Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise is the generic unnecessary sequel to Revenge of the Nerds. It picks up a little while after the nerds proved they were people too. Winning the school, the fraternity, respect, and getting the girl in the process. So of course the sequel has to undo all that progress and start all over again. The only characters to return are Gilbert, Lemar, Poindexter, Wormser, and Booger. The actor who plays Lewis didn’t want a big part in the movie. So he’s left out due to injury. Betty Childs was going to return, but the actress didn’t like how they were going to portray her. Cheating on Gilbert with a jock, even though she fell in love with a nerd. Anyway, Revenge of the Nerds II is just a less interesting version of the first movie. It takes the nerds to a beach setting. Which could’ve been fun if the sequel wasn’t PG-13. Ogre and the rest of the jocks (along with Sully from Commando) return to take revenge on the nerds. So the nerds throw beach parties, befriend Ogre, don military attire, and Gilbert falls for another generically hot girl. There are more made-for-TV sequels, but Revenge of the Nerds II was enough of an unfunny retread for now.
Lambda Lambda Lambda returns
Preceded by: Revenge of the Nerds
Revenge of the Nerds finally brought justice to nerds everywhere. Being a nerd myself, I can relate to a degree. Which is part of the reason why I wanted to see it. Then again, Revenge of the Nerds is about as over-the-top 80’s as you can get. Back in the 80’s, a nerd was apparently the worst thing you could be. Jocks (like Ogre) will literally chant “NERDS!” at the mere sight of you. Revenge of the Nerds features every kind of nerd stereotype you can think of. Lewis and Gilbert are best friends who move into college together. Lewis a normal nerd and Gilbert is a confident nerd with a goofy laugh. After jocks push them out of their house, they decide to form their own fraternity. Made up of all the remaining nerds. Poindexter, the awkward one, Wormser, the child prodigy, Lamar, the flamboyant gay one, Takashi, the stereotypical foreigner, and Booger, the perverted rebellious nose picker. When jocks and cheerleaders push them too far, they use everything at their disposal to take revenge. What they do is questionable to say the least, but you have to remember this was a very different time. They put their R rating to use by spying on the naked cheerleaders, beating jocks in a competition, and Gilbert sleeps with the head cheerleader Betty Childs while wearing a disguise (and she falls in love with him!). Revenge of the Nerds may get uncomfortable at times, but it’s still really funny and its anti-bullying message is just as true as ever. They’ll never make a movie like this again.
Lambda Lambda Lambda
Followed by: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
Max Keeble’s Big Move is another movie from my childhood I never watched. Even though I saw the trailer for it on VHS about a hundred times. One day it came on the Disney Channel and I figured I’d finally give it a watch… that was a mistake. Don’t ever assume that just because you liked certain kinds of movies as a kid, you can still like them as an adult. Max Keeble’s Big Move is the best example of that for me. It’s about an annoying kid with dreams of becoming the most popular kid in school. When his parents announce that they’re moving, it looks like he can fulfill that dream. By starting food fights, messing with the principal, hanging out with his crush, etc. There’s also an evil ice cream man and something about saving an animal shelter in there somewhere too. Like Snow Day, it features actors Zena Grey and Josh Peck (Reese from Malcolm in the Middle also appears). It might be because I prefer Nickelodeon over the Disney Channel, but Snow Day is far better in eyes. Max Keeble’s Big Move is just cringy, beyond cliché, filled with “flavor of the month” actors, and an unfunny time waster for kids.
Max Keeble starts a food fight
She’s the Man is my guilty pleasure Amanda Bynes movie. Since I’ve seen it more times than any other. The first time was in middle school. I was so mad that we didn’t get to watch my movie, that I only half payed attention to it. The second time was on my Drama competition bus. My crew was so rowdy that I also couldn’t pay enough attention to it. Then I saw it in pieces a few times on TV, but I never watched it beginning to end. So I knew I just needed to see the whole thing, and that’s when I realized how much I love it. She’s the Man is another modern high school adaptation of a Shakespeare story. Twelfth Night, which deals with a woman disguising herself as a man. In She’s the Man, Viola is a soccer player who loses her team and breaks up with her boyfriend, because she’s a girl. It also takes some cues from What a Girl Wants. With her mother wanting her to be a debutante. So Viola disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian in order to play male soccer at his school. Where she meets Duke, played by a young Channing Tatum. As well as Olivia, who bonds with him/her immediately, not knowing they’re both girls. To quote the poster; “Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique so she hates Olivia who’s with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who’s crushing on Duke who thinks she’s a guy.” It’s all over the place and the disguise is a serious suspension of disbelief, but the cross dressing humor is hilarious. So I’d say She’s the Man achieved its intended goal (no pun intended).
