Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Oregon Trail to Treasure

The Goonies
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, Joe Pantoliano, Anne Ramsey
Released: June 7, 1985

Hey, you guys! Goonies never say die! Down here it's our time; it's our time down here! I love this movie so much! It is THE quintessential children's film from the '80s (although there are certain things that aren't quite appropriate for children, but we'll get to those later!), but, to my knowledge, no other movie captured the awesomeness of being a child in the '80s like this one does. Now, this was a little before my time and I didn't see it theaters as I would have been much too young. I actually don't even remember when I first saw it, but it has been awhile since I last saw it (about 15 years) and I was worried that I might not like it since I'm a little older and more mature. But, nope! I loved it! I was laughing so much. Sure, it has its flaws and there are a lot of things that just don't make any sense at all, and sure, I may have had my nostalgia glasses on, but this movie is AWESOME! (Damn, those glasses just won't come off!) Without this movie, we would not have the likes of Super 8 or Stranger Things, which both defintely have elements of The Goonies. It probably shouldn't surprise you that Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on this. I have even told people about this movie who had never seen it and they watched it and they loved it!

This movie is about a group of kids (leader Mikey,  smart-ass Mouth, clumsy Chunk, and innovative Data) who call themselves "The Goonies" and they live in the coastal town of Astoria, Oregon. They live in an area called the Goon Docks, hence their nickname. The movie is set on what is going to be their last weekend together as their homes are being foreclosed and the property will be used to build a golf course and a new country club. (To be honest, I was never clear on whether it was all their homes or just a few of them). A treasure map is found in Mikey's attic and they use it to see if they can find the treasure and save their homes. The four young boys are joined by Mikey's older brother, Brand as well as Brand's crush, Andy, and her friend, Stef. While trying to find the treasure, they run into the criminal Fratelli family who are after them to shut them up about what they saw. And thus the adventure of a lifetime begins!

I thought it would be fun to rank the Goonies in order of my own personal preference. I'll start with my least favorite and work my way up to my favorite:

7.  Andy (played by Kerri Green)
"This isn't like my mother's Steinway!"

Andy is the only "Goonie" I don't like. And I put "Goonie" in quotes because she tells Mikey she's not even a Goonie. She's just there to be the "girl". She's a cheerleader, she wears a short skirt, she has all the boys lusting after her (Brand, Mikey, and Troy all have crushes on her). She's also the one to freak out the most when they're lost in the cave and realize there may not be a way out. Look, I don't blame her for freaking out...I would probably freak out too, but my god, she's SOOOO annoying! And the way she freaks out is a little disturbing. Let me back up and explain: When we first meet Andy she is riding with Troy in his convertible. Troy is the hotshot jerk athlete (and his dad is the one trying to take all the homes away, so that way you know the entire family is evil). I'm not sure if Troy and Andy are dating, but I'm guessing they are because she's wearing his letter jacket with his name on it and there's a scene where Troy's friends are asking him if he's "made it" with Andy yet and he says no, but he plans to soon. But if they're dating, then why does Brand tell the others that he has a date with Andy? Maybe she's keeping her options open? She seems like one of those girls who always has to have a boyfriend and can't do anything without a man. Ugh! So when she's freaking out, she keeps blabbing on about how she should have let Troy look up her skirt (when she was in his car, he was adjusting his rearview mirror so he could get a better look) and maybe she wouldn't be stuck in this cave as she tells Brand that's the reason she ditched Troy and joined the others. So she's pretty much admitting she would have rather been sexually violated than be in a cave (where there are ways to get out...she was being a little overdramatic). She also keeps going on about what a beautiful body she has and she doesn't want to die before she gets "fat and ugly". Ugh, shut up!

Oh, and it gets worse with her! With every opportunity, she tries to make out with Brand. Now Brand likes her, but even he gets annoyed with her constant goo-goo eyes and always trying to make a pass at him. Once they are safe, and they are no longer being chased by the Fratellis or they are no longer in harm's way, he has no problem kissing her, but there are times she's trying to kiss him that are just not the right time and this happens about three times during the film. There's a scene when they're taking a bathroom break so she and Steph are separated from the rest of the guys and she starts wailing, "Brand! Brand!" in her annoying "help me, I'm just a helpless girl who needs a big strong man" voice. (CAN.NOT.STAND.HER!) Brand tells his brother to see what she's harping about and when he goes over to her, Andy, with her eyes closed, grabs Mikey, thinking he's Brand, and kisses him. My first thought was, How dumb is this girl? Does she not realize that the person she's kissing is the same heigh as her and therefore is not obviously Brand. They do address this when Andy tells Steph to "be careful" because she thinks there's a hole in the area and that "Brand" was standing in it. Okay, I'm glad they thought of something for that, but I still feel like she would have been able to tell she was kissing a twelve-year-old and not a sixteen-year-old. She does tell Stef that it was "weird" (but she still seemed to like it...we got a future cougar on our hands!) and she's confused because she didn't know that Brand wore braces. I mean, really, how stupid is she? Later, when she's kissing Brand she asks him where his braces went (this girl is really so stupid) and that's when she realizes she was making out with a twelve-year-old...because that's what every high school girl dreams of. God, I hate Andy so much. She sucks.

Okay, okay, okay, I will admit she does have one good scene where she is actually helpful in getting the Goonies out of trouble. There's a scene where they have to play certain notes on a piano made out of bones. If the wrong not is hit too many times, a part of the floor falls away and eventually they will all plummet to their death, but each time a right note is struck, a door will open a little at a time. She hits the wrong note quite a few times and with each one exclaims, "This isn't like my mother's Steinway!" or "I'm not Liberace, you know!" Or "I can't tell if it's a B flat or an A sharp!" To which Mikey replies with, "If you hit the wrong note, we'll all be flat!" I just love the look his brother gives him when he says that. But Andy does come through and plays enough right notes that they are able to open the locked door and escape from the Fratellis who are after them at that point.

6.  Brand (played by Josh Brolin)
"I'm gonna hit so you hard that when you wake up, your clothes will be out of style!"

Brand is Mikey's older brother who failed his driver's test, is always exercising, and has a crush on Andy. His taste in girls is terrible, but I guess you can't blame the guy. Albeit annoying, Andy is a pretty and popular cheerleader and always want to make out with him. What sixteen-year-old boy wouldn't like that? He thinks the idea of going after the treasure is dumb, so Mikey and the other Goonies use the spring-y thing (the thing he's holding in the gif) to tie him to the chair and make their escape. Brand was in charge of watching his younger brother and making sure he doesn't go out in the rain so he doesn't get sick. His mom tells him that if his little brother goes out, then he'll (Brand) will be in some serious you-know-what. Brand says, "Sh*t, Mom." His mom tells him not to cuss, but yes, that's what she means. This scene doesn't make any sense because literally seconds after that happens, she sees a mess of chips on the floor and says, "What is that? What is THAT?" Mouth and Chunk think she's referring to the broken statue (I'll get to that later!) and Chunk says, "Oh, sh*t, what?" Mrs. Walsh doesn't even blink that Chunk just cussed and tells the boys she wants the mess cleaned up. I don't know if she was so enraged by the mess that she didn't hear Chunk cuss or if she only dislikes it when her own kids cuss? It was weird.

I love the scene where Troy's dad and this other guy come to the house to remind them about the foreclosure and Troy's dad says, "Is your Mommy home?" and Brand replies with, "No, she's at the market buying Pampers for all us kids." These kids are all twelve and older...why is he asking about their "Mommy"? It's so weird. But that line made me laugh.

Brand goes after the younger boys by stealing Data's little sister's bike (Data and his family live next door) and telling her he "owes her one" (because Mouth let the air out of Brand's bike tires ("Now it's his flattest thing in the world!")) and is seen riding a little girl's bike with training wheels and a flowered basket by Troy, Andy, and Stef in Troy's car. Troy grabs Brand and starts driving really fast and lets go as Brand flies off a cliff. Um, I'm pretty sure Troy just attempted MURDER and anyone who just rode their bike off a cliff would DIE. But we never see how Brand managed to survive it as the next time we see him, he is with Mikey and the others. I honestly have no idea how he even knew where Mikey was, but whatever.

