DOUBLE JEOPARDY (1999)

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Elizabeth

Double Jeopardy is by no means a perfect movie, but was most certainly a perfect movie for 12 year old me, which is how old I was when I first saw this. I didn’t care how accurate/inaccurate the whole double jeopardy concept was, or who was right or wrong, or really anything other than the fact that a woman was wronged by a man and then turned into a badass. The only other movie I had known about that was squarely about a female badass was G.I. Jane, which kind of scared me (and I’ve never actually seen it because for years I was sure there was rape involved), so Double Jeopardy was a much more palatable alternative.

And in the 15 or so years since, I still kinda feel the same way. I know now that double jeopardy doesn’t quite work like that, but I still don’t really care. If anything, Ashley Judd’s badassery is only more obvious to me now as the total gravity of her situation (falsely convicted of her husband’s murder, son essentially kidnapped by not-dead husband) is much clearer. There was a part of me as a kid that thought maybe, in the end, she and her husband could like . . . make up? I didn’t really want that to happen per se, but it didn’t seem out of the question for some reason. Watching it now, I wanted Libby to spit in the face of her fake dead husband every time she saw him. The flip side is that Tommy Lee Jones’ parole officer seems less of an annoying bad guy turned good guy and more of a guy literally trying to do his job.

I will say, one thing that did not work for me in 1999 or 2016 is the absolutely absurd depiction of New Orleans. In the Double Jeopardy New Orleans, Mardi Gras is 24/7, you literally can’t walk down the street without being stopped by a jazz funeral, and everyone is rich, white, and has a thick Scarlet O’Hara-esque old Atlanta accent. The New Orleans of 1999 is very different from the New Orleans of 2016 but Double Jeopardy does not get a pass just because of Katrina. The Double Jeopardy New Orleans just never existed, anywhere, anytime.

So no, don’t watch Double Jeopardy for a law lesson or a travel guide to New Orleans. But if you want to see a scorned woman work her way up the badass ladder until finally achieving ultimate badass status . . . do see Double Jeopardy.

Christopher

I have a strange feeling that I might have watched this before but overall it seemed fairly new to me. I did know what the whole double jeopardy part of the plot was though, unfortunately. I think overall this movie was fun but it had a lot of just strange things. It felt like sloppy film making sometimes. And nothing big but like, someone would be on a phone talking with their hand over the where they talk into the phone. Or there was a lot of bad green screen choices. The nudity in the film was surprising and nice though.

Overall I think this movie is fun but it feels too much of a product from the 90s to really hold up over time. It was also a movie I loved asking Elizabeth if New Orleans really is like that. There were some pretty terrible attempts at New Orleans accents.

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THE MUSE (1999)

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Christopher

I had never heard of this movie until Elizabeth mentioned it one day. I was surprised how many well-known actors were in it but I think that, along with it being a childhood favorite of Elizabeth’s, is what had me interested in watching.

I enjoyed the film. I think the plot was enjoyable and interesting idea, but I do also think it is a movie people would easily forget about. However, one thing about this film that I think is unforgettable is Jeff Bridges, who is a successful screenwriter and friend of Albert Brooks. It’s a role very similar to Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly. Okay movie, but incredible performance. There is one scene where Bridges and Brooks are talking about stuff, yada yada yada, and during the whole thing, Bridges is trying to serve in tennis. However, he just can’t make it over the net. The gag plays for quite a while but it’s so great. Totally worth seeing just for that I think!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

The Muse is one of those movies that I love but literally no one I ever ask about it has ever even heard of it, much less seen it. When it first came out, I thought it was going to be huge because of everyone in it, but instead it came and went and was forgotten. But goddammit I love this movie.

The Muse follows Steven Philips (Albert Brooks), a screenwriter who loses his deal with a movie studio after his latest script is panned by pretty much everyone who comes across it. Steven turns to his best friend, Jack (Jeff Bridges), a fellow screenwriter of around the same age who has known nothing but success. Jack cautiously tells Steven his secret – a muse. This muse, though, is for real – a Greek goddess that inspires art. Once Steven believes him, he immediately wants in and Jack sets up an appointment to meet Sarah (Sharon Stone), the muse. When he meets her, she tells him she will take him on as a client, which means Steven will be taking on all of Sarah’s living expenses. Being a goddess, Sarah only accepts lodging at a suite at the Four Seasons, meals at fancy restaurants, and doesn’t drive.

