Tuesday, December 3, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Santa Clause

I have compiled a list of Christmas movies I re-watch seen since as long as I can remember. Now, I am going through that list and just writing down movies that I would like to talk about a little bit more in detail. I have some of these on my "Best of" Christmas lists, but I have found, after years of writing my blog, that some things just deserve a bit more attention. So let us get in deeper:

Scott Calvin finds Santa Claus on his roof, and accidentally makes him fall off of it too... in an attempt to make his son happy, he puts on the coat and helps deliver toys on Christmas Eve. The next morning he wakes up in bed, and it all seems like a dream, but perhaps it was not... as the months pass, he gets more and more excited about Christmas, not to mention, that his appearance changes slowly and his ex-wife starts to worry about his impact in their son's life. The events of a magical Christmas night unfold and Scott ends up being much more than just a good father to his boy.

I don't even remember how young I was when I saw this movie for the first time, but it is definitely one of my favorites. I still believe that I have not seen any holiday movie made for families as smart as this one. Not only is it funny, but there is actual growth from the characters, not to mention, very serious moments. At one point Scott is thought of being insane and taking this magic fairy tale too far, and his ex-wife sues for custody of their child. I have found that this movie highlights how the holiday season should be both about the children and the adults, particularly those who no longer believe in the magic of Christmas. I decided not to re-watch this movie every year, because I like to forget the little details, and that way it holds a bit of magic every time I go back to it. I do, however, love it very much and will surely show it to my own children, to teach them about the magic of the holiday season.

Watch it? I do believe that the sequels were not equally well received, and that might have in retrospect shone a bad light on this otherwise genius movie. And well, the sequels are silly, but they are nearly not as bad as some TV movies that I had the pleasure to see. This is a family movie and as a result the kid that I was grew to love it, and the child in me today is still reminiscent of the magic that is waiting for a sweet-hearted man to come and gift me for having been a good child!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Tim Allen - Scott Calvin
Wendy Crewson - Laura
Eric Lloyd - Charlie
David Krumholtz - Bernard

Saturday, November 30, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Heat

I have compiled a list of movies I have seen since as long as I can remember. Now, I am going through that list and just writing down movies that I would like to talk about a little bit. These were surprises, hated movies, and some that just worked their way into my hear unexpectedly. So let us get in deeper:

A buddy-cop comedy about and uptight FBI agent with no friends, who gets paired with the weirdest, but also the best cop in order to take down drug dealers. The two develop a friendship despite being complete opposites, and in the end take down the bad guy in their own way.

I wanted to write truly just a couple of sentences about this movie, because there is absolutely no need to go into detail: This movie is awesome. I honestly did not think that I would like it, because I have seen 300 movies like this already, and well, not all of them hit the right notes when it comes to comedy. And thank god my sister told me to watch it with her, because otherwise I would have written this movie off like all the others with a similar premise.There are always a couple of good jokes, then the forced toilet humor, and of course the predictable ending of the two cops become the best of friends. However, what I did not predict was that this movie would not forget that it is a comedy until the very last scene. I have found myself cry laughing and trying to catch my breathe multiple times. These movies always cast people who are also different on the surface, not just in their personality, and well, I think here that played out better than expected. Bullock and McCarthy had wonderful chemistry on screen, which made me in the end crave for even more of the adventures of these two weird but highly entertaining ladies. I applaud the screenwriter, the director and the casting director, this was a home-run on every front for me and one of the best buddy-cop movies I have seen in the 2000s!

Watch it? Definitely. Be ready to laugh your ass off, and do not look up reviews or spoilers or anything, really, just pop it in and let this wild train you wherever it may go. Trust me, of all the movies out there, this one you do not want to miss! I could be sitting here for hours thinking of bad things to say, but nothing would come to me. For me, this is 10/10.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Sandra Bullock - Ashburn
Dan Bakkedahl - Craig
Taran Killam - Adam
Thomas F. Wilson - Captain Woods 

Monday, November 18, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Breakfast Club

I have compiled a list of movies I have seen since as long as I can remember. Now, I am going through that list and just writing down movies that I would like to talk about a little bit. These were surprises, hated movies, and some that just worked their way into my hear unexpectedly. So let us get in deeper:

Five teens get Saturday morning detention at school, but they come from all angles of the school, and at one point, they can't help but wonder, how did they all get here? As the day progresses, they defy some more laws, but get to know each other better. Detention becomes the one loophole in the high school hierarchy where a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal can become friends.

