CLUELESS (1995)

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Elizabeth

God, I love Clueless. Who knows how many times I’ve seen it. I remember going with my mom to pick up my sister from the theater when she saw it, and seeing the bright neon credits and thinking it was so cool. Then we had it on VHS, then DVD, and now it’s on Netflix. Although Clueless ages itself by being so firmly set in the 90’s, it still ages extremely well, I think. Or maybe I’m biased because I’ve seen it so many times. But still.

And it is kind of incredible just how 90’s Clueless really is. The soundtrack is awesome, but super 90’s. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are in the movie. The fashion is insane; from grungy to bright short skirts. But what’s crazy is that even though most of the characters are dressed like crazy people, I remember how insanely cool they all looked at the time. As a kid I was sort of fascinated with 80’s fashion, because I couldn’t imagine anyone genuinely dressing like that and not feeling like they were wearing a costume. I also thought it was sort of a shame that I was living in a time period without a distinct fashion sense. I thought no one would ever look at a past outfit and think “That is so 90’s.” How wrong I was.

Everyone in Clueless is top notch. It does a great job of poking fun without being super mean. The whole cast is at the top of their game here; of course I don’t mean they’re all at the height of their careers, but everyone is just so good and funny. It’s great to see well-known actors as young actors, still doing a good job. And except for King of the Hill, this is clearly the best thing Brittany Murphy ever did. Clueless also stands as evidence that there’s no way Paul Rudd did not sell his soul to the devil to remain ageless.

Christopher

I remember seeing this in high school in my first film class. What I remember the most was thinking how forgettable this movie is. As an adult, this movie really is great! It’s pretty funny and it’s really weird how Paul Rudd doesn’t age. I know this movie is based off of the book Emma but I have never read it. After seeing this it definitely is on my list! What worked best to me was Brittany Murphy in this. It’s definitely because I’ve been watching a ton of King of the Hill but throughout the movie I just kept on thinking Brittany Murphy was playing Luanne!

I’m very glad I watched this movie again. It was something I had cast off as not very good but I guess this is another reason why getting older does have its benefits.

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MY STEPMOTHER IS AN ALIEN (1988)

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Christopher

This movie was sooooo sexy it’s insane that it was kids’ movie. We watched this film because Elizabeth said it was the first time she remembered a movie scene being super sexy and this movie definitely lived up to that!!

I have always thought Kim Basinger was attractive, she’s super sexy in Batman, especially in her hipster glasses! There are scenes in this movie where she learns to kiss (because she’s an alien), have sex and she just randomly wears see-through shirts and bras . . . it’s great. But I think other than the audience the one who must of had the greatest time of his life was Dan Aykroyd. The loser scientist who was the reason that Kim Basinger came to earth in the first place. All their sexy scenes together are super long and one can only imagine that he made sure they had a few takes.

Also Alyson Hannigan is in this and her boyfriend in it is . . . SETH GREEN!!! Is Joss Whedon a big fan of this film? ALSO Jon Lovitz is in this and he ends up going to the aliens’ home planet to “teach them about earth” but to really have sex with all the attractive inhabitants. Also there is a scene where you get to see a graphic cover of a Hustler . . . so this movie is pretty sexy and I really wish that I had seen it as a kid cause it would have been an instant classic!

Elizabeth

My Stepmother is an Alien is near and dear to my heart for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m pretty sure it was the first movie I ever saw with anything close to a sex scene. The movie includes a porno clip and a really long scene of Celeste (Kim Basinger) sort of stripping (but mostly slinking around in a silk slip). It was sort of incredible. And, even more incredibly, the movie lived up to my memories of it. I always thought it was kids’ movie, but now that I’ve seen it as an adult I’m not so sure.

The other reason this movie is dear to me because the first time I ever used the word “hilarious” in a sentence was in describing this movie. My family sat down to watch it, and before it came on I said, “I heard this movie was hilarious.” I have no idea how old I was, but I was pretty young, and I had been dying to say the word and was so proud of myself when I did.

I guess I can’t really tell what else My Stepmother is an Alien has going for it. It’s super goofy but then has some really sexy and scary parts, so the tone is sort of off a bit. One of the highlights, though was seeing a pre-Buffy Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green on a super-80’s date. A super-80’s Juliette Lewis was also involved, but she didn’t have any lines, which was . . . okay.

BODY HEAT (1981)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Body Heat sort of reminded me of a good version of Wild Things; between taking place in Florida, having sexy ladies, murder, and twist endings, it makes me think that the people who made Wild Things probably pitched it as “Like Body Heat, but campy and with twenty-somethings playing high schoolers!”

But anyway, we all know Body Heat is super sexy. It was made when Kathleen Turner and William Hurt (and Mickey Rourke, for that matter, though he doesn’t have any sexy scenes) were at the height of their sexiness. I mean, Kathleen Turner is just insanely hot. But then, so is William Hurt. So that’s pretty great.