Steven decides to not tell his wife, Laura (Andie MacDowell) – until Jack tells Steven he has to bring Sarah a gift from Tiffany’s and while there is caught buying something for a woman other than Laura by one of her friends, and Laura forces it out of him over fears that he’s cheating. Once Laura sees all the inane shit that Sarah puts Steven through, however, she fully accepts Steven’s story and the fact that he’s not cheating. Sarah then wants to meet Laura, who is nervous about the meeting, only for Sarah and Laura to become inseparable friends.

During all of this, Sarah gives Steven little nuggets of inspiration. She takes him to an aquarium where he starts outlining a summer comedy starring Jim Carey to take place in an aquarium. Sarah is also constantly visited by past clients who need help here and there, including Jack, James Cameron, and Martin Scorsese. As Sarah and Laura grow closer, Sarah starts to encourage Laura to follow her dream of opening a cookie business. Steven fluctuates between love and frustration with Sarah as he fears she’s spending too much energy inspiring others, including Laura, who doesn’t pause in her business venture for a second despite Steven being a baby about it.

Eventually, as Steven nears the end of his screenplay and Laura’s business only grows more successful, Steven and Laura are visited by two doctors from an Ohio mental hospital who tell the Philips that Sarah is their patient, has multiple personality disorder, and has run away from the hospital. They go to Sarah’s room (throughout the movie she moves closer and closer to the Philips, eventually taking over their bedroom) and find a bedsheet rope leading out the window. Despite that, Steven finishes his script and it is loved by everyone who reads it. When he brings the script back to the original executive that fired him, he tells Steven that Steven’s script was already in production at another studio by Rob Reiner (another former client of Sarah’s). With that, Steven assumes that Sarah is fake and ruined his career.

Some time later, Steven is working at Laura’s cookie store when his agent calls and tells him the Rob Reiner picture is off and the studio wants to make his movie again. He rushes over to the studio to find out the executive who fired him no longer works there and his replacement is none other than Sarah, who has since changed her name, occupation, and hair color, and she ushers him away in excitement.

The whole reason that The Muse even came up with Chris and me is that The Muse was my first introduction to Martin Scorsese before I had any idea who Martin Scorsese was. He’s only in one scene, when Steven comes home to find him banging incessantly on Sarah’s door. They talk briefly, and when I first saw it all I could think of was “Who the hell is this troll?” His character seemed so insane that I thought for sure he was going to come back and be important, because I had no idea he was a guy playing himself. It wasn’t until some time later that I saw what Martin Scorsese looked like and realized it had been that dude.

Jack is a total stand-out character. He’s very Dude-like and calm, but also sort of really stupid. There’s an amazing scene of Jack and Steven playing tennis while they talk, except Jack keeps serving and hits the net every single time:

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Watching The Muse now, I love how Laura brushes off Steven’s concerns about her business. His sexism comes out in flying colors once she brings up the idea of owning her own business, like his annoyance at Laura for not making lunch instead of baking. Despite that, Laura doesn’t stop for a second until she’s more successful than Steven. If Laura had been meek, that whole subplot would have been horrible and annoying. But it’s clear she loves Steven, but doesn’t give a shit what he thinks about her abilities to start her business.

On top of everything else, The Muse is full of great lines, has a shit ton of people in it, and is just one of those pleasant movies that sort of makes you feel good. No one gets raped or murdered, and it all takes place on this Curb Your Enthusiasm-type of plane where everyone is just super rich, which isn’t distracting, it just makes everything easier and make more sense.

The Muse might not change your life, and it’s not the easiest movie to find now, but it’s absolutely worth watching.

LAKE PLACID (1999)

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Christopher

This was a movie I thought of as a super adult horror movie as a kid but as an adult it’s barely watchable. People go to a lake and are eaten by a giant crocodile. If they didn’t go they would be fine as this “monster” has been living there in peace for a very long time. Everyone is there to hunt this croc but rarely do they have any guns or weapons and if they do, they aren’t that knowledgeable about using them. Digging a pit was the first moment anyone did anything to protect themselves.

This movie was bad but I guess I like that it seems to be a the cause of a ton of terrible SyFy movies. And what’s a world without those movies?

