Archive for Kieran Culkin

Movie 43

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film is composed of multiple comedy shorts presented through an overarching segment titled “The Pitch”, in which Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid), a mad screenwriter, is attempting to pitch a script to film executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). After revealing several of the stories in his script, Wessler becomes agitated when Schraeder dismisses his outrageous ideas, and he pulls a gun on him and forces him to listen to multiple other stories before making Schraeder consult his manager, Bob Mone (Common), to purchase the film. When they do so, Mone’s condescending attitude toward Schraeder angers him to the point that, after agreeing to make the film “the biggest film since Howard the Duck”, he confronts Mone in the parking lot and tries to humiliate him. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder with more story ideas to no avail, and the segment ends with it being revealed that it is being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.

Having recently moved, Anna and Sean have coffee with their new neighbors. The neighbors, Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) have a teenage son, Kevin (Jeremy Allen White), whom they have home-schooled. Anna and Sean begin inquiring about the homeschooling, and the numerous manners in which Robert and Samantha have replicated a high school environment within their home, going as far as hazing, bullying, and giving out detentions, are humorously revealed. They also throw high school parties and Samantha simulates Kevin’s “first kiss” with him. Visibly disturbed, the neighbors end up meeting Kevin, who says he is going out and gives them the impression that all is fine: until he reveals a doll made of a mop with Samantha’s face on it, referring to the doll as his girlfriend.

Julie (Anna Faris) and Doug (Chris Pratt) have been in a relationship for a year. When he attempts to propose to her, she reveals to him that she is a coprophiliac, and asks him to defecate on her in the bedroom. Urged by his best friend Larry (J.B. Smoove) and others to go along with it, he eats a large meal and drinks a bottle of laxative prior to the event. Wanting foreplay, Julie is angered when Doug wants to finish, and she runs into the street. Chasing after her, he is then hit by a car and graphically evacuates his bowels everywhere. She cradles him and apologizes; covered and surrounded by his excrement on the road, she exclaims that it is the “most beautiful thing” she has ever seen and accepts his marriage proposal. (In the end credits, Julie and Doug are mistakenly re-named Vanessa and Jason by Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Carr, Peter Farrelly, and Charles B. Wessler).

Neil (Kieran Culkin) is working a night shift at a local grocery store. His ex-girlfriend, Veronica (Emma Stone), comes through his line and the two begin arguing, which soon turns into sexual discussion and flirtation as they humorously lament over their relationship; unbeknownst to them, Neil’s intercom microphone broadcasts the entire explicit conversation throughout the store, where various elderly people and vagrants tune in. After she leaves in tears, the customers agree to cover his shift while he goes after her.

Robin (Justin Long) and his cohort Batman (Jason Sudeikis) are in Gotham City at a speed dating establishment seeking out a bomb threat by their arch nemesis, Penguin (John Hodgman). While Robin attempts to connect with various women through speed dating—including Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bell)—Batman encounters his ex, Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb), and attempts to stop Penguin from detonating Supergirl, who later turns out to be the Riddler (Will Carlough) in disguise, which Batman already knew and was screwing with Robin, who kissed “her” moments before unveiling. (Early during production, this sketch was formerly titled “Robin’s Big Speed Date”.)

A faux-PSA about kids stuck in machines and how adults’ criticism of these particular machines affect the feelings of the children stuck inside the machines. This commercial was paid for by the society for the prevention of cruelty to children inside machines.

A developing company is having a meeting in their headquarters over their newly released product, the “iBabe”, which is a life-sized, realistic replica of a nude woman which functions as an MP3 player. The boss (Richard Gere), listens to his various workers (Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi, and Jack McBrayer) argue over the placement of a fan that was built into the genital region of the iBabe, which is dismembering the penises of teenage boys who attempt to have sex with them. The board members then agree to strongly emphasise the dangers of the product via its new commercials.

