthia Nixon plays the baby’s nanny (with a bad British accent) who looks after him and spends time with him, often whilst reading his favourite book. Joe Mantegna is great as the leader of the three criminal idiots, and his delivery of lines is sometimes hilarious. Case in point, “That little doo-doo machine is my retirement money”. Imagine that line in Fat Tony’s mafia voice from The Simpsons. Instant hilarity. His acting is good, and is an appropriate level of villainous for kids to both enjoy and feel mildly threatened by.

It’s easy for an adult watching a kids film to say, “This is stupid and predictable”. Initially I felt that way, but then I attempted to see it through the eyes of a child under eight (because I’m assuming this is the intended audience). The dialogue is predictable, but it’s a kids film – it’s not for cynical adults. I think kids would enjoy it a lot. Kids have much more of a robust suspension of disbelief than adults, so I think they would find humour in the crazy exploits that this adventurous baby gets up to. For me, I was constantly worried the baby was going to fall off a building and harm itself. Kids would probably also find the chase sequences thrilling and funny.

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I mentioned slapstick humour – this film has at least four ‘kick in the nuts’ jokes, and one instance of Joe Mantegna’s nads being set on fire for an extended period of time. Kids respond well to slapstick comedy, at least I know I did. There are also lots of poop jokes, which are always hilarious regardless of your age. During these comedic moments, the baby almost acts as the laugh track so the audience can know what’s funny. Whenever something comedic happens, the baby’s cheerful laughter and giggling can be heard.

I have to confess that I fell asleep once during the construction site scene. I almost feel sorry for any mum or dad who took their kids to see this in the cinemas because it must have been very tedious for them. To the baby’s credit, he is very clever and has a knack for survival. In my adult brain, I wanted to discuss the themes of class division and privilege that this film displays. But kids don’t care about that stuff as long as people are getting kicked in the junk. Ultimately, Baby’s Day Out is a funny film for kids, but not so much for adults.

Kid rating: 4/5
Adult rating: 2/5

Watch the trailer here.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Thanks for the reviews, Zoe! Zoe famously hated Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Let’s see what she thought of National Lampoon’s Vacation. 🙂

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“Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.”
– Clark Griswold

The Griswold family is destined to take a trip, but before it begins it even appears doomed. For one, their new car never arrived, and they had to settle for a Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Instead of the new sleek sportier station wagon, they get a hunk of junk. Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) is angry with her husband Clark (Chevy Chase) for having settled for the car as well as the fact that he insists they do not fly from Chicago to Los Angeles to the amusement park Walley World. He says it will be great bonding time. Their kids, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron), are not thrilled with the prospect of driving cross country with the family.

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“Ed, I’m not your average everyday fool. Now I want my blue sports wagon and if you can’t get it I’m gonna take my business elsewhere! Where’s my old car?”
– Clark Griswold

However, it seems as though from the get go that things are just not going to work out for the family on their trip. They are plagued with numerous mishaps and problems pop up. Robbed, vandalised and falling asleep behind the wheel results in the family becoming a little demotivated. Clark is especially starting to feel the need for a good vacation but having Murphy perch on your shoulder. On the road, though, he sees a hot young blonde (Christie Brinkley) who seems to be interested and flirts back, at any rate. Clark flirts with her too, seemingly uncaring about his wife riding alongside him. The trip does not improve when they stop ever in Kansas to visit with Ellen’s cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and her insane brood and mostly useless husband Eddie (Randy Quaid). It seems that Eddie is out of work, Catherine is pregnant again, and pretty soon they force the Griswolds to take Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) with them to drop at her son’s home in Phoenix. As though this was not bad though, her vicious dog Dinky tags along too.

The trip is truly not improving with the addition of Aunt Edna. If anything, she seems to be aggravating things quite severely. Clark sees the hot Ferrari driver again and hits on her some more and the family’s camping fails dreadfully. Clark eventually ends up killing the ever-violent Dinky when he forgets to put the dog in the car and lets it stay tied to the bumper. Mishap after mishap seems destined to plague the family, and Clark is getting edgier and edgier. He just wants his family time and a lovely vacation, something they all need, and is rapidly getting to the place that he will go to any lengths to get there. Aunt Edna proves to be a handful, and soon a wrong turn leads to the car taking quite the leap of faith and gets excessively damaged. Clark gets hustled for all his money and the trip is really hitting a serious low. It seems that the worst has already come, but more often and not he is proven wrong.

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“Hey Knucklehead, set us up with four Red Eyes will ya?”
– Clark Griswold

Will the Griswolds ever get to Walley World? What will Clark do about the hot Ferrari blonde? How are the kids dealing with the awful vacation that they have been subjected to? How much more of Clark’s lunacy can Ellen deal with before she is sick and tired of him? What is the family to do seeing as they are so low on cash and in a dilapidated and dying car?