5. Stef (played by Martha Plimpton)
"I feel like I'm baby-sitting, except I'm not getting paid."

Stef is Andy's friend and while she has even less to do than both Andy and Brand, I put her ahead of them because she does have one of my favorite lines in the whole movie which is the one I chose for her quote. That line cracks me up and I've even used it in my real life a couple of times. (Because, really, haven't we all felt at one point or another like we were baby-sitting, but not getting paid?) I also laugh at the scene when the kids have just discovered the pirate ship and she and Mouth (who hate each other) are hugging each other and exclaiming, "Oh my God!" Then she realizes who she's hugging and says, "Oh, God!" in disgust as she pushes him away. That was hilarious. I had forgotten that there was a little crush subplot between Mouth and Stef and that was the reason they hated each other...because they secretly liked each other. This was a little weird because even though Martha Plimpton is only a year older than Corey Feldman in real life, in the movie, she is suppose to be part of the high school group and Mouth is part of the younger group, so why would she like the a young boy? Is she another cougar in the works? At the end of the movie, she tells him, "You know, your voice is kind of nice when your mouth isn't ruining it" after he thanks her for saving his life and he replies, "You know, your looks are kind of pretty when your face isn't ruining it!" OMG, nice line there, kid. Yes, he does say he's just joking, but ouch!

This movie has many Scooby-Doo elements to it and Stef is definitely the Velma of the group (we all know Andy is the Daphne!) just for the mere fact that she is wearing glasses when we first meet her and ends up losing them once they are in the cave and Mikey steps on them and breaks them. ("You broke my glasses!) However, her eyesight must not be that BAD because she seems to see just fine for the rest of their journey.

4. Mikey (played by Sean Astin)
"Goonies never say die!"

Before he was a Notre Dame college football player or a hobbit, thirteen-year-old Sean Astin played Mikey, the asthmatic unofficial leader of the Goonies. It's his idea to find the treasure when all the boys go up to the attic and they're looking through all the "reject" stuff Mr. Walsh, who is the curator at the Astoria museum brought home, because apparently he's allowed to keep it in his attic? Don't ask me how that works. They find a map of the Astoria coastline behind a painting and realize it leads to treasure that was stolen by the pirate One-Eyed Willy. Mikey tells them the story that his dad told him about the infamous pirate and how the British armada was after him and he got trapped in a cave with his men. They set booby traps so nobody could get the treasure and Willy killed all his men so they couldn't escape with the treasure, although apparently one man did escape and thus that's how people know about the treasure and why there's a map. If there was a way to escape, I'm not sure why Willy didn't just sail away with the treasure, but whatever. The way he was telling it, I was sure Sean Astin was reading off of cue cards because for a while he just stares up at something, but I guess Richard Donner told him this story and just had him tell the story based on memory.

It's also Mikey's idea for them to keep going when they're all about to get out of the cave via the well. He gives them that speech where he says, "Down here it's our time! It's our time down here! Up there, it's their time! But down here it's our time!  Don't you see? Don't you get it? The next time we see sky, it will be over another town. The next time we take a test, it will be in another school." I may not have gotten that exactly right, but you get the gist of it. I have to tell you a true story: I remember seeing The Two Towers in theaters and I believe that's the movie where Samwise gives Frodo that speech about...something. I don't remember exactly, but it was a nice, uplifting speech. Anyway, when I first saw that, all I could think of was this speech Sean Astin gives in the Goonies and I kept imagining that he was saying, "It's our time down here! Down here it's our time!"

You have to give L'il Samwise credit, because without him they would have never had their adventure. He's the one who discovers the map that leads to treasure in the attic and he finds the doubloon where he's able to line up the rock, lighthouse, and restaurant and he's the one who first "meets" One-Eyed Willy.

3. Mouth aka Clark (played by Corey Feldman)
"This was my dream, my wish, and it didn't come true. So I'm taking it back. I'm taking them all back."

This kid is such a little sh*t stirrer and never shuts up, hence his nickname of "Mouth". He is an evil little child, but he is hilarious. I get the feeling the others don't like him very much, but they let him be part of their group. We know Stef doesn't care for him and he makes poor Chunk, the chubby kid do the Truffle Shuffle which is a dance where he has to lift his shirt and shake his belly, which Mikey doesn't think is very funny.

Mouth's main attribution to the group is that he is fluent in Spanish, so he is able to decode many of the messages/instructions that are written in Spanish as they make their way to the treasure. This is first set up when Brand and Mikey's mom comes home with an older woman named Rosalita who is going to help them pack because Mrs. Walsh broke her arm and needs help. This really makes no sense because a)They are suppose to move the next day and they are just now packing their house? and b)Why didn't Mrs. Walsh just hire a moving company instead of an older woman? Anyway, since Rosalita doesn't speak any English, Mouth ever so kindly offers to translate for Mrs. Walsh since he knows Spanish. Every time they go to a different room and Mrs. Walsh gives the instructions, Mouth tells her something outrageous and everything is so not appropriate for a children't movie! I am shocked at what they were able to get away with for a children's film in the '80s! I guess it was a much different time back then! In the first room, he tells her that the heroin goes in one drawer, the cocaine goes in another drawer, and the marijuana goes in the last drawer and to make sure to not get the drugs mixed up. When Mrs. Walsh tells Rosalita not to go in the attic, Mouth tells her not to go up there because that's where Mr. Walsh keeps his sexual torture devices. And finally, when Mrs. Walsh is telling her about the broom closet, Mouth tells her that's where she'll be kept without any food or water if she does a bad job. It's so messed up! Mrs. Walsh thanks him and tells him how nice it was for him to translate and he replies with a sweet smile and says, "Nice is my middle name!" Mrs. Walsh also tells Rosalita she wants the house clean before they tear it down, which makes no sense at all...why would someone care about their house being cleaned if it's going to get torn down anyway?

When we are first introduced to Mouth, he comes into the Walsh home ready for the last weekend they will be spending together before they are all separated. He is disappointed they won't be able to do anything fun since Brand flunked his driver's test and they won't have a car and now they won't be "cruising the coast, sniffing some lace, downing some brews." Why is a twelve-year-old talking about drugs and alcohol? Oh, never mind, it is Corey Feldman, after all. Funny how that worked out.

One of my favorite Mouth moments is when clumsy Chunk knocks over this statue of a naked man (I think it's suppose to be a replica of Michaelangelo's David and the genitals break off. Both Mikey and Brand are freaking out like it shattered into a million pieces instead of one piece just broke off and it would be pretty easy to glue back on. Brand screams "YOU IDIOT!" and Mikey is also upset and tells him, "That's my mom favorite piece!" In reply, Mouth says, "You wouldn't be here if it wasn't" and that just made me laugh...not just what he said, but the way he says it. Both Mikey and Brand yell at him to "SHUT UP!", but I'm on Mouth's side here. I think he had every right to make that stupid crack and honestly I would have done the same thing. Mikey was totally asking for it. First of all, why is he sharing the fact that the penis on the naked male statue is his mom's favorite "part". Who says that? And why does he even know that in the first place? Did his mom tell him that? Is she sexually crazed or something? It's so weird!

Not surprisingly, Mouth's mouth often gets him into trouble. It also almost gets his tongue sliced off! When the four young boys go into the restaurant (that's closed for the season) that lines up with the doubloon, what they don't know is that it's the hideout for the Fratelli family which consists of Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey) and her sons Francis (Joe Pantoliano) and Jake (Robert Davi). There's a third son called Sloth that they keep locked in chains downstairs, but we'll get to him later. That enough is to say the Fratellis are horrible people, but Mama and Francis have also broken Jake out of jail and have killed two feds along the way. The fact that they are counterfeiting money seems to be the least offensive thing do.

Mama Fratelli offers the boys water (nasty unclean water!) and asks if they want anything else. The three other boys don't want anything, but Mouth, being Mouth, starts talking in an Italian accent and asks for a bunch of Italian dishes. This prompts Mama to grab him by the face, force his tongue out and tells the kids the only thing they serve is tongue and process to take out a pocket knife and open it up very close to Mouth's face. Now while I don't remember seeing this for the first time, I have no doubt I was covering my mouth with my hand like the three other boys do! And this isn't the only time that Mama Fratelli will threaten to cut off a kid's body part!

I loved the scene when they're all on the water slide (oh, man, how fun did that look?) and when they're coming out of the chute (which was a pretty high drop into the water), Mouth yells, "Ohhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhh*tttttttt!" They must say the s-word at least twenty times in this movie and I'm not exaggerating! And this is a PG movie! I think nowadays you can only get away with using that word once in a PG-rated movie.

