Tuesday, February 26, 2019

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

Jurassic Park
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Wayne Knight, Samuel L. Jackson
Released June 11, 1993
Viewed in theaters: Summer of '93

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound (Won)
Best Sound Effects (Won)
Best Visual Effects (Won)


Without doubt, the score to Jurassic Park (how did John Williams not get nominated for it? Although he still won that year (for Schindler's List) and I'm sure he has a billion other awards, but still...) is super iconic and probably in the top five for most recognizable movie scores ever. So while you read this review, it's only fitting that I set the mood by providing you with said iconic score. Then you can come back and listen to it again while you view the images of cute/cartoon dinosaurs I found on the web! By the way, if for some reason, you have never seen this movie, there WILL BE SPOILERS!


If you stop to think about it, dinosaurs were an impressive species. They lived on this planet for 165-175 millions years. Humans (modern humans, anyway) have only been around for a couple hundred thousand years. We have a long way to go before we even reach the dinosaurs! I'm sure if you have ever taken an anthropology class, you have learned that if the timeline of the Earth (nearly four and a half billion years) was condensed down to the span of a day, humans wouldn't appear until the last minute of that day. We are just a speck in the grand scheme of things, especially compared to the dinosaurs.

Want to hear something that will blow your mind? Dinosaurs were first here between 231 and 243 millions years ago and they went extinct 65 million years ago which means they were on Earth longer than they've been gone!

Not surprisingly, dinosaurs, in some form or other, have been featured in many movies, but none have been more popular than Jurassic Park and its successors (but we all know the original is the best) as it features the most "realistic" dinosaurs, even though we now know that dinosaurs had feathers. I do like that line in Jurassic World where Henry Wu states that their dinosaurs don't look like the dinosaurs of the real world because they use a different genetic code. It's a smart way for the series to acknowledge that the dinosaurs they created wouldn't look exactly like the dinosaurs that once roamed this earth.

I remember this movie being a big thing when it came out. If you were around in 1993 (and old enough to remember), then you remember what a big deal Jurassic Park was. It was THE summer movie of 1993. Hell, it was THE movie of 1993, period. While I'm sure I saw many previews for it, I don't remember them. Maybe I didn't remember them because they never show any of the dinosaurs which would never happen today. True, they can show the dinosaurs in any of the new Jurassic World movies because we know what they look like, but I think that if Jurassic Park came out today, they would have shown the dinosaurs in the trailers.

I honestly don't remember if I had any desire to see it, despite the hype. (Sure, I may find dinosaurs fascinating NOW, but I was never a dino-obsessed kid). However, after my brother saw it with his friends and came home and was raving about it, well, you better believe I had to see this movie. There was no way my brother got to see this amazing movie and I was going to miss it! Uh-huh! So I begged my mom and she took me to see it. I don't remember having to twist her arm too much, so she must have been fine with it. So watching the movie, you would have thought all the jumping I did in my seat was a result of all the scary moments of dinosaurs popping up and attacking. Wrong! I jumped because my mom kept grabbing me every time one of those scary moments happened and that startled me more than anything that was on screen! Not surprisingly, this is one of my most memorable movie theater experiences!

I read the book a few years after I saw the movie. I must have been 15 or 16. My parents already owned the book because it was in our family bookcase. I remember it being very gruesome. Much more than the movie was. I actually re-read the book a couple months ago, and yes, it was as gruesome as I had remembered when I first read it. If they had followed the book faithfully, it definitely would have received an R rating! While the premise of the movie is the same, there are many differences between the book and film.

Tim and Lex (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards) are in the book as John Hammond's (Richard Attenborough) grandchildren, but Tim is the older one. Lex is six or seven, and my God, is she ever f*cking annoying. I was hoping she would get eaten by a dinosaur, then I felt bad and had to remind myself she's only a young kid, but she was still super annoying. Her movie counterpart is much less annoying, although she has a moment of pure stupidity when she decides to take out a huge flashlight and turn it on when the T-rex breaks out of its barriers. Now I understand Spielberg's reasoning for this as you get that cool shot of the T-rex's eye dilating, but from the characters' standpoint, it makes no sense at all. Lex (and Tim! He knew! He told her to shut the light off!) is old enough to know that turning on a light is probably going to attract this huge animal with tons of sharp teeth! Luckily Lex gets her redemption when she is able to turn on the computer systems. ("It's a Unix system, I know this.") In the book, it's Tim who figures out the computers. It also makes me laugh when Lex is excited that the Jeep has an "interactive CD rom!" Whoopty-do!

Another huge difference is that there are a lot of characters who live through the movie, but die in the book or vice versa. Gennaro (the lawyer who is sitting on the toilet when he gets eaten by the T-rex) lives through the first book. It is mentioned in The Lost World novel (which I also read recently) that he died of dysentery on a business trip. I guess Michael Crichton just killed him off since he was already dead in the movie. There is another character in the book (the park's public relations manager) who was with the kids in the Jeep and he gets scared and runs out and gets killed by one of the two T-rexes (yet ANOTHER difference..in the book there is an adult T-rex and a juvenile T-rex and he gets killed by the smaller one). Another character who survives in the novel is Robert Muldoon, the overseer of the velociraptors. You may remember him from the beginning of the film when he yells "SHOOT HER" when one of his men gets attacked by a raptor, then when he calls a raptor a "clever girl" after being ambushed and killed by another one.

Park founder John Hammond, geneticist Henry Wu (BD Wong), and even mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) all notably survive the horrific day on Jurassic Park (along with our other main characters) as Hammond will make a small appearance in The Lost World; Malcolm also comes back in the second movie and makes an appearance in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; and Wu is in both of the Jurassic World movies. Well, surprise, surprise! They all die in the book! I'm just as surprised as you are! (Well, not really, I already knew about Malcolm's resurrection from the dead and I had a feeling Hammond was going to die). Wu (who has a bigger part in the book...he's only in that scene in the beginning when they're watching the raptor hatch) is killed by raptors and gets a very nasty ending. (He's basically still alive while the raptors are ripping him apart...yikes.) While there are issues with John Hammond in the movie (like the fact that he doesn't think there's anything wrong with cloning dinosaurs and eventually opening a theme park with them), he is absolutely horrible in the book and therefore I knew he was going to die a horrible death. He comments how he wants to make a dinosaur park for all the children to enjoy, then snidely remarks, "All the rich kids, anyway." I mean, he's probably right. The park that was open for ten years that we saw in Jurassic World? You KNOW the same rich families were going year after year, thus the reason the were getting "bored" with the same old dinosaurs. Damn bratty rich kids. Hammond even (internally) curses his own grandchildren (he's much more grandfatherly in the movie!) and his grandkids are kind of the reason he dies! They're playing with a sound system that allows them to play different dinosaur calls and he gets scared when he hears the T-rex, thinking it's close and end up twisting his ankle or something where he can't really walk very well. There are these little scavenger dinosaurs called procompsognathus (compys) that are not in the first movie, but will play a big part in the next film, as they do in the novel. These things are just pure evil and eat anything that's wounded and can't run away and you can try to shoo them away, but there's so many of them, you can't get away with them, and well, Hammond becomes a buffet for a bunch of them. Yeah, not a pretty way to go. I do recall a scene in The Lost World where somebody (I'm presuming a bad guy!) gets killed by them. Then you have Ian Malcolm who, in the book, gets attacked by the T-rex, then breaks his leg when the large animals throws him. He is said to have died from his wounds, but obviously he is brought back to life in the next book. At least he just had a bad wound, so it's plausible that he didn't really die. Now, if he had died the same way as Nedry (Wayne Knight aka Newman), there's no way he could have survived that as Nedry was dead as doornail (doorknob?) His death is much more gruesome and graphic in the book! He does get killed by the same dinosaur as in the movie, a dilophosaurus. You get a little bit of foreshadowing of this dinosaur in the beginning when they're taking the Jeeps through the park and the dilophosaurus is the first dino that's featured and the announcer tells them it spits venom into its prey's eyes to paralyze them...and that is exactly what will happen to Nedry in a few scenes. In the book, it is ten feet tall, which is more accurate, while in the movie, it's about the same height as Nedry. It also didn't spit poison in real life and didn't have the frill around its neck.

