LITTLE WOMEN (1994)

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Elizabeth

I wish I knew how many times I’ve seen Little Women. I had seen it enough times to quote the movie by the time I finally got around to reading the novel in fourth grade. Between countless views and reading the novel, Little Women is a movie I could probably accurately re-write from memory.

At different points in my life I identified with each March sister, usually identifying with all of them at once. First there’s Beth, played here by Claire Danes. After I read the novel there was a week at school where I tried to change my name to Beth by only answering to Beth. Around day 3 I forgot to correct people when they called me Elizabeth, so it never really worked. But while I was still deep in my Little Women obsession, another little movie called Romeo + Juliet came out and became something I practically lived my life around. Claire Danes as Juliet only further fueled my love for Beth and solidified my belief that Beth was the most underrated character.

Then there’s obviously Jo, played by Winona Ryder.  While Beth and I basically shared a name, Jo and I seemed at times to share the same personality. Was Jo reacting just as I would react? Or have I seen Little Women so many times that Jo’s reactions have become my own? Who the hell knows, and who the hell really cares. The biggest flaw I found in Jo growing up was her refusal of Laurie (Christian Bale)’s marriage proposal. Were Jo and I not looking at the same person? Not hearing the same words? It seemed completely insane to me that she would not want to be with someone who seemed like her perfect match. I remember my mom trying to explain to me that Jo wasn’t in love with Laurie and wanted to see who else was out there, but Laurie being played by Christian Bale really made that hard to believe at the time. Jo ending up with Friedrich (Gabriel Byrne), whom I saw as just an old guy,  seemed like it was practically a plot hole. But I admit that watching Little Women as an adult makes the situation much clearer. Christian Bale is still there, but now he kind of looks like a little kid. Gabriel Byrne is still there, but now he looks sexy. It just kind of makes more sense.

The oldest March sister, Meg (Trini Alvarado) struggles with trying to be a good “lady” while simultaneously trying to figure out what that even means. I had some rich friends in elementary school who treated me the way the Moffats treated Meg – like they were doing me a favor by letting me into their world. And like Meg, I ate that shit up. But, luckily also like Meg, I found my rich friends’ lives to also be a little sad and cold. An Abercrombie & Fitch spending spree can’t match to being able to talk to your mom.

The youngest March sister, Amy (played first by Kirsten Dunst and then Samantha Mathis), was ironically the hardest for me to identify with despite being the closest to my age during the height of my obsession. I know in reality that this was clouded with jealousy – I mean, little Kirsten Dunst, who had ALREADY KISSED BRAD PITT, got KISSED (okay on the head) by CHRISTIAN BALE. That blew my mind. Something I felt really deeply about, though, was the scene where Amy burns Jo’s manuscript. Jo and Meg go to the theater with Laurie and John (later Meg’s husband); Amy perceives being left out as a complete slap in the face. I remember 100% agreeing with Amy at the time. They could’ve invited her, they just didn’t, just to be bitches. Amy is filled with a rage that seemed so understandable at the time that I don’t think it even registered as rage to me. Watching as an adult her request is completely absurd – a nagging child begging to go to the theater with adults. But then something switches. While they’re at the theater, Amy takes Jo long-worked-on manuscript and throws in the fire just in time for Jo to come home and watch it burn. That was when my writerly side trumped my child side. Be mad all you want, Amy, but don’t fucking touch Jo’s writing. That’s just crossing a line too bold to come back from. Of course, Jo eventually forgives her, but watching it as a kid I knew I would never be able to forgive someone for doing that to me. As an adult . . . I pretty much feel the same way.

Susan Sarandon as matriarch Marmee really stuck with me, too. First of all, Susan Sarandon looks so beautiful the entire movie despite being in a completely unsexy role. But mostly, it was the fact that she reminded me of my own mom and her reaction to Amy being hit by her teacher at school. While reading her letter to the teacher, Marmee says something along the lines of “if you hit and humiliate a child all you will teach that child is to hit and humiliate.” Hearing that as a child made total sense to me. In fact, after hearing that, I thought parenting was maybe not as difficult as it seemed, if you just understood a basic fact like that.