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“Oh spare me, Clark, I know your brand of family fun. Tomorrow you’ll probably kill the desk clerk, hold up a McDonald’s, and drive us 1000 miles out of the way to see the world’s largest pile of mud!”
– Ellen Griswold

I will score this a 7/10. There were good things and there were bad things and there were plenty of 80s based things, but overall I didn’t hate this, but will certainly not be rushing to see it again. If Clark was my husband, I would have kicked his ass ages ago for his ridiculous behaviour with the blonde Ferrari girl. Then, point two, stopping by at the family in Kansas was a disastrous idea, that family was just all broken and gross and wrong (yes, me judging). Aunt Edna was a real pain, and had some slight (though at times forced) humour to add to the entire ordeal. There were plenty things that happened along the lines of the vacation that would have had me throw in the towel, and really, they should have just flown. He got hustled in dodgy downtown areas and tagged and all, though he could definitely open a school to teach you how to drive in your sleep! I must say that this movie has not aged the best of all time but it was not so bad that you were put off of watching it, though I must confess it felt longer than it was. This was my first viewing of it and it was pretty decent, truly. There were bits that were quite funny, though I have to say Clark was such a chop. He did, however, carry much of the movie for me. Seeing a young Eugene Levy was also entertaining for me, no matter how short his appearance was. Have I redeemed myself in your eyes somewhat, T9M? 😛

Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) Review

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Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987) by ME again!

Directed by Howard Deutch

Produced & Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Eric Stoltz
Mary Stuart Masterson
Lea Thompson
Craig Sheffer
John Ashton
Elias Koteas
Molly Hagan
Maddie Corman
Jane Elliot
Candace Cameron Bure
Chynna Phillips
Scott Coffey
Carmine Caridi
Lee Garlington
Pamela Anderson

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Pretty In Pink. But better in some ways.

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My Opinion:

I’ll keep this review short as I’ve already reviewed Pretty In Pink (review HERE) and, for those who don’t know much about John Hughes films, this is basically a remake of that but with the roles reversed (Eric Stoltz is Molly Ringwald – you can figure out the rest if you watch them as I try to stay spoiler-free for Hughes-newbies). Which one is the better film? Pretty In Pink. Which one do I like more? Probably Some Kind Of Wonderful.

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I think it’s a shame that Some Kind Of Wonderful seems to get forgotten while Pretty In Pink gets all the attention. I won’t go into Pretty In Pink much as I’ve already reviewed it but the things it really has going for it are two very strong characters (Duckie & Iona) and some classic Hughes-style quotable lines. I think the script is stronger and, as I said, it’s a better film overall. However, I really couldn’t relate to any of the characters in Pretty In Pink. In Some Kind Of Wonderful, I found them much more realistic & they felt more like people who actually would have been in my high school. Plus Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is a great female character. I prefer the tough tomboy thing to Molly Ringwald’s usual girly roles in the Hughes movies. Watts still gets a little “silly” over a boy but, hey – she’s a teenage girl. Her character feels very genuine in the movie plus her friendship with Stoltz is totally believable and I bought into it more than Andie & Duckie’s in Pretty In Pink.

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Eric Stoltz does a decent enough job in the movie & you do find yourself wanting things to work out for him. Lea Thompson is a little… Empty. But so was the character who was her equivalent in Pretty In Pink. Elias Koteas is the “Skinhead” in this and is a very enjoyable character in the way that Iona was great in Pretty In Pink. The “bitches” are less bitchy than in Pretty In Pink but are more believable. Craig Sheffer is, well, a low-budget James Spader – anyone could have played his role. He’s the equivalent of Michael Ironside being the low-budget Jack Nicholson. But the important thing is that the two main characters, Stoltz & Masterson, are very strong and, for me, more likeable and realistic than in Pretty In Pink. Especially Watts.

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Summary:

Sorry for basically just comparing this to Pretty In Pink but it would be impossible not to. If you haven’t seen either film, I’d recommend both if you like slightly-dramatic 80’s teen movies and especially if you like John Hughes as these are both very much “him”. It’s hard to say which one you’ll like more – some prefer one and some prefer the other. If you’ve seen (and like) Pretty In Pink, you MUST watch Some Kind Of Wonderful as well! It’s good. You may even find you end up liking it more than Pretty In Pink. Okay – Yeah, I like it more too. It just wins out over Pretty In Pink thanks to the characters feeling more real. Some Kind Of Wonderful deserves more recognition than it seems to get compared to the other Hughes teen movies.

My Rating: 8/10

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from The Dirk Malcolm Alternative. Thanks for joining in on this blogathon! Let’s hear his thoughts on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 🙂

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FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (Hughes, US, 1986)

“The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.”
– Grace, the school secretary

I am presently trying to compose a list of the 100 best films that have been produced since STAR WARS (1977). John Hughes is a post-New Hope auteur who created a new strain of Teen Movie for the multiplex generation. Why do I think FERRIS BUELLER… deserves a place on the list above his other films? THE BREAKFAST CLUB is more important as it launched the careers of many of the so-called brat pack. HOME ALONE, that he wrote, was more commercially successful. PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES is funnier.

But, FERRIS… is wise.

It has a wisdom that transcends the ‘teen flick’ with all of its usual angst: the struggle to get noticed in a world that doesn’t care and the consuming need to find a partner. Its about more than that, its a manifesto for a way of life. Ferris is a righteous dude.