Speaking of dinosaurs that Jurassic Park took liberties with (well, mainly Michael Crichton), the velociraptor that once roamed this planet is not at all what we see in the movies. They were still something you wouldn't want to come across, but they were a lot smaller, the size of turkeys. Apparently, legend is, the dinosaurs that are described in the book are actually more in line with the deinonychus (never heard of it), but Crichton thought "velociraptor" just sounded cooler and more menacing. And, yeah, he's right. Nobody goes around saying what a fierce and ferocious creature the deinonychus (die-non-uh-cuss) was, but thanks to the success of Jurassic Park and its following movies, everybody and their grandmother have heard of a velociraptor. And they're getting all the credit! Poor deinonychus! I remember a time when no one even knew what a velociraptor was. They might as well just switch the names! Do you think that irritates paleontologists when they watch this movie? There's probably a lot of things that irritate them when they watch this movie (like the dilophosaurus having a neck frill and being able to shoot poison); that's why I'm glad I'm not one, otherwise I wouldn't be able to enjoy Jurassic Park! 

Speaking of things that probably irritate paleontologists, this probably doesn't come as a huge surprise, but if you did encounter a T-rex, it would be able to see you even if you were standing still, contrary to what Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) says. I guess a paleontologist must have informed Michael Crichton he was wrong (that scene was in the book, right? I honestly don't really remember. To me, the movie is cannon, not the book!) because there's a scene in The Lost World novel where a character (a bad guy, of course) gets eaten by a T-rex because he was misinformed about a T-rex not being able to see him if he just stood there, and nope! Not true! Also, the scene when paleo-botanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Malcolm, and Muldoon are in the Jeep driving away from the T-rex, it would have easily been able to catch up to it and overturn the vehicle. I recently read a book called The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs by a young paleontologist named Steve Brusatte and he touched upon the mistakes the film made.

This movie establishes that opening a theme park with real life cloned dinosaurs is a terrible, terrible idea. (And Jurassic World PROVED it!) I would say Jurassic World was worst in that it was a full-operating theme park and there were many people there that day (although the fatality rate didn't seem to be that high considering there were carnivorous dinosaurs running around!) In Jurassic Park, there was only Hammond and his crew and his guests and grandchildren. The park seems so antiquated compared to what we would later see in Jurassic World. And the dinosaurs didn't seem to be very well contained....especially when the power went off so they could escape from their cages which were held with power lines.

I don't know, if you were going to have a dinosaur theme park, why not start with some simple and non-threatening ones? Why have the T-Rex? I sure as hell wouldn't want to go anywhere near that thing! And then why even create raptors when you know they are one of the most vicious and intelligent of the dinosaurs. (Until Chris Pratt will come along 20 years later to train them!) I mean, when Muldoon tells Grant "They should all be destroyed" when talking about the raptors, maybe you should listen to the expert! Is Hammond just not thinking about this stuff? At least when his grandchildren are in trouble, he seems to realize what a mistake he made. Just because you CAN do something outrageous (like clone dinosaurs) doesn't mean you SHOULD. This theme is brought up in the movie (and the book). How did Hammond think he was going to feed his sauropods which are easily more than four times the size of an elephant (if not more)? And much livestock was he going to need to feed all the carnivores? And did he not stop think that the air dinosaurs breathed nearly 65 million (and beyond) years ago would be drastically different from the air we breathe today? Moral of the story? Don't play God!

Jurassic Park is just a little over two hours long, but yet dinosaurs are on screen for only fifteen minutes! I was really surprised when I first learned this fact. I know it takes awhile before we actually see a dinosaur, but I would have guessed at least 30 minutes of dino screen time. Even though a dinosaur may not be shown at all times, we are constantly reminded we are in the midst of them and the atmosphere gives us the perception they're always around even though we may not physically see them. And when they are on screen, they make a huge impression on us (the T-rex attack; the raptors in the kitchen; the flock of gallimimus; the seemingly cute and harmless, but extremely dangerous dilophosaurus, etc.).

What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus! What do you call a dinosaur that nobody's ever heard of, but is actually the star of Jurassic Park? Deinonychus!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wish Fulfillment

Aladdin
Directors: Ron Clements and John Musker
Voice Talent: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Gilbert Gottfried
Released: November 25, 1992
Viewed in theaters: December ??, 1992
Oscar nominations:

Best Sound Effects Editing (lost to Dracula)
Best Score - Alan Menken (won)
Best Song - "A Friend Like Me" by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Best Song - "A Whole New World" by Alan Menken and Tim Rice (won)


This is one of the Disney Renaissance movies (the animated Disney movies from 1989-99) that came out during my youth, so of course I saw it in the theaters and have seen it several times on video. Now it's actually been a while since I last saw it, so while there were a few plot points I didn't remember (while I remembered Aladdin's first and third wishes, I forgot what his second wish was, but we'll get to that later), I remembered the storyline and was able to hum along with the songs. ("Come on down, stop on by, hop a carpet and fly to another Arabian Night." "A whole new world! A new fantastic point of view! No one to tell us no! Or where to go! Or say we're only dreaming!" "Riff rat! Street rat! Scoundrel! Take that! "Can you friends do this? Can your friends do that? Can you friends pull this out their little hat? "Prince Ali! Fabulous he, Ali Ababwa.") Okay, I'll stop. But with these Disney movies sometimes it's impossible not to sing! But seriously, the songs are so catchy in this movie. And it's no wonder since Alan Menken and Howard Ashman composed the music and they also did the music for Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid which also have amazing soundtracks. Tim Rice, who did the score for The Lion King (another amazing soundtrack), also worked on the score after Ashman died.

