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Archive for the ‘Dark Comedy’ Category

Juno (2007)

juno_lQuirky, fun, ironic and sometimes heart-wrenching, Juno is a film that I don’t mind watching over and over again.  It is the modern day equivalent to the John Hughes films that I enjoyed so much growing up.  Juno is someone that I think a lot of people can relate too, someone who tries to be herself, isn’t afraid to go outside the norm, yet still makes one of the stupidest mistakes a person can make.  I think the pregnancy happens to Juno for several reason, but the main one is to show the audience that Juno is still just a kid, despite her tendency to seem much older.   During this viewing of the film (I have watched it at least three other times), I noticed something new.  In many ways Juno is a morality tale, just with sassy characters. In the end, Juno decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption.  She doesn’t have the abortion, but considers it.  In the end it is a pro-life movie, which I found to be quite interesting.  There were some people who remarked that the film was promoting teen pregnancy, but I disagree.  This was not a fun experience for Juno; she will never be the same and can never really be a kid again.  Those who argue against the film really need to look at themselves and how they talk to their children.  Yes, teenagers are influenced by films, but they can also be guided by their parents to make the right choices.  We can’t be afraid to talk frankly with our kids about sex, even to the smart ones that seem to have it all together.  I think this line from the film sums it up pretty well:

Mac MacGuff: I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.
Juno MacGuff: I don’t know what kind of girl I am.

I also love the lingo that was created in the film, even though it was a bit much at the beginning.  It evens out and becomes quite enjoyable, so give it a chance.  Reminded me a lit of Heathers, one of my favorite films of all time.  And soundtrack is pretty sweet as well.  5 out of 5 monkeys

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the film.  Enjoy:

“THUNDERCATS ARE GO!”

“Doctors are sadists who like to play God and watch lesser people scream.”

“Oh, and she inexplicably mails me a cactus every Valentine’s Day. And I’m like, “Thanks a heap coyote ugly. This cactus-gram stings even worse than your abandonment.”

“Yeah and I mean Zeus had tons of lays but I’m pretty sure Juno was his only wife. And apparently she was supposed to be super beautiful but really mean, like Diana Ross.”

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Sunshine-Cleaning-movie-28This movie had all of the ingredients for the type of film that I love (aka Rushmore, Little Miss Sunshine), but it wasn’t mixed up quite right and fell a little flat.  And the only things I like flat are my pancakes.  A great cast was on hand including Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin and they all had their great acting moments, but the film did not engage me the whole time.  The story is similar to others that have been told before, focusing mainly on Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) a woman who is constantly taking care of everyone around her (whether it be through mothering or through “pleasure”), but rarely taking the time to elevate herself.  She can clean houses in a pretty pink polo, but it is not fulfilling and she knows that there is more to her (“I am strong, I am powerful . . . “).  Change occurs for Rose when she gains the opportunity to start her own bio-hazard removal/crime scene clean-up service and realizes that she is good at it.  Throw in a lost sister (Emily Blunt – some of the best lines of the film were said by her, mostly to little Oscar) and a get-rich-quick scheming father (Alan Arkin) though and you have a recipe for disaster.  I really wanted to love it, but I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5 monkeys.  A little more quirkiness believe it or not, would have helped.

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HeathersIf I had seen this film while I was in high school, it might have made those four years a wee bit more bearable.  Heathers is an awesome dark-comedy (and now cult-classic) that changed the way that people spoke in the early 90’s – words like damage and Eskimo took on a whole new meaning.  A movie that does that without making me vomit, is a winner in my book.  Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is a member of the most powerful clique at Westerberg High, led by the evil Heather Chandler who gets her kicks making the lives of other students as miserable as possible.  Veronica confesses in her diary (in all her monocle-eyed glory), her misgivings about the clique’s power and her hatred of Heather C., but doesn’t have the cajones to do anything about it until she meets the ever-sexy JD (Christian Slater) – “God Heather, drool much“.  Once she and JD team up (in more ways than one), that is when the film starts getting dark.  In my opinion, this is Winona Ryder and Christina Slater at their best.  5 out of 5 monkeys

Side Note: There are so many lines that I would like to quote with glee from this film, but her are a few of my favorites:

“Choas was what killed the dinosaurs, darling.”

“Well, f*%k me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa?

“You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a Bluebird. You were a Brownie. You were a Girl Scout Cookie.”

“I don’t patronize bunny rabbits.

“Did you hear? School’s canceled today cause Kurt & Ram killed themselves in a repressed, homosexual, suicide pact.”

“Greetings and salutations… you a Heather? (and pretty much anything that Christian Slater/JD says)

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RushmoreMovieMaybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.”  Some of the favorite people in my life are scarily similar to the character of Max Fischer in the movie Rushmore.  Max is a young man way ahead of his time, a creative genius and an academic loser and you just can’t help but love him (and envy his ability to be himself, most of the time).  The movie sums up the character Max in so many great ways (“I wrote a hit play!”), but my favorite is probably this dialogue between Max and Herman Blume (played brilliantly by Bill Murray):

Herman Blume: What’s the secret, Max?
Max Fischer: The secret?
Herman Blume: Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out.
Max Fischer: The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore.

Max is one of the few characters in film who actually wants to stay in high school (scary thought), but for a completely legitimate reason – the atmosphere of Rushmore feeds his creative tendencies. Certain supporting characters in the film see that creative potential because they are odd balls themselves (Herman is a self-made millionaire who hates his kids because they like to wrestle, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) is a teacher who lives part-time in a fantasy world comprised of her dead husband’s childhood room, and the various high school misfits that he has acquired along the way) and their interactions make the film all that more fun to watch.

When Max is forced to attend public school it crushes his soul at first, but he comes out from under the depression with even bigger ideas and creative potential.  The music in this film is a perfect mate and well as the wonderful Wes Anderson flare for slowing down images to create added tension and humor.  This is a film that you can watch over and over again and still experience something new (take for example all of the details in the Vietnam theme play’s after party – can I just say there is more too it than boobies).  Yea for Max Fischer for given high school students everywhere an oddball hero!  5 out of 5 monkeys of course!

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amelieI will always watch this movie.  It is amazing on so many different levels, that I get excited just thinking about it.  Amelie is the story of a young woman who struggles between her reality in the “real” world and the world that she created as a child (and still often lives in as an adult). Now, THIS is something I can completely relate too.  Who hasn’t wanted to create their own safe little world to live in?  I live in my own little world called Fantastica about 45% of the time – it keeps me sane.

So much of the films greatness revolves around the commentary that she makes about the people around her (in her head of course, and we as the audience have the pleasure of observing it).  Why does Amelie specifically create this world do you say?  If you were very rarely shown affection in your life and never allowed to run and play like a normal child, wouldn’t you create a world of your own?  Throughout the story, Amelie continues to live mostly by her imagination until a series of events cause her to become a crusader for all of the sad people in her life.  Who better to be a crusader for pathetic souls than someone with an active inner life?  This is the center of what makes Amelie amazing and why people are attracted to her.    Oh yes, and it is a French film, so you will have to read while watching it (unless you are fluent in french of course).  Watch this film and create an inner life of your own.  Just don’t steal my name.  Rating:  5 out of 5 monkeys

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