It is a simple story with a flimsy central motivation. Ferris is a well-heeled high-school kid who has a bedroom kitted out with state-of-the-art gear and loving parents who are working hard to meet his every desire. However, he has a significant lacking in his life, he doesn’t have a car, so he needs to ‘bum’ lifts from friends. To satisfy his desire for wheels plots a day off from school to spend it driving in a Ferrari belonging to his friend’s dad. I know. It’s terrible isn’t it? It’s one of those ethical dilemmas that is only matched by De Sica’s Antonio Ricci stealing a bike so he can get work to feed his child. But, of course, Ferris is not really interested in European socialism:

“I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.”

Being both European and a socialist, I should find Ferris annoying, with his first world problems and arrogance, but Hughes gets away with it because Matthew Broderick is so charming and charismatic. From the opening moments when he takes the audience into his confidence and he describes how to avoid school, you are willing to come along on the ride. Some of my favourite moments are those where he turns up the charm and pulls off audacious flim-flams. He manages to get his girlfriend out of school thanks to an elaborate hoax, and have dinner at an exclusive restaurant due to his quick wits and confidence trickery.

Broderick is so good that it is possible to overlook the contribution of some of the other characters to its success. Jeffery Jones is great as the Principle driven crazy by his suspicions about Bueller. Jennifer Grey has the ultimate bitchy resting face as Ferris’s sister who is horrified to see the school beguiled into a ‘Save Ferris’ campaign when rumours of his impending kidney transplant take hold. Alan Ruck as Cameron has a troubled expression that’s a great foil to Broderick’s sure-footed bravado and he looks like a piece of coal is actually up his arse, slowly turning to a diamond. He’s never certain that he should go along. He’s got a bad cold, Ferris treats him badly, and it’s HIS dad’s car:

“My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.”

“It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.”

The tension between the free-wheeling Ferris and the up-tight Cameron is the eternal battle between the id and the ego, the libertine verses the prig, tackling the ultimate question of modernity: how is it possible to be free in a society that demands order through the regime of school, work and the sense of duty towards parents. Ferris triumphs because he is willing to step outside of the hurley burley and find pleasure:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

There’s a timelessness to his message. It’s a middle-aged man speaking through a teenager. Every time I see the film, it makes me feel great, because its about the struggle for independence and the need to be free (at least once in a while). Ferris’ wisdom is the reason it belongs within the post-Star Wars cannon.

The film is made up of episodes that I’ve given the Dirk’s Five treatment, four good and one dud:

Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

1961 Ferrari 250GT California

Has there been a better use of John Williams’ music for STAR WARS? Not even George Lucas can match the moment when the valet-parking attendant launches this ultimate, classic sports car over a bump in sheer exuberance.

The brilliant-red car is a fetish object (can you hear Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’ without thinking about it?) throughout the movie. There were only 100 made, so you don’t need to be a car lover to cringe every time Cameron takes a blow at the bumper. Its a symbol of his relationship with his father and the source of his anxieties (the registration plate is NRVOUS). When it reverses through the plate window to crash at the bottom of a ditch, its not just its rarity that makes you bite your knuckle, its the realisation that things are never going to be the same again.

“Pucker up buttercup”

“This is George Peterson!” Cameron takes on the role of Sloane Peterson’s dad to get her out of school to join Ferris on his day off. He says that she needs to attend the funeral of her grandmother. Principle Rooney thinks it’s Ferris so lets rip:

Uh, yeah, sure, no I’d be happy to, yeah you, uh, you you just produce a corpse, and uh, I’ll release Sloane. I wanna see this dead grandmother first hand.

The timing of Jeffrey Jones’ reaction when his secretary tells him that Ferris is on line 2 is comic genius. As is his reaction when he sees Sloane apparently smooching with her ‘father’: “So THAT’s how it is in their family.”

Ferris’ Bedroom

I want one of those machines that you put a floppy disc in and it makes sick noises. He has the best graphic equaliser I’ve ever seen in a movie (not sure that its quite optimised for the acoustics of his room). It’s real pleasure to pause the image and study the posters on his wall too.

The contraption he creates is a fore-runner of Kevin’s devices in HOME ALONE, except they don’t actually look physically possible.

Art Institute of Chicago

I love the moment when they move through the museum in a link with the children, it is such innocent fun and joyous. The scene in the gallery offers a moment of calm meditation in the middle of the city. Chicago features heavily in the film with lurid, bright colours captured by cinematographer Tak Fujimoto (best known for his work on BADLANDS(1973))

The Dream Academy’s cover version of The Smiths’ Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want plays over a steady slide-show of Hopper, Kandinsky, Picasso, Giacometti, Pollock and Mattisse. Most notably Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Its at this point you realise that there is something to Ferris’ mantra. Stop and look once in a while. This great art could pass you by.

I yell “RAT!”

The Parade

I know that its a much loved scene, but after the time in the gallery I think this is wrong note in the film. The action transforms into the stuff of musicals with Ferris leading the crowd in a rendition of Twist and Shout. It seems oddly out of place and its the only moment that suddenly dates the film.

