Green Book, Instant Family, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & Eighth Grade Movie Reviews

I managed to see four 2019 UK cinema releases while on planes to and from America in August (I realize they were 2018 releases in the US). I’d not flown anywhere for years – When did the movie selection get so good & recent?? I figured I’d give these quickie reviews since I try to review all UK film releases each year. I’ll start with the best and end with the worst…

Green Book (2018)

Directed by Peter Farrelly

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.

My Opinion:

I’m glad I managed to catch up on seeing this controversial Best Picture Oscar winner. I enjoyed it. I know there’s a lot of hate for this one but I thought the performances were strong and I always like stories involving an unlikely friendship between two very different personalities. I thought Mahershala Ali was great in Moonlight and, at the time, was hoping he’d get more roles so I’m happy that’s happening (and that he keeps winning Oscars). I thought his character & Viggo Mortensen’s worked well together and it felt realistic in that the friendship was often awkward and grew very slowly as they were so different.

Is it true to their real life story? I think some of the controversy comes from Don Shirley’s family saying the two weren’t friends at all (the film was co-written by Frank Vallelonga’s son) but interviews with Shirley himself say differently. Who knows? That’s just what I read at Wikipedia to try to find out what caused the controversy surrounding this movie but I’ve read no more than that. I love movies for their escapism so don’t often go for the “true story” films anyway. I like to think it’s all true but know that movies always play up the feelgood factor. As long as it doesn’t feel too over the top & phony, I’m happy enough with a little bit of feelgood cheese.

At least Green Book keeps it fairly real as things are far from perfect during their journey but I’d have liked a tiny bit more focus on the history of the actual Green Book itself (but that would easily make for another whole separate movie). The focus here is on the friendship between the two men and, as far as roadtrip friendship movies go, I found Green Book enjoyable despite any issues surrounding it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Instant Family (2018)

Directed by Sean Anders

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty, Octavia Spencer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A couple find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

My Opinion:

This movie was fine. It actually had a great IMDb rating when it came out in the U.K. and I’d really wanted to see it but the feelgood cheese (as I mentioned in my Green Book review) was a little too much at times in this one.

To be fair, though, this movie was marketed as a comedy drama so it kept things fairly light instead of being a hard-hitting drama at all times (which isn’t my thing anyway – real life is depressing enough!). I just think that this situation in real life would probably be far more challenging than depicted and, for whatever reason, I never felt a strong connection between the couple and the foster kids although the actors all did a perfectly fine job.

The strongest performance was from Isabela Moner as the headstrong and challenging teenager. She was tough but not totally hateful, which is often a danger with teenage characters. The relationship between her character & Rose Byrne’s felt the most realistic and it was nice seeing those two grow closer. Overall, Instant Family was a nice and somewhat safe film that was at times a tiny bit contrived but, oh well – A feelgood film never killed anyone.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Directed by Marielle Heller

Based on Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film based on the confessional memoir of the same name by Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and the story follows her attempts to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights.

My Opinion:

This was a pretty typical movie with Oscar nominations for acting: The acting was fantastic but the movie was just okay. The true story is actually pretty interesting but I guess it didn’t translate well to film as I was a bit bored throughout the movie. However, Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant were so great and such entertaining characters that this one was still well worth a watch to see their Oscar-nominated performances. I think both of them haven’t gotten enough credit over the years (Yes, even McCarthy, whose brand of humor isn’t my thing for the most part but I can see why she has fans). It’s great that they got recognition for their parts in this film as they’re what made it enjoyable and they had really good chemistry. I’ll keep this short, though, as I honestly have nothing else to say about this movie. Good story, a little slow & boring at times, but fantastic performances and interesting characters.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Eighth Grade (2018)

Directed & Written by Bo Burnham

Starring: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Fred Hechinger

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The coming-of-age story follows the life and struggles of an eighth-grader, played by Elsie Fisher, during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She struggles with social anxiety but produces vlogs giving life advice.

My Opinion:

This came out aaaaages ago in America but was only finally released in the UK in April this year. It got brilliant reviews from “Film Twitter” people and, even though I’m an old lady, I’m still always up for a really good coming of age film ever since falling in love with Stand By Me during my own coming of age years. Plus, I can relate to the whole socially awkward thing since I’m still awkward as shit.