Elizabeth

What if you heard about a lake in the middle of nearly-uninhabited land that held a rare and giant crocodile that eats people? Would you want to go to that lake to kill the crocodile (again – it lives in the water and is surrounded by land that almost no one lives on)? Or would you just leave it alone?

Leaving it alone does not seem to be an option for any human character in Lake Placid. I mean, just look at the beginning of the Wikipedia summary:

In Aroostook County, Maine, marine Fish and Game officer Walt Lawson is attacked and bitten in half by something unseen in Black Lake. Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), Fish and Game officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda), and mythology professor/crocodile enthusiast Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) go to the lake to investigate.

WHY? Why did all those fucking people go to an almost-empty lake in Maine just because someone was killed by a creature in the lake? And why did one of those people have to be a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History? Bridget Fonda’s presence is questioned a lot, and for good reason. But yeah, I have a problem with that premise. It’s not impossible . . . but there’s also no real threat or conflict until all the humans create one. The reason Jaws works is because the shark is off the coast of an extremely popular beach full of swimmers – not an abandoned beach.

Another problem I had: I am absolutely not an expert on reptiles or crocodiles or alligators. But I am from Louisiana and that thing looked like a fucking alligator, not a crocodile as the movie said. And it’s living in a lake? Everything about this creature looked like an alligator as opposed to a crocodile. And why a lake in Maine? It’s explained in the movie that the crocodile isn’t native to Lake Placid, but followed the one resident (Betty White)’s husband home from a fishing trip in the ocean. Okay . . . except the defining thing about a lake is that it’s surrounded by land, so I’m not sure how a crocodile would manage to “follow” a fisherman from an ocean, across miles of land, and into a lake.

I just don’t know why anyone thought this movie needed to exist. It’s so unrealistic yet the suspense is supposed to come from the movie being in the real world, not a fantasy world where anything can happen. I understand that if a wild animal is attacking you and will likely kill you, you’re going to want to kill it or hurt it in some way to save yourself. But a bunch of bumblefuck adults trying to retaliate against a crocodile who killed someone fucking with his lake  . . . not so understandable.

THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

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Christopher

I completely missed seeing this movie until now. So, unfortunately, I did know how this movie ended. However, I wasn’t quite sure how the movie unfolded to get there. Even though I knew how it ended I really enjoyed watching the film.

It’s strange to think about ‘cause when this came out and I was younger, M. Night Shyamalan was this great, best of the best director in my mind. Granted it was a time when I didn’t know a lot about movies but in my mind it was just a fact that he was great. When I think of him now though it makes me think of sitting in the theater when they started playing trailers for that movie Devil that came out a while ago and the whole theater would start booing when his name came up as a writer. There used to be a lot of these videos on Youtube. And for good reason! The Sixth Sense and some of his others are good but he became a terrible writer/director.

Anyway, back to The Sixth Sense. Everything about this movie works to me. It does a great job of being emotional. You know the kid is nice, he just has this horribly fucked up thing he has to deal with. Bruce Willis is an accomplished and nice therapist that you want to see help the boy. And it’s really not a horror movie. It just has to deal with dead people.

I’m glad I finally saw this movie but I wish I had seen it when it came out. I know it would of scared the shit out of me but at least the end would have been a surprise. If you are completely out of the loop like me and never saw this, please do!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I found out a long time ago that Chris had never seen The Sixth Sense and I had been trying to get him to watch it pretty much ever since. And finally we did it!

I didn’t see The Sixth Sense in theaters, but I watched it the weekend it came out on video at my friend’s house. I didn’t know the ending at that point and when I watched it I had really never seen anything like it. It was scary, but not in a way that truly scared me. It was sad and beautiful and I couldn’t believe Malcom (Bruce Willis) was for real, totally, completely dead the whole time. I thought it was a complete work of genius.

