Throwback Thursday: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The title of “classic” is sometimes thrown around without considering whether or not an IP is worthy of the distinction.

The 1982 film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, is one of those films that is deserving of that honor. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it is the story of a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas) who befriends a lost alien. Drew Barrymore plays his adorable younger sister, Gertie. When the authorities find out about their outer space visitor, Elliott must find a way to help him get home.

This is one of those movies that has become a cultural touchstone. We all know and hopefully, we all love it. What makes it special is the story of the character’s friendship and loyalty, in spite of their differences. It is a lesson that after forty years, is still timely and universal.

Do I recommend it? Of course.

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Flashback Friday: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

When a film is successful, the obvious response from the powers that be is to greenlight a sequel. Whether or not that second film has the same success as its predecessor is not as certain.

The 2003 movie, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is the follow-up to the 2000 film, Charlie’s Angels. After three years, the Angels- Dylan (Drew Barrymore), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Natalie (Cameron Diaz) have another case on their hands. Led by the ever-faithful Bosley (the late Bernie Mac, replacing Bill Murray), they have to locate and protect two rings that contain information on the Federal Witness Protection Program database.

Standing in their way is the potentially suspect fallen Angel Madison (Demi Moore) and bad guy/Dylan’s ex Seamus (Justin Theroux).

As sequels go, it’s not bad. The problem is that the spark that made its predecessor successful is dimmed. It is entertaining, but not as good as the original narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday-Riding In Cars With Boys (2001)

When we are teenagers, we think that we have the world at our feet. We think we know everything that we need to know, that our dreams will come true.

Then we grow up.

In the 2001 film, Riding In Cars With Boys, Beverly (Drew Barrymore) is a 15-year-old girl in 1965. Her one goal in life is to be a writer. Then she meets Ray (Steve Zahn), one thing leads to another and Beverly finds herself pregnant well before she graduates high school. Ray and Beverly try to make a go of it for their son, but Prince Charming or father of the year, Ray is not. It will be up to Beverly to not only raise her son, but to achieve the goals she had before she became pregnant.

The thing that I like about this film is how realistic it is. Beverly starts out as an idealistic teenager, but quickly learns that she must grow up for her son’s sake. Parenthood is never easy, but it is much harder when you are still growing up yourself.

I recommend it.

Miss You Already Movie Review

Life will always have its share of ups and downs.

In Miss You Already (2015), Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette) have been best friends since they were girls. Now each is at a crossroads. Jess and her husband Jago (Paddy Considine) are desperate to become parents. But nature seems to be conspiring against them. Milly has a solid marriage with Kit (Dominic Cooper), two kids and a relatively normal life. Then the c word strikes: cancer.

Some reviewers have compared this movie to Beaches. While I can see the comparison, this movie, for me at least does not pack the emotional wallop that Beaches does. It is also a little too long for me.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Miss You Already is presently on DVD.

Flashback Friday-The Rise Of The Child Stars- Kids Incorporated (1984-1993) & All That (1994-2005)

To be in the movies or on television at a young age is either a blessing or curse.  For every Drew Barrymore who is able to succeed in the industry as an adult, there is a Dana Plato whose career and life we can only speak of in past tense.

Between them, Disney and Nickelodeon has produced multiple generations of child stars.

Kids Incorporated was part of the Disney lineup from 1984-1993. Combining musical performances and short skits, the show is a whose who of child stars whose careers have successfully stretched into adulthood. Fergie, Mario Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Eric Balfour are four of the actors who got their feet wet during their time on Kids Incorporated.

For a kid in the 1980’s and 1990’s, this show was magic. I have very fond memories of watching this program during my younger days.

All That (1994-2005) was Nickelodeon’s answer to Saturday Night Live. Ironically, Kenan Thompson was part of the original All That cast and is presently a cast member of Saturday Night Live.

This show was just plain fun. To the preteen and early teenage audience, this was entertainment at it’s best.

I recommend both.


Throwback Thursday- Bad Girls (1994)

Sometimes, in life, you have to make a choice about surviving. Even if that choice means going against respectable society and being labelled an outcast for that choice.

In Bad Girls (1994), four women must make their own choices. Cody (Madeleine Stowe), Anita (Mary Stuart Masterson), Eileen (Andie MacDowell) and Lily (Drew Barrymore) are forced to make their living via the world’s oldest profession. When Cody saved Eileen from an abusive customer, all four women must run for Texas. Anita is a widow who hopes to pull out money from late husband’s bank account to start a new life in Oregon, but with the Pinkertons and Cody’s old partner thrown into the mix, it will not be an easy journey.

It’s not the best movie, or the best Western. However it’s nice to see strong women who defy the standards of what it means to be a respectable woman.

Do I recommend this movie? Why not.

Throwback Thursdays- Movie Weddings-The Wedding Singer (1998), The Wedding Planner (2001) & The Wedding Date (2005)

A wedding is a lovely thing. Two people coming together to make a public commitment to each other in front of their family and friends.  But a wedding is complicated and full of drama.

