Monday, March 23, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This movie is so fetch!

Mean Girls
Director: Mark Waters
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, Tina Fey
Released: April 30, 2004
Viewed in theaters: May 7, 2004

When I first saw this on the big screen, I left the theater not liking the movie. But I can attribute that to the bad theater-going experience I had with it as I've since rented the movie (and now own the DVD) and have watched it a few more times and it still makes me laugh.

Picture it: Omaha, 2004. I'm standing in line at the box office to buy a ticket to see Mean Girls. In front of me were six annoying 12 year old teenybopper girls. I was praying to myself, "Please let them be seeing New York Minute!" But no, of course they were going to see Mean Girls. Just my luck! One of them had a cell phone and was saying, "Blah, blah, why won't your mom let you come to the movie?" Haha. One of their friends wasn't allowed to see it! I'm walking to the theater and on the way there, I walk past a woman talking to an usher saying, "Theater 5 is completely out of control." Well, guess which theater I was in, folks? :::rolls eyes::: Lucky me! Ugh. So I walk in and there is an entire row filled with young boys and girls. Then there's another row in the front filled with teenybopper girls and they were all clapping and whooping and hollering. Ugh, pre-teens are the worst! I see the usher standing near the doorway and he has an eye on the kids. Then the manager comes in (hilarious) and he goes to the two rowdy rows and he basically tells them (I couldn't hear everything) that if he gets any complaints about them, he's gonna call all their parents or something like that. The kids were pretty well behaved during the movie for the most part. During the Mathletes competition when Cady's team wins, there's applauding in the movie, so of course the obnoxious twerps in the theater had to applaud and whoo as well. So you see what I had to deal with? 

Cady (Lindsay Lohan) is a new student at a high school after being home-schooled when she lived in Africa for the past twelve years. She has trouble making friends at first until outcasts Janis (played by Lizzy Kaplan who has since become more of a known name) and Damien take her under their wing and tell her everything she needs to know about the students at the school. They warn her about "The Plastics", a trio of superficial and snotty girls that consist of the very dumb Karen (Amanda Seyfried), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert), whose father invented toasted strudel, and the Queen Bee, Regina George (Rachel McAdams - who was 27 or 28 when she made this, but she can pull off playing a high schooler!) Janis really hates Regina as we learn a backstory that they used to be best friend in middle school until they started drifting apart and Regina spread a rumor that Janis was a lesbian...except she used a much worse name.

This movie was written by Tina Fey (it was adapted from a book I've never heard of) and she also plays Ms. Norbury, the math teacher. There are other SNL alums peppered throughout the movie. Ana Gasteyer plays Cady's mom, Tim Meadows plays the principal, and Amy Poehler plays Regina's mom. She plays the "cool" mom, which means she is the worst mom. She wears these velour pink sweat
suits and serves the girls cocktails (non-alcoholic though, what kind of mom do you think she is?) She walks in on Regina making out with a boy on her bed and is more proud than appalled. She desperately wants to fit in and be the friend of these high school girls as she'll say, "So tell me girls, what's the 4-1-1?" And when the girls were performing a sexy dance to "Jingle Bell Rock" for the talent show, she was in the aisle doing the dance along with them. 

Cady gets invited to sit at the exclusive Plastics lunch table after they see her being harassed by Gretchen's ex-boyfriend and feel sorry for her (and also because she is deemed pretty enough to sit at their table). They extend their invitation to have her sit with them for the rest of the week and Janis and Damien encourage her to do it so they can find out all the awful details about the Plastics. Cady learns about all the stupid rules the Plastics have made: they wear pink on a certain day of the week, they can only wear their hair in a ponytail one day a week, jeans can only be worn on Fridays, etc. This is probably going to date me, but hearing all those rules reminded me of the Sweet Valley Twin books (the ones that took place when the twins were in middle school) and Jessica Wakefield belonged to the clique, the Unicorns, with the other rich girls and they always had to wear something purple everyday. Please tell me I am not the only one who remembers this! And Lila Fowler was the Queen Bee of that group. And there was also a girl named Mary and one named Mandy and was there an Amy too? I'm sure they had other rules too, but I only remember the purple rule. (Because purple is royalty!) 

"Stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen!"
Cady has a crush on Aaron, the boy who sits in front of her in math class. Gretchen and Karen are scandalized when they hear about this because he is Regina's ex-boyfriend. Gretchen tells Cady that dating another friend's ex is "against the rules of feminism!" Regina tries to talk Cady out of dating him because all he cares about is school, his mom, and his friends to which Cady replies, "Is that a bad thing?" Regina ends up back with Aaron just to spite Cady, infuriating Cady and she and Janis and Damien come up with a plan to ruin Regina George. They find out that Regina has been cheating on Aaron by hooking up with another guy in the projection room so they try all kinds of tactics to get Aaron to go there and catch his girlfriend with another guy including posting a sign saying that swim team will be held in the projection room after school. It's a funny joke, but is this guy really that stupid he would believe that? And he actually goes up there but Regina isn't there. 

Cady gives Regina nutrition bars and tells her they will help slim her down when in fact they make her gain weight. She also turns Gretchen and Karen against Regina when they're on a multiple-way call and overhear Regina say mean things about them. When Regina finds out all the things Cady has done (and her long, exaggerated scream made my cat's ears perk up!) she brings out the Burn Book, a book where she and the other Plastics have written mean things about other students and staff. Cady's only entry was when she was venting about Ms. Norbury and writes about her being a drug dealer. A high school teacher being a drug dealer? Who ever thought of such a thing?! Regina frames Cady, Gretchen, and Karen soley for the Burn Book as she has put her picture in there and has written that she is a "fugly skank" so she is not implicated to the scandalous book. She makes copies of the pages and tosses them around school so everyone finds out about the mean things that have been written about them and there is a riot until the principal gathers everyone into the auditorium and threatens to cancel the Spring Fling Dance, but can't since he already paid for the DJ. He also threatens to keep everyone there all night if he has to, but then a teacher steps in and says they can only keep them until four, so he quickly has to adjust his threat. 

To help the girls express their feelings, Ms. Norbury has them do some exercises, including getting on a platform, say what they are sorry for and then have them lean back and fall into the crowd who will catch them. I don't know which one made me laugh more: the girl who tells her friend, "I don't hate you because you're fat, you're fat because I hate you" (What? lol!) and then it reveals she's in a wheel chair as she falls back into the crowd who has to catch her, or when Gretchen says, "I'm sorry people are jealous of me, but I can't help it if I'm so popular" and everyone moves away as she falls back and Karen is the only one to catch her. The vacant smile on Amanda Seyfried's face is just the funniest thing ever and it was so funny when the two girls are lying on top of each other after Gretchen has fallen on top of her. Although I do love Karen's speech apologizing to Gretchen for laughing at her when she had "diarrhea that one time at Barnes and Noble and I'm sorry now for bringing it up again."

The movie ends with everyone learning their lesson (of course) and Cady gives a nice speech about acceptance and all that good stuff after she has won Queen of Spring Fling. We find out the following year, their senior year, the Plastics have parted ways but are still amicable with each other. 

And since this is a teen movie, I must bring out my required teen check list!

