Archive for August, 2012
While I love 80s teen movies (Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. I could go on and on…) 90s teen movies hit closer to home for me since they were released when I was a teen. And now that I’m almost 29-years-old I think a lot of those movies still hold up and are still funny. And they also have killer soundtracks because in the 90s that actually mattered. Here are my top five favorites and the reasons why I think they continue to stand the test of time:
Empire Records – It’s no surprise that I still love a movie about kids working at a record store because a) I dig music and b) I was that kid. But Empire Records is so quotable and so fun and so full of quality actors. How great was it when Warren gets busted for buying CDs that were “rap, metal, rap, metal and Whitney Houston?” Don’t tell me you don’t remember the “Sinead O’Rebellion” line! How about Renee Zellwegger’s Gina freaking out over Cory’s (Liv Tyler) perfection and then singing “Sugar High” with Coyote Shivers on the roof of the record store? Yeah, it doesn’t get better than that.
Clueless – Before this movie Alicia Silverstone was famous for starring in Aerosmith videos with her buddy Liv Tyler. Post-Clueless she became Cher Horowitz for life. Not because she dressed well, had a remote-controlled closet and a cell phone when no else did, but because she made being a rich snobby Beverly Hills princess likable and funny. There are also stealthily tossed in adult comedic one-liners throughout the movie. One of my favorite gems: “My plastic surgeon doesn’t want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose. Well, there goes your social life.” And who could forget Travis Birkenstock’s (Breckin Meyer) tardiness speech? Classic.
Can’t Hardly Wait –While I think Jennifer Love Hewitt is one of the worst actresses ever she does a good job of playing the popular girl who is all hair and no personality. She is also joined by a group of actors who play their teen stereotypes very well. My favorite is Seth Green as “Special K” who gives speeches like: “92 percent of the women at UCLA are walking around going, ‘Class or sex? What shall I do?’ I roll up on that shorty be like, ‘What’s up yo?’ she be like, ‘You don’t know 20 different ways to make me call you Big Poppa’ cuz I don’t yo.” I also love watching the nerdy kid sing “Paradise City” even though the actual band who is supposed to perform at the party never plays a single song.
Varsity Blues – A football movie starring a post-Dawson’s Creek James Van Der Beek that takes place in Texas? Why not! This movie is probably best known for the whip-cream scene and the “Hot For Teacher” strip club scene and while those parts of the movie are hysterical, what I like about this movie is that there is more going on than high school dances and popularity contests. What gives this movie teeth is the fact that it features a racist nutjob coach played brilliantly by Jon Voight who throws chairs at players and encourages them to shoot up if it gets the points on the board and some seriously unhinged parents who put football before everything else.
American Pie – This movie bleeds 90s. Examples: The flannel shirts, Tara Reid actually looks like human being, the kid from Rookie of the Year is a grownup, a webcam is the new cool thing and Blink 182 makes a cameo! Like Varsity Blues, this movie has its “classic” scenes like the pie incident, the naked dancing that the whole school sees over the Internet and the Casey Affleck call-in cameo with that ridiculously large cell phone. American Pie is as funny as it is shocking and although it has its disgusting moments there is so much about this movie that is so high school. And the homage to The Graduate with Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) is something no one is forgetting anytime soon.
Once we crossed over into the “new millennium” (haha such a 90s term) the teen movies kind of faded away. Will there be a resurgence? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
When I first saw ads for the “six-episode miniseries” titled Political Animals I wasn’t sure I was interested. A behind the scenes look at a political family in the White House? I felt like I’d seen it before – West Wing anyone? Also, two of the main female actresses are not my favorite. I don’t love Sigourney Weaver (although she ended up being ok in this show) and then I saw that annoying and ubiquitous Carla Gugino (Entourage, Californication) was in it too who I’m not a fan of because she plays the same role in every television show. She’s always the hardass, hard-working woman who wears six inch heels and makes six figures – and her forced dialogue gets old. She plays a very significant role as a journalist who has spent her time trying to bring down the First Family but eventually becomes an unlikely ally.