I was too young when I saw this movie, as I felt related to it, but my English was not perfect and some of the story was lost on me. But as a result, I went and watched it over and over again... and well, I was lucky, there was no real hierarchy when it came to high school for me: there were no cheerleaders or jocks, thankfully. Nonetheless, I knew those people that I would never talk to in my life, and indeed I have not. Somehow, however, life might bring us together in the most unlikely of places, simply because life is unpredictable. These kids suffer a lot, there is plenty material there when it comes to parenting: some of them are neglected, others experience pressure that is hard to deal with at a young age. This is not purely a movie on clicks or bullying, but showcasing that sometimes outside of the family, teachers, schools, the places that children turn to for safety are in fact what may be the cause for distrust.
I am a huge fan of 80s movies, and I find that John Hughes movies stand out for their story telling, their soundtrack, their cast and altogether the experience you go through as an audience member. I feel like I am part of the story, the people on the screen are my friends, or my enemies and I care deeply about how the story unfolds. They remain, however, very down to Earth and true, which makes them far more superior to stories that go overboard to get you interested, either with fantastic elements or simply impossible situations. This movie holds new gems for me every single time when I re-watch it. I do believe that years from now, even when technology will be of second nature to us and especially to teenagers, the lessons that were taught in this story will still be valid.

"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."

Watch it? I think that if you wish to see a story about how high school students who are not merely worrying about their prom dress, or about suicide (which seems to be the new favorite trope in television recently). I am sorry, but many shows that I have seen in the past years focus on tragic outcomes to get the viewer to watch. This movie, with very simple, long scenes, of children sharing their fears and thoughts and dreams made me glued to the screen far more than any other current series in television about high schoolers. I do believe that John Hughes was an amazing and one of a kind director, so let us not try to remake this sensational piece, let's just re-watch it. 

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Emilio Estevez - Andrew Clark
Anthony Michael Hall - Brian Johnson
Judd Nelson - John Bender
Molly Ringwald - Claire Standish
Ally Sheedy - Allison Reynolds
Paul Gleason - Richard Vernon
John Kapelos - Carl

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

What's Next On My List? Looking For Alaska

Just a couple of weeks ago Hulu released its adaptation of John Green's first solo novel "Looking for Alaska". I had previously read the book, not just in the anticipation of the mini-series, but because my girlfriend is a major Green Brothers fan and she introduced me to the world of nerd-fighters and made me realize I was a part of it all along. The more I got to know about these two, the more I grew interested in their works, and as so, I began Green books in order, this being the first. Now that the adaptation has come out, I wish to talk about both the book and the miniseries.

Miles Holter decides to enroll in a high school to get away from his current one, as he has no friends and does not enjoy any aspect of his teen years. Once at Culver Creek he hopes to find something bigger than himself, and he does as he immediately makes friends with his roommate, the Colonel, and his best friends, Alaska and Takumi. Alaska is a mysterious and powerful being that Miles starts to look up to, as her energy to life is something he did not know was possible. As she gets closer to his heart and he finds that the only thing that matters is having her by his side, he loses her. The story concentrates on his loss of Alaska, and how his friends deal with it as well.

"So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."

So a young Chad Micheal Murray and a young Margot Robbie fall in love... fine, it was other actors, but I know who they would have cast if it was indeed shot in 2005. That said, I was blown away by the young actors in this adaptation. The magic about Green's book is that he writes complex young characters, to me even showcasing that we do not see what is under the surface whatsoever. Even though I was a teen myself one day... but they are often misrepresented. I believe that Miles' talk with his mom, after he loses Alaska, was one of the most powerful dialogues ever written: he highlights, that he does not want to be over this, that it isn't fair, that nobody should be forgotten after they are gone. What I also liked is the adults in this adaptation. Of course, since the book was written from Miles' perspective, we do not get to see everyone or get to know at all some of the characters that do have an impact on the life of these teens. The miniseries took seriously the idea of bringing characters to life, from 2D to 3D literally. Even enemies or seemingly distant and impatient teachers revealed to be much more than meets the eye. These people have decided to take care of these children and as people devoted to their professions, it is clear that there is a story to be told there too. I loved the casting and I loved the interactions between the young and the old citizens of Culver Creek.

"We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreperably broken."

