Spread a Little Happiness

Pay it Forward is the kind of movie that should be bad, but isn’t. Mostly because there are two oscar winners and a nominee starting in the movie. Without the excellent performances of Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and especially Haley Joel Osment. Pay it Forward would have been a sappy mess. The story focuses on a kid that comes up with the idea of paying it forward. He later becomes surprised by just how big it ends up getting. As a movie, Pay it Forward is mostly okay. Although the ending is a little forced and unrealistic. SPOILER ALERT! Haley Joel Osment’s character ends up dying immediately after giving an interview on how much his idea took off. I get what they’re going for there, but it seems unnecessarily sad. All in all, I would say that Pay it Forward isn’t great, but it is worth watching.

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Trevor teaches everyone how to pay it forward

Shakespeare in High School

10 Things I Hate About You may seem like a typical high school romance, but it’s not. Many people probably don’t realize that it’s actually a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. Which unlike other Shakespeare tales, I’m not too familiar with. The basic gist of that story is that a man attempts to “tame” his shrewish wife, meanwhile two men compete over the wife’s more desirable younger sister. Instead of taking place in 16th century Italy, it takes place in a 20th century High School. Instead of being about courting, it’s about dating. Oh yeah, it’s also much less misogynistic. The romance in 10 Things I Hate About You (especially the poem in which the movie is named after) is very heartfelt. They make lots of references to Shakespeare’s work, and it can be quite funny. It’s defiantly one of the best romance or teen movies from the 90’s. R.I.P. Heath Ledger.

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Patrick (left) and Kat (right) at the school dance

I’m also in Love with Mary

There’s Something About Mary is gross and icky, but it’s so darn funny. There’s Something About Mary is about a loser who gets to go to prom with the most perfect girl in school, Mary. Until something, uh… unfortunate (but hilarious) happens to him. Years later, he decides to hire an investigator to track Mary down so that he can reconnect with her. Then things take an even funnier turn when the investigator falls in love with Mary. Which leads to another guy who’s in love with Mary. Then another, and another, and another. You get the point, Mary’s perfect. Not only is she pretty, she’s funny, down to Earth, loves football, and cares for her mentally disabled brother. She’s also played by 90’s era Cameron Diaz. There are so many gross scenes in the movie that only the Farrelly Brothers can make funny. I won’t give them away, just in case you haven’t seen the movie yet. Let’s just say, certain bodily fluids are involved. Although the funniest scene that isn’t gross involves a puppy of speed. Ben Stiller is technically the lead, but he actually doesn’t get top billing. There’s Something About Mary may be icky, but it’s also a lot more charming than you might expect.

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Mary with not hair gel in her hair

Hey Bud, What’s your Problem?

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is the movie that revolutionized the edgy teen comedy in the 80’s. First, I’ll say that the only reason anybody knows about this movie is because of the famous nude scene with Phoebe Cates. You know the one I’m talking about. Where her character emerges from a pool wearing a red bikini and removes her top all in slow motion. It helped get many teenage boys through puberty. Despite how the scene ends. It’s been considered the greatest nude scene in film in history, but there is more I can talk about. There’s also the great surfer/stoner Spicoli. Sean Penn gives a hilarious performance as the aforementioned slacker just trying to live life. If only his strict teacher Mr. Hand didn’t give him such a hard time. Aside from those two things, Fast Times at Ridgemont High might not have stood out much. Other plots in the movie delve into teenage experiences, such as having a job or losing virginity. Judge Reinhold’s character is the one with the job he hates. While Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is the one trying to become more experienced. Some things that happen are a bit offensive. It actually might surprise you to know that the movie was directed by a woman. Plus it features early performances from both Forest Whitaker and Nicolas Cage. So like I said, I think Sean Penn and Phoebe Cates are really the main reason to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Linda starts to remove her bra

A Little Taller

Big is every child’s worst nightmare… growing up. Big is the story of an average 13 year old boy named Josh Baskin. One night at an amusement park, Josh wishes on a “Zoltar machine” that he were “big,” because he feels he is too short. Maybe he should have been a little more specific, because he instead turns into a 30 year old man. Tom Hanks to be specific. As you could imagine this doesn’t go over well with his mother who chases him out of the house. He does manage to get through to his best friend Billy though. He helps him to get a place in the city. Which leads to Josh getting a job at a toy company, several promotions, and a girlfriend (it’s a child’s dream really). The idea of a grown woman being in a romance with someone who’s mentally a child is admittedly questionable, but it’s done in a way that you can see past it. Tom Hanks truly captures what it’s like to be a kid (he was even Oscar nominated) especially when he’s in the adult world. Leading to plenty of hilarious childlike innocence. Though I’m still left with a few questions. Like “what happened to Josh’s dad?” and “where do Billy’s parents think he goes all the time?” There are many memorable scenes in Big. Such as the “floor piano scene” and the “Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop” song. The result is one of the all time best movies by a female director. Big has a very clear message: Don’t grow up too fast.