It’s been sixteen years and an M. Night Shyamalan movie obviously doesn’t mean now what it meant then. I was a supporter of M. Night Shyamalan for many years beyond everyone around me. I truly loved Lady in the Water and I thought The Village was scary and creepy. I hung on. Then I saw The Happening and I couldn’t deny that it was bad. It’s been kind of downhill from there (though I truly do still have faith that he will be great again). But even now, I don’t really disagree with my original thoughts on The Sixth Sense. I imagine this movie will end up being like Psycho; everyone knows what happens, but it’s still a classic that ends up being scary and creepy. Just like knowing that Marion Crane gets murdered by Norman Bates in the shower doesn’t make Psycho less scary or powerful, knowing that Malcom is dead the whole time really doesn’t take away from The Sixth Sense also being scary and powerful.

Because I first saw this movie when I was around 11, I obviously saw everything more from Cole (Haley Joel Osment)’s eyes. I wasn’t unfamiliar with being made fun of and I hated every kid in this movie because they were so terrible to Cole, who was so tortured. Watching it now, I still hate those kids but I paid more attention to the adults. For example, in the scene where Cole basically breaks down his teacher by making fun of him for stuttering, the first time I watched it I just felt sad for Cole, knowing he was only saying those things because some ghosts told him to. But watching it now all I could think of is someone really needs to fire that fucking teacher. So a tiny kid made fun of your stutter. Okay. You’re an elementary school teacher and an adult, so reacting by banging your fist on the kid’s desk and yelling in his face is probably not the best way to deal with it, especially when you know the kid has issues. I also paid a lot more attention to Lynn (Toni Collette), Cole’s mom. I honestly didn’t remember her being in it much, so I thought her character was so interesting to watch. She’s so tragic, tries so hard, and her total undying love and support for Cole is both heartbreaking, heartwarming, and exhausting to watch.

So watching The Sixth Sense as an adult, and knowing the ending, I found it to be much more sad than scary. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

RUNAWAY BRIDE (1999)

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Christopher

I remember watching this movie multiple times as a kid because my sister had the VHS and I feel like she watched it a lot. So maybe I just watched it once and it was on a lot in the background. However, I completely forgot, or didn’t get at first, that Richard Gere is a terrible person in this movie and there is absolutely no reason that his character and Julia Roberts’ character could fall in love. The whole movie I was excited to see how that would happen but it just kind of happened? Like all adults are mean to each other until that moment where they realize their hate is actually love? I’m not sure, it’s really fucking confusing.

ALSO and this I really didn’t remember but most of the movie takes place in Baltimore and they mention the Orioles!

Elizabeth

I’m pretty sure I have a VHS copy of Runaway Bride in my old room at my mom’s house right now. It was never a movie I super loved, but it always felt very pleasant and enjoyable to me (especially compared to Pretty Woman). It came out when I was in elementary school and I’m not really sure when the last time I had seen this was (maybe early college?) but whenever I did see it again, I remember thinking that Maggie (Julia Roberts) was kind of a jerk, considering her biggest character trait is leaving men at the altar. But watching it again, I see there is a villain here and it is Ike, played by Richard Gere.

So Ike is a journalist from New York of some kind, with apparently nothing to write about, until he hears about Maggie from a drunk guy in a bar. Even though Ike doesn’t follow up on any sources, doesn’t know Maggie, doesn’t even live in the same city as Maggie . . . he uses Maggie’s story of leaving behind three different men at the altar as a platform for his anti-female column. It’s craaaaazy how misogynistic this column is, especially considering Ike is supposed to be somewhat charming. Luckily his boss, Ellie (Rita Wilson), fires Ike for his lack of journalism abilities, which Ike immediately blames on the fact that Ellie is his ex-wife, despite the fact that they’re amicable co-workers and she’s happily remarried. WOMEN!!!

In order to save face somehow, Ike decides to go to Maryland where Maggie lives and is engaged once again to do a story about her. From there he essentially stalks her and talks to all of her exes without her, as if that will give him some kind of unbiased perspective. But the issue here is that Ike doesn’t want an unbiased perspective. He wants everyone to agree with him, that women are manipulative bitches who will step on anyone who gets in their way. It would be hard to find a group more perfect for that than a group of men all dumped by the same woman. So Ike goes around fucking with everyone in Maggie’s life, including her alcoholic father, until finally Maggie decides to work with Ike so that she has a say in how he portrays her. This gives Ike an opportunity to tell Maggie a fucking dumb, hypothetical marriage proposal he thinks is perfect:

Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.