Well, damn – This movie was very disappointing. I’ll say that the actress, Elsie Fisher, did a good job and felt very real (she seems sweet – I have nothing bad to say about the actress). She also did the socially awkward thing extremely well so, in that regard, I identified with her (even though she was actually far more awkward than I ever was!). However, I couldn’t relate to the character in any other way whatsoever. I know that pre & early teens can be annoying as hell but her character really was a bit too hateful for me to care at all what would happen to her. And her dad just put up with her whiny bullshit and her being a bitch to him and he didn’t monitor her time spent online AT ALL.

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m sounding old. But, seriously – keep your kids away from all forms of social media as long as fucking possible! It’s dangerous. And if you can’t do that for some reason, monitor what the hell they’re doing! FYI – the girl is a vlogger and this movie is NOT about the dangers of living a phony online existence – It’s just about not fitting in during the most awkward time of life. I’m simply having my own personal rant because seeing young girls living out their lives online and pretending to be something they’re not breaks my damn heart. Do we seriously need a whole generation of superficial KardashiJenners?! I can’t stand that fake bullshit and don’t want real-life girls like this character committing suicide when they can’t live up to the impossible standards set by “influencers” and people with an unlimited supply of money.

No, this movie isn’t about suicide or depression or anything like that – It’s a “comedy” drama, supposedly. Maybe I just AM too old for teen movies now as I found Booksmart disappointing as well. However, I thought The Edge Of Seventeen was very good and a more realistic portrayal of being a teen. I don’t know – I just think Eighth Grade would’ve been better with a more likeable and therefore more sympathetic main character. And possibly with “comedy” that was actually funny – I had to double check to see if this was actually considered a comedy. It also felt like it dragged on forever, despite being a short film. It has one of those typical meandering indie movie storylines that doesn’t go anywhere – I don’t know how I managed to stay awake watching this one on the plane. I suppose that reading all the hype for this one while waiting at least a year for it to come out in the UK didn’t help either as my expectations were probably way too high. What a massive disappointment.

My Rating: 5/10

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TAG – Five Flaming Hotties

I was tagged by blogger MIB (of MIB’s Instant Headache) to participate in the Five Flaming Hotties blog game thingymabob. So here are the rules as that’s a requirement and I don’t want a kitten to die or something if I don’t post them:

– Mention the name of the blog you were tagged by, as well as the creators of this game Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts All Sorts, linking back to all blogs involved and including the picture above.
– List five of your greatest hotties from TV and/or film, i.e. crushes/objects of your affection, including musicians or sports stars too.
– Tell us how you were “introduced” to them and why you like them/what appeals.
– Add some appealing pictures.
– Tag seven bloggers for their Five Flaming Hotties.
– Post the rules.

Well, I’m not going to tag people but anyone who reads this is free to participate if they choose to do so. What can I say? I’m more of a dog person anyway. 😉

I must confess that I’m old and not exactly full of lust for any famous people anymore (other than Chris Hemsworth). And, lately, it seems like we’re finding out that a bunch of them are disgustingly horrible people (although we probably suspected that already), which makes doing a list like this even more difficult. I’m already thinking “Oh man, I listed The Cosby Show as one of my favorite TV shows in an old post on this blog as well as posting a Kevin Spacey Top Ten. Am I going to have to go deleting old posts now that we’re finding out that Hollywood is nasty???” I’d probably have to lose half my blog content. Just make good movies & be good people, dammit!

Okay – I’ll pick five hotties & I sincerely hope that they’re nice people in real life. Because, although it sounds like bullshit, what turns me on the most is 1) Someone who is genuine & honest and who can be trusted (my biggest pet peeves are arrogance, phoney people & backstabbers) 2) Someone with a great sense of humor and 3) Someone with a brain and common sense (number three seems especially hard to find these days). I also like laidback people who aren’t full of drama. Fucking chill, people! I feel like the world is completely fucking insane at the moment. Seriously – I’m struggling to do this post because I’m too annoyed lately to be able to do something lighthearted & fun like this.

Okay. Shut up, woman! Let’s just do this Hotties thing. I contemplated putting both men & women in this list as I find a lot of women very beautiful although I’m not attracted to them. But I’ll stick to men since that’s my thing. Unless they’re assholes – I’m not one of those girls who likes the mean guys. Instant turn off!

