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Archive for the ‘teen’ Category

Twilight (2008)

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This is totally a bandwagon endeavor.  But with all of the Breaking Dawn hype, I’ve decided that I need to get a move on the Twilight series.  Yeah, I read all of the books, I thought Twilight was super gripping and stuff until it blew up America.  And by America I mean the world.  Man, Stephanie Meyer is the worst best thing to have come out of my hood.

With that, I’m only just getting to watching the movies.  Word on the street is they still suck, but I don’t want to be that girl that never watches something only because it’s popular.  Even though I actually abhor everything to do with the Vampire/Werewolf/Human love triangle.  But hey, I’m a cinephile so I gots to watch ’em all.

Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight takes place in the dark, dreary town of Forks, Washington.  Our leading lady is the clumsy, supposed-to-be-not-that-pretty-but-is-actually-pretty-hot Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).  Well, she would be hot if her face did something other than grimace or pout.  She’s the new girl in town straight out of Phoenix, Arizona (sans tan) here to live with her pops Charlie Swan, the local sheriff (Billy Burke).  Charlie is the only solid character of the bunch, he’s got a sound mind and is trying his hardest to be a good dad to his estranged daughter.

Bella starts at her new school mid-year.  What would predictably be a rocky beginning as the typical “new girl in town outcast” turns out to be a refreshingly smooth transition.  Bella eases her way into a group of nice (and normal) kids who gossip and joke and accept her as their friend.  Her long face is inexplicable, but apparently something isn’t right.  She’s eyes the strange and beautiful Cullen family with piqued interest as her friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) gawks over Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), but encourages Bella to steer clear.  No one really talks to the Cullens.  They keep to themselves.

But apparently Bella can’t be content with a normal life.  She is mesmerized with the not so beautiful Edward Cullen.  She has never met anyone like him before.  The way he stares at her is so penetrating, as though he sees directly into her soul.  Lucky for both of them, she finds this more attractive than creepy.  Her fight to be different is grossly rewarded when her person of interest turns out to be a vampire, and she’s totally into it.

As I was watching this, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Did I really like this book?”  Because I did.  It’s like literary cocaine, I read ’till all hours of the night and couldn’t curb my addiction.  But seriously, there was actually something appealing to this ridiculous vampire stuff?  Because sorry twi-hards, I am not digging it.

First of all, if you take out all the vampire/mystical stuff, it is nothing more than a formulaic teenage lust love story  and a guy who has abstinence issues.  And WHAT is up with Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson?  They seem to have a really good time staring at each other, though Stewart always looks like she’s suffering from manic depression and Pattinson that he’s going to throw up.  Neither can act.  And Pattinson seemed to lose every feature that I found attractive when he played Cedric Diggory in the fourth Harry Potter film.

The dialogue is atrocious.  “You better hold on tight, spider monkey.”  A fourth grader could write a better screenplay.  The special effects are mediocre at best, though the film was produced on a very low budget.  And these vampires are nothing like the vampires of yesteryear.  Contrary to popular belief, daylight does not disintegrate our fanged friends, it only causes them to SPARKLE (another testament of high-school effects).

The relationship between Edward & Bella is, well, crazy.  Their romance blooms because Edward WANTS TO DRINK HER BLOOD.  He thinks she SMELLS good, much like my lunch meat smells good.  Who dates (and by date, I mean stare at) a dude that is attracted to her based on how good he thinks she would taste if he were to kill her?  But she’s cool with it, because he’s one of the good guys, a vampire vegetarian if you will.

I think what is really missing from the book is the depth to Bella’s character.  Kristen Stewart does not portray the complexities nor the inner turmoil that Bella suffers with in the book.  Though my opinion quickly changes in the Twilight sequels, Bella was a great character in the first book.  She wasn’t perfect, and the average girl could relate to her and dream about having a similar fantastic romance.

Twilight will no doubt satisfy its rabid fans, and teenage girls across the world will always drool over Edward.  And if you’re one of those peeps, go knock yourself out.  But, if you appreciate something deeper, Twilight is missable.  4/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

November 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

The Perfect Score (2004)

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A bad knock-off of The Breakfast Club?  I think so.

The Perfect Score is about a mismatched group of stereotypes: the brain, the rebel, the stoner, the loser, the jock, and the “good guy” who all decide that the SAT is the only thing standing in their way of achieving their dreams.  So they decide to go for the ultimate teen-heist and steal the answers.

The cover says it’s The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven.  Yeah, maybe the worst possible version of John Hughes’ classic and all of the corny elements of Ocean’s.  The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorite movies.  It defines high school, it’s far more than stereotypes.  The Breakfast Club could have EASILY failed.  It could have been awful, cheesy, and cliché because, let’s face it, the plot is very basic and it IS full of stereotypes.  But those characters are real, the dialogue is witty, and it has heart.

The Perfect Score is like someone placed Breakfast Club on a platter, stabbed it forty times, threw in some new amateur actors, and tore out the heart that everyone connected with.  This movie is dead.  It has no heart, nor soul.  It’s a two-hour detention, not two hours playing hooky.

