Movie remakes are the rage in Hollywood, they have been so since nearly the beginning of the film industry. There are two ways this reboot could go. The first is that it stands on its own two feet while paying homage to its predecessor. The second is that on the surface has the imagery of the previous film, but it is nothing but a hollow shell of its forerunner.
The new Netflix film, He’s All That, was released on August 25th. A gender swap reboot of the late 1990’s classic, She’s All That, the new teenage would be lovers are popular girl/social media influencer Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae) and artistic rebel Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan). As in the original, Padgett’s boyfriend publicly cheats on her. When she makes a bet that she can do a makeover on any of her male classmates, the chosen candidate is Cameron. As they spend time together, they begin not just understand each other, but fall in love. But the revelation of Padgett’s initial impetus has the potential to break them apart.
The truth is that it does not take a rocket scientist to see where the narrative is going. But, that is this charm of both films. Its sort of a wish fulfillment fantasy about romance that has just enough of reality in it to keep it grounded.
What I liked was that it was not a line by like copy. It has enough of the 1999 film to keep old fans like me entertained while still being set in 2021 with everything that did not exist when I was that age. Add in Matthew Lillard and Rachael Leigh Cook as the high school principal and Padgett’s mother respectively (now I really feel old) and you have an entertaining 90 romantic adventure.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
He’s AllThat is available for streaming on Netflix.
There is a reason why we keep adapting the works of William Shakespeare again and again. His work is timeless. His stories and characters represent the best and worst of humanity.
The 2017 film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a modern California based, adaptation on the Shakespeare play of the same name. The narrative follows through different groups of characters whose tales ultimately converge.
Hermia (Rachael Leigh Cook) is unhappily betrothed to Demetrius (Finn Witrock). She would rather be with Lysander (Hamish Linklater). Helena (Lily Rabe) is in love with Demetrius, but he has constantly rejected her for Hermia. When Lysander and Hermia formulate a plan to run off and get married, Helena and Demetrius follow them.
Bottom (Fran Kranz) is a wannabe comic and a member of a unknown theater troupe. Literally turned into a walking, talking butt by Puck (Avan Jogia), he is pulled into the romantic brouhaha between Oberon, King of the Fairies (Saul Williams) and Titania, Queen of the Fairies (Mia Doi Todd).
This movie is really good. I was thoroughly charmed and entertained. The thing about adaptations of any classic work (specifically when it is not set in the period that it was written in) is the balance between staying true to the original text while giving a contemporary audience an emotional inroad to hold onto. This film is able to do both, keeping both fans of the Bard and a viewer who is looking for a good laugh engaged.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Much Ado About Nothing is available for streaming on the Roku Channel.
For many young book worms, The Baby-Sitters Club was a must read at a certain age. Several generations of young girls have come of age reading and loving the series by Ann M. Martin.
In 1995, the books were made into a movie. The cast of then up and coming actresses included Larisa Oleynik as hippie Dawn, Rachael Leigh Cook as shy Mary Anne and Schuyler Fisk as tomboy Kristy. The premise of the movie is that while the girls are running a summer camp for the kids in the neighborhood, they are dealing with the growing pains that comes with early adolescence.
While some adult critics at the time might have dismissed the film, fans of the books (myself included) love it. Unlike other movies that are based on novels, The Baby-Sitters Club was true to its source material in narrative, character development and casting.
There is something about a story of young women coming together, whether is to ensure their education or to become entrepreneurs.
In the 1990’s Rachael Leigh Cook starred in two different movies where the story focused on smart, persistent young women.
In 1998, she was part of the cast of All I Wanna Do. In the 1960’s, Abby (Rachael Leigh Cook), Odette (Gabby Hoffman) & Verena (Kirsten Dunst) are students at an all girls boarding school. When they are told that their school will soon be merging with the a local boys school, the girls come together to convince their parents and the faculty that the school should remain as is.
I like this movie. What makes it enjoyable is that these girls are normal teenager girls going through what every teenage girl throughout time has gone through. What makes them different is that they fight for what they believe in, even if their tactics do get a little dirty.
Three years earlier, she starred in The Baby-Sitters Club, a movie adaption of best selling YA book series by Ann M. Martin.
The girls are all there. Tomboy Kristy (Schuyler Fisk), fashion plate Stacey (Bre Blair), shy Mary Anne (Rachael Leigh Cook), nature lover Dawn (Larisa Oleynik), artistic Claudia (Tricia Joe), first child of a very large family Mallory (Stacy Linn Ramsower) and ballet student Jessie (Zelda Harris).
At the beginning of the summer, Kristy wants to start a summer camp. It sounds simple, but it won’t be easy.
This book series was a huge part of my pre-teen and early teen years. I used to devour these books back in the day. These books have been a staple of the YA genre for twenty odd years. Closely adapted from the books, the movie is the next best thing to reading them.
The best teen movies are the ones that transcend their genre and generations. Regardless of our age and how old we were when these movies were released, we can still relate to them.
Two of my favorites are based in classic literature, Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. They were also rebooted into Broadway musicals, Taming Of The Shrew remade into Kiss Me, Kate and Pygmalion remade into My Fair Lady.
10 Things I Hate About You is the story of the Stratford Sisters. Biana (Larissa Oleynik) is extremely eager to be popular and date Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan). But her hilarious and cringe inducing overprotective father (Larry Miller) will not allow Bianca to date until her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) is dating. Kat has no interest in dating anyone. Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is new to the school and falls in love with Bianca instantly. He uses Joey, who pays Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to date Kat, so he can go on a date with Bianca. The end result is very interesting and very entertaining.
I love this movie. The screenwriters kept the Beatrice and Benedict relationship between Kat and Patrick (as well as some of the Shakespearean language from the play) while dulling the sexist and misogynistic language of the original text. The late Health Ledger (pre Batman and pre Oscar for Brokeback Mountain) has a massive potential as an actor, that potential shines through in his later roles. Julia Stiles is another up and comer who proves that she has the talent to go very far.
She’s All That starts at the tail of senior year. Popular Zach (Freddie Prinze Jr) has just been dumped by his girlfriend (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe). Zach’s friend Dean (the late Paul Walker), makes a bet that Zach can turn any of his female classmates into prom queen. Zach’s choice is Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook), the artsy outsider.
I love this movie. It’s one of those movies that I can find on cable and brought back to that time in my life. The coup that makes this movie stand out from other teen movies of this era is that Zach and Laney are each dealing with their own internal pressures. As their relationship grows, they find a way to deal with those pressures. This is another movie full of then up and coming performers (Usher, Gabrielle Union (who also had a part in 10 Things I Hate About You), Anna Paquin, Dule Hill) who have had steady careers since then.
Both of these movies have quotable lines and soundtracks that fit in so perfectly with era that they premiered.