Wait. You know what? I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to list fictional movie characters I like based on personality as well as looks. I need to know a guy isn’t an asshole before I can decide if I actually find him attractive and that’s the honest truth. Fictional characters can’t let me down! Lloyd Dobler will forever be nothing but a sweetheart. So here we go…

5. Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. Played by Michael Schoeffling.

As far as looks only, Jake Ryan was my ideal hunk as a teen. Brown hair, brown eyes, perfect face (although, looking at him now, he seems a bit too “handsome dull”). He’d have been higher on this list at one point but, although he was sweet to the nerd girl, his personality was a bit “handsome dull” as well. I’m also pretty sure that Jake Ryan was a meathead jock getting by on a C average and he didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor. So, he was really only “nice” & “handsome”. There’s not enough going on besides the good looks but I’d be lying to myself if I excluded him from this list. All girls my age had a huge crush on the completely unattainable Jake Ryan. (Because, honestly – there’s no fucking way that a “Jake Ryan” would like the quiet nerd girl in real life).

4. Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Played by John Cusack.

THE perfect (and, of course, fictional) boyfriend. And, unlike Jake Ryan, he felt much more realistic. It felt like he could be MY boyfriend. But Lloyd Dobler holding that damn boom box over his head ruined boys for me throughout my teens & early twenties. No one could actually match up to that. I know there are some very nice guys in the world but I certainly wasn’t surrounded by any in late 80s/early 90s Midwest America. My school had no Lloyd Doblers! We had asshole versions of Jake Ryan (minus the insanely handsome thing).

3. Kyle Reese in The Terminator. Played by Michael Biehn.

Where the hell can a girl find a cute, sensitive virgin willing to risk his life and travel into the past to save her from a killer robot? Is that really too much to ask? We all deserve a Kyle Reese! And a Dwayne Hicks who will try to protect us from aliens even though we’re kick-ass ladies who can protect ourselves from those bitches…

2. Mark Hunter (Hard Harry) in Pump Up The Volume. Played by Christian Slater.

Hard Harry was one of my absolute biggest movie crushes when this movie came out. I wanted to be Samantha Mathis in this movie & to make-out with sweet, shy, sensitive Mark BUT, at the same time, I identified more with Mark and wanted to be a female version of his quiet teen who came out of his shell while raising hell as an unknown pirate DJ.

Honorable mention: Christian Slater’s Adam in Untamed Heart. Where can I find a sensitive boy with a baboon heart who brings me Christmas trees?!?

1. Chris Hemsworth. In anything & everything. Played by a hot Australian.

Okay, sorry. He’s not fictional. But he’s so damn pretty. Look at him!!! I could stare at him all day. I’m so shallow. I was pretending I’m not shallow! To be fair, he seems like a nice guy. Like most people, I watch enough celebrity interviews to get an idea of what these celebrities are like (there are plenty I can’t stand). Hemsworth seems very laidback & is always sweet about his family. So I’ll assume he’s perfect and nice and funny (not sure about brainy, though?). And, as a bonus, he’s FLAMING HOT! 🙂 Oh, here’s my Thor: Ragnarok review. I sooooo love funny Thor…. ❤️🔥

My Top Ten Actors’ Eyes

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Err… Would this actually be a Top 20???

Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are once again did a couple Top Tens that I’d like to rip off. 😉 Her lists of her Top Ten Most Annoying Actors & Actresses (as well as the actors & actresses she’d watch in most everything) have now been copied by pretty much every one of us movie bloggers on WordPress. Well, a while ago Abbi got the idea from Cindy Bruchman’s Mr Bright Eyes Top Ten list of blue-eyed actors to then do her own list of Top Ten Blue Eyed Actors followed by her Top Ten Brown Eyed Actors.

Well, I’m mixing it up a bit! If I had to pick, I’d say brown eyes are what do it for me the most but I do love some sexy blue eyes as well (hello Chris Hemsworth!). So I’m putting both in one list.

Here are My Top Ten (Twenty!) Actors’ Eyes:

10. Jesse Williams

Whenever I’m not watching Grey’s Anatomy because it’s full of moany wankers, I always think “Damn! That guy has some lovely eyes.” But then I think “Not that I would know, since I totally don’t watch that annoying Grey’s Anatomy bullshit. Umm. It must be The Cabin In The Woods I’m thinking of. Yep, that’s where I saw him. Not Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t watch that shit. Honest!”