Of everything that happens, though, there is one moment in Little Women that I will always love and identify with the most. Growing up, I was known for my long hair. I grew it from about 1st-6th grade. Along the way I would get small haircuts, each one ending with me in tears and convinced feet of hair had been chopped off. In Little Women, rather than asking her awful great-aunt for money to help Marmee visit their wounded father in the hospital, Jo cuts her waist-length hair to her chin and sells her hair. That night, hearing Jo quietly sob in their bedroom, Beth wakes up and gently asks Jo, “Is it father?” Jo fingers the ends of her hair and pathetically whines, “My haaaaaaaaair.” Beth bursts into laughter, which must put the ridiculousness of the situation in a clear light for Jo to see, because Jo starts laughing, too. It’s a moment that’s genuinely funny and charming, but is also deadly realistic to a girl who’s had at least a couple of similarly dramatic haircuts.

You’ve seen Little Women, right? If you haven’t, don’t tell anyone and just watch it right now. You’ll feel better about everything.

Christopher

I always thought this movie was an epic. Something that would warrant two VHS’s. Though it’s not long it still packs a lot of story. I was hesitant about whether or not I would enjoy this film but in the end I found it super enjoyable. I felt like some stuff didn’t quite work. Such as Laurie and Amy getting together but I’m sure that makes more sense in the book.

I also enjoyed the huge cast. Ever since I saw The Usual Suspects I’ve really liked Gabriel Byrne and seeing a young Christian Bale is always great.

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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.

GARDEN STATE (2004)

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Christopher

I remember not liking this movie and that Natalie Portman played a mentally challenged woman. Apparently I was only half right because I was still not a fan but Natalie Portman was not mentally challenged. However, she did seem like she was way younger than Zach Braff’s character. There was a scene where they are at a bar drinking and the time I kept wondering how she was allowed to do that but I guess it means her character was older than 21?

I actually really enjoyed watching this in the beginning. I thought it was funny and there were interesting characters. But I really did not like or even really understand the romantic storyline. I think it’s mostly cause I found Natalie Portman to be so annoying I really couldn’t figure out what about her was attractive to him. Maybe it was cause he didn’t have to talk around her and she just did that for him?

I think the movie would have been far more interesting if it had been just about his family and helping his friend go on their scavenger hunt.

Elizabeth

I saw the trailer for Garden State in the summer of 2004 and at the risk of sounding very dramatic (though keep in mind I was 16 at the time), it pretty much took my breath away. Watching trailers was one of my favorite hobbies and I watched ones I liked over and over again. I’m sure I watched the Garden State trailer at least 100 times.

When it came out in the fall, it played an even bigger role in my teenage life than I had anticipated. Seeing Garden State turned out to be my first date (ever), and was also the location I experienced my first intense hand-holding. Now, it was not where I had my first kiss . . . that distinction goes to the empty theater after the movie Cellular finished. Much less memorable.

By the time I got to college in fall of 2006, it was very uncool to like Garden State. What just a couple of years before had blown my mind was now evidence of being uncool, which was very strange to me and a good preview of how the rest of my time at art school would be like.

But back to Garden State. I hadn’t seen it in years before Chris and I watched it together. I wasn’t super excited about watching it because Chris squarely falls into the category of someone who will make fun of you for loving Garden State. But I was curious to see it again as an adult and I’m really glad that I did.

For better or for worse, I don’t think one can truly appreciate Garden State if they haven’t themselves experienced severe depression. When we first meet Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), he’s barely functioning. He only has a blank stare, only talks in a monotone and sort of floats through life as everything just happens around him, but not really participating. Depression can take on all different forms for different people, but Andrew’s depression was very relatable. We don’t see him sobbing, trying to kill himself, or even really talk much. He’s sort of going through life in a fog, and the severity of his depression makes him not care enough to try and do something about it, or to even realize how bad it’s gotten. One day, while living in LA, Andrew gets a voicemail from his father after ignoring him for a while telling Andrew that his mother has died and he needs to come home to New Jersey. Andrew doesn’t even flinch at this news, further driving home how depressed and empty he already is.