Nathan (Jimmy Bennett) and Amanda (Chloë Grace Moretz) are watching television after school at Nathan’s house as their first “middle school” date. When they begin to kiss, his older brother Mikey (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) enters the living room and makes fun of them. Amanda then discovers she is menstruating and tries to hide it, and when Nathan sees blood on her pants, he panics and believes her to be bleeding to death, causing a debacle, which would later have Nathan and Amanda’s fathers (Patrick Warburton and Matt Walsh) involved.

Another faux-commercial; this time it now involves two women and Tampax as the two women are swimming in an ocean and a shark suddenly appears and graphically eats one of the women.

Pete (Johnny Knoxville) captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for his roommate Brian (Seann William Scott) as a birthday present. After tying the leprechaun up in the basement, they demand he give them a pot of gold. The obscene leprechaun threatens that his brother is coming to save him. When he arrives, Brian and Pete are shot at but ultimately kill both leprechauns. At the end of the segment, Pete reveals he has also caught a fairy (Esti Ginzburg) who performs fellatio for gold coins.

Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired with typical first dates, Emily challenges Donald to a game of truth or dare. She dares him to grab a man’s buttocks, and he follows with daring her to blow out the birthday candles on a blind boy’s cake. The game rapidly escalates to extremes, in which both of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate themselves.

Set in 1959, Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) is lecturing his basketball team before their first game against an all-white team. Worried about losing the game, the timid players are lectured by Coach Jackson about their superiority in the sport over their white counterparts, which he expresses vulgarly. When the game ensues, the all-white team loses miserably and rejoices in a single point they earn.

Amy (Elizabeth Banks) worries that her boyfriend Anson’s (Josh Duhamel) cat, Beezel (an animated cartoon), is coming between their relationship. Beezel seems to detest Amy and anyone who comes between him and Anson, but Anson only sees Beezel as innocent. One day, Amy witnesses Beezel masturbating to summer vacation photos of Anson in a swimsuit. Beezel attacks her and violently urinates on her. Anson still finds his pet innocent but Amy threatens to leave if he doesn’t get rid of Beezel. Caring more about his relationship, Anson agrees to find a new home for him. That night, Beezel tearfully watches the couple make love from a closet (whilst sodomizing himself with a hairbrush and dry humping a stuffed teddy bear). The next day when it comes time to take Beezel away, he is nowhere to be found. Amy goes outside to look. Beezel then runs her over with a truck and attempts to shoot her to death with a shotgun, but she chases him into the street and begins beating him with a shovel, which is witnessed by a group of children attending a birthday party at a neighboring house. When Anson approaches to see what is happening, Amy tries to explain Beezel’s motives. Beezel acts innocent and Anson sides with his cat. The children of the party then attack and murder Amy for beating up Beezel, stabbing her with plastic forks. Anson grabs Beezel, as Beezel again fantasizes about French kissing his owner.

REVIEW:

Movie 43 is a film that I have yet to read a good review about. Against my better judgment, though, I decided to see what the masses were so incensed about. Surely this thing could not be that bad…or could it?

What is this about?

A series of interconnected short films follows a washed-up producer as he pitches insane story lines featuring some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

What did I like?

Offensive. No, this film did not offend me, unless you consider how unfunny it was, but there is a disclaimer at the beginning, and the directors were making the rounds before it was released saying that the reason they made this picture was to offend and shock audiences. Judging by the vitriol people have been spitting out regarding this film, I would say they succeeded.

Cohesive. Unlike Putney Swope, a film that also has random sketches interspersed amongst the “plot”, this one actually keeps everything tied together. As a matter of fact, the plot involving a guy who wants to get the horrible movie, which we are watching, made could very well be the best part of the entire flick.

What didn’t I like?

Fire the agents. I really have to wonder what the agents of such big stars as Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Richard Gere, and fresh off his Oscar worthy performance in Les Miserables, Hugh Jackman, amongst others that have no business being in a film this lowbrow. I don’t particularly care to say that actors are too good for a film, but they were. For goodness sakes, Jackman was playing a guy with testicles on his neck!!!!