2. Data (played by Jonathan Ke Quan)
"That's what I said! Booby trap!"

Data is the Inspector Gadget of the group with all his nifty inventions. Some of them work and some of them don't. Some of them even save his life like the Pinchers of Power (or is it Peril...I'm not quite sure) which is a pair of those plastic clattering teeth attached to a spring coil that he uses to grab hold onto a rock as he's falling hundreds of feet down a pit and the teeth grab the rock right before he is about to get spiked. Don't ask me how that manages to hold a ninety pound kid (well, maybe he's more like eighty pounds because he does say he is the smallest of the group at one point, but still...), but this is a movie and there are many ridiculous things in it. He uses his "slick shoes" to deter the Fratelli brothers who are after them at this point. They're crossing a log over water and Data squirts oil that is in the bottom of his shoes onto the log, thus making it slippery and the two brothers slip on it and land on their groins very painfully. This movie was like a precursor to Home Alone what with all the booby traps that are set (some by Data, some by One-Eyed Willy) and Chris Columbus, who directed Home Alone wrote this movie. Data also uses the Pinchers to grab Francis in the groin and he has a boxing glove attached to a spring so when he opens his trench coat, it knocks out Jake, but the second time he tries to use it, it malfunctions and he ends up punching himself instead.

Data lives next door to Mikey and uses a zipline to enter the Walsh home. Because of their proximity, he appears to be Mikey's closest friend and they have their arms around each other as they're skipping to the restaurant. It's really quite adorable.

There's a running gag throughout the movie where Data will incorrectly say "boody trap" and one of the kids, usually Mikey, will correct him and he's reply with, "That's what I said! Booby trap!" Data also refers to himself in the third person.

Even though the actor is originally from Vietnam, I think Data was suppose to be Chinese because at one point, Mikey says they're going so deep into the cave that they might end up in China and Data says, "Ooh, maybe I can visit one of my aunts!"

I mentioned that there are some booby traps set by the famed pirate, One-Eyed Willy. This guy really did not want anyone finding his treasure! I already mentioned the piano made out of bones that Andy plays to open a door. The kids always seem to set off all the booby traps and just narrowly miss getting killed. One that is set off has these huge boulders falling to the ground, about five in a row. Apparently, another set of these was set off as that's how Chester Copperpot, the guy who got the closest to getting to the treasure, was killed. We see a skeleton comically posed under a huge boulder. I mean, I don't know if it was suppose to be funny, but I sure laughed. The only part sticking out from under the rock was the upper body and the head and the rest of the skeleton was crushed underneath the boulder.

1. Chunk aka Lawrence (played by Jeff Cohen)
"Gee, Mister, you're even hungrier than I am!"

Chunk is the chubby, klutzy, scaredy-cat, pathological liar kid who has a much different adventure than the other kids because he gets separated from them. I laughed so hard when we are first introduced to him where he's in a pizza parlor and sees a police chase and excitedly runs up to the window to watch it and smashes his pizza AND his milkshake against the glass (I'm not sure why!), but as you see from the above gif, it gives a very amusing result! This is the first use of the s-word when Chunk exclaims, "Ah, sh*t!" after he ruins his lunch. He has a ridiculous sense of smell. When they're in the basement of the restaurant, he can smell the ice cream in a sealed refrigerator. He is so excited to have all these different flavors of ice cream that he doesn't even notice the DEAD GUY with a bullet through his head that's also in the fridge. ("IT'S A STIFF!") He is a fed the Fratellis killed and Chunk ends up getting stuck in the fridge with him while the other Goonies make their escape. I loved when the corpse is falling onto him and he tells it to, "Stay! Stay!" The other Goonies have escaped down through the firepit, but after Brand and Mikey notice Chunk is missing (glad they didn't make it too far before they realized someone was missing!), they go back up and tell Chunk to run and find the police because they are in "serious sh*t". By this time, it is dark when Chunk goes outside and he keeps telling himself, "I'm not afraid of the dark. I like the dark, I love the dark. But I hate nature! I HATE nature!" He runs out in front of a car and screams, "STOP! I'M JUST A KID!" which cracked me up. When a car does stop, he tells the driver he needs to be taken to the police because he found the hide out of the Fratellis, these disgusting people and that he can describe all three of them. A light comes on and of course it's Jake with Francis in the passenger seat and they grab Chunk and throw him in the back...where there's another dead body. That's some pretty scary stuff right there.

They bring Chunk back to the restaurant and threaten to put his hand in a blender if he doesn't spill the beans and tell them where the other kids are. In a matter of seconds, Chunk gives them all up (I can't blame the kid; I would do the same) and tells them they're down the fireplace, but they don't believe them. Lucky for Chunk, right when they have his hand in the blender and are about to turn it on, this is when the Goonies have come across a bunch of bats that have been let loose when Brand moves a big rock blocking a part of the cave. After we see a bunch of (obviously) fake plastic bats dangling in front of the kids, they all fly up through the fireplace and that's when the Fratellis realize there's a tunnel leading down somewhere.

They throw Chunk in with Sloth, the third Fratelli son. He's this super jacked guy who has a deformed face. It's like his skull didn't quite form properly and he had a droopy face because his eyes don't match up and he has about four teeth. We later learn that his mom may have dropped him "more than one time" when he was a baby, hence his deformity. He's quite scary when you first see him, especially since he screams at Chunk, but then you realize he's just a gentle giant who just wants some chocolate. ("Choc-o-late? Choc-o-late!") I'm pretty sure when I first saw this, I thought they actually found someone who looked like that. No, they used make up to make the actor look like that. Sloth was played by John Matuszak who was a football player for the Oakland Raiders (and Sloth wears a Raiders t-shirt). After Chunk gives Sloth a Baby Ruth candy bar ("Ruth! Ruth! Ruth! Baby Ruth!") they have an unbreakable bond. ("Sloth love Chunk!") Sloth even breaks his chains to retrieve the candy bar that Chunk threw at his head. They start heading after the Fratellis who are now heading after the other Goonies.

Chunk does call the police and tries to tell them about the Fratellis, but the officer doesn't believe him because Chunk has pranked called the police before by telling them that 50 Iranian terrorists took over all the Sizzler steak houses in the city (how many Sizzler restaurant are in Astoria anyway?) and about the creatures that multiply when water is thrown on them, which was obviously a reference to Gremlins which Chris Columbus wrote (remember, he wrote this film) AND Corey Feldman was in as well. At the beginning of the film, the others don't believe Chunk when he tells them about the police chase he just saw. This is because he has lied about Michael Jackson using his bathroom, that he saved a bunch of old people from a nursing home fire, and that he once ate his weight in Godfather's pizza. He admits that MJ didn't use his bathroom...but his sister did! Hmm, I wonder it it was Janet or LaToya?

When the Fratellis have captured the Goonies on the pirate ship, Chunk and Sloth save the day. This is where we get the famous "Heyyyyy youuuuuu guyyyssssssss!" line from Sloth. The scene below I clipped from YouTube, was something I (and I swear to God I'm not even lying) laughed AND cried at the same time. And no, I'm not talking about I was laughing so hard because it was funny, no I was laughing at this scene because it was absurd, but I was also crying, because it was so heartwarmingly sweet.  Just watch:

It was just so sweet, BUT, on the other hand, absolutely ridiculous that Chunk would just have this grown man, who obviously has special needs,  live with his family without getting his parents' permission first. So that's why I was crying and laughing at the same time.

I don't know how exactly how long the kids were in the cave; I know it was overnight for sure because it's daylight when they get out, but everyone is there to greet them on the beach: their parents, the police, the MEDIA. They act as though these kids have been stuck in the cave for WEEKS. Oh, and even Troy's father shows up to have Mr. Walsh sign the foreclosure papers. However, Rosalita, who is also there discovers Mikey's marble bag in his jacket (she has his jacket for some reason). The kids had gathered a ton of treasure on the pirate ship, but Mama Fratelli made them all hand it over. However, she missed the marble bag that Mikey had dumped out his marbles and filled with jewels. Rosalita announces the bag of jewels (why didn't she just keep quiet and keep the jewels for herself? She has no loyalty to this family, plus that Mouth kid was a little jerk to her!) and Mr. Walsh rips up the papers even though he has no idea how much these (cheap-looking) jewels are worth. And we will never know because the movie ends with the kids and Sloth watching the pirate ship sailing away (I guess the ghost of One-Eyed Willy is at the helm?) and there was never a sequel.

There are so many things about this movie that don't make any sense:
-What were 17th century pirates doing in the Pacific Northwest?
-If they had found that secret tunnel that Willy and his men built, then what were those very modern pipes doing in there?
-Why are there water slides in this secret tunnel...pretty sure water slides didn't exist in the 17th century!
-How come Mouth was able to enter the house without activating that Rube Goldberg contraption and this was before Chunk arrived and they made him do the Truffle Shuffle before they let him in...and he could have easily unlatched the gate! (Is he just a little dim?)
-Why did the museum let Mr. Walsh keep all that historical stuff in his attic? If they had actually went through all this stuff, they would have found the map that led them to some valuable treasure.
-If nobody was allowed in the attic, then why are those glass orbs with the "laser beams" seemingly plugged in all the time? (I don't know what they're called, but you know what I'm talking about, right?)
-Why did nobody go after the ship at the end? Um, hello, it was filled with rubies, diamonds, gold, silver, coins, you name it!