The only reason I watched the entire thing was because I had just finished with my last final exam for the semester.  I definitely agreed with the injustice that standardized testing is to humankind or whatever, so I fell for the premise.  And, I’ll admit, it did start off well.  Stylized introductions to the characters, planning sessions, etc.  But then one too many characters got involved.  I mean, all that Kyle (Chris Evans) and Matty (Bryan Greenberg) really needed was Francesca (Scarlett Johansson) since she’s the one with access to the building.  I guess Roy (Leonardo Nam) can get into the computer, and that’s cool.  But even if you did have a crush on her, would you really tell the smartest girl in school that you were planning on doing ANYTHING unethical?  That’s how Anna (Erika Christensen) got involved.. and then she just decided out of the goodness of her heart to tell “deprived” BASKETBALL STAR Desmond (Darius Miles) about it.

Here’s the thing though.  Even if Brian Robbins was going for a heist movie – it’s far from satisfying.  I guess their sense of right and wrong got the better of them, or whatever, but they don’t use the answers.  Sure it makes me feel good inside that teenagers can have some ounce of integrity, but that wasn’t what I watched this movie for.  All I saw, was an intelligent and strong girl turn into a slut, an insecure rebel go for a fat-boy loser with no backbone, and an Asian druggie being controlled by a domineering black woman.  I don’t know, everything just goes too far to try and teach a lesson. “A lot of people would think these questions are difficult… not me.”  “No?”  “No. Because these questions have answers.”  Touching.

It has further lame attempts to be Breakfast-club-esque:  “What would you do if you had all the money in the world” kind of questions.  “There’s this one video game, blah blah blah.. it was so cool, this one character was cool…” “Oh, so you want to design video games?” “No, I want to be that one character!”  It goes for laughs, but all I could muster was half an eye roll.

The acting was amateur at best.  Some say that Johansson isn’t half bad – and she isn’t – but I don’t really like her that much anyway.  Everyone’s lines are forced, their interactions with each other are fake.  As improbable as Claire and John’s relationship is in Breakfast Club, they at least had some ounce of chemistry – and they interacted well together.  Nothing in this is real.

Stereotypes at its worst, The Perfect Score is as far from perfect as I am from being a millionaire.  Please watch The Breakfast Club instead. 1/10

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

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Next time someone hates on gangs dancing in West Side Story, I’ll be asking whether they’ve seen gangs fighting while speaking in Shakespearean dialect…

Yep.  I’m a hater.  But big disclaimer: I’ve always detested those idiot star cross’d lovers.  I’ve read the play, seen it three times, only once have I even remotely enjoyed it – and that was because they were kind of making fun of all those things I hate.  We’ll disregard for the moment that my ninth grade boyfriend played Romeo so it drove me nuts that he was kissing another girl and that every other girl in the junior high was head over heels for him…. totally unrelated.

Needless to say, I didn’t start off on good footing with this.  And I must admit that I have never detested this more.  It isn’t that I’m not used to the extravagant style of Baz Luhrmann – I’m a Moulin Rouge! fan.  It’s… that it doesn’t WORK the same way that it does in Moulin Rouge! In fact, it fails.  It’s a disastrous combination of Hollywood action and Shakespearean themes and dialect.  “Swords” are guns manufactured by ‘Sword?’  Funny.  But dumb more than clever.

It’s set in Verona Beach – but what they mean is stereotypical surfer California.  Pretty sure everyone knows what’s up with this story, but here’s a brief rundown of the mess.  The Montagues and the Capulets are in a turf-battle/family feud dating back to who knows when.  Romeo (Leonardo DiCapprio), a Montague, is depressed and in love with Rosaline.  Then he lays eyes on Juliet (Claire Danes), a Capulet and falls in {deeper?} love.  Ah, the beauty of the forbidden.  Then they frolic in a swimming pool, declare their undying love, Romeo’s good buddy Mercutio (Harold Perrineau – LOST!) gets murdered, Romeo kills the dude responsible, Juliet fakes her death to try and still rock it with Romeo in the end, Romeo believes she’s dead and kills himself, so then she kills herself too and they live happily ever after…. while dead?

On the subject of the plot – what was with that swimming pool crap anyway?  Dra-freaking-matic (don’t judge on the word).

It’s SO overly-colorful, it’s obnoxious.  I again compare to Moulin Rouge. It isn’t artistic and beautiful.  It’s distracting and insulting – like a crappy Tim Burton ripoff.  They’re wearing Hawaiian shirts for heaven’s sake – it’s a punk version of a SHAKESPEARE PLAY.  Seriously?  Luhrmann even has the nerve to show Mercutio as a drag queen at one point.  WTF.  The overtly provocative and modern-day clothing displayed at the masquerade is terribly out of place and, again, obnoxious.  The music is also unrelated and inconsistent.

