Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is the most mature thing Nickelodeon did at the time. As it was given a PG-13 rating. Granted it was only released in the UK, but that’s still not the image Nick usually displays. The film is full of sex jokes, mild swearing, and innuendo. It’s also very British. Hence the title that may confuse those stateside. Such as myself. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging refers to three important things in teenager Georgia Nicholson’s complicated life. Angus is her beloved cat, she disapproves of wearing thongs, and she has her heart set on snogging the boy she fancies. Most of the innuendo comes from Georgia and her friends almost constant sex talk. As well as one character wearing a thong or the inclusion of gay characters. I can’t say that the film spoke to me too much, but Georgia’s problems are quite relatable. Her mostly unknown actress of the same name does well in the role. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the only actor I recognized (and I didn’t even realize he was British). The main theme that Georgia deals with is growing up. Something her best friend seems to be doing faster than her. In the end, it’s important to just be yourself. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging has a dodgy title, but a brilliant message.
Mischief is the 80’s film about 50’s teenagers who are up to no good. Although I was on a teen movie kick at the time, I guarantee I would never have even heard of Mischief if not for one specific scene. A full frontal nude scene by a young Kelly Preston. I never knew the context of the scene. Then I saw the movie and it changed my whole prospective. Mischief for some reason opens with a Star Wars joke. It doesn’t fit the rest of the movie’s tone at all. Jonathon is a loser who pines over the sexy blonde girl next door Marilyn (it is the 50’s after all). The opportunity finally arrives when he befriends cool greaser Gene. With his pointers, Jonathon ends up dating as well as sleeping with Marilyn. That’s when the famous nude scene comes in. At the same time Gene falls for popular girl Bunny. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but their subplot is almost exactly like Rebel Without a Cause. The teen romance is fine and all. I just had a problem with the way it ended. Despite seeming to get along well together, Marilyn and Jonathon randomly break up in the end. I guess the moral is supposed to be take things slow, but if that were the case, then why do Gene and Bunny run away together? Then again, Mischief isn’t supposed to be deep.
Election is all about the high stakes world of class elections. Something my high school didn’t really do. The closest thing to a class election I’ve had was in my middle school civics class. I was a running mate, but my candidate didn’t win. Although 1999 was loaded with teen movies, hardly any of them were critical darlings. Election is the most critically acclaimed teen movie of 1999. Critics were mostly won over by its smart writing and political satire. Even if the setting was high school. Election centers on the perspective of multiple parties during the big mock election. Each character having their own internal monologue. Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick is the worst kind of overachiever who will stop at nothing to become student body president. Matthew Broderick as Mr. McAllister is a respected teacher who sees Tracy as someone who must be stopped. So he makes the clueless but popular Paul Metzler run against her. He’s easily the funniest character in the movie. The only problem is that his rebellious, secretly lesbian sister runs just to spite her former lover. Tracy’s method’s may be extreme (and desperate), but its really Mr. McAllister who ends up looking like the bad guy. He grows increasingly bitter to the point where he loses his wife, job, and sanity. Leaving Tracy Flick as the successful future politician. All because of a silly little class election. Election goes to show that even in high school, politics are a dangerous game.
Carrie (2013) is the completely unnecessary remake to the already perfect 1976 original. Not including the 2002 TV version. This was before Hollywood began to see the potential in remaking already adapted Stephen King stories. So nobody really gave it a chance. Although the trailer and promotional prank video did peak my interest, I pretty much felt the same way. That’s why I didn’t go to the theater to see it. Their first mistake was casting Chloe Grace Moretz to play Carrie White. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very talented and does do well in the role. She’s just too pretty to convincingly portray someone who’s supposed to be average. Sissy Spacek’s appearance and Prom transformation was much more convincing. She’s also underage, so the locker room taunting scene is less revealing. Carrie’s mother has the same problem with appearance. Julianne Moore is equally good, but doesn’t fit the description. Other parts of the book are taken into account though. Like Chris Hargensen’s wealth or Miss Desjardin surviving in the end. The main problem I had is the way it was shot, too much slow motion, and some of the casting. Judy Greer is just too quirky to work as the gym teacher. There’s also a strangely out of place scene at the end about Sue Snell’s relationship with Tommy. The Prom scene doesn’t work for me because too many people survive it. There’s not enough blind rage. Even worse is Chris and her boyfriend’s death. Where she uses her telekinesis to very slowly cause their car to crash. Carrie (2013) is either too different or too familiar to break any new ground.