But even despite all those problems, I still love it. Those nostalgia glasses will never come off! If you are also a fan of The Goonies, I hope you thought this review was, ahem, good enough!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trading Places

Freaky Friday (1976)
Director: Gary Nelson
Cast: Jodie Foster, Barbara Harris, John Astin
Released: December 17, 1976

Freaky Friday (2003)
Director: Mark Waters:
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mark Harmon, Chad Michael Murray 
Released: August 6, 2003

I'm not sure what is considered to be the better movie between these two Freaky Friday films (and actually there is a third, from doing research I found out there is a Freaky Friday TV movie starring Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffmann that came out in 1995, but I doubt that one is even in the conversation), but I think the remake is far more superior. I had never seen the original until just recently and this was the third time I've seen the remake. I had a lot more fun watching the remake and while the original had it's fun moments, I was mostly bored during it. Also, there were a few moments that made me cringe because it's sooooo outdated and gets a tiny offensive at times, but that's not the (main) reason why I prefer the remake. The remake just makes so much more sense in a plot that is absurd, but at least they try to keep it as realistic as possible. 

As far as body-switching movies go, this is one of the more popular. You probably all know the premise: a mother and her teenage daughter switch bodies for a full day (which, as you may have guessed, is on a Friday!) They are total opposites and don't get along, but after living as the other for a day, they learn to appreciate each other more. A very young Jodie Foster is 13-year-old Annabel and Barbara Harris is her mother, Ellen Andrews, in the original. Lindsay Lohan is 15-year-old Anna and Jamie Lee Curtis is her mother, Tess Coleman in the remake. 

Before the big switch, we see how mother and daughter don't get along. Annabel is a tomboy who bitches about how uptight her mom is (and she's right, her mom IS uptight....Anna really has no reason to complain about her mother!) saying how she's not allowed to do this or that. She whines to her friends that her mom is always pushing her around or telling her what to do. Ellen tells her husband, Bill (John Astin) that Annabel doesn't have a clue about her life. They both think the other has it easier. They take a little more time establishing the relationship between mother and daughter in the remake as it actually starts on Thursday and the original starts that Friday morning. While Ellen is a housewife (of course she is), Tess is a psychologist who has recently written a book about communication although she can't seem to get through to her daughter. She is busy with her upcoming wedding to her fiance, Ryan (Mark Harmon) which Anna isn't happy about since her dad died three years ago. Anna is in a band with her friends and they have the opportunity to play at a Battle of the Bands gig, but it just so happens to be the next day which is night of the rehearsal dinner and her mom says no. 

I'm going to touch on similar plot lines/characters from each movie:

The switch: As I already mentioned, the body swapping happens much sooner in the original. And it's really stupid and doesn't make any sense how it's done. While Annabel is at the ice cream parlor with her friends before school (who goes to an ice cream parlor before school?) bitching about her mom to her friends and while Ellen is at home doing the dishes and bitching about her daughter to her husband, they both simultaneously say, "I wish I could switch places with her...for just one day." We get a terrible special effects graphic (I know, I know, it WAS the '70s) where they switch bodies. Oh, sure, we get the initial surprise that they're in each other bodies, but neither really seemed that concerned about it. Case in point: Ellen in her daughter's body calls home and her husband answers. She keeps calling him "Bill" and Bill, thinking it's his daughter, is angry that Annabel keeps calling him by his first name. I thought for sure she was going to ask to speak to her "mom", but no, all she does is ask if "Mom" is acting funny and Bill confirms this. They won't see each other again until the end of the movie which is really odd. You think they would immediately meet up and see what's going on. Once they realized that they said the same thing at the same time, then all they have to do is say something to un-switch them (which is what eventually happens). 

At least in the remake, they have a reason for why they switch and they actually try to figure out how to get their own bodies back. And it's a lot funnier. They don't switch bodies right away. Thursday night the whole family goes out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and the owner sees them bickering. The daughter tells her mother not to meddle, but the woman each gives Tess and Anna a fortune cookie and we see them reading the fortune at the same time and there's an earthquake that only the two of them can feel. It's not until when they're both in bed and the clock turns to midnight when they turn into each other and wake up to find themselves in each other's bodies. We get some of the same moments in the original like seeing Jamie Lee Curtis and hearing Lindsay Lohan's voiceover thoughts and vice versa and when they're feeling their new body parts and thinking, "That's not mine!" 

Since they're both in the same location when this happens, they are able to try to figure out what happened. Anna suggests that they go see a doctor, but her mom says they can't do that because nobody would believe them. Thank you, movie. This is something the original did not get right at all. Both Ellen and Annabel tell people that they are their mother/daughter. Ellen in her daughter's body tells Ellen's friends that she is Mrs. Andrews and they all just laugh and say, "This is a fun game! Let's pretend to be each other's mothers!" Annabel in her mother's daughter tells the boy she has a crush on she is actually Ellen and of course he doesn't believe her either. Why are they even trying to tell others the truth? There is no way they can prove it! It's so stupid! I'm glad the remake realized how stupid it is and never once do they tell anyone what's actually going on. Now, of course they don't do the best job of trying to get through the day as each other as we have Tess in her daughter's body acting very motherly to Anna's friends and we have Anna in her mother's body talking like a teenager when she tells her mother's fiancee, "Could, you like, chill for one sec?" 

Tess and Anna at least try to figure out what happened and try to switch back. Sure, it doesn't really work when they run into each other at full speed, thinking they can unswap bodies that way, but at least they try something. Can't say the same for the original where they literally don't do anything to try to switch back. They visit the Chinese restaurant where they learn that the only way to reverse the "spell" is to show a selfless act of love for the other. So at least there's a reason why they switched bodies and a way for them to switch back. 

The husband/fiance: As you may have guessed, the daughter being in her mother's body might be a little awkward around her dad/ mother's fiance. The remake handles it much better. When Ryan tries to kiss who he believes is his fiancee, Anna quickly backs away or tells him she's getting sick or makes ups some excuse not to kiss him. Now, the husband never tries to kiss his wife in the '76 movie, but Annabel as her mother calls him "Daddy" a couple times and he asks her why she's calling him that, but you can tell he likes it and it's soooooooo creepy. So creepy! It's supposed to be played for laughs, but no. It's creepy as all hell. Even though Anna doesn't like her stepdad at first, he is a good person and she will come around to accepting him into their family. Bill, on the other hand, well, he's kind of a jerk. He calls his wife (actually his daughter) and asks her to make a dinner for 25 people that might. Anna thinks he's great as a father, but terrible as a husband. When Ellen in her daughter's body goes to visit Bill at his office, she is not happy to see his extremely attractive assistant who he's never mentioned before. 

The younger brother: The teenaged girls have a little brother who they can't stand. Harry is Anna's little brother and he's your typical annoying little brother where he provokes his older sister and you understand why she doesn't get along with him. The poor kid is confused because his "sister" is being super nice to him and his "mother" is being mean to him. Ben is Annabel's little brother and he's a "neat freak". what world does a little kid keep his room clean and fold his clothes? I have never met a kid like that in my life. Granted, I don't know many kids, but my God...the remake got the younger brother much more realistically. Annabel can't stand her little brother because she's such a slob and he makes her look bad. Both girls, as their mothers, will learn that their brothers both look up to their sisters, confessing this to their mothers (who, of course, are actually their sisters). 

The crush: Both teenaged girls have a crush on a boy. Anna likes a boy at her school, Jake (Chad Michael Murray). And I get it He's very good-looking and super cool with his own motorcycle which he offers to give Anna a ride on, but she knows her mom will ground her for eternity if she did accept the ride, so she has to refuse. Annabel has a crush on her neighbor, Boris. I don't understand the appeal of him at all. He's more of a nerd, but he's not even a cute nerd. He has allergies and is always wiping his nose and he has this weird squeaky voice and in what world is he suppose to be hot or cute? Is this what 13-year-old girls in the '70s liked? I don't get it. He also seems like a huge ass. He totally disses Annabel to her mother (who is actually Annabel!) and he makes snide comments about the appearance of Annabel's messy room which Annabel (as her mother) tells him it's Ben's room and he proceeds to make fun of the kid for having "girly" items. So yeah, he's a real prince. The males in the original are just jerks. Even little Ben, who, despite being the most unrealistic child in the history of the universe doesn't really bother me UNTIL Annabel as her mother gets called to the school to have a meeting with her principal about herself and calls Boris to watch Ben and the oven where she's cooking a turkey for her dad's co-workers. She asks Boris if he can whip up a chocolate mousse and Ben says, "Isn't that sort of a sissy thing to do?" UH, WHAAAAT? No, you did NOT go there, movie! Wow. I was SHOCKED when I heard that. Holy crap. First of all, is it "sissy" because it's a dessert the guy has to make or just cooking in general is "sissy"? Also, little boy, isn't folding your clothes a "sissy" thing to do? F*** you, movie!