Is there a party scene? Check
Is there a prom scene? Not prom, it's the Spring Fling, but close enough.
Is there a football scene? No
Is there a make over scene? Check
Is there a scene where all the different high school cliques are being shown? Check...and I'm pretty sure they added new ones in this movie! 
Was this movie spoofed in Not Another Teen Movie? No, this movie came out after that one, but there is a small connection as Lacey Chabert played the Jennifer Love Hewitt character from Can't Hardly Wait in it. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Good Morning, Angels

Charlie's Angels
Director: McG
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Luke Wilson, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover, Matt LeBlanc
Released: November 3, 2000

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Director: McG
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Luke Wilson, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick
Released: June 27, 2003
Viewed in theaters: June 30, 2003

This is one of those (not-so-rare) instances where I loved the first movie and loathed the sequel. The first movie was a lot of fun and effortless and the second movie just felt like it was trying too hard. The first movie even pokes fun at itself in the first minutes of the film when one of our angels is on a plane (disguised as L.L. Cool J - don't ask...I mean she's not actually disguised as rapper/actor L.L. Cool J, (though that would be kind of awesome) but rather an African dignitary who  is played by L.L. Cool J in a small cameo) and the movie playing on the flight is T.J. Hooker: The Movie and he (she?) makes a comment about another retro TV series being turned into a movie. Moments later, the disguised Angel has apprehended the bad guy on the plane with the bomb, blown a hole through in the plane to escape with the bad guy and bomb (though most likely everyone else still on the plane probably died since, um, hello, DECOMPRESSION!!! That plane probably crashed into the ocean moments later!) and landed in a speedboat where the other Angels met up with her. We see "L.L. Cool J" take off "his" mask and it's Dylan (Drew Barrymore). Now I can believe the (ridiculously believable) mask and she had a voice box to change her voice, but how do you explain how she suddenly grew at least a foot? This was the only time in the movie any of the Angels have Mystique-levels of transforming into other people.

The Angels of 2000 are Natalie (Cameron Diaz), who is the happy-go-lucky one. She comes across as ditzy sometimes, even though she's actually quite smart and a bit of a nerd. And she loves to dance. Dylan is the rebel and Alex (Lucy Liu) is the studious, serious one. They get their assignments from their boss, Charlie, who we never see. He is voiced by John Forsythe who also voiced Charlie in the TV series (which I've never seen, but of course am aware of). His assistant, Bosley helps the angels out with missions, though let's be honest, they do all the work.  He is played by Bill Murray who wasn't in the sequel (smart choice) and was replaced by Bernie Mac who is his adopted brother. Or something like that.

What I like about their missions is that they're not trying to save the world from destruction like so many superhero movies are about. I understand that world destruction is the worst thing that can happen, but it can get a little tiring and redundant sometimes. Instead they are tasked to find a kidnapped computer programmer, Knox (Sam Rockwell), who has created a voice recognition program that is widely coveted. They come across a strange man who calls himself the Thin Man (Crispin Glover - George McFly himself!). He has a strange fetish with women's hair as he'll yank out quite a bit from the girls' heads and then creepily runs it under his nose. The Angels find Knox who is suspected to be kidnapped by the Thin Man and reunite him with his business partner, Victoria (Kelly Lynch).

But it turns out Knox and Victoria were behind the whole thing and were working with the Thin Man to fake the kidnapping! They are planning on killing Charlie at his beach house with a missile and the Angels must stop him. But before they do that, they must rescue Bosley who has been kidnapped. Dylan has been taken and tied up to a chair and in a scene ripped off from the one in True Lines where Arnold tells the bad guys exactly what he is going to do to them and proceeds to do exactly what he said, Dylan tells her captors what she's going to do to them and ends with the movie's most memorable line, "And that's called kicking your ass!"

There's a lot of dressing up in sexy costumes (like dominatrixes and race car assistants), although in one scene Natalie and Dylan are dressed as businessmen to break into the software company building. All the angels have love interests. Alex is dating an actor named Jason (played by Matt LeBlanc, although he's an action star and not a soap opera star like Joey Tribbiani) who she keeps what she does from and tells him she's a massage therapist. Natalie meets a bartender, Pete (Luke Wilson) and they date in the first movie and get...a puppy in the second. Not engaged, like everyone thought she would. Dylan is seeing this guy, Chad. He's played by Tom Green and I had completely (and happily) forgotten about his existence until I was reminded of it when I saw him again. I don't know if Dylan was that serious about him because she ended up getting seduced by Knox and sleeping with him when he was trying to get information from him before she found out he was part of the bad guy team. Tom Green is so painfully unfunny in this that it's not even...funny. I forgot that he and Drew Barrymore were married for, like, 3 months around this time. He even ruins one of the songs on the soundtrack, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"  because he sings a verse before the song starts and it hurts your eardrums.

