Big Fat Liar deserves more attention. It captures all the things I loved about the early 2000’s. An era I love as much as I love the late 90’s. Big Fat Liar is written by Dan Schneider. The man responsible for all my favorite shows growing up (including Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, and Victorious). It also stars two of the early 2000’s biggest stars, Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes. Bynes gives a particularly noteworthy performance. The story focuses on a compulsive liar (Muniz) who runs into a big Hollywood executive (Giamatti) who ends up stealing a story the kid wrote for class. Which he (get this) makes into a Hollywood movie. Sadly, I can see that happening in real life. So the rest of the movie is devoted to Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes’ characters trying to force Paul Giamatti’s character to admit to lying about writing the story. Which leads to all sorts of crazy shenanigans like dying his skin blue and his hair orange. Big Fat Liar is a gem that more people should remember. It’s funny, heartfelt, and innocent enough for kids and adults to enjoy.
You’ve Got Mail is so dated yet so timeless. This is what happens when a movie takes a modern convenience and builds a story around it. Even though You’ve Got Mail is based on a book about two people who meet by sending letters. The movie modernizes it by using email. Little did they know, nobody would be using AOL decades later. You’ve Got Mail is the third movie starring both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. They actually get to share scenes together, but the plot is actually kind of similar to Sleepless in Seattle. In particular, having a love story between two people who don’t realise the connection they have. They don’t realise that they’ve been emailing and falling in love with their enemy. You’ve Got Mail dated itself using AOL, but made itself timeless by using the internet to find love. I think You’ve Got Mail actually predicted online dating. You’ve Got Mail is a little cheesy, but kind of sweet as well.
Sleepless in Seattle is the very definition of “long distance relationship.” I’d even go so far as to call it the ultimate date movie. How do you make a romance out of two people who don’t share any screen time? Sleepless in Seattle brings together Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan for the second time. Tom Hanks plays a single father who recently moved to Seattle after his wife died. Meg Ryan plays a Baltimore woman who’s currently engaged. The title Sleepless in Seattle, is the name a talk-radio host gives Tom Hanks’ character when his son calls in to find a new wife for his father. Meg Ryan’s character hears the show and falls in love with him. It’s romantic, but not very realistic. We’d all like to fantasize about falling in love with someone hundreds of miles away. Ironically Sleepless in Seattle’s most iconic moment doesn’t take place in Seattle. It actually takes place in New York. Where a meeting is arranged by the son. Sleepless in Seattle creates a feeling of longing that I think we can all relate to. Whether we’ve found our soulmate or not.
Coraline is a very disturbing animated film. Allow me to set up the story. An offbeat girl named Coraline (not Caroline) lives in a drab existence with her mother and father. Feeling fed up with her boring life, Coraline discovers a secret door that leads her to an alternate universe. Where she finds a perfect world with perfect parents and neighbors (all of which have buttons for eyes). The fact that they have buttons instead of eyes is creepy enough. What really creeped me out was the idea of having a mother who looks like your mother, but isn’t really your mother. I was so terrified that I actually had a nightmare about it. It made me appreciate my mother a lot more after watching. Coraline is a stop-motion movie by the same guy who directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s also the first movie by the stop-motion animation company Laika. A company that I have very mixed feelings towards. Coraline was so creepy that I question why it was even marketed to children. Still, Coraline is a movie that I recommend for its technical merit and uniquely creepy style.
Click is what happens when you take an interesting premise and cast Adam Sandler in the lead role. You end up with a movie that has fart jokes and over the top moments. Believe it or not, Click was the first Adam Sandler movie I saw. I deliberately avoided his movies for a long time, because I knew all about his reputation. I was totally immune to the effect he had on kids my age. However, Click was the one movie that caught my attention the most. A remote control that works on the real world, of course I’m curious. So it was on TV one day and I watched it. Although Adam Sandler’s particular brand of humor isn’t the best, it did make me laugh a little bit. And I know that this is a modern Sandler film, which is when his career was definitely in the toilet. Click is different though. It’s bad, but not nearly as bad some people make it out to be. There’s actually a surprising amount drama and even emotion in it. Click is also notable for a few reasons. It’s the only Sandler movie with an Academy Award nomination (makeup). It’s also the last live action role that Julie Kavner did. After that she only voiced Marge Simpson. I also feel compelled to tell you that there’s a Goosebumps book/episode also named Click that has a suspiciously similar premise. Click is a bit of a mixed bag. If you’re a fan, then this is the movie for you. If you’re not a fan, then the premise might be enough to get you to click it on.
Happy Death Day is the only time I’ve ever gone to see a movie on a whim. More so, because I never go to see horror movies in theaters. Although it is PG-13. Along with comedies, horror movies never felt like they were worth a theater going experience. Happy Death Day first caught my attention when I saw its TV spots. I took notice of the time loop storyline and that at least made me curious. Then I realized October was going to be a mostly scarce month for movies. The other two movies I saw this year wear disappointments, so I needed to redeem the year. Happy Death Day has a time loop, an attractive lead, and it was Friday the 13th, so I figured why not. It was a good idea, because Happy Death Day is a lot of fun. Tree (short for Theresa) is your typical selfish college girl who sleeps around and parties. She wakes up on her birthday and lives out her day. Which consists of waking up in a guy’s dorm room, walking to her sorority, and attempting to attend her birthday party. Until she is suddenly killed by a killer in a black hoodie and baby mask (Babyface?). The “time loop” plays out just like Groundhog Day. With Tree first being confused, then having a breakdown, then doing whatever she wants, and finally improving her life. Though the best thing about the movie is easily Jessica Rothe’s performance. Tree is funny, smart, and eventually badass. Since Tree can’t die it puts an interesting spin on the horror genre. By having her solve her own murder. Happy Death Day was a very pleasant surprise.