Anyway! Both Jake and Boris end up falling for the mothers, so of course that means they actually like the daughters. Jake and Anna as her mother bond over shared musical interests and Boris and Annabel as her mother bond over...I'm not really sure, actually. I guess Boris just think she's a hot housewife and that's why he wants to spend more time with her? In the end, when the teenaged girls are back in their own bodies, they begin to date their crushes. Still don't see the appeal of Boris. The actor who played him has a cameo in the remake and his name was also Boris.

The daughter as her mother: Both movies have amusing scenes with the daughters as their mothers (and vice versa, of course). Annabel quickly learns what a crappy life her mother leads just being a domesticated housewife. While doing laundry (and seriously, what 13-year-old doesn't know how to do laundry? You're f***ing 13, for God's sake!) Annabel stuffs EVERYTHING into the washing machine. This not only includes clothes, but very thick shaggy rugs and shoes. She pours a bunch of detergent (which is the powder kind and not liquid) into the machine and of course it goes haywire and starts spewing bubbles and clanking everywhere. While this is going on, all of her mother's scheduled appointments start showing up: the carpet cleaners, the window drapers, the neighbor who needs something, and the maid. I feel like I'm forgetting somebody. During this whole fiasco, the pet basset hound keeps getting passed around from person to person. I realize this is played for laughs (though it's not funny!), but why are they passing around the dog? Why does the dog need to be held? He's perfectly capable of walking around...just put him on the's so stupid! If somebody passed the dog to me (and he's a full grown basset hound, so he looks pretty heavy), I would just put it down. There's no reason for it to be held! UGH! 

Annabel ends up firing the maid which is something similar that happens in the remake when Anna fires her mother's caterer for the wedding. Since Annabel can't drive, she and Ben walk to the grocery store to get groceries for her dad's big dinner party. This is when she bonds with her brother and they play a game of baseball in the park with other kids. 

The first thing Anna does as her mother is go on a shopping spree and gives her conservative mother a more outrageous look. She cuts her hair and pierces the upper part of her ear...something that Anna always wanted (although when they switch bodies back, she's not going to have that anymore!) Both Anna and Tess realize they're going to have to spend the day as each other as Tess has patients at her practice and Anna has an important test at school. Tess tells Anna to not say anything to her patients except for, "How does that make you feel?" Anna, in her mother's body, follows this until she meets with a woman who confesses she went through her daughter's journal and Anna explodes on her.

Ryan surprises "Tess" with a television interview about her new book, which Anna has never read and has no idea what it's about. She wings the interview and ends up being a big hit. Jake sees this on TV and tells "Anna" how cool her mom is and this is the start of his infatuation with her. 

The mother as her daughter: Both mothers have to navigate through a day as their daughters. I didn't really think Annabel had it bad at school. You definitely feel more sympathetic towards the mother having to deal with all those chores and a male chauvinist husband. The reason why "Annabel" has a bad day at school is because her mother causes it. When they are taking a typing test (with typewriters!), she is confused why she can't type anything and it's because it's an electric typewriter and has to plug in it and turn it on. It won't work so the teacher tells her to find another one so she plugs in one that says "OUT OF ORDER" (can she not read?) and it causes a shortage of all the typewriters. Then we have a scene of her in history class where she's being a know it all in history class and getting all the answers right and is made fun of by her classmates. She's late to her photography class and opens the door to the dark room and turns on the lights. Obviously, if this were the real Annabel, she wouldn't make those mistakes. After school, there's a big field hockey game which Annabel is very good at, but her mother, not so much. She makes a goal for the other team. Does she not know that the goalie wearing the same color as her is ON HER SIDE? Is she colorblind? It's one thing not to be athletic, but my God, does she not know the basic structure of sports? While I was watching this, I was thinking, what is so horrible about Annabel's life? She has friends, she's good at sports, and, in that meeting that "Ellen" attends, she's very smart, but just needs to apply herself more. The reason "Annabel" has a horrible day is because it's her mother and she doesn't know what she's doing. It's not like Annabel has to do with bullies or bad grades or peer pressure.

Even though Anna is your typical bratty teenager, the movie does a good job of showing that she does have problems and this is evident to her mother when she goes to school as her daughter. For one thing, Anna is smart, but she has a teacher who keeps giving her bad grades and sending her to detention. We learn that this teacher knew Anna's mom back in high school and asked her to a dance, but she had a boyfriend and said no. Tess, as Anna confronts the teacher about this. There's also a girl who's really mean to Anna and we find out that they used to be friends (a long time ago), but had a falling out. Tess tries to make amends with her, but the friend tricks her and framers her for cheating on their big test. Tess gets back at her by finding the girl's test and sabotaging it. I thought that was a little out of character for her. I understand she's getting back at the girl for being mean to her daughter, but that was a little too much for her. And, of course, Anna is upset that her mother is getting remarried so soon.

I liked the moment when Tess and Anna are driving to the Chinese restaurant with Anna as her mother driving since she has the license and Tess as Anna eating fries because, now that she's in her daughter's fifteen year old body, she doesn't have to worry about gaining weight.  I liked how in that scene they were both taking advantage of their new ages. The remake doesn't do that.  

During the Battle of the Bands, obviously Tess has no idea what to do, so Anna has to hide behind the stage and play the real notes while Tess pretends to play. 

The un-switch: In the remake, Tess and Anna are returned to their own bodies after a heartfelt speech at the rehearsal dinner. There is another earthquake (which everyone seems to feel that time, although only Anna and Tess felt it the first time, but whatever) and they are back in their own bodies. They now have a new appreciation for the other and become closer.

In the original, there's some stupid water skiing competition which Annabel is involved. Ellen, as Annabel, tells her coach she can't do it, but he tricks her and she ends up on the skis. Annabel as her mother is driving in a car with Boris and Ben. They need to get the food to...somewhere because Bill has called his "wife" and demands to know where the food is. Because of her terrible driving (it IS a thirteen-year-old driving after all), she is pursued by the police. At the same time, both exclaim, "I wish I had my own body back!" But here's the kicker...instead of just switching minds like they do the first time it happens, this time they also physical switch bodies...wait, what?? This absolutely made no sense! So now Ellen, who was originally in her daughter's body on water skis is now in her own body but still on water skis ("Right body, wrong place!) and Annabel, who was originally in her mother's body driving the car is now in her own body driving the car. In the words of Regina George, "God movie, you are so stupid!" Oh, and Boris and Ben who are in the car with Mrs. Andrews? They're all like, "Where did you come from, Annabel?" and "Where did Mom go?" They're shocked for a second, but then it's like, whatever. No big deal a completely person is driving the car! 

While Ellen is still continuing her water skiing (and why doesn't she just let go? Like, duh!!!!), Annabel is trying to get to the lake to help her mom but is still being chased by the police. We get a chase which is supposed to be played for laughs, but uh, in real life would have killed dozens of people. They're in a Volkswagen and go across this very narrow bridge. People are on this bridge and in order to not get run over, they have to hang from the bridge from a very high overpass with traffic underneath. If they fall, they're dead. Then, once the people get back on the bridge, here come the police cars and this time the civilians have to duck under the cars as they are too wide too fit on the bridge and use the railing of the bridge to drive across. Then, we have Annabel driving erratically around a concrete wall and one of the police cars hits the wall head on, and instead of the driver and passenger being killed (from, you know, hitting a CONCRETE WALL HEAD ON!), the car just splits in half so one side of the car is on one side of the wall and the other half is on the other side. Oh, and then we end this ridiculous car chase with Annabel, her brother, and Ben ending up in the lake. Luckily, they don't drown because the top of the car is already down. Ugh, just so ridiculous. Annabel and her mother are reunited and they learn their lesson.

Both movies end in similar fashions with the younger brother and the dad (or, in the remake's case, the grandfather) looking like they're about to switch bodies, but it's just a close call!

