Watched, Read, Reviewed: September 2020

Well, I’ve almost caught up on these monthly roundups. I now have to attempt to remember & review what I watched in September. I’m happy that it appears I didn’t watch much that month, so I don’t have to blather on for ages. Here we go…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Bill & Ted Face The Music – Ah! This was the Bill & Ted month!! This was my most-anticipated movie of probably the past ten years. Seriously – I’m a big Bill & Ted fan. The first movie especially is fantastic. Will forever love these characters & think the films are clever as hell & the comedy is truly funny (while still managing to be PG-type comedy – it’s possible to be hilarious and wholesome!). Only saw this one once, so want to see it again to know better how I feel. It gave me warm fuzzies seeing these dudes again. There was a bit of worry that the daughters would be the main focus & they’d cast Bill & Ted aside (like the Star Wars sequel films I’m liking less & less as time goes by). But, no, Bill & Ted were luckily still the true stars. The daughters were still given plenty to do, although it would’ve been nice to see them with their fathers a bit more. I wasn’t really feeling the daughter characters, though? They didn’t fit quite right for me. (Sorry!). But, as I said, I need to see it again. They might grow on me. The film is definitely not perfect. It was NEVER going to live up to the first film, though. But it’s not as good as Bogus Journey, either, which I still thoroughly enjoy but will never love in the same way. But, hey – Who cares? We got to see two of my favorite movie characters back together again, which put a big smile on my face (as well as on the kid’s & the hubby’s). It was the kind of movie this crappy year needed. – 7/10

Mulan – This was a lovely film to look at but, overall, disappointing compared to how much I think I’d hyped it up in my mind. I just thought the trailer made it look like it could be amazing but it sadly didn’t live up to that. Before that trailer, I’d decided to give up on watching any more live-action Disney remakes of their animated classics. They’re pointless. It’s Disney being greedy & it’s bullshit. Beauty And The Beast was such a waste of time (with a horrible Belle) so I didn’t bother with Aladdin (looked shit) or The Lion King (no reason whatsofuckingever to remake that). But the daughter really likes the animated Mulan and, yeah, this looked so good in the trailer. We still enjoyed it, though. Think the kid was just disappointed at how different it was from the animated film but I kind of prefer when they make it a lot different. I don’t see the point of making an exact copy. That’s why I kind of appreciated Tim Burton’s Dumbo despite its definite flaws. I think the characters were just a bit weak in the live-action Mulan. They were… dull. Lovely film, some decent action, dull characters. Disappointing. But it made me appreciate the animated film a bit more. Mulan is always a bit overlooked. – 6.5/10

Countdown – I enjoyed this basic, utterly predictable horror film. It’s about an app that people download that tells them exactly how long they have left to live. So, of course, those who don’t have long to live according to the app die as soon as their time runs out. And, of course, a pretty young blonde medical student downloads it & finds out she has only days to live and must find a way to “cheat death”. Not gonna lie – this movie totally rips off Final Destination. But I always liked the simple setup of that film and thought it made for a really good story (and they were obviously able to use it over & over & over again). It doesn’t work as well in Countdown & gets far too silly at the end but it’s still an enjoyable film thanks to some entertaining characters in the smaller roles. It’s not the best in the genre but I’ve seen far worse. It was exactly what I was expecting so I wasn’t disappointed. – 6/10

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – How do I go about reviewing this?! I can’t. It’s a Charlie Kaufman film & you like his work or you don’t. I do for the most part, although none of the films he’s written are exactly all-time favorites of mine. I’m trying to not use the word pretentious here! It’s hard. Do I prefer this sort of film to some dumb popcorn movie like Countdown? Definitely. But these types of movies aren’t always enjoyable. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind & Being John Malkovich were enjoyable. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things was a bit of a slog to get through. I appreciate that stuff like this gets made & I was intrigued & I do like a bit of “what the fuck is going on?!”. There’s plenty of WTF in this. Especially at the end, where it gets weird as shit. I preferred the full-on weirdness at the end. But the first two thirds of the film carry on for what felt like HOURS. Good god. I sat through all of that to find out there’s a pretty simple explanation to the whole damn thing. Oh, and no one was very likeable. That never helps either. An interesting watch but not a fun one. – 6.5/10