*SIGH*.  I was talking to a friend of mine a few minutes ago, and he summed this film up very well, it is like a movie version of current Saturday Night Live. There are moments that are funny, but they are so few and far between, that you barely even notice them, or care. The rest of the sketches and whatnot just exist for the point of being gross, offensive, or filler.

Some media outlets have been trying to compare Movie 43 so such comedy sketch classics as Kentucky Fried Movie and The Groove Tube, among others, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the quality of those. This is one of those films that I am stretching to fins something good to say about, so it is best that you avoid it like the plague. I’ve suffered enough for all of us!

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Music of the Heart

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Inspired by the true story of the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and ‘Small Wonders’, a 1996 documentary about the school, the film opens with violinist Roberta having been deserted by her US Navy husband and feeling devastated, almost suicidal. Encouraged by her mother, she attempts to rebuild her life and a friend from student days recommends her to the head teacher of a school in the tough New York area of East Harlem. Despite a degree in music education, she has little experience in actual music teaching, but she’s taken on as a substitute violin teacher. With a combination of toughness and determination, she inspires a group of kids, and their initially skeptical parents. The program slowly develops and attracts publicity.

Ten years later, the string program is still running successfully at three schools, but suddenly the school budget is cut and Roberta is out of a job. Determined to fight the cuts, she enlists the support of former pupils, parents and teachers and plans a grand fund-raising concert, ‘Fiddlefest’, to raise money so that the program can continue. But with a few weeks to go and all participants furiously rehearsing, they lose the venue. Fortunately, the husband of a publicist friend is a violinist in the Guarneri Quartet, and he enlists the support of other well-known musicians, including Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman. They arrange for the concert to be mounted at Carnegie Hall.

Other famous musicians, including Mark O’Connor, Michael Tree, Charles Veal Jr., Arnold Steinhardt, Karen Briggs, Sandra Park, Diane Monroe, and Joshua Bell, join in the performance, which is a resounding success.

The film’s end credits declare that the Opus 118 program is still running successfully. They also report that the school’s funding was restored during the making of the film.

REVIEW:

Music of the Heart…what a title, huh? Just by hearing it, you’re automatically sent to a place of euphoria, or at the very least, your brain conjures up images of a romantic flick involving two musicians,right? Well, contrary to what you may believe, this is not a chick flick, but rather a true life drama, one that deals with a subject many public school deal with year after year.

What is this about?

The true story of a young teacher who fights against the board of education in her bid to teach underprivileged kids in a Harlem school the beauty of music through the violin. In her struggle she loses everything as the system comes down on her with all their might but her determination for the kids happiness helps her to battle back with wonderfully inspirational results

What did I like?

Meryl. It seems year after year, people are taking bets on if Meryl Streep can be beat because she is almost always up for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. The few year’s she isn’t, like this year, are those where she hasn’t done anything major, or has been laying low. Her performance in this film earned her a nomination, but not a win. As we have come to expect from Steep, she is nothing if not the consummate professional, oozing with talent, demure, and grace. Don’t even get me started on the fact that she actually learned how to play violin for this role. She earned even more respect from me for that, especially since in the 3 weeks I had to learn it in college, I sounded more like the beginners at this school.

Music class. As a musician, anything music related piques my interest, especially when it involves a music program on the verge of being shut down. That may be a reason why I love Mr. Holland’s Opus so much. This is a film that is along the same line, but rather than dealing with a musician who reluctantly takes over a music program only to have to be forced out many years later, this is a recent divorcee who needs a job and can teach violin.

Don’t talk down. One thing that I’ve noticed with flicks that deal with teachers coming in and taking over a classroom in the inner city is that they seem to talk down to them as if they are inferior citizens. There isn’t any of that going on here, except for the fact that these are elementary school kids, so you can’t exactly use big words, obviously. Great bit of writing done there, though part of it may be because of the way things in real life played out.