Look, I'm not saying the remake is a perfect movie. It has its flaws too. But compared to the original, it is a masterpiece. The relationship between mother and daughter was fleshed out more, things made more sense, and it was also funnier and more enjoyable. Skip the original and watch the remake. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Little Giants
Director: Duwayne Dunham
Cast: Rick Moranis, Ed O'Neill, Devon Sawa, Shawna Waldron
Released: October 14, 1994

This movie is very similar to The Mighty Ducks, except just replace hockey with football. There are a few differences, but in the end it's about a group of kids who suck at football but have a coach who believes in them and tells them they're out there to have fun and they end up beating the Big Bad Team in the final game. (Well, in this movie, it's the ONLY game that's played!)

The movie begins in 1964 in the small town of Urbania, Ohio, where we meet brothers Kevin and Danny O'Shea. Kevin is the cooler, more athletic older brother who is a natural at football. So much so that he will go on to win three high school championships, a National Collegiate Title, an All-American title, and a Heisman trophy. The town's water tower boasts it is "The Home of the Great Kevin O'Shea." Danny is the dorky, non-athletic younger brother who wants to play football but is never picked to join either team. Kevin tries to make him feel better by telling him that he's so good it makes Danny look bad.

We then fast forward to "present day" 1994 with Ed O'Neill as Kevin and Rick Moranis as Danny. Kevin owns a car dealership called O'Shea Chevrolet (love how that rolls off the tongue) which is very heavily football-themed and coaches the town's Pee Wee football team, the Cowboys. His assistant coach is named Coach Butz and that made the twelve-year-old in me giggle every time I heard it. Danny runs a gas station and has a pre-teen daughter who is trying out to join her Uncle's team. Her name is Becky, but she goes by Ice Box and she is clearly good enough to be chosen for the team. Now, all the kids should have made the team, but Kevin wants to put together the best team he can so he can win a Pee Wee State Championship. In the end, only four kids don't make the team and they're all devastated and you feel really bad for them. Oh, don't get me wrong, with the exception of Becky, they all suck, but they shouldn't have been left out. You have the kid who can't run and cries a lot, you have the kid who can never catch the ball, and you have the fat kid who farts a lot (clearly the Goldberg of Little Giants) who wheezes when he runs. It's only four kids, so I think he could've found room on the team for them. He explains his reason for cutting Becky is because she's a girl and girls shouldn't play football, but rather be cheerleaders on the field. Even though he's clearly a misogynist, he and his niece do have a loving relationship, but he should have just used nepotism as a reason why he didn't want Becky to join his team. Or, you know, if he had just let everyone join the team who wanted to in the first place, then this wouldn't even be a problem.

With good reason, Danny is angry at his brother and ends up starting his own team, the Little Giants, with Becky and the three other rejects. They start recruiting other kids to play on their team, and they pretty much just recruit any kid they see, no matter if they've ever played or even like football. There's a scene where Danny goes up to a kid named Timmy on one of those mechanical horses outside a grocery store and asks him, "You ever play football?" ("No".) "You like football?" ("No".) "Great, you can be on our team!" There's a kid named Johnny who is having abandonment issues because his dad is always going on business trips and never gets any attention from him. I thought this was going to give us a very poignant and emotional scene, but it's just used for the kid to score a point during the Big Game. His dad has just returned from a business meeting and is walking up to the field to see his son's game and Johnny has the ball and sees his dad and starts running towards him and scores the team a goal. One of the more memorable kids (and I had never seen this movie until now, but even I remember this kid from the trailers!) is Jake Berman who goes by the nickname "The Berminator". He is the little scrawny kid who wears these magnifying glasses which make his eyes look huge. His mother brings him to Danny and explains to him that he was one pound and one ounce when he was born and was in an incubator for the first three months of his life and is allergic to everything. He looks like he would easily snap in half and the mom tells Danny, "I think football is just the medicine for him" and the kid says, "My shrink told her I gotta get out more!" Cracks me up that this ten-year-old has his own shrink. When he shows up for his first practice, he's wrapped in this foam padding with duct tape because his mom didn't think the padding he was given would do the trick.

Since there can only be one team in the town, they decide to have a play-off in a couple of weeks and whoever wins that will get to be Urbania's Pee Wee Football team.

Devon Sawa plays Junior Floyd, the Fulton Reed of this movie. He is recruited by the Giants when they see him at a grocery store throwing individually wrapped toilet paper rolls into a cart. One of the kids says, "What a throw!" Another says, "What a find!" And Becky, who is also there and spying on him through a shelf, says, "What a hunk!" Of course she has a crush on him despite telling herself she's the Ice Box and doesn't get crushes, it's Devon Sawa for God's sake! Every preteen girl of the early '90s had a crush on Devon Sawa. He is one of two names of the young cast I was familiar with. The other one was Kevin's youngest daughter who is played by a very young (like probably five or six years old) Alexa Vega. I didn't even know it was her until I looked up the cast on IMDb. When Danny and Becky go to the Floyd home to ask him to join the Giants, we find out that his mother is Patty, who Danny had a crush on when he was young and we do see her in the 1964 scene. At first, I thought maybe Kevin had married her because we see his wife is also blonde, but nope, here she is, a single mother, and apparently had no idea Danny was still living in the same town (and Danny didn't know she was still in Urbania either).

Kevin finds out from his older daughter (who also has a crush on Junior, because she is also a preteen girl) that Junior is on the Giants and takes Butz (still makes me laugh!) to spy on his brother's team. Danny is alerted by the smart bespectacled blond kid who he hired as his assistant that there are spies and he calls the police to pretend he's an 86 year old woman and warn them about old men in their underwear peeping at young boys. He even uses one of the kids to pretend cry and to tell the police to "Please hurry!" Wow, I cannot believe this movie went there! You really could get away with a lot more in kids' movies from the '90s! There is an article in the paper the next day with the headline, "Local Hero Arrested."

One thing I didn't understand was why Junior never tried out for football in the first place. He is good at it and seems to have a love for it because he asks Danny if he think he can get his brother's autograph. Also, how come we never see a scene of Kevin going to Junior and asking him if he wants to be on the "legitimate" team, the Cowboys? He's good enough he could have made Kevin's team and I'm sure he could have made room for him. Though I don't know if Junior would have accepted the offer because he never seems angry that, aside from Becky, all the kids on his new team suck. If anything, he's very encouraging, so I don't think he would diss the Giants like that.

We also have a reverse Adam Banks situation where a player, who is very good at his sport and is brought in to help the team, starts on the sucky (but "Good Guys") team) and ends up on the really good (but "Big Bad") team. The kid's name is Spike and it was like he was bred in a laboratory for the sole purpose of playing football. He's this huge ten year old who is carrying a refrigerator on his back when we are first introduced to him. We are given these impressive stats about him and football from his dad. Basically he's a lean, mean, football-playing machine. He also refers to himself in the third person. When he has his first practice with the Giants, he says, "Spike's in Pee Wee football hell!"

The acquiring of Spike is amusing, but doesn't quite make sense. You see, when the Play-Off between the Cowboys and the Giants is first brought up, there is a group of old men at a diner who are betting on who will win. While one old man is calling Kevin to tell him about Spike, another old man is calling Danny to tell HIM about Spike. Both brothers are racing to get to Spike's house first to recruit him and Danny reaches it first after Kevin has to stop and wait for a train to pass by. Spike's dad asks Danny if he's Coach O'Shea and Danny says he is, because, technically it's true. Mr. Spike then goes on to gush about what a big fan he is of his and how his family moved to Urbania because of him, clearly thinking he's the famed football player from this town, but is quite surprised by how small he is for a football player. Uh...if this guy is such a fan of Kevin O'Shea, wouldn't he know what he looks like?? Unless he just listened to all the football games on the radio?? think he would have seen a picture of him in the paper? This didn't make any sense at all! However, Kevin tells Mr. Spike he's the real coach and Mr. Spike tells his son he's going to play for the "real" team and Spike is like, "Thank the football Gods!" Now, why did Kevin never do this for Junior and take him for his team? But, like I said, it would probably be a moot point anyway because I don't think Junior would take the bait.