Body Heat is also a really good example of how much context matters in a movie. There’s a relatively famous scene where Ned (William Hurt) is at Matty (Kathleen Turner)’s house, where she has turned him down, but not before kissing him and going back into the house. He stands by his car for a few moments before going back up to her front door, where he can see Matty standing in the foyer, waiting for him. The front door is locked, and all of the other doors are locked, but they keep looking at each other and Matty clearly wants him to come in. So, he throws a lawn chair through a window, which only barely makes Matty flinch, and he climbs in where they have sex on the floor. It’s both hot and cool in that classic movie way. But what’s interesting is if you imagine that same scene happening in, say, a Tyler Perry movie. It would be horrifying. It’s not as if Ned rapes Matty, it’s clearly consensual, but in a different movie, a man throwing a chair through a window to get inside the house where a woman is alone so he can have sex with her would be super scary. And it would be super scary in real life. I wanted Chris to kiss me pretty badly when we were still just friends, but if he had left my apartment only to turn around and break through the window to climb in and kiss me . . . well things would have been a lot different. But that’s just evidence of good filmmaking. Writer/director Lawrence Kasdan has created a universe for Body Heat where something like Ned breaking into Matty’s house not only is okay, but makes sense.

The pacing of Body Heat is also pretty great, as well as the set design, which made me feel really hot while watching it. Everyone in the movie is always sweating, there’s always a haze of cigarette smoke, people are fanning themselves, rubbing themselves with ice, pointing fans at themselves. I was honestly feeling overheated while watching it. But that was also because I was nervous, another point for Body Heat. I was nervous because Ned and Matty’s murder plot started to unravel, and the more clear it became that they were not going to get away with it, the more nervous I became. Making the audience root for murderers isn’t always easy, but it is in this case. This also further proved to me that I would never be able to commit murder. Not that I thought I could before I saw this movie, but I was getting so nervous just watching Body Heat that the thought of being in a situation remotely similar made me feel sick to my stomach. I would have cracked the second 1981-Ted Danson started to suspect something.

Christopher

I had actually watched this in high school but had completely forgotten until we started watching it. It’s pretty obvious that I rented this just solely on the fact that I must have known there was nudity and that it was sexy but it’s actually a pretty badass movie! The story is interesting and the actors are great. The only thing I didn’t really like was how bright it was. There are scenes in a diner where you can barely look at the screen it’s so bright.

WATCH THIS . . . but not with one’s parents.

AN INVISIBLE SIGN (2010)

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Christopher

A classic already! We watch a lot of films where the main character comes off more creepy than relatable but nothing so intense as this movie. Jessica Alba plays a psychotic 25? year old teacher who brings an ax to school, has crippling OCD and dresses like a five year old. I thought this movie was great and I for one would see it if they wanted to release it in theaters.

Elizabeth

Here is the IMDb synopsis of An Invisible Sign:

Mona Gray is a 20-year-old loner who, as a child, turned to math for salvation after her father became ill. As an adult, Mona now teaches the subject and must help her students through their own crises.

Here’s what An Invisible Sign is actually about: an elementary school, located in an idyllic but nondescript town, for the mentally retarded and/or psychologically disturbed. Except it’s not the students who are mentally retarded, it’s the entire staff. This is obviously most prominently shown in Mona Gray (Jessica Alba), the protagonist with extreme and unchecked obsessive compulsive disorder. Mona began basing her life around magical thinking at age 10 when her father gets sick with an illness unknown both to Mona and the audience. Mona loudly knocks on wood when she’s stressed, stops seeing her friends, stops running (which she loves for some reason), stops going to movies, stops listening to music, doesn’t finish college, eats soap to punish herself when she enjoys something, decorates her house and classroom with numbers, dresses almost exclusively in brown, and constantly wears pigtails. Among other things. In the beginning of the movie, her mother (played by Sônia Braga, who also played Samantha’s lesbian lover in Sex and the City, and because of that I couldn’t get the image of her saying “pussy” out of my head anytime she was on screen) kicks her out of their house by putting all of Mona’s stuff on the lawn. So, Mona’s mom is awful. They imply that she won’t be able to afford an apartment, so instead she rents a sweet-ass house, which makes TOTAL sense. Then Mona’s mom runs into Mona’s old elementary school principal, which leads to Mona getting a job as the new math teacher despite being completely insane and not even having a college degree.

There’s a lot going on here. But it’s important to note that at one point, Mona brings an ax to school because it’s shaped like a seven. And then one of her students, Lisa, whom Mona has taken under her wing because Lisa’s mom is dying of EYE CANCER, gets the ax and threatens another student, Ann, because Ann is a bully. Mona takes the ax from Lisa and tells her to stand by the door. Lisa then bangs her head into the glass of the door, cutting her head. While this is going on, Ann grabs the ax and repeatedly tells Mona she is going to chop Lisa into pieces. Before she can, however, Ann slips in a pile of piss (there’s a girl in the class who pisses on the floor when she gets nervous . . . whatever), loses the ax, and the ax hits Mona in the leg. Mona ends up with only 20-something stitches rather than a severed limb, but whatever. That’s just the level of storytelling we’re working with here.