What didn’t I like?

Suddenly. The film is moving along at a decent pace and then, out of the blue, we are thrust into the part that deals with the violin program being shut down. Maybe it is just me, but I felt they could have handled that transition better instead of just throwing it in there like they didn’t really know how to bring the film to the final act.

Romance. I get that Streep’s character was a recent divorcee. That is fine and dandy but, and maybe this is just my guy genes kicking in, was there really a need to spend time on this? Last I checked, this wasn’t The Notebook, so there wasn’t any real need to get all into the relationship she has with these two men. Also, it took away from some time that could have been spent on the music.

Music. I only have one small problem with the music and that is that there wasn’t enough of it. I wasn’t expecting full symphonies, but a few more scenes with the violins, especially leading up to the big concert at Carnegie Hall would have been nice! I guess one thing can be said, and that is the soundtrack doesn’t feature heavy metal or hip hop (except for the scene with the guys working on her house). I just don’t think those would have fit the tone of this film very well.

When you talk about a feel good movie, Music of the Heart needs to be one of those that comes to mind. It has a great story that includes moments of drama and comedy, not to mention the fact that this film is partially responsible for the subject getting a permanent reprieve. You should definitely check this out as soon as possible. It should be a must-see, if for no other reason that to be shocked that it is directed by Wes Craven. Yes, the master of horror, Wes Craven!!!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Father of the Bride

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

George Banks (Steve Martin) is an upper-middle-class owner of an athletic shoe company in San Marino, California, whose 22-year-old daughter, Annie, (Kimberly Williams) has decided to marry Bryan MacKenzie (George Newbern), a man from an upper-class family from Bel-Air, despite only knowing each other for three months. George can’t think of what life would be like without Annie and becomes determined to make the upcoming ceremony as inconvenient as possible (especially when he finds out the wedding will cost him $250 per head), although his wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), tries to make him happy for Annie. When the wedding takes place at their home, along with an eccentric wedding planner named Franck (Martin Short) taking over the ceremony, George tries to handle the fact that Annie has grown up and has a life of her own.

REVIEW:

Well, it is June, and that tends to mean that wedding stuff suddenly gets more in your face. Rather than try to avoid all this crap, I figured why not take the time and watch a film I haven’t seen in a while, Father of the Bride.

It appears as if this is a remake of a 1951 film of the same name. Having not seen the original, I can’t compare the two.

As you can take from the title, the film is heavily involved in wedding stuffs. The plot actually has to do with the father’s daughter coming home from a semester abroad and informing her parents that she met someone and is getting married. This causes all types of breakdowns and hilarity until the final beautiful (overpriced) ceremony.

This is actually a cute movie, but not for the guys. If you ask me, this is actually more of a chick flick.

Steve Martin is his usual clumsy self as the overreacting father, but something seemed…off. I’m not sure what it was, but it just seemed like he either wanted to be more serious here or just didn’t want to be there.

Diane Keaton was ok, but she wasn’t anything more than the token mother, of course, given that the film is supposed to be more about the father, that makes sense.

Kimberly Williams was good as the daughter, but there wasn’t anything to make me remember her for this role.

Martin Short and, to a lesser extent, B.D. Wong are the show stealers in this picture as the wedding planners (with these outrageous accents…especially Short). They really make the film more enjoyable to watch.

I guess if you’re into weddings, or planning one, or anything along those lines, this would be the flick for you. As for everyone else, chances are you’re going to fall on one side or the other with this film. Either you’ll love it, or you’ll feel a bit uncomfortable watching it. Regardless of how you fall, one thing you can’t deny is that this film is actually funny and worth watching many times over.

4 out of 5 stars

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The story begins in Toronto where Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), the bass guitarist for the band “Sex Bob-omb,” begins dating high-schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) despite the protests of his friends and bandmates. He later meets a mysterious American girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and begins dating her, losing interest in Knives. Sex Bob-omb competes in a battle of the bands to win a record contract with the label G-Man when Scott is attacked by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), the first of Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes who seek to control Ramona’s love life. Scott defeats Matthew and learns from Ramona that, in order for them to continue dating, he must defeat each member of the League of Evil Exes.