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9. Orlando Bloom

I wouldn’t say I have a big crush on Bloom but his brown eyes are perfect. I could have put either Orlando Bloom or Andrew Garfield at number nine as they both have the perfect type of brown eyes that make me melt but I went with Bloom as, well, he’s definitely the more attractive of the two.

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8. David Bowie

That’s me – once again using any excuse to get David Bowie into a post. 😉 I’ve always been quite fascinated by people who have eyes of different colors (even though, in Bowie’s case, it’s down to a childhood accident). It’s just another quirk that makes him unique.

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7. Paul Walker

Aww – poor Paul Walker. I wasn’t a fan of those silly testosterone-fueled Fast & Furious movies but I loved Walker’s baby blues. It was a shame he’d done so many of those movies – I’d have liked to see him in other things. You know what movie of his I really liked? Roadkill! (Called Joy Ride in the US. Isn’t it weird when they change movie titles??)

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6. Johnny Depp

Another crush from my teen years who had beautiful brown eyes. I can’t help it… the majority of guys I had crushes on through my teens just always seemed to have brown eyes! Holy shit, though – look at the size of that collar.

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5. Paul Rudd

Sweet, funny, adorable Paul Rudd. I’ve loved him since Clueless. Cute AND funny – that’s how I like ’em! Love his slightly unusual greenish eye color.

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4. Chris Hemsworth

Those who know me know that I kind of have the hots for The Hems. He’s gorgeous from top to bottom anyway but having eyes that are such a perfect shade of blue certainly doesn’t hurt either.

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3. Jim Sturgess

I told you I liked brown! Don’t get me wrong – Hemsworth is still my number one crush. Jim Sturgess, however, has THE most perfect puppy dog brown eyes. This is the type of boy I’d have fallen desperately in love with as a teenager (and who would’ve broken my heart, of course. the bastard!).

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2. Paul Newman

Back to blue! Okay, Chris Hemsworth is gorgeous but Paul Newman beat him to “baby-blue-eyed sex symbol” fame. What a legend! What a face. What a hottie!

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1. Michael Schoeffling

Ha! Yes, Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles. What can I say? Jake Ryan topped my list HERE of My Top Ten Movie Crushes. As your biggest crushes are when you’re in your teens, a lot of the guys on that list are of course from my teenage years. Jake Ryan was the perfect guy to me back then (in a totally shallow looks-wise way). So I have to put the lovely Michael Schoeffling’s beautiful brown eyes at number one.

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Green Eyes & The Ladies:

It feels like I should mention some actresses as well, such as Elizabeth Taylor, whose eyes were a deep shade of blue that sometimes appeared violet and who was lucky enough to be born with a “mutation” of a double row of eyelashes!! (I had never heard that until I looked people up when putting this list together). Also, seeing as I have neither blue nor brown eyes, I felt like I should give a shout-out to all the AWESOME green and hazel-eyed people out there. There are lots of beautiful green-eyed actresses but not actors for some reason. I read that green eyes are more common in women but that was somewhere on the Internet and the Internet is full of LIES, so… Who knows! Anyway, here are a few actresses with lovely eyes (yeah, mostly green as green-eyed girls rock):

Evangeline Lilly
Scarlett Johansson
Angelina Jolie
Emily Browning
Charlize Theron
Melanie Laurent

And the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen belong to actress Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, who was specifically hired for the (great) movie I Origins, a film in which the plot revolves around the eyes and their mysteries. I wondered throughout the movie if they were faked but they’re indeed her actual eyes with the unusual markings and different colors. Gorgeous!

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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!!

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

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. This is the second of four reviews for Sixteen Candles, which is a favorite of mine (you can read my review HERE). Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Abbi! Let’s see what she thinks of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

When Samantha (Molly Ringwald) wakes up on her sixteenth birthday she’s convinced everything is going to change. Unfortunately her entire family has forgotten her birthday and things are only going to get worse at school. There’s a massive geek (Anthony Michael Hall) obsessed with her and Jake (Michael Schoeffling), the already taken boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. Well not until he finds a sex quiz she’s filled in that says she wants to “do it” with him.

If that wasn’t enough to worry about, Samantha’s sister, Ginny (Blanche Baker) is about to get married and the whole family has descended on them and they haven’t remembered her birthday either.