Even with all of my reservations I still set my DVR to record to record the six episodes. Speaking of which, that was another reason I was rolling my eyes at this show. What the hell is a six-episode miniseries? Have our attention spans grown so short that we can’t possibly follow a storyline for a whole television season? I did some research and apparently USA decided to pitch Political Animals as a “limited-series television event” because that approach worked for the History channel, which drew about 14 million viewers nightly, its largest audience ever, to its Hatfields & McCoys mini-series. Ok fine, I thought to myself, six episodes it is.
Weaver portrays Elaine Barrish, a divorced former First Lady and Governor of Illinois, as well as the current Secretary of State. While her character does have some similarities to Hillary Clinton, Weaver has said in interviews that the show is “very much about families who have been in the White House and the price they’ve paid for being in the White House.” Through the series, Weaver played an embarrassed yet politically powerful wife very well as she commanded respect without coming off like a scorned wife even though she had every right to act that way. (Julianna Margulies does a better job of this in The Good Wife but that’s neither here nor there).
Barrish’s husband Bud was a popular President of the United States during the 1990s despite his extramarital affairs (hello Bill Clinton!). After leaving the White House, Barrish was elected Governor of Illinois and ran for the Democratic nomination but lost to opponent Paul Garcetti. The night Barrish conceded the nomination, she asked her husband for a divorce. Two years later, as Garcetti’s Secretary of State, Barrish deals with State Department issues while trying to keep her family together.
Although the show is definitely smart and well-written, listening to Bud’s southern accent while looking at his cartoonish face was hard for the first few episodes. Also, Bud and Elaine’s sons fall right into a stereotype that is boring and predicable: one son is gay, a drug addict and suicidal (TJ) while the other is the perfect citizen and is Barrish’s Chief of Staff (Doug). Then there is the alcoholic former showgirl grandmother – a fabulous Ellen Burstyn – and Doug’s beautiful but bulimic fiancé who add to the crazy factor.
The first three episodes were fair but the final three were riveting television – so much so that I wanted to see more. I think part of the reason this show didn’t become an enormous hit is that everything was rushed – the sequence of events, the character development and the juicy action that goes along with it. That being said the finale left a lot of questions unanswered and drew in 2.3 million viewers so anything is possible. Maybe this political drama won’t be so limited after all…
What is it about these professional athletes who garner press for changing their names to something ridiculous and then end up getting more press for doing something even more ludicrous – i.e. hurting people. On April 25 I wrote a post called “Artest The Menace” in which I called out Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace) for purposefully injuring James Harden and virtually getting away with it. Well, that is not the case with Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson.
Johnson was arrested this weekend for domestic violence after he allegedly head-butted his wife, Evelyn Lozada, in front of their home. Johnson was arrested after police found Lozada with lacerations on her forehead. She told police that she confronted her husband after finding a receipt for condoms in the trunk of their car, which turned into a heated argument. She later fled to a neighbor’s house and called 911. Johnson was released yesterday on $2,500 bond after spending the night in jail.
According to reports, Johnson, who was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl six times and named an All-Pro three times, claims he “accidently” bumped Lozada’s head with his. Riiiiight…and Ron Artest “accidentally” gave James Harden a concussion.
The difference between Artest and Johnson is that the latter is facing serious consequences for his actions. The Miami Dolphins dropped the wide receiver from his contract and VH1 announced it would not air the couple’s reality show, Ev & Ocho, even though it has already finished production and was slated to premiere on September 3.
Not only is Johnson unemployed, but now he is going to have to deal with a domestic violence reputation and is facing a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if he’s convicted.
With so much social media going on these days, sports teams, televisions networks and other sources of entertainment don’t screw around when it comes to public image – something Johnson should know considering in April 2011, CNBC listed the then-Ochocinco as #1 on the list of “Most Influential Athletes In Social Media.” Everyone and their mother has an iPhone, camera phone, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. and information spreads incredibly fast. There was no way this wasn’t going to get out and both the Miami Dolphins and VH1 were clearly looking to make an example out of Johnson.
It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will Johnson get convicted? Will another team pick him up or is his professional football career over? In the meantime, I highly recommend that athletes keep their given names and keep their hands, feet, objects and foreheads to themselves.