Speaking of Junior, Becky still has a huge crush on him, but doesn't think he sees her as a girl since she's "one of the guys". She thinks Junior is more interested in her cousin, Debbie who is a cheerleader. There's a scene where Becky and Junior are hanging out at a lake and a couple are in a rowboat making out and Junior is just disgusted by it. This boy absolutely has no interest in the opposite sex at all. Not at this point anyway. This scene kinda reminded me of that scene in Now and Then between Devon Sawa (coincidentally! But that's probably why I was reminded of it!) and Christina Ricci who also plays a tomboy where Sawa wants to kiss Ricci but she's having no interest in it at all, only here the roles are reversed where Becky wants to kiss Junior and he has no interest. In a very bizarre line, Becky tells him that it might be important to learn how to kiss to have kids or a job. Junior points out you don't need to know how to kiss to have kids, which, technically, he's right. But what the hell? You have to know how to kiss to get a job? Maybe if you're an actor...but....huh???? Who is telling this girl that? That makes no sense at all!

Becky wants to be so liked by Junior that she decides to be a cheerleader at the Big Game instead of play in it. :::MAJOREYEROLL:::: You're killing me, Ice Box! All the kids are freaking out because they've lost their one good player (aside from Junior) and some pretty gruesome lines are brought up such as when one kid says, "Without Becky, Spike's gonna open my face and wear it for Halloween!" And when Danny reveals the new uniforms, one kid calls them "death shrouds" and after Danny tells them the uniforms have their names on them (more like nicknames), Jake says, "So the guys at the morgue can identify the bodies."So these Giants have no confidence at all and are pretty sure they are all going to die!

There is a hilarious moment with the Cowboys in their locker room where they are about to pray with a priest that Kevin has brought in, but all the boys are being rowdy and their coach yells at them, "Quiet down for Christ's sake!" OMG, that cracked me up! That was good. The first half of the game, the Giants are sucking really bad. The kid who can never catch the ball puts some tar on his hands (or something..didn't quite catch what it was), but when they have a huddle and all the kids clap their hands together, he also does and his hands are stuck together. D'oh!

Of course Becky ends up playing in the second half after Spike is being a big bully and injures Junior, so she puts on her gear to join the game and there's a cute scene where her dad says, "You sure you want to do this, Becky?" and she replies, "Call me Ice Box" and Junior says to her, "Hey, Ice Box, kick some butt" and she replies, "Call me Becky."

Somehow, (I guess it was the encouraging speech they were given by their coach at halftime), the score is tied and there are only four seconds left in the game. The Giants win it (big shock, I know) with a little play the bespectacled blond kid dubbed "The Annexation of Puerto Rico." Look, despite living in a football-crazed state, I know nothing about football....absolutely nothing. Do I look like I watch the Super Bowl? (Cuz I don't!) Basically, The Annexation of Puerto Rico was taken out of Steve Madden's gameplay book (who makes a cameo in this movie along with Emmit Smith and three other football players whose names I didn't recognize (cuz I don't follow football)) and it's a trick play that involves making the opposing team think someone else has the ball when in fact another player actually has it. I did some research on this and Time did a piece on Film's Seven Greatest Trick Plays which you can read here if you click the link. The Annexation of Puerto Rico made #2 on their list and it is a good read to see what the play is rather than me trying to describe it!

When the Giants win the game, Becky and Junior are holding hands and jumping up and down, excitedly saying, "We won, we won!" There's a moment where it looks like they're going to kiss, but they don't and continue their excited chant. Perhaps it's a good thing they're not going to start anything romantic because Becky's dad asks out Junior's mom and THEY kiss. Okay, seriously if I had a crush on a guy who looked like Devon Sawa and my single dad started dating the cute guy's single mom, I'd be a bit peeved! But Becky never seems angry about it...and she knows her dad likes Junior's mom. It was just very odd. There's a very good chance the guy she likes could become her STEPBROTHER! Ewwwwww! I did read that there was suppose to be a sequel to this movie, but obviously that never happened. I'm sure there's some twisted fanfic about this out there somewhere.

The brothers agree to combine the teams into one big one so everyone can play and they will co-coach it together. I would feel bad if the kids who were really good at football and tried out to be on a team wouldn't even get to play. The Hawks may have lost to the Ducks, but they still got to be on a team and play hockey at the end of the day, so I like that all the kids in this film get to be on a team and represent their town, though I wonder if they were the Cowboys or the Giants? The Little Cowboys? The Giant Cows? 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Off the Grid

Cast Away
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth
Released: December 22, 2000
Viewed in theaters: 22, 2000

Oscar nominations:

Best Actor - Tom Hanks (lost to Russell Crowe for Gladiator)
Best Sound (lost to Gladiator)

Yeah, spoilers, obviously! So if you've never seen this and don't know what happens, don't read if you ever plan on watching this in the future! 

Not since Rosebud in Citizen Kane has there been another well-known inanimate object in a film until Wilson the volleyball came along in Cast Away. Watching this movie is probably the only time I will ever cry over a volleyball (let's hope so, anyway, or else I have some serious issues!), but we'll get to that later.

I had seen this movie a couple times before. I saw it in the theaters and I've also seen it since then, but it has been awhile. I didn't remember the fate of Wilson and I thought most of the movie takes places when Tom Hanks is stranded on the island. While that is a good chunk of the film, there is a good portion that takes place in the civilized world before and after the island life, but it is a two and a half hour movie.

We first meet Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) in Moscow where he works for Fed-Ex as the person who makes sure packages are getting to their destinations on time. Because of his busy schedule and constant traveling, he doesn't get to spend much time with his girlfriend, Kelly (Helen Hunt). Even the Christmas holiday they're spending together with family is interrupted when Chuck has to fly to Malaysia. Chuck and Kelly exchange Christmas gifts in the car before Chuck gets on the Fed-Ex plane. Kelly gives him a pocket watch that's been in her family for generations with a photo of herself on the inside. Not just any photo, but Chuck's favorite photo of her. Chuck gives Kelly a pager, a journal, and hand towels. It's not until the last minute when he gives her a small wrapped box that is clearly an engagement ring and tells her she can open it when he gets back home. (And pretty much tell him her decision). As he walks to the plane, his last words to her (for awhile, anyway!) are "I'll be right back!" Uh, not quite!

The only other people onboard with Chuck are four pilots. Chuck is in the bathroom when the plane starts diving down and we will learn later in the movie that it is never resolved why the plane went down. There was a pretty nasty storm going on, so that most definitely didn't help matters! The most terrifying part of the crash is that Chuck, who is holding on for dear life in the back of the plane, can see the ocean getting closer and closer as the plane descends at a rapid speed. How he survived the impact, I'll never know (the pilots all seemingly died instantly), but the plane breaks apart and he manages to swim away. He is smart to think to grab the raft, but the cord gets caught on one of the plane parts and he has to swim down to untangle. Just keep in mind he's been underwater for a few minutes already. If that were me, my instincts would have been to just leave the raft because my brain would have been screaming at me to get to air. That is just the first of many reasons why I would never survive in a scenario like this! There is a scary moment where one of the plane's (still moving!) propellor is right behind him and if it doesn't kill him first, it most defintely is going to shred his raft. He starts paddling very fast, but the propellor explodes and blasts Chuck from his inflatable raft. At first, I thought it had gotten the raft, but he manages to get back on it and it's still in one piece, luckily! He has a very harsh ride on the raft with large waves crashing over him while the storm is still raging. The camera pans away so we can see just how vast the ocean is and how there is no land in sight. No land for Noland! Oh, I get it now!

He has washed up on an uninhibited island (which we will later learn was 600 miles south of the the Cook Islands) and his first priority is to get the hell off the island. He traces the word HELP in large letters in the sand only to have it washed away by the tide, then he uses logs to spell it out, but that is to no avail either.

There is a moment during the first few days of his strandedness when he sees a ships light in the very far distance during the night and gets his puny flashlight to signal SOS (which he sort of makes up on a whim). Does he really think anyone will be able to see that? He gets his raft and starts paddling out, but the waves are too powerful and they puncture the raft and he gets a nasty gash on his leg from some coral.

Packages from the downed Fed-Ex plane start floating ashore and instead of opening them right away which I thought he would do, he keeps them organized. I guess he is still optimistic that he is going to be rescued soon and will still be able to deliver the packages. He does start opening them a few days later, though, and a few items prove to be helpful. He uses the bubble wrap from the packages and laces of an ice skate to wrap around his gash. The blades of the ice skate help him open coconuts. We see him trying to open one before he has the skates and it is a chore. I have only seen coconuts with the round brown husk, but they are also covered by a green shell. I usually only get my coconut shredded, so it comes in a plastic bag! They just seem like a pain in the ass to to open, especially when you don't have any tools. He even breaks the rock he's hitting it with and only gets a teaspoon of coconut milk when he opens it because most of it spills out.  He learns to create a funnel and use that to drink the liquid from the coconut. The blades also come in handy when he's sawing branches off of trees. There's a really ugly dress (brown and black...who would wear that thing, whoever it was for is lucky she never received it!), but it does have netting which comes in very handy when trying to catch fish. The tape from many video tapes also proves to be useful for later events. It is 1995 when the movie begins so we are in that transitional period of people still watching videos, but DVDs are just around the corner. I know it is 1995 because the body of one of the pilots washes onto shore. Chuck takes his flashlight and his shoes because he lost his in the crash. They don't fit him properly so he has to cut off the top so he has room for his toes. He buries the pilot (not sure where he got the shovel...) and puts a photo he finds in the pilot's wallet of him with his two sons in his shirt pocket. On a large rock wall he writes the pilot's name and the years of his birth and death.