The only chance Sam has of rescuing the day is by going to the school dance but will she managed to avoid the geek and hook up with Jake?

Sixteen Candles is an absolute eighties teen movie classic, one of the main reasons being that Molly Ringwald is so perfect as Samantha. She is beautiful but in an unconventional, natural way that makes it believable when Jake eventually becomes a bit obsessed with her but also allows girls to identify with her without being intimidated. Her reactions to what happens around her and her tendency to exaggerate and be dramatic are so typical of a sixteen year old girl that even if, like me, you are more than twice that age now it’s easy to see your former self in the character. It doesn’t matter that the film is set before mobile phones, Facebook or #yolo, the struggles that Sam goes through are just relevant now as they were thirty years ago.

Unfortunately some other parts of the film have aged less well though. The way the character of Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), Samantha’s grandparents’ generically Asian exchange student, is dealt with is so steeped in stereotype that it’s hard not to think of it as racist. There’s also a scene where Jake “comically” gives The Geek his heavily intoxicated girlfriend as a “gift”. This leads to an apparent sexual escapade between The Geek and the girlfriend where consent appears dubious. I suppose one could write this off as being “from a different era” but it’s just sad that this kind of humour was ever funny.

If you can see past these flaws, the Samantha-Jake storyline along with Sam’s interactions with her family, especially her dad are sweet, funny and touching. And the part where her sister decides to take a few muscle relaxants before walking down the aisle is one of my favourite wedding scenes ever.

One of John Hughes’ best. 3.5/5

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It was hard to tell who was more surprised by The Geek’s unexpected bus erection

CPD Classics: Sixteen Candles (1984) Review

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Justin Henry
Michael Schoeffling
Anthony Michael Hall
Gedde Watanabe
Haviland Morris
Paul Dooley
Carlin Glynn
Blanche Baker
Edward Andrews
Billie Bird
John Cusack
Joan Cusack

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) parents forget her sixteenth birthday. Plus she’s in love with popular Senior Jake Ryan, who doesn’t know she exists. Life is hard at sixteen. In the 1980s. (But not for sixteen-year-olds nowadays – those little shits have it easy!)

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My Opinion:

First of all, I’d again like to thank everyone for all the great guest reviews & all the enthusiasm for the John Hughes Blogathon. I’m glad to see I’m not the only Hughes lover! Now I think it’s time I finally start writing my reviews as well. I’ve only done one favorite so far (Weird Science) & one I’d never seen before (Career Opportunities). Why are the favorites more difficult to write about? Well, I’ll give it a try…

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If I’m honest with myself, Sixteen Candles is my second favorite John Hughes film. I know I put it after Ferris Bueller on this Top Ten I did a while back but, although I think Ferris Bueller is a better film, Sixteen Candles is the one I get a bigger kick out of. And that’s what really matters, right? 🙂

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For those (heathens. lol.) who aren’t very familiar with John Hughes, it probably appears as though Sixteen Candles is a sappy teenage romance along the lines of Pretty In Pink or a teen angst drama like The Breakfast Club. Well, since those kinds of films turn certain people off, I’d tell those people that Sixteen Candles is more along the lines of the zany comedy of Weird Science (with a bit of sappy romance thrown in). So don’t necessarily write this one off if you didn’t like Ferris Bueller or The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles is a little risqué, a little un-PC, and a lot funny. Plus it’s full of loads of classic quotables such as “No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food!” and “I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek.” and, of course, “I can’t believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.”

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I don’t know what else to say as most people my age who grew up with this one already love it so I think I’m trying to convince a new generation to give it a go. Sure, it’s a bit “80s” but I do think it’s aged slightly better than a lot of teen comedies from that era. And it was a more innocent time and we weren’t all tweeting or posting selfies or eating tampons & poop on YouTube or, I don’t know – doing whatever it is that these crazy kids are doing today. But certain things never go away, I suppose, and there will always be teenage CRUSHES. Which, finally, leads me to…

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JAKE RYAN

*Sigh* Just look at him! Look at that face. Look at those brown puppy dog eyes. And… Guess what? He likes nerdy, unpopular girls! Because, you know – that’s realistic! How perfect can a guy possibly be? Of course, Jake Ryan ruined boyfriends for me as he’s completely unlike REAL teenage boys so I had impossibly high expectations. Looking back on it all now, though, I can see my love for Jake Ryan was a little superficial. There’s not a lot going on personality-wise, to be honest. Nowadays I may be more likely to go for a Farmer Ted. But, hey – Jake Ryan was one HANDSOME guy. What a shame that he completely disappeared from Hollywood. But maybe it’s better that way so I can remember the way he was. He’ll always be my first & biggest Movie Crush.