An Invisible Sign missed an opportunity to be a possibly interesting movie about a woman with super severe OCD and instead just turned into a melodrama about dying parents and love curing psychotic disorders. Cool!!!!!

I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009)

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Elizabeth

I love Paul Rudd, I love Jason Segel, and I love when guys are friends. So, naturally, I pretty much loved I Love You, Man. I really liked seeing a movie address the very real issue of making friends as an adult. Chris and I are both really lucky to work in jobs with people we like and with a lot of people close to our age, but if we weren’t in that situation both of our friend counts would be significantly lower. And I would imagine for guys it’s harder than for women, because for whatever reason it’s easier for women to meet up casually for dinner or drinks or something without it being weird.

I love how Peter (Paul Rudd) and Sydney (Jason Segel)’s relationship throughout the movie mirrors most romantic comedy relationships, but without any real reference to homophobia. I thought the fact that they made Peter’s brother, Robbie (Andy Samberg) gay, but didn’t load him with gay jokes and instead used his character to help Peter connect with men was really smart.

Sometimes I Love You, Man felt a little sexist, especially the scene where Sydney doesn’t want to play golf, or any sport, with women, but sometimes I can’t tell if I think a movie is stereotyping women, or if that’s just how I perceive it because I’m not like that. I guess the best example in this case would be Zooey (Rashida Jones)’s “girl nights” where she and her friends get together and drink wine and talk about relationships. That made me roll my eyes, because of course the women in the movie do that, but maybe women really do do that, and just don’t do that. I don’t know. BUT. I Love You, Man is great.

Christopher

I’m glad we finally got to watch this movie because I knew Elizabeth would like it. Or at least I hope she does or this post won’t make a lot of sense.

For me the best part of this movie was having the great Lou Ferrigno in it! Also I think anything with surprise vomiting is pretty funny.

SEASON OF THE WITCH (2011)

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Christopher

THIS MOVIE IS GREAT. The film truly has no tension because you don’t care about any of the characters. Who really cares if everyone dies. But I think this movie is brilliant in its awful CGI, forgettable cast, and lack of a real story.

I do enjoy a good Cage film but I think this is the best one I’ve seen in a while.

Elizabeth

There are about a million awful things that distract you from the awful story of Season of the Witch, but I think probably the worst offender is the fact that Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman, though credited as playing the characters “Behmen von Bleibruck” and “Felson,” respectively, they’re really just playing Crusader versions of NIcolas Cage and Ron Perlman. Not that I necessarily would want to hear Cage or Perlman attempt British accents, but the fact that they don’t even attempt accents and just sound like Americans fighting in the Crusades makes this movie seem like some sort of weird and awful time travel movie. Which actually would have been more interesting.

I think what Season of the Witch is supposed to be about is the plague (not sure if it’s THE plague that we all know and love or a made up plague for the movie) being caused by a demon that possesses women. Or something? All I know is, Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play Crusaders who kill a shitload of people in a bunch of battles (thanks to a very extended montage of this), and then suddenly get a change of heart when they realize they killed women and children. Now, I’m not about to pretend to be any kind of scholar on the Crusades, but I have a feeling that this wasn’t a once-in-a-Crusades occurrence. But they’re such good guys! Or something.

I don’t know.

COMMANDO (1985)

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Elizabeth

Commando is great because it’s sort of like a super over the top 80s version of Taken . . . and I love Taken. How is it over the top? Well the first time we see John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger), he’s carrying a tree over his shoulder like it ain’t no thang. A TREE. And when he needs to rob an army surplus store to get supplies for the takedown that will get him back his daughter, does he break through the window or pick the lock? No! He drives some kind of giant construction tractor thingie into the side of the store. Of course!

I mean, I love revenge movies, and this is a pretty badass one. It’s not badass in the same way Taken is (which is just straight up BAD.ASS.), but it’s just so goofy and sort of nonsensical you really have no choice but to stop thinking about it and just go with it. It’s also really funny if you assume the main villain, who used to be in Matrix’s unit, is actually Matrix’s ex-lover. It’s amazing how many of the lines fit that scenario . . .

Christopher

An action film truly couldn’t get any better! ARNOLD is so cool and insane in this movie. All the scenes without him should have been removed. This is a movie I saw a lot as a kid. It was actually a family film we would constantly put on. I’m not quite sure how that happened….

I usually kind of hate action films, stuff like the Transformer movies are pretty awful to me, but something about Commando is so simple it works so well.