Archive for Catholic school

Superstar

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Mary Katherine Gallagher (Shannon) is an Irish-American Catholic school girl and social outcast in a Catholic high school. She wants to be a superstar so she can get a kiss from Sky Corrigan (Ferrell). When Mary is sent to Special Education, she makes a new best friend, the tomboyish and equally socially-awkward Helen Lewengrub (Emmy Laybourne).

Mary sees her chance to become a superstar when her school promotes a talent show. She wants to try out, but Grandma Gallagher (Glynis Johns), will not let her. Mary tries out anyway, and when she goes to sign up, a stereotypical cheerleader, Evian Carrie Graham (Elaine Hendrix), gets in a fight with her. The fight causes Evian and Sky to break up, and now Sky is a “single hunk of beefcake on the rebound”. Mary is now determined to get in the talent show so Sky will notice her. When Grandma Gallagher finds out that her granddaughter got into the talent show, she finally tells the truth about how her parents died – they were stomped to death while performing in a Riverdance-like competition. This is why Grandma Gallagher is against her granddaughter performing.

However, Grandma Gallagher decides to help Mary do her act in the talent show, as long as she performs for herself. Mary and the other Special Education students spend days practicing. Mary wins the competition as well as Sky’s heart. When she kisses Sky though, she discovers he is a horrible kisser and chooses to kiss her friend Slater (Harland William) instead.

REVIEW:

I remember watching Saturday Nigh Live back in the early-mid 90s (when it was still funny) and loving the sketches with Mary Katherine Gallagher. I never thought, though, that she’d make a good movie.

Superstar takes the character from the SNL stage to the big screen, and quite successfully.

The good…this is a pretty funny, and at times corny/cheesy, film. A few reviews I’ve read about this flick have said that they didn’t connect with Mary Katherine or feel any remorse for her. For me, this was not true, though. Molly Shannon improves on her character, as one would expect, from the small to the big screen, and adds a bit of depth to her. I liked the fact that she was given a best friend who was just about, if not more, um…special than she. Glynnis Johns, best known as the mother from Mary Poppins, does a pretty good job as the grandmother, who apparently has a Broadway background.

The bad…well, there is the obvious rivalry between the nerdy girl and the cheerleader for the affections of the school hunk. Mary Katherine’s special ed class is full of interesting characters, especially the devil worshipper chick (you can just imagine what they could have done with her, especially since this IS a Catholic school). I’m not real sure what was up with the Jesus hallucinations, especially when Harland Williams saw the exact same version that Mary Katherine did. Something just wasn’t right about that. I know he works in mysterious ways and all that jazz, but seriously, they couldn’t have at least changed his clothes for his appearance to a different person?

 Saturday Night Live films haven’t exactly been the best, with the exception of the original Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, and to a lesser extent The Coneheads. Superstar falls in the category of those that don’t suck. While not being a bane on the existance of cinema, it is far from being a well made film. It has plenty of funny moments, but the plot is paper-thin and just doesn’t work. Luckily, a strong performance from Molly Shannon keeps this thing going (having Will Ferrell as a pretty boy jock helps, too). Still, I can’t give this thing too much love. It just isn’t anything more than average.

3 out of 5 stars

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

The four “altar boys” in the film are best friends attending a private Catholic school, St. Agatha’s in New Jersey in the 1970s. They smoke cigarettes, drink, smoke pot, and rebel in normal, somewhat intellectual ways. (For instance, they examine William Blake’s poetry for subversive content). Francis Doyle is the protagonist, while Tim Sullivan is his best friend. Francis, Tim, and their two best buddies work on a comic book called the Atomic Trinity (shown in animated bits throughout the film), with the characters of Major Screw, Captain Ass-Kicker, the Muscle (later Skeleton Boy), and Brakken. In the animated comic book sections, the archvillain is an evil motorcycle-riding nun named Peg-Leg (based on an overly strict St. Agatha’s teacher, Sister Assumpta). Sorcerella (based on fellow student Margie) is a minor female character in the comic. She and Francis develop a flirtation that leads to a relationship.

REVIEW:

Independent films tend to be really well filmed and have excellent scripts and stories, but just don’t appeal to me and/or bore me. The exception to this rule are early Kevin Smith films. However, this film, for me was pretty ok.

Long before he would go on to star in The Girl Next Door and Speed Racer, Emile Hirsch shows off some young acting chops in his role as Frances. This has to be the most emotion I’ve seen him show on screen, and just goes to show that he has more talent than we’ve been led to believe.

Kieran Culkin is arguably a better actor than his more famous brother, Macauley. Although his role is pretty sizable, it is at the same time short of being a lead role, but actual in between lead and supporting. He does it justice, though, and you really feel for him at the end.

It seems as if every film I see Jena Malone in, she’s portraying a Catholic school girl. I hope this isn’t type-casting. Putting that aside, this role has her as the tragic female lead and she really pulls it off giving it all she has and then some. I hope that she gets some bigger roles in the future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about what may be the best part, which is the animation that is beautifully drawn by Todd McFarlane. It really changes things up and keeps this film from getting uber-depressing.

As far as films go, this isn’t the best in the world, but it is pretty good. I kind of expected it to be a bit more twisted, but was pleased with it as it. This isn’t a picture for everyone, but for those that want to, it can be very enjoyable.

3 out of 5 stars