BED OF ROSES (1996)

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Elizabeth

There’s a point in Bed of Roses when Lisa (Mary Stuart Masterson) is spending time with Lewis (Christian Slater), because he delivered her an anonymous bouquet and she’s trying to find out who sent them. Lewis then admits to Lisa that he sent them, after taking one of his nightly walks and saw her crying through her bedroom window. “So I followed you to work the next morning, found out your name, and sent you the flowers,” Lewis says. Lisa responds to this, after a slight pause, with, “So you sent the flowers?”

ARE WE NOT GOING TO ADDRESS THE FACT THAT THIS GUY FOLLOWED YOU TO WORK AND STALKED YOU, LISA? Lewis’ creepiness goes completely undiscussed during the entirety of Bed of Roses. Lewis starts to seem less creepy, though, when it becomes how clear it is that Lisa is pretty dumb and maybe even a little psychotic herself.

So, okay, yes Bed of Roses is really pretty shitty. I didn’t want it to be. A trailer for it was on some VHS I had as a kid and always wanted to see it, so I was disappointed when I realized how awful it was. BUT. There are two great things about Bed of Roses. The first is the appearance of Pamela Adlon as Kim, Lisa’s best friend. Pamela Adlon is the voice of Bobby Hill in King of the Hill, one of my favorite all-time TV characters, so it was sort of amazing seeing her here (and hearing how similar her voice is to Bobby’s). The second is the appearance of what miiiiight be one of the greatest songs of all time? My love for this song absolutely came from the aforementioned trailer, but I hadn’t listened to it in years until we watched this movie. And that song would be “Independent Love Song,” by Scarlet. It’s kind of cheesy, I guess. But mostly it’s just AMAZING.

So I guess in the end, sure, watch Bed of Roses if you want to see some annoying people have a relatively conflict-free romance. Or you could just cut to the chase and listen to “Independent Love Song” over and over.

Christopher

This movie was a home run and it took me to cloud 9!! This movie is Simply Irresistible bad. Now, there is not magic crab but at the heart of this movie there is only a creepy love story with absolutely no conflict. Christian Slater plays an over-confident, very creepy, flower store owner who comes on to Mary Stuart Masterson and what ends up happening is that he’s too good of a guy for her! So she has to fight to understand that maybe, just maybe, if she lets him love her, she’ll be happy for the rest of her life!

Watch this movie now!
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WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996)

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Christopher

Every time I go into a Christopher Guest movie I expect to hate it, but that’s never happened so I’m not quite sure why I feel that way. I think I always feel like I’ll immediately fall asleep or something. Waiting for Guffman was not boring in any way and it was extremely funny. The plot was very predictable but that doesn’t really matter because the story isn’t what I find so interesting about his movies, it’s all the characters and their obvious ad-libbing.

I think the actor I look forward to the most in his movies is Fred Willard. He’s fantastic and I also think he’s great in Roseanne and that he’s a small reoccurring character in King of the Hill.

Elizabeth

Waiting for Guffman is just a classic to me. I love all of Christopher Guest’s movies and Waiting for Guffman has everything that always makes them so great: sweet, weird, and insanely funny. I think one thing I like most about Guest’s movies is that they very rarely make me cringe, even though the characters are sort of awkward or get into cringe-worthy situations. I think part of that comes from the fact there are never any real bad guys. Even a character that you could say is an antagonist is never a real obvious one, because they’re not cartoonish. The way Guest balances reality and absurdity is really special.

I think Waiting for Guffman really has too many memorable scenes to really call attention to anything specific. The whole movie is really just kind of a masterpiece in terms of actors naturally interacting with and playing off each other.

Plus, Corky’s My Dinner with Andre Action Figures sound amazing.

THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996)

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Elizabeth

What can I even say about The English Patient? It’s one of my absolute favorite movies. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. I love the book and this is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations because the fact that a movie made from this book was even possible blows my mind, much less a movie as great as The English Patient.