The parade scene in EASY RIDER (1969) has a similar effect of unbalancing things: they don’t look like they are part of what’s going on.

He should stick to singing in the shower.

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Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Laura of Film Nerd Blog. She liked Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Let’s see what she thought of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Ah, John Hughes. Acclaimed writer and director of a plethora of modern classic films. You’ve given us so many fabulous films over the years…Home Alone: Uncle Buck: The Great Outdoors: Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club to name a few. But before all of these there was Sixteen Candles.

I’ve only just seen this for the first time – I have no idea how it’s eluded me for so long – especially as I’ve such a soft spot for Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. Unfortunately, I think the delay has had a profound effect on both my enjoyment and my opinion.

Sixteen Candles opens on teenager Samantha Baker, played by Hughes stalwart and flame-haired 80s legend Molly Ringwald, on the morning of her sixteenth birthday. She’s excited to reach her sweet 16 although she’s a bit disappointed that she hasn’t [ahem] physically matured over night. What the hell though, the ‘rents will be waiting to lavish love and generous gifts on her, right? Wrong. Imagine her chagrin when she realises her whole family has totally forgotten her birthday.

The rest of the film is, on the surface at least, a sweet little coming-of-age comedy, where our petulant heroine finds herself the centre of a love triangle. On one side there’s the resident stud-muffin she has the serious teenage hots for, and on the other is the young nerd who has the hots for her.

Now, perhaps its because I’m watching this for the first time at the ripe old age of 32, but there were some elements of Sixteen Candles that really bothered me. Firstly, Jake Ryan, the aforementioned stud-muffin. He has a girlfriend and yet can’t wait to get together with Samantha behind her back. Ok, so maybe I’m taking it too seriously. This is aimed at teenagers, after all, and they aren’t exactly known for their sensitivity.

The thing that really gets to me is that there are some parts that are just a bit, well, rapey. Jake virtually donates his drunken girlfriend to the young nerd, and gives him the green light to do whatever he likes to her. Now, this just makes me feel icky. And while there’s no denying that Jake is a fine looking young man, he has about as much charisma as my favourite pair of slippers and I can’t help thinking that Samantha would’ve tired of him soon after the credits rolled.

In spite of these complaints, I quite enjoyed Sixteen Candles. I love Hughes’ style; it makes me nostalgic for an era I’m not actually old enough to recall. The casting is integral to the enjoyment of his films, and this one is no different- Ringwald makes for an excellent moody teenager while Hall was born to play the annoying try-too-hard nerd. And the characters, while sometimes crudely drawn and stereotypical, are often endearing and almost always totally engaging.

Sixteen Candles isn’t my favourite Hughes film but I’m glad I’ve finally seen it.

Score: 6/10

Miracle On 34th Street (1994) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. This is her second review after Sixteen Candles. Thanks for the reviews, Abbi! Let’s see what she thinks of Miracle On 34th Street. 🙂

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Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

I have to start off this review by saying it’s fricking weird to watch a Christmas movie in March. It feels completely weird and wrong and probably has somewhat skewed my experience of this remake of the 1940’s classic, which I have unfortunately not seen.

Anyway… Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) is a very practical woman who works for a big New York department store, which is under threat from some local Poundland type stores that want to take over. What Coles has over the discount stores is its history and its Thanksgiving parade leading up to Christmas… which would of course be a disaster without Santa.

On the day of the parade the Santa Dorey has hired makes a bit of a tit of himself and it’s left to a passer-by who calls himself Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) to step in and save the day. He’s so good that Dorey convinces him to take over as Coles’ full time Santa.

In the meantime Dorey is being courted by a handsome lawyer named Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDemott), who gets on fabulously well with her six year old daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson). Dorey is nervous to commit though.

Influenced by her pragmatic mother, precocious Susan doesn’t believe in Santa… although when she meets Kris, she starts to change her mind. Could he really be the man himself?

Mara Wilson is utterly adorable as Susan and it’s hard not to completely fall in love with her. She just seems so utterly natural and unaffected. Attenborough is also thoroughly charming as Kringle but it’s kind of hard to really get attached to the rest of the characters. At the same time I struggled with why Dorey was stalling so hard with Bryan. He seems like the nicest man on earth. Possibly if she had more of a backstory explaining why she was so sceptical of him it might have worked better.

I get the feeling that if I were fully on board with the Christmas spirit I would have been able to let myself just get carried along with the whole thing but on a particularly warm March day it just seemed like a bit of a stale Panetone, which went on and on and on. I think on the heels of Home Alone Hughes decided it was time to become the king of the festive classic but by this stage of his career he had lost his mojo a bit and it’s not a patch on his awesome teen movies, where he really is the king.
2/5

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What do you mean you want a Minion for Christmas?

CPD Classics: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Review

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) by ME, Cinema Parrot Disco! Finally writing some reviews!