In 1998, Adam Sandler jumped from his previous man child comedic role to a rom-com leading man in The Wedding Singer. Robbie (Sandler) sings at weddings for a living. Julia (Drew Barrymore) is a waitress at one of the halls where Robbie is singing with his band.  They are both engaged to other people, but find that they are attracted to each other.

I like this movie. It is a typical rom-com, but it is not bland, boring or as predictable as rom-coms generally go. It is sweet and funny and enjoyable.

Three years later, Jennifer Lopez broke into the wedding rom-com genre with The Wedding Planner (2001). Mary (Lopez) is one of San Fransisco’s premiere wedding planners.  Mary’s new assignment is the wedding of Steve (Matthew McConauhey) and Fran (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras).  But this assignment becomes complicated when Mary and Steve begin to develop feelings for each other.

It is a typical wedding rom-com. While it is very well done, there is nothing stand out about it.

Finally, in 2005, The Wedding Date was released. Kat (Debra Messing) is heading to her younger sister’s wedding. Her ex-fiance is in the wedding party. She hires Nick (Dermot Mulroney), a male escort to be her “boyfriend” for the weekend. What starts out as a simple decoy to fool her family becomes something completely different.

Debra Messing is one of my favorite actresses and a great comedic talent. But she is nearly wasted as a performer in this movie while Mulroney as the stock rom-com leading man, is not all that interesting.

Do I recommend them? I recommend the Wedding Singer, but not the Wedding Planner or The Wedding Date.

Flashback Friday- Drew Barrymore Double Feature- Never Been Kissed (1999) & Charlie’s Angels (2000)

The name of Drew Barrymore conjures up a number of images. She was the little girl who stole our hearts in E.T., the former child star who found refuge in alcohol and drugs as a young woman and finally actress/producer/wife/mother, who has turned both her personal and professional life around.

In 1999, Drew starred in Never Been Kissed. Josie Geller (Barrymore) did not have the greatest high school experience. At the age of 25, she is eager to move up the corporate ladder from copywriter to reporter. Her chance comes when she is offered the assigned to go undercover as a high school student and peek into the minds of then current teenage population.  Unlike his sister, Josie’s brother, Rob (David Arquette) was Mr. Popular in high school. Rob offers to help his sister with her assignment. The problems arise when Josie starts to develop feelings for Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan), the English teacher who does not know that Josie is not 17.

I like this movie. I love the what if factor. What if we could go back to high school or any part of lives that we look back at with disdain and do what we really wanted or wished that we could have done? Especially for those of us whose high school experiences were unhappy ones. Would we have the courage to talk to the boy or girl that we had a crush on? Would we say yes to something when we said no at the time? What would we do differently if we had the opportunity all over again?

A year later, Charlie’s Angels was released. A film reboot of the classic 1970’s television series,  Barrymore c0-starred with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Bill Murray. While the basic premise of the show remained intact, the angels were new characters with a new case to solve.

This movie is just plain fun.  While keeping the slight cheese factor and the always awesome girl power that was the driving force of the television series, the angels did not use guns to fight. Which is nice because in most movies that fall within the action genre, the lead character usually relies on a gun as their primary weapon.

The fact that Barrymore starred and produced both of these movies is a testament to her intelligence and fortitude.

I recommend both.

Throwback Thursday-Ever After

Cinderella is a pretty basic story. A orphaned young woman is forced to work as a servant in her own home by her stepmother after the death of her father. A fairy godmother hears this young woman’s prayers and gives the finery to go the ball, where the very eligible prince is looking for a bride. The prince and Cinderella fall in love, but she must leave by midnight, otherwise her finery returns to her every day rags.  The prince searches the land for Cinderella, but her stepmother hides her. Eventually the prince finds Cinderella and they marry, living happily ever after.

Cinderella  was originally published in 1697 by Charles Perrault and then by the Grimm brothers, which is the probably the version most of us know.

There have been many reboots of Cinderella since the 1697 publishing.

The Cinderella movie that I enjoy is Ever After. Ever After premiered in 1998, claiming to tell the real story of Cinderella.

Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is the only daughter of an aristocrat whose wife is dead. Very early into the movie, he marries Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston), who is a widow with two daughters of her own. Danielle’s father dies, spending his last few moments of life looking at his daughter. Rodmilla never forgets her husband’s choice and will spend the next ten years punishing her stepdaughter.

Flash forward to Danielle as an adult. She has been reduced to the servant of status in her own home. While one of her step-sisters, Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey) is sympathetic, her other step-sister, Marguerite (Megan Dodds) follows in her mother’s footsteps. At the castle, Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) is spoiled and acts without thinking. Danielle’s first meeting with Henry will slowly change both of their lives.

I’m not a huge fan of the fairy tale genre and Cinderella in particular. But this movie, I enjoy. I like that the setting is real, not just some random European-ish country set in the 16th or 17th centuries. I like that Danielle is extremely independent and instead of just accepting her new lot in life, she fights for what she believes in. The romance between Danielle and Henry feels real and organic. It’s not just love at first sight, it evolves out of friendship and common values. The best is the not so traditional ending, when the wicked stepmother and stepsisters finally get what is coming to them.

And did I mention that Dougray Scott looks dam good in period clothes?

I recommend this movie.

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