I just thought of something that has never occurred to me, strangely. When "A Whole New World" won the Oscar for Best Song, was it for the version in the movie that Brad Kane and Lea Salonga sing as Aladdin or Jasmine? Or is it for the pop version that was on the radio that Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle sing? I suppose they still have the same lyrics and the award is for that, but that thought just occurred to me. Now I'm going to wonder the same thing for "Beauty and the Beast", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", and "Colors of the Wind" which also have pop companions to their film version. (But the Eton John version of "CYFTLT" and the version sung in the movie have different lyrics!) The pop version of "A Whole New World" is probably my favorite pop Disney song (and I say this as someone who loves Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson's pop version of "Beauty and the Beast" and Vanessa William's version of "Colors of the Wind"). I even remember where I was when I first heard it on the radio. I was in my sixth grade art class (which I hated because I am not artistic!) and our teacher let us listen to the radio as we worked on whatever we were creating that week. It was the first class of the day and this was probably in late November or early December so I have no doubt I was half asleep and probably freezing, but then this song came on and it just captivated me. I just love it so much and I'm pretty sure I've sung it at karaoke with a friend!

I just thought of something else. While I was looking up the Oscar nominations for this movie, I noticed two songs from The Bodyguard (which also came out the same year) were also nominated ("Run to You" and "I Have Nothing", which are fine, but I can take or leave). Oh my God, can you imagine if "I Will Always Love You" was eligible for a nomination? I'm 99.9% sure it would have won and while I do really like that song, it would have broken my heart if "A Whole New World" hadn't won!

Aladdin is probably best known for Robin Williams voicing the Genie. I don't know the ratio, but I'm guessing 92% of the movie is ad-libbed while the rest is from the script! I read that he did so much dialogue that there's an extra sixteen hours of audio of him as the Genie! Can you imagine being an animator for the Genie? Everytime he did an impression (and there are quite a few), he would shape-shift into Jack Nicholson or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Arsenio Hall or Rodney Dangerfield and those are only the ones I can name off my head right now! Obviously the Genie is a time-traveler. How else would he know who those people are? Not to mention the fact that he talks into a microphone when he pretends to be hosting a game show with Aladdin as a contestant and he treats the magic carpet like an airplane when they fly out of the Cave of Wonders. How else would he know about those modern items? One of the funniest scenes with the Genie that made me laugh is when he's singing "Prince Ali" during the parade scene and pretends to be a female host like it's the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and says, "Fabulous, Harry, I love the feathers" after the parade-goers sing about Prince Ali's peacocks. I don't know why, but that just made me laugh. I also thought it was funny when he asks Aladdin if he can call him "Al" or "Din" or my personal favorite, "Laddi".

Speaking of humorous voice work, Gilbert Gottfried is really funny as Iago the macaw who is Jafar's minion. Can you imagine having a parrot with that grating voice? Oh, God, I would set it free! But in this movie, it works. I like that when he and Jafar are around other people, he acts like he doesn't know more than a few words, but in reality he can have a conversation. He's actually a pretty smart bird because he can change his voice to impersonate other people and that comes in handy with their dastardly deeds. One of my favorite Iago moments is when they're packing to leave the palace and he finds a photo of him on Jafar's shoulder and says, "And how about this picture? I don't know; I think I'm making a weird face in it."

I read that Jafar was modeled after Maleficent and looking at him, it makes a lot of sense. They both have the same physique being tall and thin, they both carry a staff, and they both have a sidekick bird that sits on their shoulders. Jafar is so obviously evil (c'mon, anyone with a twisted beard is gonna be, well, twisted!), but yet he's the sultan's (Jasmine's father) "most trusted advisor". Jafar wants to obtain the genie lamp hidden in the Cave of Wonders but is told there only one that can enter is the Diamond in the Rough who he soon learns is the street rat Aladdin. He disguises himself as an old man, telling Aladdin that if he fetches him the lamp, he will be rewarded handsomely. At first I thought that Jafar had magically disguised himself, but no it's just a costume. It's an amazing costume as he looks totally different with the long white beard and bald head and jacked-up teeth. He even uses Iago under his shirt to make it appear he's hunchbacked.

I need to stop for one second to point out something that's been bugging me about the new live-action Aladdin trailer (aside from the Genie, yeah, that doesn't look quite right.) When you see Jafar say, "Fetch me the lamp" to Aladdin, he's not disguised as the old man! What the eff? Maybe it will be explained in the movie.

The old man tells Aladdin to touch nothing but the lamp, however when he and his "esteemed effendi", the capuchin monkey, Abu, are in the cave, Abu steps on the magic carpet and nothing happens. Wouldn't that be considered part of the treasures? Maybe because it was an accident and Abu wasn't intentionally touching the carpet to take it, the Cave of Wonders Gods swept it under the rug (yeah that was an intentionally lame pun!) Can I just say how much I love Abu. He is the cutest thing ever. He just may be the best Disney animal sidekick ever. (Although I really love Sebastian). Abu isn't perfect though, because he sees a huge red jewel he wants (seriously, wtf is a monkey going to do with that?) and grabs it right before Aladdin grabs the lamp and the cave starts to crumble and tells them, "You have touched the forbidden treasure. You will never again see the light of day." The magic carpet is able to save them and we get what is possibly the most exciting scene (or one of the most exciting) of a Disney animated movie where the carpet flies them out of the cave while they are dodging falling rocks and lava. It's a very fun scene and thrilling scene. The carpet gets caught under a rock and Aladdin and Abu are flung toward the entrance where Aladdin is hanging onto the precipice of the cliff. He asks the old man to help, but he tells him to give him the lamp first which really should have set off Aladdin's warning bells, but he gives the man the lamp and when he's about to strike Aladdin's hand with a sword, Abu bites Jafar's hand and both he and Aladdin are flung off the cliff. Luckily the carpet manages to free itself and save them before they hit the rocky ground.

Of course this is when we meet the all-knowing, time-traveling, wise-cracking, shape-shifting, jovial Genie (because Abu managed to swipe the lamp from Jafar) and he tells Aladdin the rules for wish-making, the first one being no wishing for more wishes. (Have you ever noticed that's always a given whenever a genie is in a movie or a TV episode? I've never seen Kazaam, but I bet that's the first thing Shaq tells the kid.) The other rules are he can't bring anyone back to life, he can't take a life and he can't make anyone fall in love. I mean, these are pretty solid rules. It makes you wonder what you would wish for if you came across a genie lamp. This is something I would have to take into serious consideration because you don't want to waste your wishes (like Jafar does later on, but we'll get to that later).