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Josh (right) and his boss (left) play “Chopsticks”

It Really Tied the Room Together

The Big Lebowski is one of the most bizarre movies you can watch. The plot is basically, a man and his bowling buds get caught up in a kidnapping ransom situation. All because some guy peed on his rug (well it did tie the room together). Fun fact, The Big Lebowski was actually the first Coen Brothers movie that I saw. I saw it a month ago. I knew that the movie had a major fanbase of people that are crazy about it. I am not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie. The characters (especially “The Dude”) are very unique, it’s unpredictable, and can be very funny. My main complaint would be something that was addressed by the films narrator. Which is “do you have to use so many cuss words?” So while it may not be my all time favorite movie, I can see the appeal. It’s just like my opinion man.

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man”

Summertime Sadness

(500) Days of Summer is equal parts upbeat and heartbreak. It’s one of the more realistic depictions of romance in film. Telling the story of a man who thinks he’s met his soulmate. While they do have a lot in common, they don’t end up together. The brutally honest moral being, sometimes two people who are meant for each other don’t end up together. Now I’d like to consider myself to be generally optimistic. I love to ship people together, and I hate to see some characters not end up together. The clever thing about (500) Days of Summer is how it portrays the relationship. Like Annie Hall, it follows a non-linear narrative. One point he hates her, the next point he loves her. Luckily there’s a time card that keeps track of the day. While the movie can be a downer sometimes, it manages leaves things on a hopeful note. Seasons change all the time. 😉

Tom (left) and Summer (right) talk for the first time

No Wire Hangers!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. I thought I’d review a movie about mothers that my own mother had seen. So I immediately thought of the movie Mommie Dearest. Mommie Dearest is an over the top nightmare about the motherhood of Joan Crawford. Told from the perspective of her adoptive daughter Christina. Faye Dunaway is way overacting in her portrayal. Almost to comedic levels. The movie itself isn’t completely awful, it’s just handled poorly. I first heard of the movie when my mom told me about her experience seeing the movie. She saw it with her two friends, who made the experience even more hilarious by acting out how bad it was. She calls it a guilty pleasure, so bad it’s bad. A movie like Mommie Dearest really makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have such an amazing mother. A mother who loves me no matter what. Love you mom. ❤️

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“No Wire Hangers!”

Reading is Fun

The Pagemaster is no masterpiece, but I still like it. Mostly because it was one of a few non-disney movies I rewatched as a kid. It’s a magical tale about the power of reading and imagination. Macaulay Culkin plays a blonde Harry Potter lookalike who seeks shelter in a library. Then he becomes a cartoon, meets sentient books, and slays a dragon. The entire movie feels more like an educational TV special then a feature length movie. There are elements of horror, adventure, and fantasy in the movie. All of which are done fairly well enough. It’s not Macaulay Culkin best childhood role, but it’s decent enough to watch.

Richard and the books explore

Is She Really Going Out with Him?

Something New felt like a movie I had to watch. Mostly because it’s about an interracial couple. Particularly one between a black woman and a white man. The kind of interracial couple that my parents are. So I watched pieces of the movie on TV. Then one day I watched it beginning to end. Something New centers on Kenya. A strong independent black woman with a successful accountant job. Her only problem is her inability to find the right (black) man. Everything changes for her when a blind date leads to her meeting Brian. A rugged landscape architect who happens to be white. The job he works for her eventually leads to something new. Something New is well done because I think it perfectly captures what it’s like to date outside of your race. Told mostly from the perspective of the black woman, her friends, and her family. Since they’d much rather fix her up with a successful black man. It can be dramatic when it needs to be, but it never loses sight of what’s really important. Which is the love they share. Something New is just the kind of romance I love to see.

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Kenya falls for Brian