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Matthew Broderick
Alan Ruck
Mia Sara
Jeffrey Jones
Jennifer Grey
Lyman Ward
Cindy Pickett
Edie McClurg
Ben Stein
Charlie Sheen
Kristy Swanson

Running time: 102 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), who decides to skip school and spend the day in downtown Chicago. Accompanied by his girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) and his best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), he creatively avoids his school’s Dean of Students Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), his resentful sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), and his parents.

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My Opinion:

If you’re my age, there’s a 90% chance that you love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Disclaimer: I pulled that statistic out of my ass). Although, personally, this is probably my third favorite Hughes film, I do think it’s his *best* film. The character of Ferris Bueller is possibly his greatest creation (and he created LOTS of memorable characters). Who wouldn’t love to be like Ferris? So carefree & living life to the fullest. As he famously says: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. For a teen film, that’s actually a pretty deep & meaningful statement said in such a simple way. Everyone knows it’s the way we should ALL be living our lives yet so few of us remember to. I’ll admit right now that I’m a Cameron, not a Ferris. I don’t want to be a Cameron and everyone knows you should NOT be a Cameron. So why are there still so many of us in the world??

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So Ferris and his girlfriend and his best friend take a day off of school & spend the day doing various things around Chicago. So what? Well, what do YOU do when you decide to fake a sick day? I doubt many of us manage to do half as much as Ferris & co. Hell, I’d probably just mope around the house all day the way Cameron would choose to if Ferris would let him. Ferris lives LIFE and even the simplest things, like going to an art museum, are treated as something fantastic & beautiful. And call me sappy if you want but the museum scene with the magnificent Dream Academy version of The Smiths’ Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want is an absolute classic. It’s beautiful & it’s moving and this is from a film aimed at TEENS.

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That’s what I loved about John Hughes – he treated teenagers as human beings with feelings and deep emotions and BRAINS. Now that I’m far (far… FAR… Oh, so damn far!) from being a teenager, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be one and, as Allison from The Breakfast Club would say, my heart has died (in some ways…). Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gave us teens that, upon first glance, just wanted a “day off of school” but, by the end of the film, we realize that these teens skipping out on a day of school want the same thing all of us want: To find joy in the little things and to simply live each day as though it’s our last (which sounds corny & obvious but I’m not a good writer like Hughes – he said it much better with the “Life moves pretty fast” line). In this movie, it’s a coming-of-age thing as the three of them think about what they’re going to do with their lives outside of high school and you can tell that even Ferris is a little scared. This theme works just as well for any generation and any big life changes we experience: marriage, birth, death… I think this is a big part of the reason why Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remains so well loved even today. The clothing styles may change but the themes are timeless.

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Summary:

Um, that was all almost deep for me! I didn’t even really discuss any specific things from the movie. The characters are very strong as are the actors and there are so many great lines, funny moments, and excellent song choices (as I’ve said before, John Hughes really knew how to choose the right songs for his films). But there’s really no point discussing the specifics anyway – most everyone has seen this film by now or at least knows some of the more famous scenes. I love that it’s John Hughes’ “love letter to Chicago” as well as I grew up not terribly far from there and have had a bit of a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” day in Chicago (but not fully – yes, this IS something I plan to do someday). The overall theme I discussed above isn’t enough to make a movie – it’s the combination of that plus the characters Hughes created here and his writing and the music and the humor and just… EVERYTHING coming together and being so RIGHT. That’s why Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is loved by so many, including me, and why it’s a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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Home Alone 3 (1997) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Ryan of Ten Stars Or Less. Thanks for the reviews, Ryan! He liked Only The Lonely okay – Let’s see his thoughts on Home Alone 3. 🙂

**WARNING: SPOILERS**

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run time: 102 mins
rated: PG
considered: Action, Comedy, Crime
starring: Alex D. Linz, Marian Seldes, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny von Dohlen, David Thornton, Kevin Kilner, Haviland Morris, Scarlett Johansson

movie summary: It has been a few years since Kevin McAllister was left home alone, only to prevent two burglars from robbing his house, fast forward about six years and a similar situation develops in another Chicago suburb. Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz) is home sick for the next few weeks with the chicken pox. His next door neighbor Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes) has just returned home from San Francisco and accidentially got her luggage switched at the airport, so she ends up with someone’s bag that has a brand new toy race car in it. She gives it to Alex as payment for shoveling her driveway, but little does she know that four mastermind international criminals are looking for the toy car and are coming to find her.

Petr Beaupre (Olek Krupa), Alice Ribbons (Rya Kihlstedt), Burton Jernigan (Lenny von Dohlen), and Earl Unger (David Thornton) travel from the west coast to the mid-west to find Alex’s neighborhood. They buy a house at the end of the street and begin to scout the neighborhood before breaking into homes during the day to find the bag. Alex’s dad Jack (Kevin Kilner) flies away for a business trip while his mom Karen (Haviland Morris) works from home and runs errands for a few hours each day. On the first day Alex is left alone he spots Beaupre lurking inside a house across the street so he calls the cops. After the cops search the house and find no signs of a break in they get disappointed that Alex called in a false alarm. The very next day Alex spots Beaupre in another house so calls 911 again. His mom gets very upset with him as the police chief explains the severity of Alex’s recent prank calls. Alex is grounded up in his room with his pet mouse Doris who is the only one that believes him.