Speaking of the soundtrack (which I own...both movies'), pretty much any song with "angel" in the title is in the movie. "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" is in it. "Angel's Eye" by Aerosmith is in it. I'm pretty sure I heard "Angel of the Morning" during it.

Then we have Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle which is so bad. While the fight scenes appeared to be ripped off from The Matrix at times in the first movie, they could be plausible in the context of the film. There's a lot of action scenes in the second movie and there all so ridiculous and ludicrous. There's a scene where the Angels are at a motorbike competition (and Pink has a cameo as the person who starts the race and while this is going on, they're playing a Pink song, which just seems way too on the nose). The Angels are after their bad guy and there's a scene where the bad guy has gone up in the air on his motor bike, flips upside down, takes out two guns and shoots at the angels, does a flip and sits upright on his bike...all before landing on the ground! Of course, this is all done in slow motion, but there is no way in hell anybody could do all that in real time. How stupid do you think we are, movie?

This time, the Angels are trying to locate two rings, that when put together, produce all the names of those in the witness protection program. Yeah, totally ridiculous...but at least they stayed clear from going the saving the world from imminent destruction route! The bad guy, Seamus (Justin Theroux), needs this list because he used to date Dylan who we learn is part of the witness protection program. (Well, at least she didn't have to move to Omaha and work at Cinnabun!) Her name used to be Helen Zaas (and yes, they did every joke under the sun with that name) who dated Seamus back in the day, but when she saw him kill someone, she ratted on him and had to be taken into protective custody. They found out Seamus had been released "that day" and now he wants to get revenge on Dylan.

The other bad guy is Madison (Demi Moore), an ex-Angel who has gone rouge. She tries to kill the Angels (because she uses guns as opposed to just fighting) because...I really don't know because this movie is so stupid and I really didn't care. Oh...and the Thin Man is back! For no reason whatsoever. For some reason, I was sure they had killed him in the first movie, but I was probably confusing him with Knox. And in this movie he's HELPING the angels. Huh? When did this happen? He and Dylan even share a "moment" right before Seamus throws him off the rooftop of the building they're on top of and he falls to his death and Dylan is devastated that this guy she's been in love with for two seconds (and let's not forget...tried to KILL her in the first movie!) is dead. Just go away, movie. You're exhausting me.

Shia LaBouf is in the movie for about twenty minutes. His parents were killed by Seamus and I guess the Angels are worried that he will be his next target, so he is taken into hiding at Bosley's mother's house. I have no idea why he was even in the movie...maybe someone on this movie worked on that Disney series he did and wanted him to be part of it. Who knows. There was a clever cameo where Jaclyn Smith plays an ex-Angel, Kelly (which was her character's name on retro Charlie's Angels...I checked) who helps guide Dylan. A not so clever cameo is from the Pussycat Dolls. Remember them? God, they are the worst. I think this was back when they were popular. The Angels have to do a sexy dance to...get something from a bad guy. I don't remember and I don't care.

There was one funny moment where they're at a crime scene and spoof CSI: but that's the only nice thing I can say about this movie. It is just so awful! They have the girls dance to "Can't Touch This" for no reason other than it's funny! Every time the girls try to escape from being killed, they jump up in the air and do a slow motion. Every damn time! There are stupid sound effects that make it seem like you're watching a Saturday morning cartoon. It is so bad! I can't, I just can't!