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Summary:

Sixteen Candles may surprise those who know only of the more “family friendly” Hughes of the later years. You’ve got the iffy comedy of big-boob-loving exchange student Long Duk Dong which may not be socially acceptable to laugh at, oily bohunks, naked boobs, sex quizzes, doped-up brides on their periods, pervy grandmothers, geeks paying to see a pair of girl’s panties, and some big names in some small but funny roles (John & Joan Cusack, Jami Gertz, Brian Doyle-Murray & Zelda “Poltergeist Lady” Rubinstein). It’s not as bonkers as Weird Science but it’s still a little racy and fun. And it’s got the one and only Jake Ryan. *Sigh* It’s hard to say that without adding the sigh. *Sigh* What a dreamboat. These are the reasons why Sixteen Candles is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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My Top Ten Movie Crushes

CPD: Top Ten Thursdays! Should I try to do one of these every Thursday? I’m not great with commitment. I do have a new feature for Fridays, though, the first of which I’ll post tomorrow. 🙂

Now – Counting down from ten, these are My Top Ten Movie Character Crushes: (Obviously, mostly from my teen years) 😉

10. TIE: Dwayne Hicks in Aliens & Jude in Across The Universe

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9. Josh in Clueless

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8. Tristan Ludlow in Legends Of The Fall

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7. Gordie Lachance in Stand By Me

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6. Chris Chambers in Stand By Me

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5. Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything

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4. Han Solo in Star Wars

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3. Mark Hunter (Hard Harry) in Pump Up The Volume

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2. Kyle Reese in The Terminator

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1. Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles

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Where’s Chris Hemsworth? Well, he’s not yet really done a character I’ve had a crush on. But his general hotness is certainly appreciated. Give me Rush Hems followed by The Cabin In The Woods Hems. 🙂

The Innkeepers (2011) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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The Innkeepers (2011)

Directed by Ti West

Starring:
Sara Paxton
Pat Healy
Kelly McGillis
Alison Bartlett
Jake Ryan
Lena Dunham
George Riddle
Brenda Cooney
John Speredakos

Running time: 101 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are two young employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a once-grand hotel that is about to close. Claire and Luke are the only employees working during its final weekend of operation. Both are ghost hunting enthusiasts and are fascinated by the hotel’s supposedly haunted history, which includes the legend of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who hung herself in the 1800s when her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon, and whose body was supposedly hidden in the basement by the hotel owners.
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As I’m so far behind on my reviews for Halloween Horror Fest, I’ll keep this one short. I say that a lot but I mean it this time. 😉

In the middle of watching this, I actually paused to look it up at The IPC to see if Eric had reviewed it. Yep! And he liked it. Yay! You can read his review HERE.
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This really is one of those films that you’ll like or you’ll hate. I’ve seen enough reviews here now to know that people are divided on this one. Count me as one of the people who liked it.
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If you like the slightly more old school movies about hauntings, you may like The Innkeepers. If you don’t mind a movie that (very) slowly builds up to the finale and doesn’t have loads of in-your-face predictable jump scares or gore, you may like The Innkeepers. If you like the likes of Saw, etc, you may not like The Innkeepers.
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My all-time favorite horror movie (Or maybe second favorite – it’s close. I’ll know when I do the list of my top ten horror films soon!) is The Shining. I’m not one to get scared by a movie but The Shining is genuinely creepy. The Overlook Hotel itself is probably the creepiest thing about the film. The Yankee Pedlar Inn, while not as creepy as The Overlook, is still not a place where I’d want to spend the night. There are loads of old hotels like this in England and I had the bright idea to stay in one once. Dumb idea! I didn’t sleep a wink. Plus there was a door/hatch/whatever in the ceiling RIGHT above the bed. I stared at that thing all night thinking I’d see some red eyes peering out at me or something. So, yeah – a “haunted inn” movie is the type of movie for someone like me. It won’t be for everyone.
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When it comes to horror movies, the one thing I can’t stand more than excessive and unnecessary gore is annoying & unlikeable characters who do stupid things. I can handle a bit of blood and there’s a bit at the end of The Innkeepers but nothing bad and not something I couldn’t watch.