There are a couple of downsides to watching The English Patient: it reminds me how incredibly underrated Ralph Fiennes is and makes me mad that’s never won an Oscar and it makes me cry every time. It’s so incredibly beautiful; it’s shot beautifully, the actors are beautiful, all of their relationships are so beautiful and interesting. I think my favorite relationship of all is that between Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), badly burned and dying, and his nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche). Several other characters remark that Almasy and Hana must be in love, but they genuinely aren’t. They love each other, but in a more familial way. They identify with each other. They’ve both suffered extreme loss and pain and deal with it together. They heal each other, both literally and figuratively.

In high school I was particularly enraptured with Almasy and Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas)’s relationship, and watching it now I think it’s because their romance is so intense that it’s easy for a teenager to identify with it. Though it’s even more intense and crazier in the book, their tumultuous relationship in the movie is definitely kind of teenager-y because they’re obsessed with each other and have such intense physical feelings for each other it’s like they don’t even know what to do with themselves. It’s sort of scary but very beautiful.

Though in a many, many, many ways, The English Patient is tragic, it’s not completely devastating. It’s just a movie that has everything.

Also, if you’re a fan, you should read Roger Ebert’s review of The English Patient because it not only reminds you of how awesome the movie is but how great of a writer Roger Ebert was.

Christopher

I remember pretty well when this movie came out. What I remember the most was my parents watching it and hating it. So as I grew older I really had no desire to see a movie, mostly set in the desert, that was horribly reviewed by my parents. I mean I think the desert is pretty but whenever I think of a desert I just want to fall asleep? It’s kind of a weird feeling, almost exactly like how I feel about malls.

Elizabeth had been wanting me to see this because it’s one of her favorites. And I have to say I really enjoyed it too. I thought the story was pretty interesting and an awesome surprise that Naveen Andrews was in it. I always thought this movie would be far too boring but it ended up being the opposite for me. It was compelling throughout.

Now, this isn’t a movie I feel like I really need to see again, only maybe with some commentary. But it’s a movie I’m glad Elizabeth brought to my attention, cause it was easily a movie I haven’t thought about since my parents watched it XX years ago.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (1996)

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Elizabeth

Okay, is The First Wives Club the best movie ever? No. But I find it oddly comforting . . . maybe because it’s a movie I really liked when I was younger, maybe because it still manages to be pretty pleasant and not heavy (despite dealing with topics like suicide and cheating spouses). I think I just really like the idea of women coming together and being badasses.

This is obviously a movie with a lot of “battle of the sexes” stuff going on, but I think in the end it’s about more than that. The movie doesn’t prove that women are better than men, and I don’t think it tries to. Because each strong female main character (played by Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler) has a female counterpart that isn’t a good example of strong women. So it’s not saying all women are better than all men. And there are plenty of good guys in this movie, too. So really I think it’s more about not being a doormat and treating people with respect.

Also, for the record, Chris totally giggled a couple of times during the end sequence, so no matter what he says about this movie, that is still a true fact.

Christopher

In my mind First Wives Club lands in the same category of Too Wong Fu. It’s nice, simple, and has some very interesting comments on parts of society. But it really doesn’t have a very interesting story and in the end the only real thing that drives this movie is Diane Keaton. Well, not necessarily her character, but just the fact that she’s a badass actor.

 Don’t see this movie? Although I’m sure Elizabeth does not agree with me!

ROMEO + JULIET (1996)

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Christopher

I’m glad we finally got to watch this movie because I know how much Elizabeth loves it. I have to say it’s not quite for me but I did end up liking it pretty okay! It’s crazy how young some of the actors are in it.

I think all the stuff I generally had a problem with is the director. He’s just kind of awful in some of his decisions. But this movie is a million times better than that shit cloud Moulin Rouge.

The best character to me is Mercutio. When he died it was easily the saddest part of the movie to me. It was also weird that it was Michael from Lost.

But the best part of the film was easily Paul Rudd. He plays Juliet’s soon-to-be-man, Paris. There is a scene in the movie where he turns around, while clapping his hands, smiling at Juliet that is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!

I’ve been wanting to watch this since high school so I’m really glad I finally saw it but I wish I had seen it in high school because I think I would have liked it a bit more.

ALL 13 YEAR OLD GIRLS GO SEE THIS!!