After learning that popular actor and skateboarder Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), the second evil ex, is coming to Toronto to film a movie, Scott is forced to break up with Knives, who is devastated and tries everything she can to win him back. Scott successfully defeats Lee by tricking him into performing a dangerous skateboard stunt. He encounters the third evil ex, Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), who serves as bass guitarist for Scott’s ex-girlfriend Envy Adams’ (Brie Larson) band, “The Clash at Demonhead.” Todd initially overpowers Scott using his psychic vegan abilities, which are stripped from him by the “Vegan Police” after Scott tricks him into drinking coffee with half and half, allowing Scott to win the fight.

Following the defeat of the fourth evil ex Roxy Ritcher (Mae Whitman), Scott’s relationship with Ramona begins to falter as he grows increasingly upset with her dating history. During the second round of the battle of the bands, Sex Bob-omb faces off against the fifth and six evil exes, twin Katayanagi brothers Kyle (Shota Saito) and Ken (Keita Saito), earning Scott an extra life upon their defeat. During the battle, Scott sees Ramona together with her seventh and final evil ex, Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), who turns out to be Sex Bob-omb’s sponsor G-Man. Ramona breaks up with Scott as she is unable to leave Gideon’s side due to a chip in the back of her head, and Scott leaves Sex Bob-omb as they sign on to play at Gideon’s new club, the Chaos Theatre.

Scott goes to the club and professes his love for Ramona, gaining the “Power of Love” sword with which he uses to fight Gideon. Knives arrives to battle Ramona over Scott who, while trying to break up the girls’ fight, accidentally reveals that he is cheating on both of them with each other before he is killed by Gideon. Scott uses his extra life to restart his battle with Gideon, this time resolving his issues with his friends and owning up to his own faults, gaining the even stronger “Power of Self-Respect” sword and defeating Gideon alongside Knives. Free from Gideon’s control, Ramona encourages Scott and Knives to stay together while she prepares to leave to start over. Upon Knives’ insistence, however, Scott instead follows Ramona as he always wanted, and the two begin their relationship anew.

REVIEW:

First of all, let me say that when I heard about this film back in the fall, I had no idea what to expect. I saw Michael Cera was going to be in it and assumed it was going to another one of those indie drama/comedy things he’s always in. Then, earlier this summer, I saw the trailer for and was blown away by the level of awesomeness that this film looked to have and the countdown began!

If you’re like me, then you may probably have no idea who Scott Pilgrim is. No, he isn’t an original character (big shocker, right?), but rather a cult comic book.

From my understanding, this movies stays dead on with the source material, save for some stuff that just wouldn’t translate to the big screen. Why can’t they all do this?

Now, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is full of action. I’ll get to that in a second, but I have to say something about how slow-paced the first 30 minutes or so of this film are. I know, I know, it seems as though I’m always bitching about films that take forever to get going, but that’s because it is so true. What makes it worse, is that this film is obviously meant for people like me, who have a short attention span and want to get to the action. There was no need to drag on that drama at the beginning. Introduce the characters and move along. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is that studios don’t get that idea. If this was a drama, I’d let it slide, but this is a freakin’ action movie! Get to the action!!!!

Speaking of said action, I loved every minute of it. Sure, there are those that are going to question how this wimpy guy is able to pull off these moves, but do we really need to know everything about every character we see in film and television?  I think not. The mystery is what makes them great. Somewhere around the mid-90s or so, we seem to have forgotten that and our films have suffered.

Each of the fights are brilliantly choreographed and the effects that go on in the background a reminiscent of old school anime and the old Batman TV series. An eclectic mixture, to be sure, but it works better than you think.

The video game element of these fights is really quite hilarious, as with the defeat of each of the seven exes they turn to coins. Strangely enough, they just leave the coins there, except for the first one, where Scott and Ramona took a few for bus fare.

