Review: The Princess Diaries (2001)

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“I don’t want to rule my own country, I just want to pass the tenth grade.”
– Mia Thermopolis

SYNOPSIS: Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her 15th year.

My goodness, I have’t seen this movie in years, and it recently ended up on my radar again when Natasha watched and reviewed these. I should say that while I saw these, I never read the books, and don’t really plan to. I watched this movie so many times as a kid, it was ridiculous, and I really liked it. Don’t even judge me monkeys. I was wondering how it would hold up on rewatch all these years later, and I must say that I was quite impressed for a multitude of reasons.

The Princess Diaries is never going to be the greatest movie of all time or anything like that, but it is highly amusing and comes together very well… or that is just my nostalgia. Anne Hathaway was still a sweet young girl here, and Julie Andrews brings so much class and elegance to the table as Queen Clarisse. The characters are plenty fun, too, and Joe is a fan favourite, of course. His relationship with Queen Clarisse had me cheering, and the way he befriended Mia was simply adorable. Plus his comic timing? The hearse bit? So good. It’s got a preposterous story, to be sure, and is a real chick flick for teens thing, but there are worse thing that the movie can be. It is also handled way better than you would expect.

Speaking of Mia, I think I liked this so much growing up because she, too, is just an awkward turkey that is struggling to find somewhere she belongs. She is also, stupidly, crushing on that waste of time and space Josh, something that confused me even when I was younger when there is the best option of them all – Michael. Seriously – M&M addiction? Musician? Sweetheart? And she is lusting after that blonde loser? WHY?!

The music for this movie is so typical of films of this time, and is just plain awkward and not really my cup of tea. Nor should it be. It was quite the drawback for me. Also typical of movies like this, there are a load of side characters that are there, and stories/incidents are simply thrown in and forgotten about, not making the story as robust or complete as it should have been. Lastly – all these people from Europe, and no/few accents? Lies!

The Princess Diaries is actually pretty fun, even years after the fact. I am not sure if that is because I loved it then and the nostalgia remains, or what. Either way. There is some silly humour in here and the movie is just fun, some totally insane incidents occur and overall it is carried by a decent cast. Pure popcorn entertainment, but it works. Well worth the watch, if you ask me.

Rapid Review: The Kings of Summer (2013)

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kings of summer poster

“You’re right, it’s a classic kidnapping. They took our children and the canned goods and pasta.”
– Frank

SYNOPSIS: Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. – via IMDB

kings of summer 2

GRADE 7I kept reading good things about this movie, and a lot of people called it a hidden gem film. Eventually I decided to get around to it over the holidays, and I found that I quite liked it. There was nothing new about the coming-of-age story that it told, though it was still heartwarming and surprisingly hilarious at times. I had a really great laugh at the botched Monopoly game ending in a police visit – seriously, that is taking Monopoly to the extreme! I thought the cast was very good and they were all well worth watching. Nick Robinson’s Joe was sweet and depressed and strange, with a bizarre outlook on life and a mustache that really needed to be sorted out, and shared fantastic chemistry with Gabriel Basso’s Patrick, a character I somewhat pitied. Imagine having such overbearing parents! I can totally understand the desperation to get away. Moises Arias’s Biaggio cracked me up. It was just so funny to watch him, he was beyond weird. His aversion to authority was hysterical. Nick Offerman was such an unlikeable being as Frank, and you can totally grasp Joe’s frustration with his father. This was a great flick to watch for those boys-will-be-boys moment, and has you thinking of back when you were younger and the crazy and ridiculous shenanigans you would get up to. I mean, I grew up in a farm in South Africa (back when it was safe) and I lived on some stunning islands when I was younger, too, and no matter what, I would find myself exploring daily, building “homes”, being an awesome Indiana Jones adventurer, it was so much fun. There was no such thing as a dull moment or this bizarre notion of watching TV when I was growing up. Watching this got me all nostalgic. I really liked the flow of the movie, it just sort of breezes along, and you feel that you are a part of this adventure the boys are undertaking, or like it is a summer remembered by friends, how it all came together. It’s a nice feeling. The Kings of Summer was charming and sweet and carried by solid performances from the three leads, and is certainly worth looking into.