Pig’s Blood

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 talent 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.

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Carrie snaps

Remake of: Carrie (1976)

Carrie’s Half Sister

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.

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Rachel snaps

Preceded by: Carrie

They’re All Gonna Laugh at You

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 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…

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Carrie is crowned Prom Queen

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.

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Carrie snaps

Followed by: The Rage: Carrie 2

Kiss Me, Beneath the Milky Twilight

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.

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Sam kisses Josie

Beautiful All Along

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.

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The new Laney Boggs

P.S. I’ll bet you didn’t know M. Night Shyamalan wrote part of the movie.

Sisters Who had Magic Pants

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.

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The sisterhood of the traveling pants

Followed by: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Twelfth Night of Boarding School

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).

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Viola proves she’s a girl

Father-Daughter Dance

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.

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Daphne (left) hangs out with her father (right)

Me, a Princess? Shut Up!

The Princess Diaries is the movie that brought us Anne Hathaway. As it was her film debut when she was only 15 years old. The Princess Diaries is arguably the most iconic live-action Disney movie of the early 2000’s. Despite that fact, I didn’t watch it until I was in my late teens. My cousins tried to make me watch it once when I was a kid, but I figured it was too girly. When I did give The Princess Diaries a chance, I loved it. The Princess Diaries is based on a YA book of the same name. It centers on high school student Mia Thermopolis. She’s awkward, quirky, artsy, and has large curly hair with thick glasses. She’s also afraid of public speaking. Her life only gets more complicated when her long lost grandmother from the fictional country Genovia Queen Clarisse reveals her to be a princess (shut up!). With the full name Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo. So Mia must endure regorise royal etiquette training in order to become better princess material. Since Anne Hathaway was a newcomer at the time, her iconic makeup transformation was far more shocking. A lot like Garry Marshall’s other movie Pretty Woman. Disney is filled with princesses, but The Princess Diaries is the first to really capture what it means to be one. Anne Hathaway’s instant star power and Julie Andrews presence help make The Princess Diaries a true stand out.

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Mia transforms into a princess

Followed by: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Take Me to Your Teacher

The Faculty is Scream meets The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Thing meets The Stepford Wives meets The Terminator. Scream because it takes many of the same meta cues with hip young teenagers of the late 90’s. Only the horror revolves around an alien invasion. The Breakfast Club because each teen is similar to one of the members. Casey is the nerd who gets picked on a lot, Zeke is the rebel/drug dealer, Stokely is the weird goth girl everyone thinks is a lesbian, Delilah is the popular cheerleader, and Stan is the jock who wants to quit the team. There’s also Marybeth, the new girl who also joins the group. Invasion of the Body Snatchers because the aliens are secretly replacing teachers. The Thing because anyone of them can be an alien. The Stepford Wives because the aliens make people look more attractive. And The Terminator because the T-1000 is in it. A lot of the cast consists of actors who were really big around the time. Like Usher, Famke Janssen, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, or Josh Hartnett. The Faculty may not be totally original, the CGI is dated, and it may not completely feel like a Robert Rodriguez movie, but it’s still a blast. Never taking itself too seriously. I mean the aliens are parasites that need water to survive and the only way to stop them is with drugs. If I was old enough to watch it, I have a feeling I would have watched The Faculty a lot growing up.

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Everyone looks at their alien teacher