February Blind Spot Review: Sixteen Candles (1984)

4

“That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.”
– Jim Baker

SYNOPSIS: A girl’s “sweet” sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. – via IMDB

Alright, so we know that John Hughes is like super popular and all these things, and I have watched some but not all of his movies. I love The Breakfast Club while I completely loathe Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so I was figured I should check out another one of his movies that I have heard so much about but never actually watched. Now I have. And, well… okay.

I wasn’t a fan of this. I didn’t hate it, and it had moments, and let me tell you, having your family forget your sixteenth seriously blows (true story, I actually know this feeling). Hughes captured the complete teenage-ness of Samantha and her life, and I think Molly Ringwald was totally the right choice to play sullen, sulky Samantha.

I have always heard a lot of bitching about a rapey angle of this between Jake and the Geek and Caroline, and let me tell you, now that I have watched it, I get it. That arc was so not cool. Basically like giving the girl away like she was a commodity, not caring what happened, all that. I don’t want to get into it too much, but just know that the whole situation was just not cool man. ICK.

John Cusack is adorable, as always, and I could totally have done with more of him. In fact, the most entertainment for me came from the interactions between Bryce, Cliff, and the Geek, even if at times they were a touch inappropriate. Then there was the silly but fun story line of Long Duk Dong. What an unexpectedly crazy character to make his way into this.

Anyway, I thought that Sixteen Candles to be an alright watch, maybe not the best of all time, but it wasn’t bad. There were aspects that I liked and aspects that I didn’t, and while it won’t be something I will be checking out again (probably), I don’t regret having ticked it off my watch list.

Blind Spot Series 2017 Rankings

6

So, another year gone, another twelve movies crossed off of my Blind Spot list. For the most part, I had particularly good movies this year. For the most part…

Anyway, as always, I decided to rank them all here.

12. Deliverance (1972)

Well. This. Fuck this movie. I will say it again, fuck this movie. Yep, totally hated it. I am sure you all remember the Shitfest-worthy meltdown I had about this. If you don’t, you are more than welcome to head on back to the review linked above to see how I raged. Ugh…

11. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Certainly not an underrated gem as I was led to believe, I was so amped to finally watch this gangster movie and was totally let down by it. What a waste of nearly four hours of my life!

10. Cronos (1993)

While I am always up for Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish works, this one was not nearly as great as I was hoping it would be. It was not a bad movie by a long shot, but it does not stand equal to The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth.

9. The Road (2009)

Dark, depressing, apocalyptic, The Road definitely paints a super depressing, far more realistic apocalyptic future than these movies usually portray. Viggo Mortensen is exellent, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also holds his own in the bleak movie. Worth the watch!

8. Say Anything (1989)

So pleased to have seen this –  it is one of those movies that is referenced all over the show, and I have never really known how it all fit in. Man, Lloyd Dobler is absolutely adorable and the boombox over the head scene finally makes sense now. Say Anything is sweet, but not to soppy your stomach churns. Enjoyed this one!

7. The Help (2011)

Okay, so right off the bat, this is not unpredictable, but that doesn’t make it bad. The Help is rather formulaic, and shies away from some of the sick history it is steeped in, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t find other ways to run home the story. There are terribly sad moments, moments that will make you mad, and some great sections with some fantastic humour, and the movie has heart. The cast, too, definitely sold this one.

6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but I really liked this one. I thought it was funny and shot really well and rather strange, but it all worked. I would like to rewatch it and see if it holds up as well. I must admit, this is where I finally understood Tom Hiddleston’s appeal to the world – before he was just a decent actor. After this? Impressed. Plus I liked the humour in this. So deadpan. Swinton and Hiddleston make this a treat.

5. The Orphanage (2007)

Another one of those cult classic type movies I have vowed for years to get to and just never did, 2017 was the year that changed. The Orphanage is haunting, sad, beautiful and creepy, and has a solid story as a strong psychological aspect to it, making it a movie that gets under your skin and lingers long after, not just a typical, generic horror movie at all.

4. JFK (1991)

Conspiracy theories galore! Naturally this was totally going to be my cup of tea, and it totally was. There were some solid performances and I was particularly interested in how Stone would set out his case for JFK’s assassination. While I feel that it was heavy handed in forcing his interpretation of events down the viewer’s throat, if you watch this as a theory and not as the gospel of the answers to JFK’s assassination, you are in for a good time. Great starting point for those not too familiar with the intricacies of the infamous case.

3. City of God (2002)

I can see why this movie is so popular – it is so not an easy watch, but it is engaging, gritty, violent, realistic, and truly gets you thinking. It tells a super solid story and it draws you in, getting you invested in some characters from this nasty slum. It is depressing and yet completely enthralling, something I can see myself revisiting.

2. Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart man, what an actor. The man is amazing, and with Grace Kelly at his side, the duo was bound to impress. Hitchcock, too, weaves a tense one-room story, which is carried and fleshed out completely by a talented cast. The tension is palpable, the story is smart and engaging, and the pacing is just right. Rear Window is a well-crafted movie and definitely worth the time.

1. Atonement (2007)

Ah, Atonement. Where do we even start? My goodness, what a watch. While it is not completely perfect or shocking, and it is predictable in places, it is handled so well and is shot brilliantly – truly, what beautiful shots. James McAvoy is absolutely perfect here, sweeping us all up so completely in Robbie. Keira Knightley, too,  managed to not work on my last nerve. The two work together well, and Atonement tells one hell of a story, a journey I both loved and resented in equal measure. I thought it was told so well, and some details were handled with such aplomb. What a movie, though certainly not a light, easy watch.