Now, I unfortunately had two issues with the book, that just did not let me enjoy the ending, and one of those was very much brought over to the adaptation, although it was made a bit better. First, when the boys are trying to find out what it could have been that triggered Alaska, it drove me insane that none of them thought of the passing of her mom, since when it was revealed it shook everyone. As she yells out that she forgot something, even if I can understand that she would much rather share the happy notion that her anniversary with Jake is on the same date (which OK, were on the same date?), I would still feel like they should have remembered or at least said "Her mom could not have died on her anniversary with Jake, could she?". On top of that, I could not believe that her father, somebody who was completely sane and composed at the funeral in the book would not mention whatsoever that both his daughter and wife died on the same day. Even more so, in the adaptation, where he was crying and drinking... That is why, me knowing that this SHOULD be the link to the question of why she ran off that night, when it did turn out to be that, it was just completely underwhelming... I do not know if I am more of attentive reader with an attention to detail (which is something people have told me) or that the reader was supposed to be in the loop at all times, but when it came to the moral lesson of we will never know, when half the book is about trying to find out why, I was not happy... but the second thing was having given us such in-depth characters, it bothered me that Miles loves this girl so much whom we don't really know anything about. The adaptation approached her portrayal from a much tender angle, making me want to hug her most of the time, which was a very smart thing to do. I might not go so far as to fall in love with her, but I sure wanted to protect her and embrace her. The mystery of who is Alaska, where she comes from and where she is going, might be part of her charm. Of course, our first love is different than all the others, I need to be more open to that, I was told; but nonetheless, I did not know enough about her to feel Miles' love for her, and that really bothered me when I read the book. 

"If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can't know better until knowing better is useless."

Watch it? I do believe you should. It was amazing to me that 2005 is now part of an era, that has defining music and hair cuts, that make it stand apart from the other decades. I for one did like the adaptation more, as it somewhat ironed out questions that I had, and doubts about the relationship between these children. As always, adaptations are never the same as the original, but I do not mind the changes that were made, as they gave out a coherent and beautiful story about losing someone too soon. And hey, I do recommend reading the original if you can!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Charlie Plummer - Miles Halter
Kristine FrosethAlaska Young
Timothy Simons - The Eagle
Ron Cephas Jones - Dr. Hyde
Denny Love - The Colonel
Jay Lee - Takumi
Sofia Vassilieva - Lara Buterskaya

Thursday, October 31, 2019

What's Next On My List? Hocus Pocus

I decided to write about a classic, I have included this in other lists before, but as the news broke that Disney+ is developing a sequel, I felt it fitting to go back to this classic, which has since grown itself into a fan favorite worthy of further discussion.

Three witches that sealed themselves in order to survive the Salem witch trials are awoken by a group of youngsters out trick-or-treating on the night of Halloween. The witches have to re-adjust to the 20th century surrounding them, but their powers are as strong as they were before and our team of youngsters have to be very creative in the way they try to defeat the three witches that appear to be invincible.

I was very young when I first saw this movie, it came out when I was just two years old, and I remembered seeing parts of it, but never the whole movie. When I was a teen my sister got a hold of it and we watched it from beginning to end, only to find out that it was not the major hit that I always thought it was. This movie is still a 6,8 on imdb, and actually people have become fans years after it actually came out. In that regard, I am awesome and hipster because I loved this movie far before others did. I had seen some nostalgia reviews, that pointed out how perhaps the wrong things were in focus (like, virginity and therefore the lack of sexual activity), but I think it flips it around just in time to focus on the fact that this was a good trait of a character rather than a negative one.
I am still scared of this movie to today. It is kind of a nostalgic fear, of course, as I child I did not know how they were going to defeat these witches, and every time they tried, something happened, a spell or a curse that protected them. They managed to keep me entertained and afraid at the same time, which to be honest, is proof of especially good story writing. I look forward to a continuation, although scared that this perfect balance won't be achieved, but perhaps Disney will take proper care of it. I know I wouldn't mind seeing it in the theater and share that experience with a bunch of people in costumes on a Halloween night in the near future.

Watch it? Oh my god, yes! Those movies that become classics do so for a good reason: just because the release time of a movie or the company in charge of production did not do a good job, does not mean that a movie is not outstanding. Some of the best movies in history are under independent companies and will never reach a wide group of people. Funnily, this was a Disney production, and I think even they did not account for its success later. Just to show you: it was released in 1993 and in 2019 we are talking about a sequel... that is over 20 years of fans gathering and requesting this movie, loud enough to reach producers. Or maybe there was a spell cast on us... who knows?

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Bette Midler - Winifred
Kathy Najimy - Mary
Omri Katz - Max
Thora Birch - Dani
Vinessa Shaw - Allison
Doug Jones - Billy Butcherson