Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate about You (1999)

10-things-i-hate-about-you-movie-poster-800x1200

Plot: Adapted from William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew,” 10 Things I Hate About You starts off with Cameron, new student at Padua High, sitting in the office of the quirky guidance counselor Ms. Perky. He is then shown around the school by Michael, who will become his best friend. During his tour is when Cameron first sees Bianca Stratford, a beautiful sophomore with one problem: she isn’t allowed to date. And neither is her “shrew” sister, Katarina, a senior who loves indie rock and feminist prose and hates conformity. But Kat and Bianca’s father alters his house rule: now, Bianca can date… as long as Kat has a date, too. Now, in order for Cameron to date Bianca, he has to find someone to date Kat. So Michael helps him enlist the help of pretty-boy/jerk/model Joey Donner, tricking him into thinking that *he* will get to take Bianca out if he pays someone to take out Kat. His choice: Patrick Verona, a bad-boy with a mysterious reputation–some say he ate a live duck once, others that he lit a state trooper on fire, and even more claim that he had a brief porn career. Will Patrick win Kat’s heart? Will Cameron win Bianca’s? Or will everything hit the fan…?

Rating: 8.5/10

10 things I like about this film

10things-bianca

  1. The deep philosophies of Bianca Stratford

10things-kat2

2. Julia Stiles and her attitude

10things-heath

3. Heath Ledger and his smile

10things-heath24. This iconic scene

10things-joey

5. Joey’s amazing self confidence

10things

6. Joseph Gordon Levit

10things-dad7. And this scene – this is every single dad

10things-kat

8. Kat’s sonnet

shakespeare

9. This sneaky little love story

10-things-4

10. And last but not least, let’s not forget the teachers in this film

I am crazy about this film. It isfeel good, it is hilarious, it is a typical teen film. I think I could watch it once a week for the rest of my life and be totally okay with it. It is everything the 90’s rocked at, and just the typical and perfect high school film in my mind. It always hurts just a little bit to see Heath Ledger so young, alive and beautiful. He was such a charming and talented man and his death to this day remains one that consistently hurts significantly. He has such good chemistry with Julia Stiles, who does the defiant and sulky teenager on point. Bianca Stratford and JGL are so sweet together. Joey Donner? I’m not sure WHO would find him attractive, ick. Though the character was hilarious and the perfect villain for this film, you have to marvel at teenage hormones because that is the only explanation I could have for anyone finding him attractive. Mr. Stratford is probably all of parents – determined to keep his teenage daughters unpregnated and he’s not afraid to use his experience as a gynecologist as a tool. This staple chick flick is just that – a staple. I think a lot of men probably love this too, because it isn’t soppy or stupid and has some pretty damn hilarious moments in. Comment below and tell me your thoughts on this!

Advertisements

Movie Review: The DUFF (2015)

DUFF poster

Plot: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.

Rating: 7/10

I was avoiding this like hellfire because I just wasn’t in the mood for a movie that told young impressionable women that they needed to pretty themselves up for the sake of conformity. It was hilarious in Mean Girls, The Princess Diaries and She’s All That, but let’s face it, we need to start telling girls that it is allowed to be absolutely themselves and that popularity really isn’t all that.

duff5

BUT, The DUFF isn’t really like that at all. When Bianca gets told by insensitive-jock-but-actually-not-that-bad Wesley (Robbie Amell) that she is the DUFF of her friend group (read Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she’s understandably upset. It’s obvious that she’s neither Ugly nor Fat at this point, but the producers wouldn’t go as far as casting a really ugly person, which would just be stupid from their point of view. She’s mad at her gorgeous friends, Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Kara (MahaleyHessan) for stringing her along, pretending they are friends, while they are just using her as wingman. They are confused because they had no idea they are that much more beautiful than she is, or popular, and a petty fight ensues. Oh, there is a love interest Toby (Nick Everman), who is soulful, poetic and makes Bianca turn into a mute, and a teacher who really loves Bianca and sees how much she has to offer (Ken Yeong).