Aladdin tricks the Genie into escaping from the cave without using one of his wishes. When he tells Aladdin he used a wish, Aladdin tells him, "I never actually wished to get out of the cave." When Aladdin asks the Genie what HE would wish for, he tells him his his freedom, but someone has to wish it for him. Aladdin promises after he uses his first two wishes, he will grant the Genie's freedom for his last wish. While I remember this moment at the end of the film, I forgot it was brought up earlier. I guess I thought since Aladdin had become so close to the Genie, he set him free.

Before all this goes down, Aladdin comes across the beautiful Princess Jasmine who he meets in the marketplace. Jasmine has never been outside the palace walls (really?) and doesn't like any of the princes who are asking for her hand in marriage and tells her father she wants to marry for love. Sounds like she needs to find a lookalike and do a Princess Switch! Jasmine has a pet tiger named Raja which I thought was super cool when I was 12 and I love that she talks to him the same way I talk to my cat: "Raja was just playing with that over-dressed, self-absorbed Prince, weren't you Raja?" while cooing and rubbing his face. Hehe, and by "playing", Raja had bit him in the bum and torn off his pants so his boxer shorts were showing.

I find Jasmine interesting in that she's the only Disney princess where her movie isn't her story; she's the secondary character (and even then, the Genie may surpass her). She doesn't even get her own song; she shares it with Aladdin. I would say she's the Disney princess with the least amount of screentime, but there's no way she has less screentime than Aurora in Sleeping Beauty!

Jasmine decides she's going to sneak out to the marketplace and "disguises" herself by throwing a brown cloak around her. Girl, please, you're not fooling anyone. With her heavily made-up eyes and HUGE gold earrings, it's clear she's not a commoner. While at the marketplace ("Sugar dates? Sugar date and pistachios!"), she gives an apple to a kid while not paying for it and the merchant is about to cut her hand off (it's barbaric, but it's home!) before Aladdin intervenes. They escape and Aladdin learns she's the Princess and he realizes there's no way he could ever be with her.

Fast-forward back to his first wish with the Genie, and, since he can't make Jasmine fall in love with him, he wishes to be a prince so he at least has a chance, and, voila! Prince Ali Abwaba is born. And poor Abu is turned into an elephant. Meanwhile, Jafar is plotting to become the next Sultan and Iago tells him that he should marry Jasmine, then, when he gets rid of her and her father, he will be the new Sultan. Jafar hypnotizes the Sultan with his scary snake staff (this is how he gets him to do things) to make him agree that Jafar should marry his daughter. (Eww, Jafar is easily twice as old as Jasmine, if not older).

Prince Ali comes to town with his shiny parade and catchy song. (I loved how even Iago is bouncing up and down to the beat). Jasmine is having none of it and sees Prince Ali as just another moronic suitor. When her father, Jafar, and Aladdin are arguing over who should marry her, she tells them all, "I am not a prize to be won!" You go, girl! I did laugh every time Jafar referred to Aladdin as "Prince Abubu."

Aladdin as Prince Ali apologizes to Jasmine and she recognizes him as the boy she met in the marketplace, but he denies that's him when she asks him. She thinks he has a sweet ride with his flying carpet and this is when we get the "A Whole New World" ("Unbelievable sights! Indescribable feeling!") scene and they go soaring, tumbling, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky. At one point they carpet does a 360 and they don't even fall off! I don't know how that's even physically possible. However, the carpet will do it again and this time they fall off and the carpet catches them. I laughed when they fly through a flock of birds and one of them looks at them in surprise. ("Every turn a surprise!") This magic carpet was really booking it as they visited Greece, Egypt, and China. (Hope they said hello to Mulan as she and Jasmine share a singing voice in Lea Salonga!)

Jasmine catches Aladdin in a lie when she brings up Abu and he pretty much admits he was the boy she met in the marketplace. He continues to lie to her by telling her that he "dresses up as a commoner so he can escape the pressures of palace life." He dismisses the Genie's advice earlier when he told Aladdin that he should tell her the truth. He really should have taken that advice because it's probably not smart to lie to a girl who has a TIGER for a pet! After they return to the palace and smooch (is this the first time the romantic couple in a Disney movie kiss in the middle of the movie instead of the end?), Aladdin is captured by Jafar and thrown in the sea and becomes unconscious. He is saved by the Genie, using his second wish even though he couldn't speak. Does it still count even though he never said "I wish?" We already saw earlier the Genie is able to save his master without wishes being used. Though he did tell Aladdin he would get no more freebies, so I guess he was cashing in one wish for the price of two. This means that Aladdin is down to one wish, the one he's supposed to use to set the Genie free. However, being the chump he is, Aladdin tells the Genie he can't wish him free because he needs him to help keep up the charade of being a prince and is too much of a putz to tell Jasmine the truth.

I laughed so hard when Jasmine twirls around and tells her father, "I just had the most wonderful time!" It reminded me of the scene in Elf when Buddy comes into his dad's office after his date with Jovie and he says, "I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!" 

Iago tricks Aladdin by pretending he's Jasmine calling for him and when he leaves, Iago steals the lamp and Jafar summons the Genie, making him the new master, much to the Genie's dismay. I guess the Genie just hangs out in his lamp when he's not doing anything. Jafar is terrible at making wishes. He first wishes to become Sultan, and not more than five minutes later, he wishes to become a powerful sorcerer.  ("If you won't bow before a sultan, then you will cower before a sorcerer!") Way to waste your first wish, Jafar! He exiles Aladdin and Abu to the cold, snowy mountains where poor Abu is shivering, and yet, Aladdin, only wearing pants and a vest, doesn't seem to be cold. They are able to return to Agrabah with the help of the flying carpet where Jafar is treating Jasmine and her father cruelly. He wants his third wish to be for Jasmine to fall in love with him, but lucky for her, the Genie can't abide that rule. When Jafar is aware that Aladdin has snuck back and is trying to get back the lamp, his pun game is on point as he uses his new found powers of sorcery. Here are all the puns he uses:

"Your time is up!" - when he traps Jasmine in a large hourglass.
"Don't toy with me!" - when he turns Abu into a toy monkey.
"Things are unraveling fast now!" - when he destroys the magic carpet.
"Get the point?" - when swords fall before Aladdin.
"I'm just getting warmed up!" - when he starts a fire.