I’m not against modern-day adaptations of Shakespeare plays.  I think that 10 Things I Hate About You is very clever and entertaining.  Even She’s the Man is kind of funny.  West Side Story is my personal favorite, and that’s dealing with this very story.  I think the main thing that fails here is the awful mismatch of sounding like Shakespeare and looking like The Beach Boys.  Had there been modern-day dialogue to match 20th century feel, it wouldn’t have sucked half as much.  FIrst of all, Leo and C-Danes have no idea how to speak Shakespeare effectively, they’re in way over their heads.  Pete Postlethwaite (the priest) and Miriam Margolyes (the nurse) seemed to be the only two who were even half-realistic.  But really, “art thou mad,” doesn’t work in Cali last time I checked.

The acting actually isn’t that bad, with the exception of Claire Danes.  I’m a huge Little Women fan, and I love her as the meek and quiet Beth March.  Not as the fiery Juliet.  I felt no connection to her, nor in their relationship really.  Leo’s my man, but even he isn’t at his top game – though he’s still probably my favorite part.  Pete Postlethwaite and Miriam Margolyes are definitely the most capable of the bunch, and quite enjoyable to watch.  [Side note, I saw Miriam Margolyes on stage in 2006 as Madam Morrible in Wicked. Cool.]  Everyone else is just background noise.  Paul Rudd (who I love in Friends and Clueless) doesn’t add much, neither does John Leguizamo, Paul Sorvino, nor Harold Perrineau (I actually didn’t like him much at all).

Overall, Romeo + Juliet is a dreadful adaptation to a Shakespearean classic.  I may not even like the original material, but Shakespeare at least knew what he was doing and I respect the man for everything he was capable of.  And this is where crap like Twilight comes from… 2/10

Disturbia (2007)

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“…It’s too close for comfort ahhhh put on your break lights, you’re in the city of wonder… ”
What, this isn’t the Rihanna song? Oh.

An ornery troubled teen (Shia LaBoeuf) on house arrest gets a little bit bored, turns into the nosey neighbor, goes all lewd/perverted over the new girl with the hot bod and the pool, and suspects someone to be a serial killer.  All in a day of boredom and people-watching.

This story is loosely based off of one of my all-time favorite Hitchcock’s: Rear Window.  I never realized just how perverted that show was until now…. but no.  It’s Jimmy Stewart.  And Grace Kelly was not such a deadbeat bikini chick.  Hitchcock was so crazy, how could you possible make a movie that intense without the camera ever leaving one room…? Oh wait, was this review about that Shia LaBoeuf movie?  Shoot, I’d much rather talk about Jimmy Stewart.

LaBeef isn’t such a bad actor.  I love him in Holes.  Lately I’ve just been disappointed in the films he’s been in.  Transformers? Eagle Eye? Oh jeez.  Anyway, he ain’t bad in this either.  A little annoying, but I attribute that more to the script than the acting.  Basically it’s a lot of teenage puppy dog CRAP, with a little suspense thrown in there.  The amazing thing about Rear Window is its ability to allude to the obvious temptation Jimmy Stewart has of staring at the half-naked girl across the way without being overbearing.  In Disturbia: Here’s the girl doing yoga.  Ooh, here’s here walking slo-mo into the pool, oh NOW she’s tossing her hair back, and how cute – she’s reading a book on her roof while sunbathing in booty shorts.  It didn’t make it much better that I watched this with a group of immature guys who were loving all the skin they could get.  I’m not a boy.  I don’t care.

The two adults in the movie were decent, David Morse and Carrie-Anne Moss.  The girl (Sarah Roemer) sucked.  A Megan Fox wannabe, and I don’t even like Megan Fox.  LaBeef’s friend (Aaron Yoo) was pretty funny though.  There were some enjoyable things too, (twinkie towers?) and LaBeef’s restraining anklet made for an interesting turn.  It IS a pretty okay-crafted thriller for a teen movie, I’ll give that to D.J. Caruso.  It did get pretty intense late in the climax, I’ll admit that as well.  But it wasn’t enough to convince me to enjoy this ridiculously cliché, terribly written, knock off of a classic. 3/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

January 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm

17 Again (2009)

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Zac Efron is probably the best of his High School Musical counterparts, yet still nothing more than a teen celeb.  However, my guilty pleasure Hairspray told me that Efron wasn’t a terrible actor, he actually contributed something to the film as Link Larkin.  17 Again is not a great movie, though its weak points are not attributed to Efron’s acting, surprisingly enough.  Its weaknesses lie in the simple truth that this movie was made for thirteen-year-olds.  The plot is nothing new, (think Freaky Friday, Back to the Future, or Big) 30-year-old Mike (Matthew Perry) is stuck in 17-year-old Mike’s (Efron) body.  He has the chance to help his two teenage kids and redeem himself to his wife.

As far as teen movies go, it is certainly not the worst.  Frankly I could have used a bit more of Matthew Perry.  I dug Thomas Lennon’s character and his geekiness.  Leslie Mann was also quite good.  Obviously I didn’t watch it for the “cinematic experience”, but for the mindless entertainment.  Mindless entertainment I got, and although I won’t be rushing to see it again – I enjoyed it in spite of myself. 6/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

June 9, 2010 at 11:58 am