Remake of: Carrie (1976)
The Rage: Carrie 2 is the only forced sequel made for Carrie. Considering Carrie’s death at the end of the first film, there was no point in making a sequel. Stephen King never made a follow up and it was already 3 decades old. Which is why I’m certain it was only referred to as Carrie 2 just to attract more people to it. Apart from the lead having telekinesis, clips of the 1976 movie, and the return of Sue Snell, it’s barely worth seeing. Amy Irving now plays an older Sue Snell who works as a school counselor. She discovers that Rachel’s power is the result of her being the fraternal half sister of Carrie. Although her power is far less impressive than the original. Since some of it is shot in black & white and uses bad CGI. As a 1999 teen movie, the dialogue is often cringy too. The Rage centers around goth outcast Rachel Lang after the suicide of her best friend Lisa, played by a busy Mena Suvari. When a popular jock starts dating her, it leads to a similar sequence of Rachel snapping and killing everyone who wronged her. Only with modern technology and too many jokes. They also kill Sue, which really annoyed me. The Rage: Carrie 2 fills me with rage and regret for having watched it.
Preceded by: Carrie
Carrie is the first Stephen King book ever adapted. Which also happens to be his first published book. Hard to believe the “King of Horror” has only been writing since 1974. Even harder to believe Carrie was released a mere 2 years after the book, but director Brian De Palma saw its potential. Carrie was always a Stephen King adaptation that intrigued me the most. Since it mixes my love of teen movies with my fascination with horror. Carrie is often regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. My earliest exposure to it was on many scary movie moment lists. So I already knew about the infamous Prom ending. Although if I was around during the 70’s, I would have already known the twist anyway. Since the original trailer made the unwise decision to give it away. Despite being 29 at the time (then again every actor is older then they should be), Sissy Spacek plays the 16 year old Carrie White. A dowdy young lady with telekinesis that no one likes due to her fanatically religious mother. The Psycho theme is used whenever she uses her power. Religious subtext, bullying, and supernatural powers are just some of the many motifs Stephen King would be known for…
Carrie is what happens when you push someone too far. At the very beginning it’s apparent Carrie is unpopular. After a lengthy shower scene, Carrie is horrified to discover she has her first period. Since she’s older and her mother never explained it to her. The girls cruely taunt Carrie, only for gym teacher Miss Collins (Miss Desjardin in the book) to intervene. She’s the only person who consistently shows Carrie kindness. Making her eventual fate all the more shocking. Sue Snell is another person who comes around to Carrie. Despite taking part in the taunting, Sue feels genuinely remorseful. Even asking her popular boyfriend with big 70’s hair to ask Carrie to the Prom. Although Tommy Ross doesn’t seem to like the idea, he warms up to Carrie as well. The only person who truly hates Carrie is Chris Hargensen. A popular mean girl who vows revenge on Carrie after her actions prevent her from attending Prom. With the help of her distractingly John Travolta boyfriend, the two plot to dump pig’s blood on Carrie when she becomes Prom Queen. Sissy Spacek is absolutely perfect as Carrie. Both for her looks and shy demeanor. She was even nominated for Best Actress. Along with Piper Laurie as her mother Margaret White. Despite thinking the movie was a comedy, her performance is both cruel and manipulative. I’m not a fan of religious villains, but I do agree that her treatment of Carrie is just as bad as the bullies at school. In the few fleeting moments when Carrie is happy, the music builds to a tense climax. When the bucket drops, there’s nothing but stunned silence. Filled with nothing but the words of her mother saying “they’re all gonna laugh at you,” and that is of course all she sees. Blinded by rage, Carrie’s eyes widen, the lights go out, and she unleashes her telekinetic power on anyone in her way. It’s easily one of the most well crafted scenes in any horror movie. Since your not sure who to root for. Sue is the only survivor, but not before an unexpected jumpscare. The image of Carrie in her blood soaked Prom dress surrounded by fire will forever remain iconic. It’s what makes Carrie one of the most shocking Stephen King stories ever put to screen.