Mikey – Enjoyed this one much more. I’m so classy! Was this a good film? No. It was cheesy but fun & I liked seeing so many recognisable faces from that time. It’s a horror movie from 1992 that I’m not even sure was released (the rating says “Rejected” on IMDb. What does that mean??) about a young boy who is a psycho killer. What can I say? I love movies with evil children. The Omen is a big favorite (not that this is even close to being as good as that). Cute little Brian Bonsall plays the psychopath. Ha! Remember him from Family Ties?! This is no wholesome TV show – he truly is a crazy fucker. This also starred Ashley Laurence of Hellraiser fame (actually thought she was a good character in this cheesy horror) & Lyman Ward of “Ferris Bueller’s dad” fame. And Josie Bissett of Melrose Place which I never watched. And Mimi Craven who I just read was Wes Craven’s wife at the time. So, the Craven & Hellraiser horror connections are cool. I read that this movie is still banned to this day in the U.K. (how did I see it on Amazon Prime U.K., then?!). Sadly, I know why it was banned at that time so that’s completely understandable. – 6/10

I See You – This was decent. Preferred how it started out to how it ended but liked the completely unpredictable turn it took. I appreciate that as the majority of horror films’ plots fail to surprise me in any way. But this is one of those movies that sort of switches genres halfway through & the mysterious horror at the start is more my type of thing. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “It follows a suburban family beset by unexplainable events that may be linked to the recent disappearance of a young boy.” And that really tells you nothing about this movie… Worth a watch if you like a crime horror that keeps you guessing. – 6/10

Time Trap – This was a strange one. Where I said that I See You changes its genre, this film is just kind of all over the place. It’s really just sci-fi, I guess. I don’t know how to review or rate this. Overall, I liked it. The characters were decent, especially the younger boy with this group, so that helps me to like a movie. They weren’t that well-developed, though. And that ending was so cheesy! At least like I See You, it was unpredictable. I like that. Oh, it’s about a group of students who go looking for their missing professor in a cave & get stuck there in some kind of time loop thingy or something. – 6/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Cobra Kai – Oh my god! Was it September when I finally watched Cobra Kai? I loved it SO much!!! The nostalgia! I’m a sucker for ’80s references & the writers have done brilliantly mixing Eighties culture with modern teens & I love how they clash in funny ways. Johnny clearly being stuck in his glory days & listening to all his ’80s music & not understanding woke culture & social media is hilarious. And Johnny mentioned Trapper Keepers! Ha! Adorable. Speaking of Johnny, how have they made all of us middle-aged women have a crush on that complete dickhead from The Karate Kid?! What I like is that they got the balance perfect in this show. They focus on the adults as much as the teens and it really feels aimed at Generation X just as much as at current teens. I can see why it has done so well (review-wise, anyway – I have no idea what the viewing figures are). I have very little time for TV shows but I binged these episodes before starting work every day (also helped that each are between 30-40 minutes long). I seriously can’t wait for the next series. In some ways, I think I enjoy it even more than The Mandalorian. Take The Child out of that & I’d choose Cobra Kai. But I’m so happy to finally have two shows I really love.

America’s Got Talent – Meh. I hate reality shows but they’re the right kind of mindless crap you can stick on while eating & not really pay attention to. The “talent” on this series was worse than ever. It was odd, though, as it had to be done without an audience & socially distanced. A lot of performances were via video. I’ll forgot 99% of the people who were in this like I always do. Prefer the singing talent shows but those are forgettable too.

Marvel’s Runaways – Watched two episodes. Not feeling it but the daughter likes it okay. Forgot we started this, actually. Suppose we’ll try another episode sometime.

BOOKS READ

Final Girls by Riley Sager – This crime mystery horror thriller might be a bit of fluff but I think it would make for a really good slasher flick with a decent “whodunnit” plot. I’d definitely watch that movie! The characters are a bit hateful but, hey, so are most slasher movie characters. Had fun with this one – it was a real page-turner as I wanted to find out what was going on. I’m impatient when it comes to whodunnits & always read them quickly. It gets a bit silly at the end but I don’t mind that with this sort of thing. Here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon: “FIRST THERE WERE THREE. The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma. THEN THERE WERE TWO. But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or… CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE? All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.” – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’m going to try to finish out the year with my October, November & December roundup posts then my usual Year End Top Ten lists. Will seem strange to list so few movies I actually saw in a cinema in 2020…

In tribute to Cobra Kai, I have to end this post with You’re The Best by Joe Esposito from The Karate Kid. Motherf*^kin’ montage!

