October 2011 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
31Oct/110

’90s-vember: A Primer

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The movie that spawned countless pale imitations

I am going to introduce our month of 90’s films, “90s-vember” by aping off a Jeff Foxworthy routine from that time.   Is everyone ready for You Might be Watching a 90’s Movie If…

  • The main villain in the film is either Japanese (early 90’s movies like Rising Sun, Black Rain) or a white business guy in a suit (thanks PC Police!)
  • The comedy starred Jim Carrey, was popular and most likely funny.
  • The comedy starred Adam Sandler, was popular but most likely not funny.
  • Was populated by hitmen or other unsavory criminal types talking a mile a minute and dropping pop cultural references left and right.
  • It helped Whoppi Goldberg win an Oscar or put her in a nun’s outfit.
  • Aliens destroyed our big cities.
  • Asteroids destroyed our big cities.
  • Volcanoes destroyed our big cities.
  • Dinosaurs destroyed our big cities (or at least San Diego)
  • Jeff Goldblum was in one of the biggest films of the year.
  • The turtles were ninjas and the ducks were mighty
  • Alicia Silverstone was the star.
  • Vince Vaughn was skinny
  • It was an action film that you could describe as Die Hard on a….
  • Robert De Niro and Al Pacino shared a scene together in a film and the film is good.
  • Jon Faverau was chunky.
  • Pierce Brosnan played James Bond.
  •  Val Kilmer was skinny.
  • CG was used in movies but so were practical special effects.
  • Tom Cruise could do no wrong artistically or commercially.
  • Alec Baldwin was skinny.

The essential 90's horror film.

It was an eclectic time for films and anything from Cliffhanger to The Crying Game, Terminator 2 to Thelma and Louise could be huge hits.  It was a decade that saw the rise of fresh new talents as Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, David Fincher and many more.  The 90’s were home to such quotable films as Glengary Glenross and visual tours de force like The Matrix.  The decade did not belong to one actor, one director or one type of film and ten people would probably name ten different films that were their favorites.

These are some of the reasons why us at Can’t Stop the movies decided to do a whole month celebrating these films.  Some of these movies are our favorites and some remind of us at a special time or place in our lives but all the movies have a special place in our heart.  So over the next few weeks, we will take a different film genre each week and discuss why they are great, why we love them and most importantly, why we think they sum up the 90’s better than any other.

Sadly, we will not be reviewing this film.

We will be tackling comedies followed by dramas, action films, independents and finally our pick for our favorite films of the 90’s.  We will be writing about them separately and well as discussing them together on the podcast and we invite you to join us.  So put on that slap bracelet, crank your Vanilla Ice, cut your hair into “The Rachel” and be sure to visit us at Can’ Stop the Movies each day in November to see what we will be tackling next.

"Why aren't they reviewing Navy Seals"?

SCHEDULE

Comedies
11/1- Clueless
2 - Austin Powers
3 - There's Something About Mary
4- Wayne's World

Drama
11/8 - Husbands and Wives
9 - Scent of a Woman
10-The Truman Show
11 - Ed Wood

Action
11/15- Rumble in the Bronx
16- The Rock
17-  Long Kiss Goodnight
18- Independence Day

Independent
11/22 - Kicking and Screaming
23-Chasing Amy
24- Swingers
25- Reservoir Dogs

Favorite Films of the 90's
30- Andrew - Bringing Out the Dead
12/1- Ryan - The Usual Suspects
2- Jacob -  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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29Oct/113

Puss In Boots (2011)

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Like Bugs Bunny before him, Puss radiates a cool sure to cause confusing feelings in some (especially considering how many times he gets lucky in this film).

Puss In Boots bears a fairly large burden of quality on its shoulders.  The last few Dreamworks films have all ranged from very good (Megamind) to great (How to Train Your Dragon).  Now we have a spin-off film starring the one true breakout character of the Shrek franchise and, cleansed of that series' ever-growing pop culture taint, is now given his own film to shine.  So, to the studio's credit, I went into PIB with higher than average expectations.

Those might have been a bit unfair, but I can't deny feeling let down by the results.  But is the underwhelming nature of Puss' action intentional?  The film is somewhat of an origin story, telling a completely isolated tale of a younger Puss as he tries to clear his name after a crime against an orphanage he (of course) did not commit.  He hasn't quite mastered the full extent of his style yet, so why am I a bit let down?

28Oct/110

The Plateau of Dance: Stomp the Yard (2007)

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Andrew COMMENTARYI've seen a pattern with these dance movies that's difficult to deny.  This isn't a very intriguing pattern, more one which is starting to grow a bit grating and actually makes me long for the directness of You Got Served and the eventual optimism of Step Up 3D.  Dance films like Stomp the Yard exist as a sort of mirror image of the plot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Stomp the Yard - much like Feel the Noise, Step Up and Roll Bounce before it - features a young man who gets into trouble and then has to leave the life he's known for new surroundings.  In each film, the man is initially ostracized and then accepted through the power of dance (or, in the case of Noise, music).  There's the standard love interest, a villain displaying varied degrees of evil, and a thumpin' soundtrack to keep things steady.

27Oct/110

Attack the Block (2011)

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The creature effects are stunning in Attack the Block, only using CG for the aliens' mouths.

Without betraying a single magnificent shot of his film, Joe Cornish establishes just what to expect by pumping in the opening notes of a stupifyingly superb soundtrack from Basement Jaxx.  We hear a weird mix of old science fiction sounds, some high fantasy bombast and a hip-hop track keeps the estranged lines of music together.  It's nervy, exciting, and sounds like very little I've heard before.

The movie does not disappoint, and the soundtrack drives it all onward.  You can trace the DNA from Attack the Block to John Carpenter's earlier films, combining the effects of The Thing with the grungy humor of the Escape From movies, but Attack is its own strange beast.

26Oct/111

Rare Exports (2010)

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Preemptive Merry Christmas you weird fetishist you!

Rare Exports is so easily explainable in its enjoyments it becomes surreal in trying to do so.  It's not often I find a film mixing the sensibilities of E.T. along with the ethical murkiness of that cheery Kevin Bacon pedophile film The Woodsman.  Yet here we are, looking at a scene directly cribbed from Elliot's flight in the former, on top of a giant pile of temptation from the latter.

This is a weird film and wonderful in its terribly strange way.  It's no surprise it took this long for it to finally come out on DVD as there are very few films can lay claim to having a plot point centered around Santa Claus being a perverted demon who exists beyond time.  This is the sort of discussion point that should have led to an immediate release, but life is how it is, and I'm intensely grateful for this film to have been made public.

It's almost been a year since the initial release and this film is ripe for its time to become a new favorite.  The film is, technically, one of a series created by Finnish writer/director Jalarmi Helander.  Each deal with a families strange encounters with the oddities filling the Finnish landscape and how the participants try to profit off of the natural weirdness of those whom they encounter.