Oh, Jafar. You and your puns! He continues to make terrible wishes when Aladdin convinces him he's still not as powerful at the Genie and the only way to make him the most powerful being on earth is to become a genie. Jafar, you f**king idiot. Smart move on Aladdin's part, though. So Jafar wishes to become a genie and he's all giddy and high on a power trip. I laughed when Aladdin grabs the lamp and says, "Not so fast, Jafar, aren't you forgetting something?" and Jafar replies, "Huh?" before realizing what's about to happen. The way he says "Huh?" is so funny. I did feel a little bad for Iago who tries to fly away, but is grabbed by Genie Jafar before being trapped in the lamp, then thrown into the mountains. Being trapped alive in a lamp (or anywhere, really) has to be worse than death and I almost feel bad for him. I never saw The Return of Jafar, but I'm assuming he returns and I heard (spoiler alert!) that he dies, so at least he doesn't have to be kept alive for all of eternity. Look at the Genie: he was in there for 10,000 years! My God! How he was so jubilant is anyone's guess. I guess I'd be happy too if I were freed from someplace I'd been spending the last 10,000 years!

The Sultan changes the rules so his daughter doesn't have to marry a prince (oh, yeah, Aladdin finally tells her the truth) so she and Aladdin can marry. As promised, Aladdin uses his last wish to set the Genie free and it's a very sweet scene. "Genie, you're free."

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Social Anxieties

Eighth Grade
Director: Bo Burnham
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Released: July 13, 2018



Every day I wake up, I thank God there was no social media when I was in middle/high school. I am so, so, SO thankful I didn't have to deal with all of that during my most awkward years of my life. Even though I didn't have to deal with that, I can relate with Kayla (Elsie Fisher), the protagonist, who, as you may have guessed from the film's title, is an 8th grader. It takes place during her last week in middle school. 

I think we can all agree that middle school is the worst time in one's life. It's that age when everything is so awkward and you're going through those gross and weird changes in your body. I mean, I didn't have a terrible experience in middle school, but it isn't one I would want to revisit.

I could totally relate to Kayla because she is super quiet and keeps to herself and I am like that too, especially when I was her age. I felt so bad for her during an early scene when the principal is giving out the superlatives (my middle school never did this, thank God!) and after they announce the winners for "Most Athletic" and "Best Eyes",  they announce "Most Talkative" and I'm thinking, Uh-oh. Are they really going to go there? And they do. They announce the "winners" (there's one for a boy and a girl) for "Most Quiet" and of course Kayla gets it. Oh my God, this was hard to watch. My heart went out to her and I wanted to yell at the school faculty. Who in their right mind would think a thirteen-year-old kid would want to win an award for "Most Quiet?" When you're that age being quiet  equals not being cool or not having any friends, so why would they think they would want that to be announced to the entire school? Plus, most quiet kids don't want to be singled out, especially at a school assembly. Really terrible on the faculty's part. 

While Kayla is quiet at school, she has a channel on YouTube called Kayla's Corner (or was it Korner?) where she makes videos about being an adolescent, like what it means to be yourself and putting yourself out there. I was thinking she had a huge following and how ironic it would be that this shy girl at school is a huge YouTube sensation that nobody at her school knows about, but no, we see that her videos only have a couple of views. To be fair, her videos are pretty terrible She says "um" and "like" every other word. I wouldn't want to watch that! 

Her mom is out of the picture and you can tell her dad (Josh Hamilton) is doing his best to raise her, but he just doesn't know how to get through to her. There were times when I was on his side, but there were also times I thought he overstepped and I was on Kayla'a side. During the first scene we meet him, we first see a close up of Kayla scrolling through her phone with earbuds in her ears listening to loud pop music. We hear a muffled noise and the camera pans back to show that she's sitting at the table with her dad eating dinner! (Well, she's not eating since she's too busy looking at her phone!) Her dad is trying to have a conversation with her and I'm shocked he's not yelling at her to get off her f**king phone while they'er at the f**king dinner table. We will find out shortly that he lets her do whatever she wants on Fridays, hence the reason he's not throwing her phone across the room.

Kayla's dad knows she's struggling at school with fitting in and gives her the parent pep talk. He tells her that he think she's really cool and has lots of cool interests and that she should put herself out there because if people knew about her and her interests, she would have friends. This also happens in the scene between Molly Ringwald and her dad in Sixteen Candles when she's telling her dad about the boy she likes and he tells her that if he can't see how beautiful and smart she is, then he's an idiot. As someone who's gotten the parent pep talk many times in my youth, I'm sure this fell on deaf ears for Kayla as it did for me. I mean, your parents are supposed to build you up and give you self confidence. No parent is ever going to tell their child, "You suck" or "You don't deserve friends". But it really doesn't mean anything when they're trying to tell their kid how awesome they are because, let's face it, parents are biased when it comes to their own kids.

Kayla has been invited to a birthday/pool party of one of the popular girls at her school. I don't remember her name, so we'll call her L'il Regina George. Actually, it was the mother who invited her and Kayla receives a bitchy Instragram message from L'il Regina George that says something like, "My mom told me to invite you to my party so this is me doing that." Yeah, this girl sucks. I would have been like, "F**k you, I'm not going to your party." But Kayla does go (probably because her dad knows abut it) and I felt super anxious for her when she's wearing her swimsuit and going down the steps toward the pool. I was listening to a review of this movie on a podcast and one of the hosts said he felt more anxious for this young girl in this movie than any character in a horror movie he's seen and I have to agree. Granted, I haven't seen many horror movies, but this one I could totally relate to Kayla and I could sense her dread. Let me tell you something: I absolutely hate parties/large social gatherings (with maybe a FEW exceptions). There is nothing worse going to a large gathering where you don't know anybody and you're shy or socially awkward. I would have gone into that bathroom and just cried which may or may not have happened once or twice in my life. At least it's a pool party so even though it may be awkward wearing a bathing suit in front of everyone, she can sort of preoccupy herself in the pool and doesn't have to just sit/stand there looking awkward if there was no activity involved. (This is why I avoid parties in the rare chance I'm invited to any!) She's by herself for a few minutes until a nerdy-looking kid swims up to her and starts talking to her and introduces himself as L'il Regina George's cousin. Even though Kayla is paying more attention to her crush, I know they're going to be friends by the end of the movie. (And I'm right).

After everyone is swimming and back in the house, Kayla does exchange some brief words with her crush, Aiden. I guess this gives her the confidence to take a turn at karaoke when that's the next activity at the party. While this is going on, we see another one of her YouTube videos where she's talking about confidence and how to obtain it. Maybe I'm just really stupid, but I had no idea if she had made this video BEFORE she went to the party, like she was hyping herself up to have the confidence to do something she wouldn't normally do or if she made it AFTER the party when she was on the high of being involved in something and probably thinking that she mattered. I'm going to guess she made it after the party just because she probably had more time. You know, you gotta record the video (and it might take more than one take), then you gotta edit it, then you gotta upload it.