His mom heads out the next day for work and should only be a couple of hours which gives Alex enough time to set up a video camera on the toy race car. He drives the car into the house where Beaupre breaks into and catches him in the act. Beaupre realizes the toy car is what he is looking for so he radios the three others to chase down the car. Amazingly all four of them stumble their way through the neighborhood yards only to come up empty-handed. Beaupre figures that the car belongs to a kid in one of the few houses he hasn’t searched yet, so the group targets Alex’s house and plan one final break in.

Alex gets up real early and ushers his mom off to work before assuring her that he’s going to be ok all alone for the afternoon. He begins to set up traps all over the house, at every point of entry, and in the back yard swimming pool. Beaupre and the gang ascend on the house and run into trouble at every turn. Within a few minutes everyone has either been electrocuted, knocked out, tarred, feathered, sprayed painted, burnt, or shot. Despite all the trouble just to get into the house they continue until they get inside and can’t find Alex. He is upstairs watching the events unfold on tv before escaping down the in-house elevator. The guys get upstairs into Alex’s room only to see him running away, so decide to jump out the window onto the trampoline that was covering the swimming pool. Alice falls down the elevator shaft while Beaupre manages to get away and head over to Mrs. Hess’ house to kidnap her. Alex finds her and rescues her when Beaupre threatens to kill him if he doesn’t give up the race car. He pulls a gun on Alex who reaches into his backpack and pulls out a gun of his own. During the standoff, sirens can be heard in the distance which leaves little time for Beaupre to get what he came after and for Alex to prove he wasn’t lying about the break-ins.

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my thoughts: Home Alone 3 is the first movie in the series that didn’t feature McCauley Culkin as the lead character. The franchise had to move on without its star and create a new set of heroes and villains which are disappointing. Instead of two small time house robbers, this home alone kid has to deal with some not so bright international thieves who are looking for a computer chip that can control nuclear weapons.

Alex D. Linz is a funny kid who has big shoes to fill in the lead role and manages to pull it off quiet admirably. He copies some of the tricks used in the first two films but has many gadgets to expand his arsenal to stop the bad guys. The toughest part for all the characters in this story is that audiences have already seen this story played out before and know exactly how it is going to end. In an attempt to keep audience engaged, the computer chip storyline was presented to add some real life drama, even though it is highly unreasonable that some kid will be able to stop highly trained criminals from getting what they want.

This movie sadly lacks the charm from the previous ones but that never stopped my grandmother from absolutely loving this movie. She would watch Home Alone 3 every holiday season and just laugh at how Alex would outsmart these guys again and again. I haven’t watched this movie since she passed away in 2012 and when I saw it was still available for the John Hughes blogathon on Cinema Parrot Disco, I thought it would be fitting to finally watch it again and remember one of the many things that made her laugh.

my star rating: 3 out 10

She’s Having A Baby (1988) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rhetologue’s Movie Logs. Thank you for being a part of this blogathon! Let’s see what he thought of She’s Having A Baby. 🙂

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Love and marriage. It goes together like a horse and carriage but also has Kevin Bacon freaking out in John Hughes much maligned surrealist romantic comedy.

EHarmony. Match.com. OKCupid. What do they all have in common? Well, they’re all websites that have millions scrambling to find ‘the one’. Yet what is it about the actual settling down, past the overly extravagant dates, butterflies and passion filled coitus that has some men freaking out? This is what the late John Hughes explores in his 1988 dramatic comedy She’s Having a Baby. First of all, how hilarious is it that the title completely puts the ball in her court? Even before you get into the story you are completely aware of what starving artist Jake Briggs (Kevin Bacon) thinks about the baby growing inside wife Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern).

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She’s Having a Baby charts the early years of their relationship and is truly told from the perspective of Jake as he contends with settling down, building a home and becoming a father. As much as (some) men like women, Hughes presents the young men in his movie as seeing them as crazy people. Hughes paints Jake’s love interest as a wide eyed, irrational, succubus out to ensnare the innocent young Jake and drain him of his independence and virility. To this degree ‘She’ is nearly inconsequential, yet is Jake’s only real antagonist, as Hughes seems to believe that the target audience (i.e. other men) will understand the basis of his conceit completely. The seed of such a perspective of trepidation is planted by a young and mullet-rocking Alec Baldwin as mirror Davis, a dim witted Lothario still looking for love yet happy to defy its conventions. Baldwin has been playing this character for years and it never gets old, recently making good of the ageing lothario character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
The conflicting perspectives are handled with biting candour in Hughes’ monologues as bile flies from all involved, including Jake’s in-laws eager for him to stop playing artist, get a real job and pump out some grandkids. Kevin Bacon’s big innocent eyes and anxiously fatalistic monologues are the anchors to this passive tale as he wanders through his own life, a supposed victim of an inevitability. Yet Hughes marries Jake’s latent misogyny with his devotion, volatile self-esteem, emotional flexibility and belief in love. This was a very mature role for the Footloose star, yet is testimony to a great career of never being typecast. Few actors can say that they have had such a diverse career and that the range has been of such a high standard. Here Bacon delivers the quiet anxiety that is foundation to his concerns.