January Blind Spot Review: Say Anything (1989)

8

say-anything-poster

“What I really want to do with my life – what I want to do for a living – is I want to be with your daughter. I’m good at it.”
– Lloyd Dobler

SYNOPSIS: A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.- via IMDB

say-anything-car-kiss

GRADE 8Ah man, this was actually so sweet. I know the iconic image of John Cusack with a boombox, and I know it comes from this, but it was really cool to finally see what this is all about. I really appreciated the fact that Say Anything isn’t overly soppy or drowning under sexual innuendo. Instead it was pretty smart, witty, and had heart.

Obviously one cannot talk about this movie and overlook John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler. He was perfectly cast, and is adorable, lovable, sweet and fun, and I love what he does for Diane. I can totally see him having quite the following. Gosh, they way he was around her, and the way he moved the glass, and… and… there was so much about Lloyd that was awesome. That being said, Diane Court was also a great character. The whole movie pretty much revolves around Lloyd’s love for her, and the drama with her father, and she truly is essential to the story. Also, let’s not forget just how delightful her and Lloyd were together, you root for them every step of the way. It was great just to watch them chill together, to just be, and to see how their relationship develops.

say-anything-glass

The relationship between Diane and her father was a good one. They were really open and honest with each other, and Diane could share a lot with him. He was sweet, supportive and yes, he was pushy, too, but he meant well. Unfortunately it seems that Diane was more open with her father than the other way around. Jim Court also respected his daughter, and that is something that scores some major points. Man, what a conflicted character. The movie is so eighties, but I really liked that.

The pacing for this is great. Really. Nothing is rushed, nothing dragged, it comes together really well in that sense. Also, you are captivated from the off. It comes across as honest, especially when you watch the interactions between the characters. The film manages to balance the comedy and the drama, so it isn’t forcing for laughs, but it isn’t wallowing in too much seriousness, either.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this one. It looked great, it sounded great, Lloyd was a sweetheart, and Skye and Cusack had lovely chemistry together. I can see why this was popular, and I am sure that this is something I will rewatch. It is filled with quick dialogue and heartwarming moments, totally worth a look see if you haven’t checked this out already.

say-anything-hug

Review: 1408 (2007)

36

1408_mech_052407.indd

“They say you can’t die in your dreams… is that true?”
– Mike Enslin

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a washout author of true supernatural events. Since his daughter Katie’s (Jasmine Jessica Anthony) death and split from his wife Lily (Mary McCormack) he has become rather embittered and disenchanted with the world. He does not believe in hauntings, etc. though he makes his bread and butter from it. While on a book signing tour, he received a postcard titillating about room 1408 at The Dolphin, a hotel in New York City. Naturally Mike moves on to go and see what is so “haunted” about this hotel. Nobody wants to give him a room, and eventually Mike resorts to quoting the law. Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson) is the hotel manager, and tries his best to dissuade Mike from staying in 1408. Mike has done his research, and knows that some strange things have happened here, but is unconvinced of its authenticity.

1408 mike researching and working

“Hotels are a naturally creepy place… Just think, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many… died?” – Mike Enslin

Olin really makes things difficult for Mike, and Mike is sure that Olin is only hyping the place up, and ultimately makes the decision to stay in 1408, no matter what Olin has to say. Olin tells Mike that fifty six people have died in 1408 over the past ninety five years, and that most of them couldn’t even survive their first hour. Olin has done all he can to warn Mike off, and takes Mike up to the floor when Mike continually insists that there is nothing up there, that the paranormal does not exist. Mike enters the room and starts recording his findings on his little cassette player, making jokes and mockeries. The room is dull and mediocre, leading Mike to believe that there really is a ridiculous hype over nothing, just a ploy to bring in more customers.

1408 olin and mike arguing

“I will let you have this, give you access to my office, you can take notes and put it all in your book. My only condition… is that you do not stay in that room.” – Gerald Olin

Soon, though, things start to go wrong. Little things, nothing too major, and Mike is convinced that someone is playing with him, holding Olin accountable for the trickery. The digital clock in the room later flicks to “60:00”, and Mike finds it humourous that he has a timer now to count down whether or not he can brave an hour. However, it soon turns out that something may very well be wrong with the room, and Mike can no longer disregard the obviously supernatural occurrences surrounding him. Spectral hallucinations take the front and centre and terrible nightmarish thought occur to him. Mike has also found that he cannot leave the room, and desperately tries to contact Lily, his estranged wife.

1408 mike and the noose

“Why do you think people believe in ghosts? For fun? No. It’s the prospect of something after death.” – Gerald Olin

Is 1408 truly haunted? Will Olin come to Mike’s aid, even after making it abundantly clear that he would not be involved with whatever happened? Will Mike survive his hour? Will he go on to write a book with a fresh finesse now that he has experienced something so blatantly supernatural? Does Mike now believe in the paranormal he has for so long refuted?

I would score 1408 a 7/10. I actually enjoyed this movie up until the point where it got messy, but it went ahead and recovered itself, too, so it has a saving grace. Gotta say though the poster is utter rubbish. John Cusack played Mike Enslin so well – cocky, tired of life, and dispirited. Samuel L Jackson was quite entertaining as the hotel manager and gives a few laughs, as well as sets the tone for the formidable and sinister which he believes to reside in room 1408. Enslin’s total disregard for what could happen in there is what lends credibility to the events that do transpire. I thought it was well done when he walked through the rooms and it flashed the victims at their relevant places. The film was progressing just fine, and when things started going faulty in 1408 I could deal with it too. It was all good. But then it was sort of like it lost the plot halfway through, too much messed up and creepy tried to be squashed in, making it nothing short of overly annoying and slightly comical. The film does redeem itself, shockingly, towards the last quarter and manages to keep in with a good pace for the remainder of the duration and settled on a decent conclusion for the tale it told. All in all it was a lot of fun for what it was.