Elizabeth

God, what is there to say about Romeo + Juliet? It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I’ve seen it so many times . . . honestly I would put it up around 75 times. I was completely obsessed with the play before the movie, and then hardcore obsessed with the movie. I listened to the soundtrack constantly and I give it credit for turning me onto my all-time favorite band, Radiohead. It took my all-time favorite actress at the time, Claire Danes (thanks to My So-Called Life), and paired her with my all-time favorite actor at the time (and probably still, let’s be honest), Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s just really quite incredible.

I’ve read Romeo and Juliet more than any other work (except for kids’ books), hands down, no question. I haven’t read it in years, but I still pretty much know the story backwards and forwards. And as a story everyone knows so well, it amazes me how beautiful and relevant it still is. So Romeo + Juliet is set in modern times, but is still in its own universe, where the characters all speak in Middle English, they live in a surreal beach city, and everyone carries at least one gun. Though modern, it’s still a world where telegrams and mailed messages are used over phone calls, two teenagers meet, fall in love, and get married within 24 hours, and banishment is a viable punishment that can be bestowed without trial. It’s never made clear if this is the United States, though the fact that it was filmed in Mexico is pretty clear, and that’s good. Because it’s not in the United States, it’s in Verona, and although this is Baz Luhrmann’s Verona instead of Verona, Italy, it’s its own world all the same.

Now that I am in my post-teenage years, every time I see a version of Romeo and Juliet, it’s amazing to me just how important it is to the plot that Romeo and Juliet are teenagers. In the play, Juliet is 13, and although it’s never explicitly stated how old Romeo is, I don’t think he can be more than 15. Of course, this was in the late 16th century, so those ages weren’t as young. In Romeo + Juliet, Romeo and Juliet’s ages are never stated, but Leonardo DiCaprio was 22 (and could easily pass for somewhere around 17-19) and Claire Danes was 17 when the movie was made. Why is it so important that they’re teenagers? Because only teenagers are insane enough to believably, meet, fall in love, and get married in 24 hours, and then kill themselves when they can’t be together. If adults did that, they would be insane. But things tend to be life or death with teenagers, and the fact that this was just as true in the 1500s as it is now is extremely interesting to me.

Something else that interested me: Chris and I saw this at the Drafthouse (the guy who sold us our tickets was around 30 years old and couldn’t believe the movie sold out – he was obviously never a teenage girl), so it was the first time I saw it in theaters since it came out, when I was almost 9 years old (I remember it being a big deal, this was the first PG-13 movie I saw in theaters). Watching it last night, it struck me how crazy it was to think that the last time I saw this movie in theaters, I was 8 years old, clutching a bunch of religious necklaces (I was really into the religious-themed set designs), with probably either my mom or sister or both, being so amazed at how beautiful and sad it was but also obsessing over what it must be like to kiss Leonardo DiCaprio, or really to kiss anyone. I had never kissed anyone, never had a boyfriend, never been in love. I thought I knew what sex was, but I really didn’t. I wondered what all of that was like (a lot) but I honestly couldn’t comprehend what it was like. And this is going to sound pathetic, but around the time that Romeo + Juliet came out, I was already battling really severe, early onset acne, at an age where most kids didn’t really even know what a pimple was. I was made fun of a lot, and thought nearly constantly about how ugly I was because my face was so bad, and when I watched Romeo + Juliet, my child self couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself, because I was pretty convinced I would never kiss, have a boyfriend, be in love, etc. So then last night, I found myself as a 25 year old with clear skin (thanks mostly to years of Accutane and laser treatments), sitting in a theater next to my boyfriend whom I am in love with and is in love with me, and whom I knew would later go home with me and kiss me. It almost made me cry to think about, knowing I understood the feelings in Romeo + Juliet so much more than I did when I first saw it. And it’s even better, because I’m not a crazy, suicidally-in-love teenager . . . though I’ve been that, too. It was just very comforting; Romeo + Juliet still made me cry, but just because of how tragic it is, not because I felt sad for myself.

Also, can we just talk about how insanely good at crying Leonardo DiCaprio is, especially as Romeo? I don’t think there a ton of male actors that are great at crying onscreen; it either looks fake (because it is and there aren’t any tears) or so overblown that it feels like the audience is being attacked by acting. But leave it to Leo . . . he cries his fucking heart out as Romeo, because he’s playing a teenager whose love and loss pushes him to the point of suicide. He cries tears, his eyes get red and puffy, his nose runs. He cries. And it’s heart-wrenching to watch.