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As he looks out from behind Hughes’ iconic frames, character and inspiration collide and we are given insight into the writer’s thoughts and convictions with comedic exaggeration. Hughes does a great job of taking theatrical motifs such as moving sets and clashing alternate realities to visually represent Jake’s anguish. We are used to seeing such an approach in movies and sitcoms like Scrubs but here they are delivered with the rough and poor execution of burgeoning innovation. The same can be said for the story, which barrels together as a mess of great ideas, falling over one another without particular form or grace yet bursting with ingenuity. These motifs assist Hughes in conjuring a dream-like quality to She’s Having a Baby, with situations and conversations culminating in Jake’s worldview or providing him suspended time to make moralistic decisions. This surrealist tone has our hero almost unable to believe anything in his life is really happening. For a film to solely generate the mind-set of its protagonist in this way is quite an achievement and has this movie hold a particular novelty.

As Jake flirts with infidelity and finds solace only when the proverbial crapola nearly hits the fan, this is far from a romantic tale…and that’s awesome. In a world of overly saccharine Rom-coms, leading to predictable conclusions with people characterised as overly successful or simplistic failures, it’s nice to watch a story that surrounds people with some rough edges. Sure, those rough edges are of a successful lawyer and a guy walking ass backwards into a job in advertising but it’s as close to the everyman as you can get. This was always Hughes’ gift (or famed indulgence), to paint what can subjectively be called real people, with writers/directors like Judd Apatow firmly living within his legacy.

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Last Words
“We need the eggs”

It’s not a line from Hughes’ much ignored movie but my Last Words are from the end of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. “We need the eggs” has always seemed to encapsulate the attempt of such narratives that seek to make sense of the relationship between men and women. Hughes’ movie is a charming mess of ideas, concepts, opinions and realities that culminate without any real conclusions…well, except that it would be better if the woman Jake loves didn’t die. That commentary in of itself just made me laugh as I wrote it and that is the fun thing about this movie, it works under an awkward and unashamedly male bias.

Therefore, there are many reasons why She’s Having a Baby wouldn’t be in a John Hughes box set, joining the likes of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. Sure, it has Hughes’ cutesy hallmarks, with fun contrived montages and anxious monologues, but at its core is a hell of a lot more bite and fatalism. This presents a stoic world view, even beating out the likes of The Breakfast Club in its attempts to contend with coming of age as a baptismal story of underlying sobriety. It’s not as melodramatic as Hughes’ other stories, there’s no overt emotions or morals, as at its core is a darkly comic conceit.

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Though all those other John Hughes movies are miles better in construction and delivery, She’s Having a Baby is one of his often ignored tales that provides sparks of novel creativity, a rarely presented true-ish male perspective and the cahones to be honest about a man’s fear of what it feels like when a woman is having a baby.

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Dennis (1993) Guest Review

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aka Dennis The Menace

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of Movie Rob. Yes, Rob again! I’m a terrible host. I’ve only reviewed four Hughes films so far. You’re making me look bad, Rob! 😉 I’ll try to do another four reviews before this finishes. Now let’s see what Rob thought of Dennis. 🙂

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“I brought my own pillow so I won’t get my spit all over yours.” – Dennis

Number of Times Seen – 2 (Early 90’s and 11 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A six year old boy terrorizes his neighbor Mr. Wilson and his prized flowers. Based on the comic strip of the same name

My Take on it – As a kid, I use to really enjoy the Dennis the Menace comic strip and books. He would really wreak havoc on Mr. Wilson in so many humorous ways that it was always a pleasure to read.

This movie attempts to re-create and re-imagine that fun and it is widely unsuccessful in doing so.

The kid chosen to play Dennis, Mason Gamble doesn’t look enough like the comic character who is a bit chubbier and larger than the young actor and his antics here just aren’t very funny.
Walther Matthau is usually great in everything he does, but he unfortunately doesn’t have much to work with here since all his character does is yell, scream and have unsuspecting follies happen to him by the well-meaning Dennis. He is wasted in the role of Mr. Wilson.

This movie also adds in a criminal passing thru town played by Christopher Lloyd who attempts to cause mischief but is foiled time and again by Dennis’ mischief. I like Lloyd more in his fun roles like in Taxi or Back to the Future (1985) and he seems quite miscast here as the villain.

John Hughes attempts to make this movie and its lead character a younger, more mischievous Kevin McCallister but fails in doing so.

I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it many more times but Hughes later movies attempted unsuccessfully to “borrow” elements from his earlier successes and suffer because of it. Just because an idea worked in a certain movie, doesn’t mean it can be transplanted into another one and be guaranteed to work.

This is one of those cases where it didn’t…

This is actually a movie I wish I hadn’t seen, because it ruined some of the pleasant memories I had of the character when I was growing up.

Bottom Line – Terrible attempt at re-imagining Dennis the Menace. Waste of time.