For those of you out there that are all overly concerned with violence, this is no more violent that the Mario Brothers’ games. Sure, in the final scene, he could have decapitated Gideon’s and we could have seen lots of gushing blood a la Mortal Kombat, but that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of Scott Pilgrim, now would it?

From what I’ve seen of Scott Pilgrim, no one would have been better to bring him to life than Michael Cera. A friend of mine like to say that he plays the same character in each of his films. This is not really an exception, but he does seem to be acting more. Maybe the director got more out of him, or he took some acting classes, who knows? One thing is for sure, he kicked some major ass!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead normally is drop dead gorgeous, but with this weird hairdo and negative attitude she has in this film, she didn’t do anything for me. However, that’s a testament to how good she was. Usually, she’s the nice damsel in distress type, so this is a departure for her, and she does it beautifully.

The Seven Evil Exes all have their quirks and whatnot, but here’s something that you ma not realize. Scott Pilgrim takes down Superman (Brandon Routh)…ex #3, and the Human Torch, soon to be Captain America (Chris Evans)…ex #2. Just an interesting tidbit.

I didn’t really care for Routh’s vegan powers, but it made for an interesting character. As for Evans, it would have been cool, if he would have the power to create his own stunt doubles with his mind…a sort of multiplicity power.

The best fight of all, though, was where Ramona actually defended Scott against, I think she was #5. That was a totally awesome fight, especially the choreography as Mary Elizabeth Winstead is basically controlling Michael Cera like some sort of puppet.

The final verdict on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is that it will more than likely be one of those cult hits when it is released on DVD. The theater I saw it in was rather empty…partially becus the a/c had broken earlier in the day, but that’s neither here nor there. This is a great film for those of us that tire of seeing a bunch of buff guys doing impossible stunts and shedding blood all over the place (that isn’t a shot at The Expendables, btw). Sometimes a change of pace is welcome, and with the quirky humor, video game graphics, and martial arts homage action, this is a film that should appeal to everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Go see it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

She’s All That

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Zach Siler (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is the big man on campus at his California high school, as he is a soccer player, class president, and an honor student. At the outset of the film, his popular girlfriend, Taylor (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) dumps him for a faded reality TV star (Matthew Lillard) whom she met on spring break. Although he is hurt by Taylor’s rejection, Zach consoles himself by saying that Taylor is replaceable. Zach’s best friend, Dean (Paul Walker), disagrees. They make a bet on whether or not Zach can turn any girl into prom queen within six weeks. While walking around the school, Dean picks out Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook), a morose but highly responsible art student, as his choice for Zach.

Zach approaches Laney in the attempt to transform her into Prom Queen. His first encounter with her is a failure, when she pointedly ignores his attempt to start a conversation. While Zach’s younger sister (Anna Paquin) gives him advice on how to woo Laney, Laney’s brother (Kieran Culkin) continuously talks Zack up to Laney. Zach is eventually successful in getting Laney to invite him to a lounge that is frequented by artists and performers. It is here that Laney performs a contemporary and interpretive play while Zach is forced to stay and watch. When the play ends, he gets up to leave but is invited to take the stage. At this point, he improvises and acts with the hacky sac in his pocket. Laney is amused by his acting and the two begin to see each other socially. After Laney becomes more comfortable with Zach and his friends, Zach’s sister convinces Laney to submit to a make-over. At a party, showing off her new look, Laney is humiliated by Zach’s ex-girlfriend, Taylor, but Zach follows her and tells her that, when you let people in, sometimes you let the bad in with the good.

Meanwhile, Dean decides to pursue Laney sexually. He asks her to the prom. When Laney gives a less than enthusiastic response to the request, Dean reveals the details of the bet to Laney in public, to her great embarrassment. Laney is so upset that she storms out of the cafeteria and vows not to go to the prom. Zach ends up attending the prom with his sister, while Taylor drives herself to Prom having thought Zach was still interested in her. On prom night, Dean shows up at Laney’s house in a tuxedo; Laney reluctantly changes clothes and goes to the dance with him.