So here is my verdict:
Charlie's Angels - Heaven
Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle - Hell

Monday, March 9, 2015


The Accused
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Cast: Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis
Released: October 14, 1988

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Jodie Foster (won)

The Accused is about a woman (Jodie Foster) who is gang raped at a bar and her lawyer (Kelly McGillis) wants justice and have all the men (those involved in the rape AND the ones watching) put away. While watching this, I kept expecting a twist. While Kathryn (the lawyer) does find out things about Sarah (Foster's character) that aren't great for a jury to hear on a rape case such as she does drugs and is promiscuous and was wearing a skimpy outfit that night she was raped, I was expecting Sarah to want the men to have sex with her so she could accuse them of rape because she wanted to get back at them for some other reason...but that was not the case...literally. I guess now I'm just so used in seeing twists in movies and TV shows I watch, I thought this movie would be no different. I probably should have watched the trailer first (I like to watch them after the movie so I'm not spoiled by anything) because it would have told me straight that this is a movie about a woman who is raped and how she and her lawyer want to take down the men who did this to her. There are no hints of twists or ambiguity. 

While all the men involved in the rape (either participating or watching) are all meat-headed neanderthals, there is one younger guy who obviously is uncomfortable about the whole thing and knows what's going on in front of him is wrong...although he just stands there and watches and doesn't call the police until AFTER Sarah has attacked a guy and gets the opportunity to run away. His name is Ken and Kathryn finds out he was there the day the rape happened because she notices his name on an arcade game with the date next to it. (Sidenote: Don't people usually put their initials when they get a high score on an arcade game? He had written KEN next to the score. Not that I really know anything about this because my name is more than three letters, plus, I never play arcade games and when I do, I certainly never get a score high enough to get on the board!) Kathryn looks through some yearbooks to find this Ken and I had to freeze the frame because there was a guy in the yearbook with the name of "Richard Dick". Okay, obviously this was some stupid joke because "Dick" is a nickname for "Richard" (God only knows why!) Why they are having a "Dick" joke in a movie about rape just seems a bit insensitive to me! Did you really go there, movie? Or maybe I'm just over thinking this and that guy's name is actually Richard Dick and his friends probably call him Dick Dick. Poor guy. His parents are just awful.

So Ken is put on the witness stand and he tells what happened that night. Sarah is put on the stand too but because she was drunk and seemed to be flirting with the guy who initiated the rape, they think she might not be the best witness. Ken tells what happened and it just seems so ridiculous that this rape happened the way it did. She was flirting with a guy who she thought was cute and a song she likes comes on the juke box (and it wasn't a real song, it was just some generic pop music which was amusing...I guess nobody wanted them to allow to use their song during a brutal rape!) Now she's drunk and her top is falling off and she looks like a total idiot, but it's obvious she is inebriated. The guy forces her onto a pinball machines and even though she is struggling and screaming, rapes her, then has these other guys who are watching and egging him on, to "have a turn" too. Now while this is going on, in the other room, a bunch of people are sitting at the bar, drinking and watching TV. Did they not hear a girl screaming and all those men shouting? I really found that hard to believe that NOBODY did anything. Except for Ken who called the cops after Sarah had escaped. It was a horrible scene to watch, but at the same time, I just didn't buy it, you know? Okay, so I just did some research on Wikipedia and apparently this is based on a true story of a 21 year old girl who was raped on a pool table by four guys at a bar in 1983 while the patrons did nothing. That's disturbing. I would hope that wouldn't happen in this day and age. And she went through all that only to die in a car accident three years later. (That did not happen to Sarah in the movie...all the men who who were involved were convicted.) That reminds me of this woman who worked at the World Trade Center and survived 9/11, only to be in that fatal flight only a couple months later when the horizontal stabilizer snapped off and the plane crashed in a neighborhood in Queens. It's just sad when someone survives a truly horrendous event, only to die in a freak accident a few years or months later.

Well, this was a depressing review. My next review won't be, that I can promise!