Rating – Razzie Worthy

Drillbit Taylor (2008) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from, umm… Rob of Movie Rob? I don’t know who he is. Lol! Just kidding, Rob – Thank you so much for helping to get me SOOO close to having EVERY Hughes film reviewed. I’ll try to find those last two myself & possibly do the two I haven’t received. Then it’ll be EVERY Hughes movie reviewed in one place! Wow! Now let’s see if Rob liked Drillbit Taylor. 🙂

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“Now in addition to the Chinese Kung Fu we’ve got a little Mexican Judo, as in ‘Judon’t know who you messin’ with, homz.'” – Drillbit Taylor

Number of Times Seen – 1 (12 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis – 3 freshmen in high school decide to hire a bodyguard to protect them from bullies

My Take on it – I had heard of this one prior to watching it, but didn’t know anything about it.

I actually don’t feel that my life has been enriched in any way by finally seeing it tho.

This movie is at most a mediocre tale of 3 geeks who hire an ex-soldier to be their bodyguard in school. Little do they know that he is really an AWOL homeless vet who tries to use this “gig” as a way to fund his flight from the authorities to Canada.

The star of this movie is Owen Wilson who plays the title character and he acts…well..just like he always does, which doesn’t say much.

The writing here by John Hughes just isn’t anywhere near par for him and it seems that at this point, he really just raised up his arms and gave up trying to make good movies. There are a few humorous lines and scenes, but all in all not great.

This was Hughes’ final movie as a credited Writer since he died a year after this came out. He was probably quite ashamed by this screenplay because he used the pseudonym that he always used when he wrote a bad movie; Edmond Dantes (The main character of The Count of Monte Cristo).

Quite unfortunate since he didn’t have a chance to redeem himself from this one!

Bottom Line – Has some good lines but definitely a far cry from Hughes’ best. This one is mediocre at best. Wilson is his usual self which doesn’t say much for him.

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

Pretty In Pink (1986) Review

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Pretty In Pink (1986) by Me! Cinema Parrot Disco finally wrote another review for this blogathon!

Directed by Howard Deutch

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Harry Dean Stanton
Jon Cryer
Annie Potts
James Spader
Andrew McCarthy
Kate Vernon
Andrew Dice Clay
Kristy Swanson
Alexa Kenin
Dweezil Zappa
Gina Gershon

Plot Synopsis:
Romeo And Juliet. With 80’s Hipsters.

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My Opinion:

You all know I love my John Hughes teen films but I’ve never loved Pretty In Pink QUITE to the same degree as The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles (my review for that HERE). I re-watched this a few days ago for the first time in years to see if my opinion would change. It didn’t, really, but I still appreciate two of the best characters that John Hughes created (Jon Cryer’s Duckie & Annie Potts’ Iona). And, as usual, some classic quotable lines that Hughes always did so well.

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I think the main problem is that I never could fully relate to these characters. The main theme here, “rich vs poor”, isn’t something I really experienced in my extremely tiny Midwest American town. The (three!) families in town who had a bit of money still weren’t exactly rich by big city standards. High school popularity was based, mainly, on things like being good at sports. And I suppose sluttiness. So… I really had no chance at popularity either way. 😉

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As for the “original hipster” look of Andie & Duckie’s clothes… Again, I couldn’t relate. I’d like to say I had the balls to dress like that back in high school (well, except for her ugly ass prom dress at the end) but dressing like that in my little farming community would have made me an outcast. Individuality wasn’t considered a good thing! For today’s teenagers, however, I’d want them to watch something like Pretty In Pink & realize that being a “Duckie” really is the way to be. Don’t conform, teeny boppers! Did I just say teeny boppers?? God I’m old…

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Molly Ringwald is okay here, even if I can’t fully relate to her. If I had to choose the Hughes Ringwald character I was most like as a teen, it would be the socially awkward Samantha in Sixteen Candles. But at least in this one she’s possibly the strongest character in that she does stand up a bit to the rich bitches (but still gets too silly over a boy). And she’s not an annoying popular snob like in The Breakfast Club (who can relate to that??). But, as mentioned before, it’s Duckie & Iona who really make this a better film overall. Unfortunately, for me, the biggest thing that doesn’t work in Pretty In Pink is the romance.

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I mean… Andrew McCarthy?? Reaaaaaally? I’ve never understood having a thing for him. Give me Jake Ryan any day! Plus Ringwald & McCarthy just have zero chemistry here. Unlike with Duckie. So… Okay – everyone knows the ending to this but I still feel like I shouldn’t come right out & say it. But I think it’s pretty widely known that most people weren’t happy with the ending. Well, that’s why Hughes went on to make (the Pretty In Pink remake, basically) Some Kind Of Wonderful which I think isn’t quite as good of a film but I still prefer in many ways. I’ll review that next week. As for Pretty In Pink, I do still like it A LOT as it’s typical of the Hughes way of writing that I loved so much but the overall story & the romance just don’t quite speak to me in the way they did in his other teen films. Oh, and great use of things like New Order. As always, John Hughes knew how to choose the right music for his movies!

My Rating: 8/10

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