DUFF1

There’s thankfully only one clothing montage, in which Wesley helps Bianca (Mae Whitman), get bras and nice things to seduce all the boys. It’s cute and fun, but a recording of it goes viral and Bianca’s life becomes pretty shaky for a while, where she naturally contemplates things and becomes stronger as a result.

It’s nothing spectacular, but the DUFF touches on cyber bullying while dealing with bitchy teens. The constant hashtagging on the screen was weird as hell but as for serving the purpose of keeping the film modern and describing any new character that comes in.

As for dual love interests – firstly Nick Everman, who was hilarious as Toby. He was all in touch with his feelings and musical and in the end so full of shit, but Nick Everman injected a lot of humor to Toby. It won’t be a surprise that in the end Wesley is the real love interest (seriously – that is not spoiler alert, that is a bullet point in a movie like this). Robbie and Steven Amell seems like the slightly less dazzling version of the Hemsworth brothers. It would seem that Robbie acts slightly better, maybe because he doesn’t wear green eye makeup and say “You have failed this city” every episode, but this Amell was not bad at all. He was really well cast as a jock, because that is obvious, but there were a few more serious scenes where he projected his feelings well too.

DUFF4

It would be unfair not to complement Mae Whitman. I thought she was adorable and that she went to some great lengths to prove that she was “original” and “different” – two really important things if you want to make it nowadays in Hollywood. She will be forevermore be cast probably as the quirky girl, but that isn’t the worst way to make money, and she does well enough with this type of material.

It’s very lighthearted, but the DUFF is fun, and manages to finally be a movie that whispers that you don’t need blond hair to be the best thing ever.

Have you seen The DUFF? Let me know what you thought!

Movie Review: Tammy (2014)

Tammy_Banner_Car

Plot: After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (via IMDb)

 Rating: a surprised 6.5/10

Well it seems like 2014 can still deliver some pleasant surprises. I didn’t expect was that I would like this. I am currently having a little bitchfit every time I see an overweight lady portrayed as dirty, sloppy, rude and not in control of her life. I hated The Heat, McCartney’s movie before this, and I was certain that Tammy would be just an adaption of that nonsense. Tammy started off looking exactly like I was destined to have a fit again, but the movie redeemed itself by letting Tammy access her full potential and shine. Tammy tries to show that you can hit rock bottom and find a way to pick yourself up and carry on.

This movie had a rather star studded cast but it didn’t overwhelm, and the stars were really good in their respective roles.

Let’s just discuss Allison Janney for ten seconds. I am simply in love with this woman’s acting. I’ve seen her now in Tammy as a comfortable urban mom, in 8 Simple Rules for Dating my teenage daughter as a slightly harassed mother of three, in Easy A as a perverted school headmistress, in countless other small roles and in Sons of Anarchy as the formidable biker matriarch Gemma. She is as convincing as a soccer mom as she is in the SOA, and the roles could not be more difficult. She is always utterly believable, and she can be funny, scary, intense and charming without even breaking a sweat.

I found Mark Duplass adorable as the love interest Bobby and the cautious and mostly awkward relationship development much more real than most movies. Susan Sarandon was a huge reason this worked because she played an excellent harmless looking granny with a seriously mean streak. I adore Kathy Bates (it has so much to do with that cool voice of hers) and she was also charming for the few seconds of screen time she got.

Recommendation: Perhaps I was just in a good mood, but I had a good time with this, and if you are looking for some light-hearted fun that has surprising depths, give this a try!

Movie Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

The way way back

Duncan: “How long have you been working there?”

Owen: “Oh, the park? Um, I’ve always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after ‘Nam. I was in the shit. Then I joined the circus to become a clown fighter. I know about 46 ways to kill a clown. I hate clowns. I’m kidding except for the part where I really do hate them.”

Plot:

On a trip to Cape Cod, 14-year Duncan (Liam James) has a conversation with his mother’s boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Trent asks Duncan to rate himself out of ten, and after some thought Duncan mentions he thinks he is a six. Trent says that he thinks Duncan is a 3/10, and that just starts the journey of a vacation of emotional bullying. The teen must watch his mother acting like a school girl and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) flouncing around. He is obviously unwanted and when he finds a pink, girly bike he takes it and starts cycling around.