A switch has gone off inside her and Kayla decides she wants to change certain aspects of her life. She wants more friends, she wants a best friend, and she wants a boyfriend. She makes a list of how to achieve these goals (using a notebook as in a literal spiral notebook with paper you tear out, wouldn't most kids today use a laptop?) This is where Kayla and I vastly differ. I never cared about having friends in middle school. I may have had a couple people I called friends during this time, but I mostly had acquaintances and I certainly never had a best friend. And I never even considered having a boyfriend, at this, the most extremely awkward stage in my life where I had glasses, braces, frizzy hair, and god knows what else that came with being a gross 13/14 year old. Yes, this is the time when every girls feels glamorous. Eww, who wants that? Even if I did want a boyfriend, I was aware enough to know I couldn't get one; as you can read from the description of myself, I was not cute! I never suffered from what the kids today call "FOMO" (fear of missing out). I could not care less if I wasn't invited to a party (because 1, I wouldn't have gone anyway and b), I did not care about making friends). I was never even aware of any social gatherings among my peers unless it was a school dance. Hence another reason I'm so happy social media didn't exist when I was an adolescent: I could remain blissfully unaware. But Kayla seems to crave being popular and I will give her props, that she does go for it. She does have the balls to talk to her crush. She just doesn't haver a mundane conversation with him (well, she does at first), but after learning he's a total perv (to be fair, he is an eighth grade boy), she tells him she has naked photos of herself on her phone to show her boyfriend when she gets one and she's good at fellatio. I did laugh how during the boring part of their conversation, he's just mumbling "uh huh" to her and is focused on his phone but once she brings up the naked photos, she has his full attention. Someday she's going to look back at this and realize what a creep her middle school crush was. I thought we were going to get an extremely awkward/uncomfortable moment where they do go out and he forces her to do something she doesn't want to do, but the movie will take a different turn and she doesn't seem to pursue Aiden anymore. I'm guessing she realized that he was only interested in her for one thing and by the end of the movie she recognizes she has more worth than that.

I admire her ambition for wanting to have more friends, but why does she pursue L'il Regina George and her posse of mean girls? Why not make friends with people who are more relatable to her and will truly be good friends? When she goes up to LRG and her friend to thank her for inviting her to her party, the two popular girls are just not having it and are concentrated on their phones. Well, now Kayla knows how her dad feels when he's trying to talk to her when she's on her phone! There is a great scene at the end where Kayla tells off LRG, so good for her. But, really, she should have never tried to be friends with her in the first place.

Because it's the last week of eighth grade, the fact that Kayla was be in high school next year has been a running theme throughout the film. On one of their last days, the eighth graders go to the high school where they will each be paired up with a senior who will take them around and show them a day in the life of a high schooler. I don't know if many middle schools do this, but mine never did. There is this weird moment when all the eighth graders are walking down the high school hall in a single line with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. It's very odd; why are they making these 8th graders walk like they're in pre-school? The high school kids are laughing and taking photos and I can't say I blame them.

Kayla is paired with a girl named Olivia and she's very sweet and nice to Kayla and comes off as being a supportive older sister and it's clear that she is popular and has lots of friends and right away you can tell that she is the kind of person Kayla strives to be in high school. Olivia even gives her number to Kayla telling her to call her if she ever wants to talk about anything and Kayla does. (Even if I had a good rapport with someone and they told me to call them if I ever needed anything, I would have thrown that number away. I hate calling people because I always feel like I'm bugging them. Now if texting were around when I was in middle school, I wouldn't have a problem with that.) The girls chat about how much middle school sucks and Olivia asks Kayla if she wants to hang out with her and her friends at the food court at mall. Of course Kayla wants to (hey, if she can't be friends with the popular girls her own age, she can be friends with seniors in high school! That will show L'il Regina George!) and she starts freaking out and drops her phone like a dork.

At the mall (which her dad drops her off at...is there anything worse than having to have your parent drop you off/pick you up anytime you want to do something? I remember a couple moments like these where my mom would drop off a friend and me at a movie theater, but luckily, since I didn't have many friends, I didn't have to worry about this too much), Kayla meets up with Olivia and her three friends which include another girl and two boys. (Haha, can you imagine if they were on a double date and Kayla was the fifth wheel? Awkward! But that isn't the case).

They get into a conversation about social media which made me feel super f**king old, but it was interesting. One of the seniors asks Kayla what grade she was in when Snapchat came out and when she tell them fifth grade, they're all aghast and shocked because they didn't have Snapchat until they were in eighth grade. I guess Elsie Fisher told Bo Burnham that nobody in middle school uses Facebook, so that is a line thrown in the movie. Who knew?  I guess they all use Instagram and Snapchat. Maybe because I'm so far removed from my middle school years, I do not understand the appeal of Snapchat. Even if I was in middle school, I still feel like I would think it's really stupid. If I were to rank all the social media platforms, that one would be at the bottom, maybe just above MySpace. Oh my God, who remembers MySpace? Terrible, just terrible. Remember how you could "decorate" it any way you wanted and have music cues so you could come across someone's visually blinding MySpace page that was purple and orange and some terrible early '00s song (like "Milkshake") playing. AURGH. MySpace was the f**king worst. I only had one (probably the most boring MySpace page in the history of the world) because my cousin suggest I get it. I barely had enough friends to make a "Top Ten" friend list. But enough about that. I'm here to tell you how much I think Snapchat is stupid. A friend suggested I get it, and I did try to download it but once I realized it would take up too much space on my phone and I was too lazy to sign up for something I knew I would never use, I abandoned that idea. I don't understand why you would want to send/receive something that will be erased thirty seconds (or however long it is) after you view it. What is the point of that? (Unless you're sending dirty pics, I guess!) The reason I like Instagram is that I can go back and view photos I took a couple years ago and I like having a little photo album. Maybe I'm just not cool/hip enough to get the appeal of SnapChat, but I think it is really baffling. And honestly, everything I've heard about SnapChat sounds super shady or gross, so I'm not upset about not being part of that culture.

The remainder of my review may contain slight spoilers.

One of the guys mention that some guy has been looking at them for a while now and when Kayla turns around, she sees her dad on the level above them. Apparently he never went home and just stayed at the mall to check up on her. Not cool. Don't spy on your kids. (Or at least be a bit more sneaky about it!) Needless to say, she is furious when she excuses herself to talk to him in private. He tells her he will leave (after bribing her with some spending money) and pick her up later, but she tells him she will get her own ride.