Followed by: Happy Death Day 2U
2012 has an interesting history. It’s a movie about the supposed end of the world that was supposed to happen on December 21, 2012, but the movie was released in 2009. I remember when so many people actually thought the world was going to end. Just because the Mayan calendar cuts off at that date in 2012. So when I heard of the movie 2012, I was like, seriously? I even watched it in 2013 just to prove a point. Roland Emmerich, the man responsible for so many other disaster movies, directed it. Bringing in his usual cliches of having a lot of characters, different people coming together in the end, and landmarks being destroyed. Most of the characters have paper thin personalities and just feel like walking tropes. The only positive I can say about the movie is the visual effects are pretty spectacular. Especially when Los Angeles gets destroyed. The ending wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Then again I didn’t know what to expect from a movie about a day that wouldn’t come for another 3 years. 2012 now works best as a silly reminder of something that never happened.
2001: A Space Odyssey begs you to ask many questions, but the one question I have is… WTF did I just watch? 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most confusing masterpieces ever made. From the visionary mind of Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey bares the pacing, visionary style, and thought provoking narrative of one of his films. Though I have to wonder if he was on drugs while making it. I have always known about this movie. From a very young age, my parents told me all about it. They said it was really long and boring. I knew at some point I would see the movie. It has been parodied relentlessly in a number of media. I was more familiar with the parodies than I was with the actual movie. Elements of the movie were parodied in The Simpsons, Futurama, and WALL•E, just to name a few. Though its also been very influential in sci-fi works as well. No doubt we have 2001: A Space Odyssey to thank for a lot of other great movies. This is a very difficult movie to explain, but I’m going to attempt to anyway…
2001: A Space Odyssey has an iconic opening with an even more iconic musical theme. The sun peers out from behind the moon and transitions to a shot of the Earth. The first segment takes place in the dawn of man. Some may wonder why a science fiction movie starts with a bunch of apes, but trust me it has a purpose. We then transition to a space shuttle with scientists who sort of explain what their mission is. After that segment, two astronauts are now traveling to Jupiter. It is here where we meet HAL 9000. An artificially intelligent red eye who decides the mission is more important than the survival of the crew. The basis of HAL 9000 has been redone a number of times. Unfortunately, it may not be too hard to imagine this machine being built in the not too distant future. In the films final segment, we are taken through a visual drug trip that transcends time itself. Ending with another iconic shot of a baby embryo in space. Like I said, this is a difficult movie to explain. I’m still trying to comprehend it. I would call it boring, but not like fall asleep boring. 2001: A Space Odyssey is 2 hours and 41 minutes long. I think it might be the longest movie with very little dialogue. 30 minutes can go by with no talking whatsoever. Sometimes all you hear is one sound like breathing or beeping. What makes the movie a masterpiece is the music and visual effects. It’s actually all practical effects (which is impressive). 2001: A Space Odyssey may be a long think heavy movie, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Film students will love it. It’s a genuinely one of a kind experience.
Get Out was a surprise hit nobody saw coming. I was very familiar with Jordan Peele after watching many segments of Key & Peele. However if you told me that a stand-up comic’s directorial debut would become one of the most acclaimed horror movies in recent memory (and win for Best Original Screenplay), I’d say you were crazy. I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover. Which turns out to be the moral of the movie. Get Out is a psychological horror movie with more atmosphere and less blood. The main theme of Get Out is race (obviously). A black man named Chris meets the parents of his white girlfriend Rose. Everything starts out relatively normal, but you can tell something is up. All the black people in town act strangely and everyone else is too inviting. Apparently it’s supposed to be some kind of an allegory for white progressives being secretly racist. Jordan Peele does a scary good job of foreshadowing events to come. Get Out has been labeled a comedy, but there’s really only one character trying to be comedic. Chris’ horror savvy friend from the TSA. The horror on the other hand is very unsettling. The first clue is when one of the unusual black men screams “GET OUT!!!” Then everything becomes clear when it turns out Rose and her family are using black people as human puppets. Daniel Kaluuya has plenty of range, but I swear Allison Williams’ sharp character turn feels like her soul left her body. While I do feel like Get Out might have been a little over praised, it’s still a well crafted social horror film that leaves an impression.
As I have shown time and time again on my blog, I like to be random. I like to review movies that are entirely different from the last. I even like to review movies that people have either forgotten or never heard of as well. The 1986 Made-for-TV Disney movie The Girl Who Spelled Freedom is one of those movies. I first saw The Girl Who Spelled Freedom when I was in elementary school. Back then it was common to watch obscure movies in class, as long as it was educational. Heck, I’m still searching for some movies I saw in class. It took me years to finally find this movie. I had to ask people on “Yahoo Answers” using a detailed description of what I could remember about the movie. Thankfully somebody knew the answer and directed me to the film on “YouTube.” Which is lucky, because the movie has never been released on DVD (even though it should be). The Girl Who Spelled Freedom is based on the true story of a Cambodian family who gets sponsored by an American family. One of the girls became so smart that she ended up winning a school spelling bee. I loved watching the movie so much that I had to find it. It’s culturally relevant and fascinating to watch. I strongly suggest watching it if you have the time.
P.S. I’ve supplied the full movie underneath. The only place you can watch it.