Andrew returns to New Jersey and meets his old friend Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), a grave-digger, at the cemetery. He goes to a party with Mark and more old friends, smokes weed, takes ecstasy, kisses a girl (well sort of, she kisses him during spin the bottle), and wakes up the next morning still completely detached. He goes to the doctor to treat headaches he’s been having, where we learn that A.) His prescribing psychiatrist is his father, which is a pretty big no-no, and B.) He’s been on lithium and all kinds of drugs since he was about 10 years old. Waiting for the doctor, Andrew meets Sam (Natalie Portman), a girl who talks non-stop and makes him listen to 10 seconds of The Shins. Andrew seems annoyed by, scared of, and sort of attracted to Sam. After his appointment, he sees her waiting outside and offers her a ride home which starts the process of Sam and Andrew falling in love.

Now, why would Andrew fall in love with Sam? Sam seems very young – we don’t know how old she is but I would put her at 19. Her immaturity was definitely something I didn’t notice at all when I first saw this in high school. She’s also very extroverted, has an issue with lying too much, and can in general be very overwhelming. But simultaneously, Andrew is weaning himself off his medications. As Andrew’s eyes start opening to more things around him, his emotions open up, too. And I think what attracts Andrew to Sam is that she’s the opposite of the shell of a person he was at the beginning. Knowing he’s gone almost his entire life heavily medicated without significant relationships, it’s almost like Sam is the first person he’s ever really met. They’re fascinated with each other, want to learn about each other, and eventually realize they love everything they know about each other. So on the outside, or to a normal person, I do think that Sam could be seen as a Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, or just plain annoying. But Andrew isn’t on the outside and he isn’t a normal person, so their relationship makes total sense to me.

Andrew admits to Sam and Mark that his mother drowned in a bathtub because she was paraplegic and that she became paraplegic after Andrew pushed her as a child and she fell backwards over a dishwasher door, hitting the back of her neck. Andrew’s father was convinced he had rage issues, so he started medicating him, and obviously blamed Andrew for the accident and subsequently for her drowning. Towards the end of the movie, Andrew finally confronts his father in a very low-key but tense scene where Andrew tells him that the accident was an accident, he was a kid, it wasn’t his fault, and he doesn’t need medicine. I liked this scene because I feel like we expect Andrew’s father to say that – to finally tell Andrew he loves him, that he doesn’t blame him for the accidents, that he’s fine. But instead, Andrew doesn’t wait for his father and tells him himself. He takes some ownership in his life and his recovery from depression.

In the end, Sam takes Andrew to the airport to go back to LA. He wants to go back and try to get his life together – to try and figure things out now that he feels so different. Sam is scared and sad as she doesn’t think the relationship will last once he’s gone. Andrew leaves and gets on the plane, only to run out and find Sam sobbing in a phone booth. He pulls her out and recounts their last conversation and says “That’s dumb, I need to stay.” Which sounds stupid and not noteworthy, but I loved how Sam and Andrew had a stereotypical movie-goodbye-in-an-airport scene just for Andrew to turn around and be like “Wait, no.”

I haven’t talked about him much, but Peter Sarsgaard is perfect in this, too. He’s someone that always looks kind of stoned, but thoughtful. He’s a dick, but sweet. And I just love his voice so much I could listen to him talk forever.

So is Garden State the greatest movie ever made? No. Is the soundtrack, that people love to make fun of now, amazing? Yes. But I really wish people could watch this movie for what it is and not get bogged down in other criticisms or let the movie feel dated. Because when you just watch the movie without pretense, it’s so good at showing how mental illness can work, and is both funny and sad. It’s not perfect, but it’s really good.

 

 

WHITE FANG (1991)

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Christopher

I knew this was a book but I don’t have any memory of this movie in my life. I’m glad Elizabeth recommended it though ‘cause I think it was fun to watch. I was a little disappointed with the story. I felt like it was going to be more about Jack and White Fang as a team instead of them being together being the finale but I think once I realized that was what it was going to be I warmed up to it.

I would be very interested in reading the book. I think it’s more just from White Fang’s perspective which sounds interesting. He was by far the more interesting character. Jack was pretty boring to me.

Elizabeth

When I saw someone in The Last Waltz play the mouth harp it immediately reminded me of White Fang. I hadn’t thought about White Fang in a really long time, but the more I thought about it the more antsy I was to watch it. It’s a movie I’ve surely seen about a dozen times but probably hadn’t seen in like 18 years or something.