Viola proves she’s a girl
What a Girl Wants is (I’m guessing) every little girl’s dream. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Amanda Bynes was one of the hottest young stars around. After the success of The Amanda Show, she decided to do more movies. The first being What a Girl Wants. A movie I totally ignored. Even though I loved The Amanda Show, I just figured the movie wasn’t aimed at me. What a Girl Wants is a loose modernization of the 1955 play The Reluctant Debutante. Only for its use of the debutante lifestyle. Where young upper class women dress up to meet future suiters. What a Girl Wants focuses on a young American girl named Daphne. Her dream since she was little is to meet her father and hopefully share a father-daughter dance with him. So she sets off to London where he lives as an upper class campaigning official. Respected actor Colin Firth plays her father. I’m not saying she’s bad, but Bynes and Firth are in two completely different acting classes. While in London, Daphne shakes things up with her free spirited American ways. Some of it even rubs off on her father. Helping her to understand why he fell in love with her mother in the first place. I can certainly understand why my generation considers it to be a guilty pleasure. What a Girl Wants is simple, sweet, and predictable, but that’s all part of its charm.
Daphne (left) hangs out with her father (right)
Rudy is the story of how one man’s love for football made him the first player to be carried off by his favorite team. Since I’ve never been much of a sports fan, I never know if I’m gonna appreciate a sports movie the same way other people do. Most of the time I focus on other parts of the movie. Like a romance for example. The same can’t be said for Rudy. Since the focus is almost exclusively on football. It was mostly my brother who wanted to watch it. Rudy is based on the true story of “Rudy” Ruettiger. He loves football more than anything. Talking about it even when he can tell nobody’s listening. His dream is to attend college at the University of Notre Dame. Where he can play football and make his dad proud. He only has two problems. He’s too small and too dumb to make it. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in spirit. Both for his catholic faith and his determination. Even willing to leave his fiancé, family, and friends just to get there. Rudy is one of Sean Astin’s most recognizable roles (next to The Lord of the Rings and The Goonies). He plays it well, but Rudy can certainly come across as obnoxious sometimes. His teammates don’t take to him at first, because they feel he’s taking the game too seriously. Eventually they do take to him, and are even willing not to play just to ensure Rudy’s spot on the team. It may not be totally accurate, but it helps make Rudy an inspirational football classic.
Under the Skin gets under your skin. It’s one of the earliest films to put independant studio A24 on the map. Since it stars A-list actress Scarlett Johansson. In what is perhaps the most revealing role of her career. Before I watched it, all I knew was that it had something to do with an alien female that seduces men. Sort of like Species. Only I didn’t understand why it had so much critical acclaim. Since clips and images I saw made it look pretty light on plot. After I watched it, I’m still confused. Under the Skin follows Scarlett Johansson’s nameless alien character who drives a van throughout Scotland. Searching for men to lure into her ship (I think?). Nothing is ever explained. Under the Skin is very artsy and therefore light on dialogue. What little dialogue it does have is unintelligible due to the thick accents and use of a hidden camera. Its visual style is distinctively black and white. With what appears to be an all white space ship. And the men are all lured into unexplained all black rooms. A lot of its attention is probably due to Scarlett Johansson going full frontal for the first time. Appearing naked several times throughout. A rare thing for an A-lister to do. As far as its message is concerned, I’m still trying to figure it out. Under the Skin is a confusing work of art.
The female searches for men
The Happytime Murders is just an insult to the legacy of Jim Henson. Not because it’s an R rated puppet movie, but because it’s directed by his son Brian Henson. Who previously proved his worth on two Muppet movies after his father passed away. I honestly don’t know what he was thinking when he made this. It was so bad that Sesame Street sued them for improper use of their name. The Happytime Murders is done in the style of a buddy cop crime picture. With cast members from a children’s puppet show being murdered. When I first heard about it, I was intrigued. Although I still had a bad taste in my mouth from other R rated versions of kid stuff. Specifically Sausage Party, but where that was generally well liked, The Happytime Murders was hated by most everybody. While I was hoping for a gritty cop movie that happened to feature puppets. Instead what I got was another dumb raunchy comedy that relied on shock humor. Nothing but child friendly things saying and doing adult things. Puppet drug use, puppet hookers, puppet murder, puppet sex, puppet porno, you name it. Phil Phillips is a former puppet police officer living in a world where humans and puppets co-exist. Only puppets are a discriminated minority (like “sock” is an offensive slur) that everyone expects to sing and dance. It’s an interesting idea, but it’s wasted on a by-the-numbers detective story. Melissa McCarthy is wasted and the identity of the killer is extremely obvious. In the end, The Happytime Murders biggest crime is being boring and just plain unfunny. NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!
Detective Connie Edwards (human) and Phil Phillips (puppet) investigate a murder