And, of course, one of the packages he opens is a Wilson volleyball which was intended to be the birthday present for a young boy from his grandparents. We don't see the volleyball again until Chuck is trying to make fire. He's tried to eat fish and crabs, but since he has no fire to cook them with he has to eat them raw and he is disgusted by that. Now as we all know from watching Survivor, unless you have flint or your torch from Tribal Council, it is very difficult to start fire. There have been a couple people on the show who have started it by using their glasses, but Chuck appears to have 20/20 vision. While he is rubbing two sticks together, he gets a very nasty gash on his hand and in frustration he grabs the volleyball and throws it. The bloody handprint looks like a face and Chuck etches in the eyes, nose, and mouth and the rest is history. Haha, I found a meme of a scene of the movie with Tom Hanks and the volleyball and it said, "Still a better love story that Twilight." That made me laugh, because really, it's pretty much true! Also, Tom Hanks and Wilson were nominated for Best Duo for a MTV Movie Award (they lost to the ladies of Charlie's Angels, which doesn't even make sense since there's three of them, but whatever). Wilson got snubbed for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar!

After rinsing his hand in the ocean (and wouldn't that sting with the saltwater? He wasn't wincing in pain or anything) and wrapping his wound with the fabric of the ugly dress, he attempts to make fire again, this time with Wilson "watching" him. Chuck looks at the volleyball and says, "You wouldn't have a match on you, would you?" He finally manages to create fire and is extremely ecstatic. ("FIRE!!!") He is now able to cook his seafood delicacies and enjoy them without gagging.

He does some quick calculations (which is pretty impressive without having a calculator and comes to the conclusion that they're in a search area of 500,000 square miles which is an area twice the size of Texas. Basically he realizes he's f***ed!

Worrying about how to get off the island and making a fire has taken his mind off the tooth that has been giving him pain since even before he flew to Malaysia, but he never make an appointment with his dentist and now that he's not distracted anymore with how to find food or start a fire, the pain is the first thing in his mind and is getting more excruciating by the day. He uses the blade of one of the skates as a mirror to look at the tooth and, in a scene I remember the most from viewing it in the theaters mostly for how much it made me cringe, he uses a rock to knock the ice skate's blade toward his mouth and it knocks out his tooth. It also knocks Chuck out and he hits his head hard on the ground very close to the fire. That part was almost worse for me than the actual knocking out of the tooth, but I remember just cringing and covering my eyes during that whole sequence!

The movie has a time lapse and four years have gone by, now making it "present day" 2000. So he has basically missed out on all the current events that happened in the late '90s. That would be so weird to not know what's going on at all in the world. That would be like if someone had just been rescued from being stranded on an island since 2013 and they'd be like, "Wait, Donald Trump is the President now? How in God's name did that happen?" (That's what I would say!) And then I'd say (half-jokingly, of course!), "Take me back to the island!"

Chuck has lost a lot of weight and has a full grown beard and unruly long hair which has been lightened by the sun. They filmed the movie in two parts where Tom Hanks gained fifty pounds for the first half of the movie, then they took a year hiatus where he shed the weight and grew out his hair and beard and filmed the second part. He has now seemed to adjust to island life, catching fish with ease and maintaining a fire. I think the most difficult part of being in a situation like this would be the lack of social interaction. Even though I only go out with friends about four times a year, I still see people every day with work or going to the grocery store or a coffeehouse or just walking around my neighborhood. I think you're just used to having people around you every day. Wilson represents the only "person" he has and while working on a raft to escape, they have a "conversation". Wilson represents the part of Chuck that thinks it is too dangerous for him to leave and Chuck gets angry and tells Wilson he's rather risk his life on the ocean than stay on this s**thole island for the rest of his life and talking to a damn volleyball and kicks Wilson out of the small hole in the cave he has made home. Even though only a volleyball, Wilson still represents Chuck's only friend and Chuck feels bad the minute he tosses Wilson out and goes out to find him.

The doors from a portable toilet wash up on shore and Chuck uses them as sails / a windguard for his raft which he has fashioned together with logs tied together by the tape from the videotapes. When he has deemed the wind good for sailing, he secures Wilson to a post with the tape and tells him, "I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on!" With his sails he is able to get past the worst part of the ocean with all the twenty foot waves that crash down on him. However, during a nasty storm, he loses the makeshift sails.

During the film there are three instances when the viewer notices something before Chuck. The first is the ship's light in the distance during the first week he is marooned on the island. The viewer is aware of the barge that will eventually rescue Chuck before he is. And, before that moment, the viewer sees Wilson drop from his secured perch and into the ocean while Chuck is asleep on the raft, his back turned to the volleyball. When he awakes a few minutes later, he is scanning the water frantically and when he turns around, he sees the volleyball has floated several feet away. He starts swimming to retrieve his one and only companion, but as he gets further away from the raft (and Wilson is being carried even more further away from him by the waves), he knows he has to let Wilson go. Not gonna lie: this scene made me cry. I felt so bad for Chuck when he gets back on the raft and just starts crying and saying, "I'm sorry, Wilson!" I found this scene to be much more emotional than the eventual reunion he will have with Kelly. Like I mentioned earlier, I had forgotten the fate of Wilson, but I think this is the only way to continue the movie. You need this scene. Wilson is representing a part of his life he has to let go. It just wouldn't work if he still had Wilson when he's rescued and took him home with him. That might be a tad weird.

I don't know how long after that Chuck continues to float before he is rescued, but luckily he is because his raft is starting to fall apart and he is looking like he is knocking on death's doors. It takes four weeks for him to get back to his home in Tennessee. There he discovers Kelly has married another man (Chris Noth) and has a young daughter. Now, if you think about it, four years really isn't that long (unless you're stranded on an island!) so she seemed to move on pretty quickly despite telling Chuck he was her one true love and she always knew he was alive. Think about it: she had to meet the guy, then date him, then get engaged to him, then get married, then have a child and I'm pretty sure the kid is at least yeah, she moved on pretty fast! Maybe if she was only engaged to the guy, then maybe that would have made more sense. I guess they just wanted to let the audience know for certain that they are never, ever getting back together since Kelly has a family now. All the time, Chuck has hanged onto the pocketwatch Kelly gave him and is able to return it to her since he thinks it should stay in her family.

Chuck's friends have a welcome back party for him and they serve crab legs! Seriously, the guy has been stranded on an island for four years with nothing to eat but fish and crustaceans and they think crab legs is the way to go? The movie ends with Chucks at a crossroads (and what a great metaphor because he is now at a crossroads in his own life) and a woman stops and tells him where each road leads and is up to him to decide where he's going to go.

This movie came out the same year Survivor premiered and I was reminded of that show while watching it. Can you imagine if Chuck Noland was on that show? I can just see him now in a confession: "These other people have no idea how to survive. They've never set foot on a tropical island. I was stranded on an island for FOUR YEARS. I can make fire without flint. I can catch fish without winning fishing gear." I can also see him getting irritated with the contestants whining about how hungry they are. "We've only been out here for three weeks and everyone is complaining about how "starving" they are! Ha! Try doing this for FOUR YEARS! And we just had a huge feast two days ago!" Oh, and if he gets hurt and the medical team try to take him out of the game, he would tell them, "When I was stranded on an island, I didn't have any doctors to fix me. I couldn't get medical treatment because of some sand in my eye or because I was dehydrated. I got a huge gash on my hand, a huge gash on my leg, I had to knock out a painful tooth with a rock myself. If I get an injury in this game, no way any doctor is going to tell me I have to leave the game." I can see Jeff Probst asking him about his experience on the island in comparison to playing the game at every single Tribal Council. As far as he would get in the game, I think he would make it past the merge because people would want him around because he has experience with the island life, but after that people would get rid of him because his "story" is way too good. If he made the final two (or three depending on which season he would play on!), he would win because people would want to award somebody who literally did survive on an island! Oh, and his luxury item? A volleyball, of course!