Gross, especially coming from a huge asshole that hates women like Ike. But, naturally, this is all it takes for Maggie to fall in love with Ike and because Maggie is beautiful and quirky, Ike just naturally falls in love with her, too, despite the fact that he met her in the first place because she keeps leaving men. Maggie and Ike then have the great idea to use Maggie’s wedding – less than a week away – for the two of them, rather than Maggie and her original guy. Because nothing says Happily Ever After like two people hating each other, falling in love, and getting married, all within about two weeks. You already know the rest: Maggie leaves Ike at the altar, some time passes, they get married for real.

It’s just so bizarre to me that we’re supposed to look past how insane and awful Ike is, and not just that, but also think he’s charming and caring the whole time. What? Maggie’s not great, either, but at least her character doesn’t actively go around hating people. I don’t think there will ever be a need for a third Julie Roberts-Richard Gere movie, but if there is it would be nice if their characters were actually equal and remotely on the same page.

IDLE HANDS (1999)

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Elizabeth

My memory of Idle Hands was that it was a movie I had seen a ton of times, but only for the sex scenes. I remember thinking it was super scary otherwise, what with parents getting murdered and the killer hiding under the bed and all. Watching it now, I’m 99% sure I had only seen Idle Hands all the way through once and it was just the sex scenes I had seen a ton. Womp womp. Makes sense though.

I usually have a hard time enjoying movies that try to incorporate horror, comedy, and sex as much as Idle Hands does. Those feelings are too different to me for the movie to feel connected. Idle Hands was no exception, and it didn’t really help that the humor was pretty gross. Also, Jessica Alba is in it as the love interest and her character is comically underdeveloped. When Anton (Devon Sawa) goes to Molly (Alba)’s door for the first time, he bangs on it repeatedly and she answers the door in her underwear. And wants Anton to stay. Even though she’s just supposed to be in high school, Molly acts like what middle school boys dream of high school girls acting like: dumb and always down to have sex with no consequences. Sort of lame.

Now that I’m an adult, I really don’t have a desire to see Idle Hands, or even any of its sex scenes, again.

Christopher

This is a movie I never saw but had seen multiple parts on FX throughout my life. It just seems like one of those movies that shows up on TV often. I’m glad it took me till now to see it though because it totally would of freaked me out as a kid. That being said I would of totally been into the topless scene. Had I know nudity was part of this film I think I would have been more interested when I was younger.

The story is about a kid who realizes that his hand is possessed and does everything he can to stop it/himself. It starts out with Fred Willard being the dad, which I was excited for, but he doesn’t really make it too far. The story is really all over the place, but it works well in this movie, I think. It does not do a lot of explaining and instead has a scene to scene feel about it. You know what’s going on as soon as everyone else does.

If you missed this movie like I did you might want to check it out cause I enjoyed it but I can see people having seen this their whole life being bored by it.

AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)

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Editor’s note: We watched American Beauty a while ago and forgot to write about it, so I’m not sure where it really fits in our chronology of movies. But here you go!

Christopher

I should of watched this in high school, it has so many people and themes I would have been very into at the time. Watching the film now though, it just looks and feels so 90’s I don’t think it had the same impact on me know as it would of when I was younger. I still found the story to be interesting and I wanted to know what each character was going through, but I just feel like I missed the boat on this movie.

Elizabeth

I wanted to see this movie so bad when it came out. Unfortunately, I was 11 at the time and couldn’t go, even after it was re-released a little while later with all the Oscar buzz around it. I remember being so sure my mom would let me see it when it was re-released for some reason, even though it was less than a year later. But anyway.

A lot of my feelings about American Beauty are clouded by the fact that I’ve seen it so many times at so many stages of my life. I did finally see it when it came out on video, with my mom fast forwarding through Lester (Kevin Spacey)’s shower masturbation scene. So I saw it in early middle school, and then multiple times in high school and college. So I’ve definitely been able to relate to it in different ways over the years; I always found Jane (Thora Birch) to be a character that really spoke to me. Her angst seemed genuine and well-deserved, and her relationship to Angela (Mena Suvari) was eerily similar to a friendship I had at the time I first watched it. Now I definitely can see parts of myself in the parents, too, and understand their problems more.

This is just such a great movie. And I have to say, I know the “paper bag floating in the wind” scene gets a lot of shit, but in the context of the movie and what the characters are going through at the time, it really is beautiful.