Watching movies or TV shows like that is always a crazy experience to me. Before we watched White Fang the other day, if you had asked me about the plot, all I would have been able to say was “It’s about a boy and his dog.” If you had asked me what the music was, I wouldn’t have even known where to start. But as soon as White Fang started and the music started, I suddenly remembered pretty much the entire musical suite as if I had been listening to it everyday. And with each scene I would get flashes of the scene coming next, which I really didn’t realize I remembered. It was crazy.

But anyway, about White Fang. Watching it now as an adult, and knowing my child self and what I could and couldn’t watch, I sort of don’t know how I loved White Fang and watched it so much. That’s not to say it’s not an amazing movie, because it is. It follows White Fang, a wolfdog (we only really know him to be a wolf at first until we’re told later he’s a wolfdog) and most of his journey through life. It’s intercut with the story of Jack (Ethan Hawke), who’s trying to get to and then make it on his father’s gold claim in Alaska.When we first meet White Fang, he’s a sweet little puppy living with his mom in a little wolf den. But while his mom is out hunting for food, she gets shot and has to literally crawl back to the den. While whimpering!! And then White Fang comes out and the camera shows us a close up on his mom’s face as she DIES. And then White Fang cries and whimpers, rests his head on her dead body, and lays there with her until he’s completely buried in snow. It makes me cry just typing this shit out. And the thing is, I remember that scene and his mom dying. But I guess I somehow handled it as a kid? I remember Mufasa’s death in The Lion King being traumatizing so I really have no idea how I made it through this one. White Fang goes through a lot of shit in his life, not limited to being captured and tortured by evil townspeople who train all of his tameness out of him so he can dog fight. So that’s another thing. I remember those dog fighting scenes (and there’s kind of a lot). And I remember that it was sad and awful because White Fang was a sweet doggy who was being forced to fight by mean people. Buuuuut I had no idea these were fight-to-the-death situations. I was used to seeing my own dogs play fighting when I was growing up and I think I thought these scenes were pretty much the same thing. Even though these scenes really are pretty brutal.

White Fang and Jack meet up throughout White Fang’s life. Jack first sees White Fang as a puppy after he’s lost his mom. A while later, while with his mentor and friend Alex (Klaus Maria Brandauer) they spend time with a Native American tribe where Alex is friends with the chief. By then, the chief and his family have found and taken (and named) White Fang and are using him as a work dog. Jack approaches White Fang to pet him but is quickly reprimanded by the chief, who tells him that dogs are for work and that humans are gods to dogs. Jack is put off by that, who pretty much argues that even if that’s true that doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to the dog. Later on after that, Jack comes across White Fang at the end of a dog fight, barely alive, and Jack saves him. Earlier, with the tribe, White Fang saved Jack from a pretty terrifying (though unrealistically slow) bear, so Jack saving White Fang makes a lot of sense and is also pretty cute. Jack nurses White Fang back to health and slowly undoes all the terribleness that other people had done to the point that White Fang slowly trusts him, then slowly likes him, then eventually love him.

I really do love this movie. I love that, like the book, White Fang really is about White Fang (who doesn’t talk, CHRISTOPHER) and his life and everything he goes through. Jack’s story is interesting but really is only necessary because the movie needs some dialogue to sort of anchor White Fang’s scenes. A lot of terrible things happen to White Fang and Jack, but in the end they’re straight up soulmates and once they find each other for good, their lives are so much better and they basically live happy ever after. AMAZING!!

Also . . .

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JUST LOOK AT DIS LIL PUPPPPYYYYYYYYYYY

 

A VERY BRADY SEQUEL (1996)

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Christopher

The first Brady movie was fun and surprising to me but I think the sequel is a better movie.

The first movie deals so much with the Bradys being this strange family out of time but in the sequel that’s not really the focus. It’s more about the family, their house, and a lot of characteristics that make them the Brady Bunch. For example a lot of the story is based around this very valuable horse they have in their living room, a prop that was in the original show. I find this plot point very compelling because it rewards people who loved the original show. The horse in the old episodes is just a decoration in the background. The idea that the whole time they were in possession of something extremely valuable is kind of exciting.

