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Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Better Off Dead

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

August 23, 1985

The success of movies like FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and SIXTEEN CANDLES kicked off a wave of teen films in the ‘80s, but the ones that came out in the Summer of ’85 were not typical of the genre. Most of the season’s movies about high school kids involved some sort of fantastical element (BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE HEAVENLY KID, WEIRD SCIENCE, MY SCIENCE PROJECT – and I guess the younger GOONIES and EXPLORERS count too). The most straight ahead, down to earth teen movies were THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN and REAL GENIUS, neither of which were exactly standard issue.

And BETTER OFF DEAD is an even odder one. It has a pretty normal premise (high school kid gets depressed when his girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team, thinks he can get her back by defeating said captain in a ski race), but it’s filtered through the distinct humor of first time writer/director Savage Steve Holland. Though I don’t personally hold it in nearly the same reverence, I think it has a little bit in common with PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, in that it’s a comedy with its own distinct tone and deadpan presentation of absurdity brought to us by a rookie whose ignorance about how to make a normal movie works as a strength. On a more superficial level, it uses little bits of animation (including stop motion), and jokingly applies thriller film techniques to silly things (for example, using horror movie synths and atmosphere whenever the paperboy shows up looking for his $2). Burton and Holland are also the same age, both went to CalArts, and both worked as animators before becoming live action directors (in Holland’s case creating the famous “Whammy” animations for the game show Press Your Luck). (read the rest of this shit…)

Can’t Hardly Wait

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

June 12, 1998

CAN’T HARDLY WAIT is a summer of ’98 teen comedy that seems to mean something to people who were the right age then. I’m too old, but for some reason I saw it back then and it didn’t work on me. And now I gave it another shot.

It’s a one-day-right-after-graduation story in the tradition of AMERICAN GRAFFITI or DAZED AND CONFUSED or BLADE [citation needed], centering around a party where Preston (Ethan Embry, LATE PHASES) is trying to get up the guts to talk to his secret crush Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, GARFIELD) because he heard she broke up with her jock asshole boyfriend Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli, TWILIGHT). Preston thinks he can win her over by giving her a love letter he’s been revising for four years. Good luck with that one, pal. He drags along his cynical best friend Denise (Lauren Ambrose, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE), who I was relieved to realize does not have an unrequited crush on him (in fact they laugh about having briefly dated in middle school). She’s very unhappy and ignored at the party, which obviously means she’ll have her rocky heart softened by an unexpected love connection or some shit, but she’s the most charming and relatable character, the one who seems like she probly wouldn’t like this movie, and I’m sure the main reason why some people do. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fat Kid Rules the World

Monday, February 4th, 2013

tn_fatkidrulestheworldThe only reason I heard of this indie teen movie is because it was filmed in Seattle. That’s kind of novel to us because most Seattle-based movies are really filmed in Vancouver (BATTLE OF SEATTLE, HOLLOW MAN 2, TRUE JUSTICE) or even, in the case of CHRONICLE, Cape Town, South Africa. Kelsey Grammer wanted to film Frasier in Cape Town, but he moved it to protest the end of apartheid. That’s a joke, Kelsey, I’m just busting your balls. Thanks for reading.

Anyway this is good for Seattle people to spot recognizable locations, and it’s not supposed to be Everytown, USA like WORLD’S GREATEST DAD, so they mention or make visual reference to Seattle clubs (Neumo’s, Comet Tavern) and institutions (Seahawks, Sounders, SIFF, Easy Street Records [R.I.P. Queen Anne location]). But the great thing is that it’s also a real movie, a sweet underdog story with real emotion and surprising nuance. And it’s directed by Matthew Lillard of SCREAM and SCOOBY-DOO fame. I’m impressed.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Monday, May 21st, 2012

tn_tmntTEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) is a martial arts fantasy produced by Raymond Chow and Golden Harvest (ENTER THE DRAGON), with excellent animatronic and puppet effects by Jim Henson, and impressively agile fight and stunt sequences involving people in full body rubber creature suits. It has early performances by Elias Koteas and Sam Rockwell, and stuntwork by Ernie Reyes Jr. One major problem, though: it’s about teenage mutant ninja turtles.
(read the rest of this shit…)