Duncan soon discovers the Water Whizz, a water park away from their beach house. He is employed by Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park’s slightly strange yet hilarious owner who is held in line by an employee Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph). Everyone at the park speaks reverently about a legendary act: passing someone in the tube slide.

Duncan

Duncan has a lot of fun at the park and he gets some much needed confidence from it. He even manages to have a conversation with Susanna (Anna-Sophia Robb), their neighbour Jenny’s daughter. Susanna isn’t in the best place either in her life, with her parents divorced and her mom, who isn’t necessarily a bad mother, drunk most of the time while on vacation. Susanna is a bit older than Duncan but seems willing to spend time with him instead of with her very shallow friends, of whom Steph is one of. They progress from very stunted conversations to sharing their similar troubles and quickly become friends.

Duncan sees Trent kissing another woman and is furious that his mother is falling into the same trap which she was in with his father. He yells at her at a party about it and storms away after people are forced to physically restrain Trent from hitting Duncan. Duncan spends the night with his friends at the Water Whizz. He returns the next day to find that they are all packed up and leaving, and that his mother will likely stay with Trent. Duncan climbs out of the car at the petrol station and runs to the park, and gets Owen to do the slide with him. They emerge victorious, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Owen stands up for Duncan when Trent tries to pull him and quickly let’s him know what Owen thinks of him. Duncan leaves the hero, and in the car gets another reward: his mom climbs through the car to sit with him the back, causing hope that she will leave Trent or at the very least start standing up for her child.

Rating: 7/10

I had a lot of fun with The Way Way Back. I don’t often watch coming of age stuff because I often find the acting and the script sorely lacking. This wasn’t like that at all. Although the storyline was an often used one, I found it refreshing and sweet. The movie explores good topics – how people should undergo tests to see if they will become proper parents and the things children go through to grow spines. I absolutely detested Trent and what he represented and I didn’t have much time for Duncan’s mother at all. She was way too immersed in her life to notice what went on in her child’s.

Liam James was well cast as Duncan. I constantly thought: “wow, look at this poor awkward kid”. He had nowhere where he fit in. He had a douchebag for a potential stepfather, his own father was busy having a rendezvous with his younger mistress and his mother was so wrapped up in her own new lover she couldn’t see how horrible he was to her child. It was so liberating when he found the Water Whizz Park and how he discovered key elements of himself there. He was sufficiently entertaining enough that every time he stood up to Trent I wanted to give the kid a high five and applaud.

Steve Carell surprised me. Except Stupid, Crazy Love, he is always in ridiculous roles that irritate me very much. He was SUCH a douche bag! I was shocked how well he became Trent Ramsey, a moron that told a 14-year-old that he is a 3/10. I was shocked by his reprehensible character and how he was so underhanded to make Duncan look like a bad kid.

Alison Janney as Jenny was rather hilarious. She was constantly drunk and so not comfortable being a mother to that poor boy with the eye. I was pretty steamed at her sometimes but at the end realized her character wasn’t such a bad person, but the fact that she is an awkward mother just clashed t-old that she was so stressed that her ex-husband would take away her children.

Sam Rockwell as Owen was one of the key elements that made the Way Way back a good movie. He was hilarious. He has some serious talent if you compare his diverse roles here and in the Green Mile, where he played psychopath Wild Bill Wharton. I really had some laughs in all his scenes and he stole it on every occasion. I just loved how he was portrayed as easy going and fun but when he met Trent he was obviously the better man and knew what was right and wrong.

Anna-Sophia Robb was entertaining as Susanna. I’ve only ever seen her in the Carrie Diaries so seeing her in something else was fun. She is a decent enough actress and I think she will become a fine actress in a few years’ time.

The WWB is recommended for those who need some cheering up 🙂

Have you seen the Way Way Back? Tell me what you thought 😀