This movie is really funny and had me laughing quite a bit. It’s so strange to me that I thought this was part of the original show but I think the reimagined idea of the Brady Bunch was spot on and worth remaking. Had these films just been trying to recreate the original set in the same time period just with different actors, I think it would have been difficult to get through ten minutes of the film.

Watch this movie for suuuuuuure!

Elizabeth

To be honest, we watched The Brady Bunch Movie mostly so we could watch A Very Brady Sequel. You don’t have to watch the first one to enjoy or understand the second one, but I figured we should go for both anyway, even though A Very Brady Sequel is definitely my favorite.

The Brady Bunch Movie is great because it takes the Bradys and puts them in the 1995. A Very Brady Sequel is great because it takes all that basic Brady stuff and turns it on its head. The main conflict of the movie is that Carol’s long-dead husband suddenly shows up at their house. We know right away that Roy (Tim Matheson) is not Carol’s husband, but rather a friend of his. And we know that the horse statue that has always been at the bottom of the Brady stairs was sent to Carol by her real husband, who was apparently an archeologist, and Roy is back to get it because it’s worth about $20 million.

Because the Bradys are the Bradys, they never really suspect anything when Roy first shows up. Carol’s daughters immediately begin referring to Roy as “daddy,” despite looking nothing or sounding nothing like their biological father (Roy explained that away with surgery) and Greg’s sons immediately start looking up to Roy as a cool guy. Roy’s annoyance with the Bradys is thinly veiled, like his disgust with Alice’s cooking (which in one scene consists of what appears to be ground meat mixed with lard and spread on white bread). This leads to my favorite scene, and one that I never understood until much later in life: Alice finds a bag of mushrooms in Roy’s bag, so that night instead of serving him meatloaf with the rest of the Bradys, she makes spaghetti with the mushrooms. Except they’re magic mushrooms, and Alice put all of them in the pasta, and then Roy realizes he’s “tripping with the Bradys,” and the scene goes into an animated tripping sequence.

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The Bradys chalk this up to Alice’s cooking making him sick somehow, so when I first saw this movie, I thought that, too. In fact, I think the very first time I learned of magic mushrooms existing it immediately hit me what that scene was actually about.

Another Brady element that the movie turns on its head is the relationship between Marcia and Greg. With Roy’s presence, the “step” part of their siblings somehow seems more prominent, and they start to look at each other not as brother and sister, but as sexy teenagers. They begin sharing a room and sneak glances of each other changing, Greg accidentally hits on Marcia from behind (heh heh), and eventually they kiss. It’s a pretty hilarious subplot that also leads Marcia and Greg to go on a double-date, where Marcia and Greg flirt with each other and Marcia talks at length about all of the ways she can style her hair, freaking their dates out enough to leave them for each other.

I think these movies are underrated and still totally hold up, especially if you’re at all familiar with The Brady Bunch TV show. Either way, these movies are awesome.

THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE (1995)

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Elizabeth

I forget how I found out that Chris hadn’t seen any of The Brady Bunch movies, but I wanted to fix that as soon as I did find out. I loved the movie when it came out, and the more and more I thought about it the more I realized that it really was pretty bizarre.

The movie is sort of hard to describe. It’s about the Bradys as we know them: Carol & Mike, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, and Greg, Peter, and Bobby. Their household is also complete with Alice, who is herself complete with her relationship with Sam. They live in the same house, wear the same clothes . . . in fact everything about the Bradys in the movies is the same as the TV show, except it’s set in 1995. So all of their weird sayings, clothes, habits, are made 1000x weirder by being surrounded by modern America.

Watching The Brady Bunch Movie again made me realize how many jokes I didn’t get when I first saw it (I was 7 when this came out) but it still completely held up. The jokes that I thought were funny in 1995 were even funnier now. Like how Marcia is still obsessed with Davy Jones, even though he was 50 years old at the time. Or all of their musical numbers. But most of all, Jan’s inner voice. The Marcia/Jan rivalry from the TV show is taken to schizophrenic levels as Jan’s hatred (there’s definitely more hate here than in the show) for Marcia spurns a demonic voice in her head that reminds her of how perfect Marcia is. But, of course, that’s really only in Jan’s world; though Marcia’s attractiveness transcends her weirdness, she’s still super weird.