Remember when I said I thought there was going to be an extremely awkward/uncomfortable moment with Kayla and her crush? We do get a moment like this, but you can also add "terrifying" among the adjectives and it's with one of the guys who's a friend of Olivia's. I don't know how close of friends they are, but apparently Olivia isn't aware of just how much of a creep this guy is, otherwise I doubt she would not let CreepBoy be alone with Kayla in the car! Basically, she's in the backseat and he makes a comment about how it's hard to talk to her when she's in the backseat and she asks if she should climb up to the front, but no, he tells her he'll get in the back with her and he stops the car to do that. Already you can tell she's extremely uncomfortable. He makes small chat with her, and she's being polite, then he suggests they play Truth or Dare. Ugh. First of all, whoever invented that game needs to be shot...twice. This is the worst game ever. It's designed to make people answer super uncomfortable questions or do really stupid things. Also, seriously, who plays that game after sixth grade? NOBODY, that's who. Because by that time, you realize just how much of a stupid "game" it is. Anyway, as you can imagine, Kayla is not interested in playing the stupid game, but the poor girl doesn't want to do anything to anger him, so she just sort of plays along until he "dares" her to take off her shirt. She firmly tells him "No" and that she wants to go home. This was a really scary scene because you had no idea what was going to happen to her. Luckily it doesn't go any further than that, and he does take her home, but he's telling her how he wanted to "help" her so she's not "inexperienced" when she starts high school. Ugh, what a tool. Kayla is upset and begs him not to tell Olivia, which I thought was odd. He should be begging her not to tell Olivia! We never do see what the aftermath was; like did she tell Olivia?

The movie ends with Kayla having a heart to heart with her dad (which made me cry, I admit) and her making friends with the kid she met at the pool party, as I predicted. You can tell she's going to be okay in high school because she doesn't need to be the most popular kid and she realizes she's just fine the way she is.

Yes, middle school is the worst and social media is the worst (especially when you're an unpopular teenager!) and again, thank God I didn't have to deal with it when I was in middle school and thank God my middle school days are long over! By the way, I would never see this movie with my parents if I were in 8th grade because there are some extremely awkward moments! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen Candles
Director: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, John Cusack
Released: May 4, 1984


I mentioned in my review of Not Another Teen Movie that I really haven't seen many teen '80s movies, so when I saw this was available on Netflix, I decided to check it out. Let's just say I was cringing the entire time. This movie did not age well at all. It is homophobic, it is racist, it is misogynistic, it is just all around pretty terrible. Maybe you had to be a teen in the '80s to "get it". This was John Hughes first movie that he wrote and directed and I believe it was Molly Ringwald's first major movie. She and Anthony Michael Hall are probably only a handful of students at their high school who are actually teenagers and not, like in their twenties or thirties. There are students at that school who were played by people who were easily almost a decade older than those two who were both fifteen when they filmed this. That is a huge difference, especially at that age!

The movie starts off with Samantha (or, Sam, as her friends call her) Baker (played by Ringwald) standing in front of her mirror, saying, "Chronologically, you're sixteen today, but physically, your'e still fifteen." Oh my God. We're not even two minutes into the movie yet and already my eyes have rolled way back into my head. Did she think she would wake up that morning and be physically transformed? Doesn't she know there is absoluetly no difference between a fifteen or a sixteen year old? I mean, I can't tell them apart, can you? There will be lots of these moments in the movie where Sam (or another character) is speaking aloud with nobody around. This is really the only scene where it works because she's speaking to herself in the mirror, every other scene that has her speaking aloud without anyone around, she's doing it for the benefit of the audience, but she's not breaking the fourth wall. However, in a scene much later on in the movie, Anthony Michael Hall will speak directly to the audience. If they're going to break the fourth wall with his character, why not just do it with Sam? It's like this was before they realized that voiceover was a device they could use.

Right after she talks to her reflection in the mirror, she picks up the phone WHICH HASN'T EVEN RUNG and starts talking to someone, but who is she talking to? We don't even see or hear the other side of the conversation. Obviously, it's a friend, but it's just very odd how it was shot.

It's Sam's birthday, but it's also the day before her older sister's (who I'm pretty sure was played by a 30 year old) wedding and there's lots of commotion in the house over that as they're expecting both sets of grandparents to show up and her entire family forgets about her birthday. ("I can't believe this. They f***ing forget my birthday.") Oh, and I love how this movie is rated PG but they say the F word AND show a naked girl in a shower within the first ten minutes of the movie. I guess the '80s truly were a different time!

Sam tells her friend (the one she apparently was talking to on the phone) her family forgot her birthday and her friend (who has a terrible '80s mullet thing going on) tells her, "What did you expect? A big birthday breakfast?" Bitch, please! Sam indignantly replies that they could have at least wished her a Happy Birthday and she's absoluetly correct. They just plain forget her birthday which makes her family pretty awful. I mean, who forgets their own child's birthday? I know her parents have three other kids, but that's still no excuse! Her younger brother is played by Justin Henry and when I saw his name in the credits I was thinking, I didn't know the kid from E.T. was in this. Obviously I had him mixed up with Henry Thomas. This is the kid who was in Kramer vs. Kramer. Oh my God, he is the most f**king annoying kid and he is terrible to all his sisters and if I were Sam, I would have smacked the ever-living sh*t out of him. Funnily enough, the youngest sister (who's barely in this) is the one who calls him on his crap.

While in study hall, Sam is filling out a sex survey that is labeled "Confidential" and asks questions such as "Have you ever touched it?" and "Have you ever done it?" Now, these should be yes or no questions, right? Do you know what she writes for an answer for the latter question? "I don't think so." Huh?? How do you not know? That's a little concerning! Has she been to a lot of parties where she ends up passing out and has no idea what happened the next day? The next question is even more concerning because it asks, "If you answered "I don't think so", would you do it if you could?" Uh.....what the f**k? How many girls did the author of this confidential survey think would answer "I don't think so" to if they've ever had sex or not? How many girls at this school have no idea if they've ever had sex or not? Yikes. But...as we'll later learn on, this movie turns very date rapey, so it's not entirely impossible that a lot of girls at this school truly have no idea if they've had sex or not. In fact, we'll meet a character later on who has no idea if she had sex with this guy or not...how charming. The survey asks her to name who she would like to do it with and she picks attractive senior (senior in college, more likely!) Jake Ryan (Michael  Schoeffling) who also happens to be sitting behind her in that very class. She folds up the note and nonchalantly drops it behind her for her friend to read or fill out (I don't know exactly how it worked), but she is asleep and Jake ends up reaching for the note and now knows that she wants to boink him.

We see a shot of the teacher sitting at his desk, keeping an eye on the kids and behind him on the chalkboard, somebody had written "Total Idiot" with an arrow pointing towards him. Did he not even notice that he came into class? I doubt somebody wrote that DURING class because then he would have noticed. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be a joke, but it doesn't make any sense in the context of the scene..unless this teacher truly is a total idiot.

Jake asks his meathead friend (who looks like he graduated high school about thirty years ago) what he thinks of Samantha Baker and his friend goes, "She's too young too party serious." What does that even mean? And, ewww. Jake informs him that she's "not ugly", which is high praise any girl would want to hear. :::rolls eyes:::: We also learn that Jake has a girlfriend, Caroline, who, as his meathead friend points out, is "a WO-MAN." Which, technically, is true being that she IS at least twenty-five!