Although the character of Luke is somewhat annoying, I found Claire very likeable. She’s sweet, naive, and a little dorky. She reminds me a little of me when I was young and used to actually still be sweet. Okay – you may say she “does some stupid things” but nothing I can’t forgive. I know what I’m like – although I’d be scared shitless working in a “haunted inn”, I know I’d go exploring things and trying to see the ghost. Because I’m an idiot. But then I’d shit myself and run away screaming like Claire does if I actually saw anything. (She doesn’t literally shit herself. Me neither). Claire feels like a “real” person and I like that – it makes it easier to buy into a movie when you can relate to at least one of the characters.

I also liked Kelly McGillis in the role of the retired actress turned psychic staying at the hotel and whom Claire turns to for help (Did I use “whom” correctly there? Always confused by that one!). I’ve always had a soft spot for McGillis since finding out she couldn’t stand Tom Cruise when filming Top Gun and that they used to do things to piss each other off on purpose.

I like how this film is almost a comedy at first and gets you knowing & liking the characters as they just stand around and talk a lot and discuss the inn’s creepy history because they find it fun & intriguing. But then the film changes & suddenly turns into a pretty seriously scary movie at the very end. I even found the ending to be satisfying, unlike so many other horror films. It comes full circle and it makes sense. Good stuff. I liked it. Don’t listen to the haters!
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Summary:

The Innkeepers is a fairly tradtional “haunted inn” story that takes its time (REALLY takes its time…) letting us get to know and like the characters as we watch them do little more than talk to each other and discuss the inn’s history in the final weekend before it’s closed for good. The characters feel like real people who do slightly crazy things that real people would do. Things are pretty light & comedic until, finally, the ending turns into a pretty damn scary movie. Not for horror fans who only like a lot of in-your-face scares and loads of gore, The Innkeepers is more my type of “horror” movie.

My Rating: 7/10

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My Top Five Movies About Love

What the heck – since Valentine’s Day is coming up.

1. Up

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I posted about this recently – I’ve never found any love story in a movie as believable as this one.

2. WALL-E

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What can I say? Pixar is perfect. Not only do I find animated romance more believable than live-action romance, I also find animated ROBOT romance more believable. 😉 Has anyone ever loved anyone as much as WALL-E loves Eve? I don’t think so.

3. Before Sunrise & Before Sunset

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Look! Humans! What can I say? These two were so perfect together & had such great chemistry. I found this romance very real. It’s a very “me” kind of romance.

4. (500) Days Of Summer

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“What?”, you say. Well, it’s real. Very real. Who can’t relate to this movie? Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so fantastic in this. You truly believe he loves her and you can actually feel his pain. Who doesn’t love a bit of unrequited love in movies?!

5. Cinema Paradiso

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Is this cheating? 😉 Sorry but I can totally relate to “love of cinema”.

Honorable mentions to these dudes:

Lloyd Dobler

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Perfect boyfriend or what?! The movie isn’t in my list, however, as that bitch SO didn’t appreciate him & his awesome “boom box over the head playing Peter Gabriel” thing. He shouldn’t have gotten on that plane with her. She’s not in love with you, Lloyd! Bring your boom box and cool Clash t-shirts over to MY house. 🙂

Ryan Gosling

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Hey girl. Gotta mention Ryan Gosling. You know, just in general. For being so freaking sexy cool all the time. I absolutely refuse to be all girly & put that totally contrived Notebook movie in my list. However, being in love with The Gosling, I can’t exactly pretend I don’t secretly love the whole kissing in the rain scene… 😉 Okay okay – I kind of like the movie! I admit it! But I only think it really works while it’s showing them as a young couple – I didn’t buy into the old couple at all. Damn you, Ryan Gosling, for making me go all girly!

Jake Ryan

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Last but certainly not least. I’ll always remember my first (movie) love. 😉

Movie Crushes

Take these movie characters, mix them together, maybe try a Weird Science-style experiment, and I’m pretty sure you’ll end up with the perfect guy. Failing that, I’ll just take Jake Ryan – he’s perfect as is. 🙂 Oh, and not any specific character of his but can I please add the chocolate-brown eyes of Jim Sturgess?

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