Followed by: The Rage: Carrie 2
Never Been Kissed is all about that magical moment we all experience. Unless your one of the few who hasn’t. I can relate to the title and lead character. Since I myself have gone a long time without being kissed. Josie Geller is a newspaper copy editor looking to become a serious journalist. Her big break comes when she’s assigned to work undercover as a high school student. This is obviously a big suspension of disbelief. Since there’s no way a 25 year old would pass for 17. Then again, Drew Barrymore looked pretty young for her age at the time. So who knows if it would fool people in real life. Josie was a nerd back in high school and just as it seems like she’s falling into old habits, she finds a way to be popular. Along the way falling in love with her teacher. Which brings up a bunch of ethical questions considering how close they get before her secret gets out. Her brother who tags along, also finds himself in an underaged relationship. Despite that detail, it leads to one of the most romantic movie kisses of the decade. When Josie is kissed on a pitcher’s mound. Never Been Kissed is another teen movie I just had to watch. I didn’t realize before I watched it, just how many actors I recognized were in it. But Drew Barrymore’s lovable performance is what makes Never Been Kissed such a 90’s gem.
She’s All That is the best example of the trope “Beautiful all along.” That thing in movies where an “unattractive” girl with glasses and a ponytail takes off her glasses, lets down her hair, and suddenly she’s gorgeous. She’s All That is also a contemporary high school retelling of Pygmalion aka My Fair Lady. It became one of the most popular teen movies of the late 90’s. Since it probably follows the most teen movie clichés. Zack is the popular jock who’s just been dumped by his conceited girlfriend. You can tell it’s the 90’s, because she leaves him for a guy who was on The Real World. His friend then proceeds to make a bet that Zach can turn any girl he choses into a prom queen. He chooses the artsy social outcast Laney Boggs. After a few failed attempts, she finally lets her guard down after the iconic makeover. Rachael Leigh Cook is clearly very attractive, but her character arc is still the most genuine part of the movie. Since she struggles with letting herself come out of her shell. The same can be said about 90’s mainstay Freddie Prinze Jr. at times. The only thing that distracts from the romance is a few out of place moments. Like the bizarrely raunchy lunch room scene. Of course the secret does comes out and you already know what to expect, but it doesn’t make their first kiss any less effective. I didn’t even realize the song “Kiss Me” came from this movie. Since it feels like it fits another 1999 teen movie a bit better. Regardless, She’s All That is in fact, all that.
P.S. I’ll bet you didn’t know M. Night Shyamalan wrote part of the movie.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is all about magic pants. Which is why I’m writing this review while wearing jeans. Despite how popular it was (and two separate mentions of the book in TeenNick shows I watched), I thought I’d never get into it. Since a movie about sisterhood seemed like it would be too girly for me. I figured they’d be dealing with topics I couldn’t relate to. Luckily I was proven wrong, because The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is universal. It brings together four unlikely friends who decide to share a pair of pants that mysteriously fits all their unique body types. They each go on separate summer trips that I can only talk about separately.
Lena – The first girl to get the pants is Lena Kaligaris. She’s a quiet, shy, artist, with a petite body type played by Alexis Bledel. She visits her big fat greek family in Greece. Through the magic of the pants, she encounters a local boy named Kostas that her family warns her against fraternizing with. Due to a decades long feud. This story has the most beautiful location and the best romance.
Tibby – The next girl to get the pants is Tibby Rollins. She’s a creative, rebellious, documentarian with an average body type played by Amber Tamblyn. She’s the only one who stays home for the summer. Working a summer job at Wallman’s (Walmart) and trying to finish her movie. Through the magic of the pants, she meets a frustrating 12 year old girl named Bailey who inserts herself into her filming process. I won’t say what happens, but it had me crying my eyes out. It’s easily the most emotional story.
Carmen – The third girl to get the pants is Carmen Lowell. She’s a chatty, half Puerto Rican writer with a curvy body type played by America Ferrera. She visits her seldom seen father only a few states over. Only to discover he has a new family that he seems to care more about than her. Through the magic of the pants, she lets him know exactly how it makes her feel. Due to the subject of divorce, this story is perhaps the most relatable.
Bridget – The last girl to get the pants is Bridget Vreeland. She’s an outgoing, loyal, assertive soccer player with an athletic body type played by Blake Lively. She attends soccer camp in Mexico. Where she shows off her talent and pursues an older guy. All the while trying to forget her deceased mother. Through the magic of the pants, it’s implied that she loses her virginity. This story has a beautiful location as well and the best music (like my favorite song “Unwritten”). It also deals with some of the movie’s heavier topics.
In conclusion, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants really understands its teenage girl demographic, but their topics are too universal not to appeal to everyone. For a PG rated film, they cover a lot of mature topics. Ranging from familial loyalty, death, divorce, identity, suicide, and virginity. Even if some of it is implied. Every actress brings their best to each character. They may not always be together, but when they are, you totally buy their chemistry. In the end, each girl grows as a person. All it took was their lifelong bond and the magic of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Followed by: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
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).