It’s also important to note the “twist” ending that Baz Luhrmann gave Romeo + Juliet; of course it’s not an insane twist, Romeo and Juliet still die at the end. But in the play, and almost every adaptation, Romeo visits Juliet’s tomb, poisons himself and dies, and then Juliet wakes up, sees Romeo dead, and stabs herself to death. In this version, however, Juliet wakes up just as Romeo downs the poison, so she watches him die in her arms. Seeing her slowly start to wake as Romeo prepares to kill himself is almost unbearable. Especially the way the dialogue is manipulated; all the lines remain the same, but are just said at slightly different times (when Juliet laments the fact that Romeo didn’t leave an poison for her, she’s talking to him directly this time). And when Romeo dies, Juliet is left without her monologue, because she’s said everything to Romeo already. So instead, she cries and then wordlessly shoots herself in the head. It’s pretty gut-wrenching.

I’ve said enough, and I need to stop myself because I could write about this movie and this story forever. If for some reason you haven’t seen Romeo + Juliet, just do yourself a favor and watch it, please.

FEAR (1996)

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Christopher

This movie did have some pretty unsettling moments but it’s overall problem was having Mark Wahlberg as the psycho boyfriend. He’s just not really that scary. And he’s so tiny. It’s pretty funny in the end when the dad is just throwing Wahlberg like a child.

What I walked away with from Fear is that I really want them to make a Fear 2 now. With Donnie Wahlberg as the boyfriend, Reese Witherspoon’s sister as the girl, and Susan Sarandon’s daughter as the mom. It would be so good!

Elizabeth

Fear deceived me. I recorded it because of a joke in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, when Dennis’ crazy wife starts hitting herself and Mac recognizes it as the thing Marky Mark does in Fear. So I was expecting it to be sort of goofy.  And it kind of is for most of it; it’s just really over the top. Reese Witherspoon plays Nicole, a 16 year old, with a boyfriend played by David, who is obviously way older, played by Mark Wahlberg. David sends up some pretty clear red flags that Nicole ignores, etc etc.

THEN IT TURNS INTO A SUPER SCARY HOME INVASION MOVIE, which begins when the family dog is decapitated and the crazy killers push the dog’s head through the doggy door. GREAT! I tried to distract myself during this scary scene with some of the implausible parts, like how this family has insane security (security cameras, security guard, electric security system, reinforced doors and windows), but no weapons in the house? Wouldn’t weapons be your first line of defense? It was also funny how tiny Mark Walhberg gets thrown around pretty easily.

But don’t watch this movie thinking it’s going to be really goofy. There’s rape, beating-to-deaths, and DOG DECAPITATION.

WISH UPON A STAR (1996)

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Elizabeth

Watching Wish Upon A Star as a 25 year old in 2013 is weird for a few reasons: A.) I saw this a million times on The Disney Channel in elementary school B.) It’s relatively raunchy for a Disney Channel movie C.) Katherine Heigl is in it D.) It is painfully 90’s; in its clothes, music, plot, everything.

So two sisters, two years apart and opposites of each other WISH UPON A STAR to both become the other sister, and then that happens, and they freak out and try to sabotage each other. But, even though this is a fantasy, the fact that they’re still dumbass teenagers is true and they only end up sabotaging themselves because they routinely forget that they’re trapped in each others’ bodies.

The younger sister is also weirdly obsessed with the older sister, and eventually the older sister becomes creepily involved with the younger sister. I’m not saying outright that there was incest but . . . give Wish Upon A Star a David Lynch or P.T. Anderson as a director and you’d have the incest-heavy, insane-parent movie that Wish Upon A Star WISHED it could be.

Christopher

I REMEMBERED SO MUCH ABOUT THIS MOVIE!!!!! I had no idea what this was before we started watching this, Elizabeth remembered it from years past, and right when it started I remembered pretty much everything. It’s funny how some stuff works cause I know when I saw Knocked Up Katherine Heigl looked familiar to me but I had no idea what from and now after seeing this I’m sure it was from watching it on TV all the time.

If you’re into the whole Disney Channel Original Movie scene definitely check this out!