At the prom, Dean brings out a key to a hotel room and tells his male friends that he’s going to get ‘lucky’ with Laney that night. Laney’s best friend, Jesse, (Elden Henson) overhears the conversation and runs to tell Zach, who has been elected as Prom King. Realizing that Laney and Dean have already left, Zach attempts to try calling every hotel to see if Dean Sampson had ordered a room. To no avail, he decided to go to Laney’s house and wait for her to come home.

When Laney arrives at her house Zach is waiting for her. Laney then explains how she fought off Dean’s advances, deafening him with her rape alarm, and left him at the hotel. Zach reveals his true feelings for Laney and how she taught him valuable life lessons. He asks for forgiveness and the chance to have something more than just a friendship, which she grants readily. Laney tells Zach that she is considering art school; Zach then tells her that she has inspired him to pursue a career in performance art.

At the graduation ceremony, Zach had to do the bet that was promised. The promise was to go nude at the stage of the ceremony. After having his name called, Zach heads up while carrying a soccer ball to cover himself and later tosses the ball to Laney.

REVIEW:

This film always dumbfounds me. By all accounts, I shouldn’t like it as much as I do (with the exception of the plethora of eye candy that is almost always on the screen), yet it holds a special place in my heart.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. makes his character, Zach Siler, a guy that all the girls want to be with and the guys want to be….a sentiment that is mentioned early on in the film. This pretty much sums up most roles Prinze has done, but something about Zach makes him the best of his characters.

…a bit of ironic foreshadowing, if you will. Milo Ventimiglia has a small cameo appearance as one of Siler’s lackeys. How odd to have Peter Petrelli working for Siler (Heroes reference for those that don’t get the irony here)

Rachael Leigh Cook is the real star of the film, as she starts off the film as a geeky, ugly duckling, that turns into a beautiful swan. The only problem with this is that even under all that ugly duckling covering, she still didn’t look half bad. This is a problem I have with many makeovers that happen in films. Filmmakers don’t “ugly up” the person enough, but that’s just a personal issue, I suppose. Performance wise, she makes Laney a strong, independent woman who is afraid to let anyone in. Theoretically, she shouldn’t be likable, but the way Cook portrays her, the audience likes her.

Paul Walker is the de facto villain of the film. He is the instigator of the bet, and it is quite obvious he’s jealous of Zach. As the film progresses and it seems as if he’s going to lose, he attempts to sabotage Zach and Laney by planting the seeds of mistrust and bringing out the bitch in her. Can we say douche?

Anna Paquin, Gabrielle Union, Usher, Matthew Lillard, and Kieran Culkin all have small but noticeable roles. Paquin is Zach sister who is responsible for Laney’s makeover. I would have liked to have a bit more of her character, but beggars can’t be choosy, right? Union is one of Taylor Vaughn’s friends who decides it better to side with Laney and not get yelled at or deal with attitudede 24-7. Culkin is Laney’s little brother who appears to idolize Zach. Usher is the campus DJ, and Matthew Lillard is indirectly responsible for the whole movie as he is the one who Taylor breaks up with Zach for.

An intersting bit of trivia is that this film helped the song “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer gain immense popularity. I’m sure little red dresses also went up in sales, as well.

This is quite the entertaining film. With the exception of a few choice words, it is actually family friendly (given the subject material and whatnot). Guys will love looking at the hot girls and girls will be drooling over Freddie and maybe the other guys. If I have one negative thing to say, though, it is that they glance over a couple of things like the death of Laney’s mother and Zach’s relationship with his dad. These appear to be major parts in these characters’ lives, but I understand the reasoning behind them being excluded. No need to make this film all long, drawn out, and serious. It is lighthearted fun and takes you back to high school.

4 1/2 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