Okay, so let me get this straight...Jake already has a girlfriend, who as we will later find out, is one of the most popular and beautiful girls at the school and is Prom Queen and she will put out for him, but he wants to ditch her for a sophomore who isn't ugly because she wrote that she wanted to have sex with him. I don't care how good-looking this guy is; he's a total loser.

Meanwhile, we have both sets of grandparents visiting and one of them, for some reason, brings a foreign exchange student from China named Long Duk Dong. So I was aware there was a Chinese character that had a name that was just a stupid penis joke, but I had NO idea that there would be a gong sound every time he's in a scene. The first time I heard it, I was like, Oof, that's not good. But I thought maybe that would be the only time it happened...nope. We hear this sound effect every time the character shows up in a scene. Yikes. It's really bad and cringe-y. We also get a lot of stupid jokes about this Chinese character being in America, stuff like how he doesn't know how to eat American food and he is so much shorter than this girl (also pushing thirty like the other students at this rape-positive school) he meets at a dance. You could take out this character and not lose anything about the movie. Of course, you could also erase this movie from the universe's existence and nobody would even care.

And then you have Anthony Michael Hall who, as Ted, is credited as "the Geek". But he's more of a creeper than a geek. He hangs out with his two friends, one of who includes a young John Cusack. He does not know the meaning of personal space as he sits very close to Sam (and SNIFFS her...ewwww!) on the bus when they (and a young Joan Cusack) are the only ones left and is asking her if he wants to go out with him and keeps pestering her when it's pretty obvious she doesn't want anything to do with him.

At the dance, Ted tells his two friends that he and Sam are pretty much in a relationship and he plans to have sex with her and they want him to prove it by showing them her underwear. In yet another scene, we have him trying to move in on Sam and she has to scream at him to stop. Does this kid not know when a girl isn't interested in him? Do we need to get him a copy of She's Just Not That Into You? (If it existed!) But once Sam admits to him that she likes Jake Ryan, he seems way too happy to put in a good word for her since he knows Jake (since they had one interaction prior to this scene). He tells her that Jake had asked about her (since Jake saw Ted interacting with her). You think this would be a huge clue to Sam that Jake saw the note in study hall. ESPECIALLY SINCE HE SITS BEHIND AND PROBABLY SAW HER TOSS THE NOTE BEHIND HER!

Sam is inspired by this news and decides she's going to go up to Jake and talk to him. She sees him in the coat check room and he smiles at her and says hi, and she just runs off like a doofus. Awkward!

Jake, who is super rich, has a party at his house because his parents are out of town and his house gets trashed. A bar bell crashes through the floor to the basement and knocks over a couple of shelves holding bottles of wine and champagne, a pizza has landed on the record player, a cassette has all of its tape pulled out (how very '80s....cassettes were the WORST!!!), there are bubbles coming out of a vent (??),  and there's just so much crap everywhere. He doesn't even seem to be that concerned about it. Pretty much everybody from school except Sam is at the party and he calls her own private phone line, but keeps getting her grandparents because they're sleeping in her room. I must have missed how he got her phone number. The grandparents tell him to stop calling and to leave Sam alone. Pretty much what any teen girl wants their grandparents to tell the boy they're crushing on. Okay, if I were a teen girl in the '80s and I had my own private phone line and my grandparents were staying in my room, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be unplugging that thing! I don't want my grandparents answering my phone! Hells no! Not a smart move, Sam.

After everyone has left the party, Ted and Caroline are the only ones left. Caroline is sleeping off her hangover (she gets drunk an awful lot in this movie) while Jake and Ted are having a conversation in the kitchen about Sam. Jake thinks Ted is lying to him about Sam liking him. Um, hello! Did you not see the note where she wrote your name that she wanted to have sex with you? The proof is right there. This guy is in idiot...no wonder he had to repeat the 12th grade at least seven times. If only Sam could have been in the room to hear this conversation because then she could have seen what a charming prince her crush is. (Yes, that was major sarcasm.) He tells Ted, "I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. I got Caroline in the bedroom passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to." Yeah, a real great guy you like there, Sam. What a f**king jerk!  I guess this is to tell us that he wants more of a "real" relationship with Sam and wants a "serious girlfriend". Gimme me a break! He only wants to have sex with her because he knows she wants to too. Oh, yeah, and while they're having this conversation, in the background you can hear Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York", you know, because every teen from the '80s just loves the Sinatra.

Since Jake isn't "interested" in Caroline anymore, he lends Ted (who doesn't have a license, mind you) his father's Rolls Royce (don't these damn rich people have a practical car?) to drive Caroline home. What kind of a f**king moron is he? Why would you let some 15-year-old kid with no license drive one of the world's most expensive cars that belong to your father? I really hope his dad beat some sense into him when he got back from his business trip or wherever he is during all of this. He even tells Ted to "have fun". Great guy, this Jake Ryan. (Once again, that was sarcasm). Ted drives himself and a drunk Caroline to one of his friend's house so they can take a photo of him sitting with Caroline in the back seat of the car so he has proof that he was with a hot girl. Even though it's really gross that he did that, I did laugh that they show the photo and it's only the upper part of his face that his friend got. Haha, serves that little creeper right.

The next morning Ted and Caroline wake up in the car in some parking lot. I didn't think Ted had been drinking, but apparently he had because he asks her "What happened?" and she replies, "I don't know." He asks if they did it and she replies, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure." I rolled my eyes so hard when he asked her if she "enjoyed it", and she replies, "You know, I have this weird feeling I did." Ugh. I'm so glad you enjoyed having non-consensual sex while you were drunk with some guy you just met that your boyfriend pretty much gave permission to rape you. F**k this movie. Also, on a shallow side note, why do they dress this twenty-five year old woman who they're trying to pass as a senior in high school in the most maternal and blah dress ever? She looks like she's about to attend church or something. And her hair style makes her look much older than she's supposed to be.

So let's get back to our main character, Sam. Like I said, she didn't attend Jake's party and went home where she has this weird conversation with her dad. It does start off nice with him apologizing for forgetting her birthday, but then he can tell that something's bothering her and when he asks if it's about a "certain guy", he thinks she's upset that her sister is marrying a jerk, but then she gets upset because she's really upset about Jake. Let me clarify that she's upset because she doesn't think she'll ever be with him, not because he's a terrible person and a potential rapist.

The movie ends with the sister's wedding (which has its own stupid hi-jinxes) and Sam sees Jake waiting for her by his car after the ceremony. She blows off the reception to go with him and her dad sees this and is smiling, all like, "That's my girl!" He even gives her the thumbs-up sign! Uh, I do not think he would be doing that if he knew the REAL Jake Ryan! The last scene is both of them sitting on a glass table in his house with a cake between them and he tells her to make a wish and she replies, "It already came true." BARF. Let me tell you: I give them one week, two tops. Once they have sex (consensual, if she's lucky), he's going to dump her ass. You know it's true. This movie is just terrible.