The Outsiders (1983) Review

Welcome to Day 2 of Coppola Week, in which I’ll be reviewing four movies I saw recently directed by Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola. Yesterday I reviewed Sofia’s The Bling Ring (it wasn’t my favorite). So now I’m reviewing one from her father (it’s easily my favorite of the four I’ll be discussing). Let’s talk about The Outsiders! 🙂

The Outsiders (1983)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

My Opinion:

I still can’t quite believe that I had never read The Outsiders or watched the movie until recently, especially as the movie contains so many well known actors from my generation. I should have had a crush on every single one of them! None of them were really favorites of mine, though. The only one I’d have possibly had a crush on was the one who kind of went on to do the least after The Outsiders – C. Thomas Howell, which is weird as he’s the main star of this one. He was pretty cute! And pretty hot now. I like how he keeps popping up in small roles in things like The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, he did star in Soul Man… Bet he’s not thrilled about that one now!

Sorry to go on about “cute boys” but I was just pointing out that I’m not sure why I never saw this. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it (it was my second favorite book read in 2014). It’s less surprising that I never read it since I was never really encouraged to read much when I was younger (I’m glad I decided to become a reader anyway). I have to say that I was perfectly happy with the film and think it was a good & faithful adaptation. I was worried when I looked this up on IMDB as it has a really low “metascore” (which is a collection of reviews from critics) of 38 out of 100 while it has a respectable user rating of 7.2 out of 10. Are you kidding me on that metascore?? I didn’t actually read the critic reviews to see what their problem was with this movie. I don’t care. This is why I don’t read reviews from actual critics – I trust the opinions of us regular movie-loving bloggers more. I’m usually somewhere in between the metascore & user rating (user ratings are always WAY too high on current mainstream movies) but I agree with the user rating this time. It’s a good film, not a great film. But those who love the book and those who love the amazing assortment of hot young 80’s actors that Coppola got together for this will be big fans of the movie. I’m sure it’s a favorite film of some people my age & I’d possibly have the same nostalgia for it if I’d seen it around the same sort of time that I became obsessed with Stand By Me.

As for the acting, I can’t fault anyone. They all felt like genuine teenagers/early twentysomethings and fit the characters from the book very well. Although, knowing of the movie and who played who, I may have been picturing the actors as I read it. That’s why I hate reading a book after seeing its movie… I especially liked Ralph Macchio & C. Thomas Howell, who were the two most important characters to get right from the book. Patrick Swayze & Rob Lowe were also great as Howell’s protective older brothers. Yes! Even Rob Lowe was good!

I also loved seeing Diane Lane, with the most gorgeous shade of red hair, as I’ve become more of a fan of hers in recent years (this movie is pretty high on my list of My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies). It’s quite a small role as boys are very much the stars of this story but, hey, that’s how it was written. By a girl. Speaking of its author, S.E. Hinton, I still love that the book was written when she was only 16. I think that’s so impressive. Imagine a teenager today managing to do that! Or anything, really. Apparently, Hinton played a nurse in this. Cool! I didn’t even know that until looking at the credits for this review. Also, Sofia Coppola played a “Little Girl” and Heather Langenkamp(!) is listed but not given a character name so I have no idea where she was in the movie (okay – I did some Googling & her scenes from the drive-in movie part were deleted).

Hey – look at Patrick Swayze being all tough & sexy like he was in Road House! He’s gonna rip that guy’s throat out. Yes, I’m still obsessed with Road House after seeing it for the first time over Christmas. Road House!! I wish Sam Elliott had been in The Outsiders… That would’ve been awesome. 

Of course, Sam Elliott was too old to be in this as there are hardly any adults to be seen throughout the whole movie. That’s what’s so great about it – it was written by a teenager about teenagers, which is probably what helps make the characters feel so genuine and why so many young people have fallen in love with the book over the years. I totally understand the story’s appeal, even though I experienced it too late to appreciate it as much as I would have as a teenager. It’s one of the first true “young adult” books (back before the young adult genre was this huge thing with the somewhat bad reputation it has these days) so maybe that’s what some critics don’t like about it? I don’t know but it’s a classic story with some very rich characters and I’ll most definitely be passing the book onto my daughter to read as an early teen. Perhaps she’ll fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t fully able to at my age. And then we can watch the movie together! It’s one I’d definitely watch again sometime. 🙂

My Rating: 7.5/10