I could see this movie easily slipping by under the radar, because maybe the concept is confusing or maybe one would assume it’s cheesy and not funny. But it is so fucking funny.

Christopher

I definitely thought these were Brady movies with the full original cast? When Elizabeth always said Christine Taylor was Marcia Brady I kind of thought that meant the original? I have no idea why I thought that and the obvious time table of how that is impossible never crossed my mind. I’m glad Elizabeth wanted to watch this and the sequel because now I actually have it right in my head.

So obviously I was not expecting this movie to be what it was. I assumed it was just another Brady tale but the fact that it took the original Brady idea and set it in modern times is genius! I really wish I had watched this as a kid because I enjoyed it a lot as an adult.

I never really watched The Brady Bunch. I always found it kind of boring and I think this movie does a great job of realizing that. The whole story in this movie and all the characters are so over the top, nothing was really lost on me due to boredom.

I say check this out for sure! Although it feels like I might one of the last people to see it and certainly the last to know it was not part of the original show.

RED EYE (2005)

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Christopher

I was surprised how well this movie delivered. I wasn’t expecting much; in fact I really thought it was going to be pretty tough to get through. However, I really enjoyed watching this and I thought the plot was fairly compelling.

This movie does a great job of being tense throughout. Not quite the same as No Way Out but still pretty decent. I think what brought this movie to another level was the casting. It was spot-on with great actors. Had they gotten another couple that wasn’t as good at acting, I think this movie really would have been a wreck. Luckily it was spot-on though and I think if you haven’t watched this movie it’s definitely worth it!

Elizabeth (spoilers)

Yeah, I fucking love Red Eye. It was one of the last movies I saw when I lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina struck (it was either Red Eye or Me and You and Everyone We Know – I saw both in the same weekend) and I loved it so much that I suggested we see it again after we evacuated to Texas, because the movie was awesome and kick-ass and would be a good distraction.

I think what I love the most about Red Eye is how tight it is. It’s not even a full hour and a half and it moves really fast. But given the nature of the movie, all that does is make you feel like time is always running out and makes everything that much more tense. It follows Lisa (Rachel McAdams) a hotel manager from Miami, who sits next to Jackson (Cillian Murphy) on a flight home from Texas. Once the plane is in the air, Jackson tells Lisa that he’s not actually this charming guy that’s been flirting with her, but actually a terrorist who is going to force Lisa to switch the room that Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security is staying at in her hotel so that the terrorists can bomb the room and kill him. To drive the point home, Jackson gives Lisa her father’s wallet as proof that there is an assassin waiting outside her father’s house, ready to kill him if Lisa doesn’t follow through.

And Lisa is smart. She cries, but she contains herself. She nervously tries to alert for help, from writing a help message in another passenger’s book to writing on the bathroom that Jackson’s seat has a bomb underneath it. While all of this is going on, everyone on the plane is oblivious, making Lisa’s situation that much more stressful. In fact, everyone on the plane just thinks Lisa and Jackson are a couple; after they exit the bathroom together, everyone assumes that they were having sex, rather than Jackson choking her and threatening to kill her and her father. Jackson gives us glimpses of his humanity; he asks Lisa how she got a scar on her chest and when she reveals that she was raped at knifepoint years earlier, he softens a little. He tells her that what happened to her was beyond her control. Instead of giving into Jackson’s slight concern, Lisa tells him that she will never let herself be taken advantage of again and stabs him in the throat with a ballpoint pen as soon as the plane doors open after landing. BAD ASSSSSSSSSSSS!

The chase and fight continues to Lisa’s father’s house, which becomes sort of a home invasion nightmare after her father is knocked out and Jackson chases Lisa through her childhood home, Lisa armed with only a lacrosse stick. She eventually defeats him while saving her father, the deputy, and his family. It’s extremely satisfying that Lisa defeats him in her house, after all the frustration that came from being trapped on an airplane with no one to help her.

Red Eye is straightforward but exciting. There isn’t a huge twist at the end, everyone is who you think they are. This movie is legitimately stressful and frightening, all without much gore and while telling a fairly simple story, which I think is impressive. I’m jealous if you haven’t seen Red Eye because you still get to eventually see it for the first time.