Grease is a classic. A light and frothy 1950’s high school romance between a greaser and a good girl, it has not left our cultural consciousness since it premiered in 1971. In 1982, four years after Grease was transferred from the stage to the screen, the good people who run Hollywood decided that Grease needed a sequel. Grease 2 was born.
Two years after the original greasers have graduated, there is new senior class. Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) is the new kid in school. Stephanie Zinone, leader of the Pink ladies (Michelle Pfeiffer), can only date greasers, according to the rules the social high school hierarchy. Stephanie is becoming unsatisfied with her relationship with Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the T-Birds.
Stephanie kisses Michael based on a dare. Michael becomes infatuated with her. To get her to see him, he learns to ride a motorcycle, changes into a leather jacket and faces a potential rumble with the T-Birds.
This movie tries very hard to live up the reputation of it’s predecessor. The concept is there, but this movie isn’t. There are references to the original movie, with some of the original actors coming back for cameos or smaller roles. Despite the talent of the then young cast that includes Lorna Luft (Judy Garland’s daughter), the movie is not good.
Were the critics wrong? No.
For every brand new idea that has come out of Hollywood, there are reboots and revivals that try to present an old idea in a new way. Sometimes, these reboots and revivals are successful. But most of the time, these reboots and revivals fall flat on their faces. Such is the case with Bewitched (2005) and The Stepford Wives (2004).
Based on the 1960’s television series of the same name, this remake stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is a witch who is determined to live her life without magic. Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) an actor with an ego bigger than the state of Texas, is trying to revive his career. The vehicle to revive his career comes in a remake of Bewitched. Meeting Isabel randomly at a cafe, he offers her the part of Samantha opposite his Darrin. Isabel finds herself attracted to Jack, but Jack sees an unknown actress who can unknowingly play second fiddle to him.
Were the critics wrong? Nora Ephron was the director and co-writer on this movie. Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer, but not in this haphazard, sad attempt of a movie. Will Ferrell is one of the best actors Saturday Night Live has ever had on their stage, but he is not a rom-com leading man material. I will have to side with the critics on this movie.
The Stepford Wives
A modern reboot of the 1975 book and movie of the same name, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick star as Joanna Eberhart and Walter Kresby, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. Trying to revive their relationship, they move from Manhattan to the suburbs of Connecticut. But the town they move is very odd. The wives are oddly docile and submissive to their husbands. The husbands disappear behind the door of The Stepford Men’s Association.
Were the critics wrong? To be fair, I have never seen the original movie, nor have I read the book. Again, Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer. But she and Matthew Broderick are lacking in the chemistry department. The movie is trying to be a comedic thriller. While the original movie was commenting on the then burgeoning feminist movement, this movie just tries too hard. For the second time, I will have to side with the critics on this movie.
Among the secular population, there seems to be a fascination with the orthodox and ultra orthodox groups of the world’s major religions who choose to isolate themselves and live only by the commandments of their faith.
In a A Stranger Among Us , Emily Eden (Melanie Griffith) is a police officer who is very good at her job. When a Hassidic businessman is murdered, Emily goes undercover as a ba’al teshuva (someone who re-embraces their Jewish faith at an Orthodox level) to find the killer.
Were the critics wrong? I think the question should be, would this actually happen in real life? Probably not, but this is a work of fiction. I don’t think the critics were completely wrong, but there is something about this movie that isn’t quite right.
The 1980 musical Fame , based on the lives and dreams of students at a performing arts high school in New York City is a classic. In 2009, Hollywood decided to reboot Fame for the current generation.
The staff was played by the likes of established actors Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Debbie Allen (known for being in both the movie and TV series Fame) and Charles S Dutton. The students, played by up and coming actors Kay Panabaker, Naturi Naughton (who sang the title track) and Kherington Payne.
Were the critics wrong?
I could lean toward yes. With the right audience who has no knowledge or memory of the original movie or the television show that aired two years later, this movie is not that bad. But to those who are a little older and/or have fond memories of the original movie, this movie has all of the plot and promise, but something is not quite right.
There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold.
To those that dream of success as an entertainer, the glitter of success is not often made of gold. It is made of hard work, luck and patience.
In the 2010 movie Burlesque, Ali (Christina Aguilera) dreams of success as a performer. Taking a chance, she leaves her small town for Los Angeles. Entering Tess’s (Cher) neo-burlesque club, Ali is bold enough to approach Tess for a job. Un-impressed, but willing to take a chance on the new girl, Tess hires Ali. But Tess, who was a dancer years ago, has troubles of her own. The club has seen better days are behind it and unless she can scrounge up the cash, Tess and her staff will be out of work.
Are the critics wrong about Burlesque? If they look at this movie from the point of view of being completely cliched, but campy in a good way, then yes, they are wrong. If they look at this movie from a scholarly, serious point of view, then yes, they are right. Aguilera in an appropriate film debut, is decent. Cher, well, is Cher.
This movie is not for everyone, but it’s not all bad.
In 2002, the late singer Aaliyah was expanding her career to become an actor as well as a singer.
Tragically, she was only able to start her movie career before she died in a plane crash.
One of the movies she starred in was Queen Of The Damned, based on the Anne Rice novel.
Lestat De Lioncourt (Stuart Townsend) has been a vampire for several centuries. Woken up by modern rock music, he becomes the front man for a rock and roll band. Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) has become fascinated by Lestat and begins to study his past, despite the danger. Lestat’s music reaches the ears of the first vampire, Akasha (Aaliyah) and wakes her up from her centuries long sleep.
To be fair, I have never read any of Anne Rice’s novels, so I am just going by the movie.
It was sort of campy with a little danger factor thrown in. But it was a fun movie, the type that a moviegoer could loose themselves in for a few hours.
Were the critics wrong? Yes and no.
There is a mystique about putting together a Broadway show. It all seems so easy. But in reality, it takes time and a lot of work, both on and off stage.
The 2012 television series, Smash took this concept and put in front of the television viewing audience.
The book writer and lyricist, Julia Houston and Tom Levitt (Debra Messing and Christian Borle) are writing a musical based on the life of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe. Directing is smarmy British director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). Behind the scenes producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is doing all she can to bring the show to Broadway. Competing for the lead role is fresh from the farm ingenue Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) and pulling herself up by her bootstraps chorus girl Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty).
Was the drama a little hyped up? I’m sure it was. Was the writing, especially in season 2 after taking on a new show runner a little questionable? Yes.
But sometimes, we need this kind of television, even if the critics hate it.
I’ve decided to start a new segment entitled The Critics Were Wrong, where I will explain why a movie or a television show is good, despite what the critics say.
The first movie I will be writing about is Laws Of Attraction, a movie which the critics skewered.
This movie completely opposite from what the critics say.
Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) and Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) are dueling divorce lawyers. Daniel and Audrey agree to take the divorce case of rock star Thorne Jameson (Michael Sheen) and his designer wife, Serena (Parker Posey). The only thing that both Thorne and Serena want is the castle in Ireland that they purchased during the marriage’s happier days. So off to Ireland Audrey and Daniel go. After getting drunk at a local bar, they wake up the next morning finding that they have married. But to retain their professional reputations, their marriage must be kept a secret.
I enjoy this movie. It reminds me of the rom coms of old Hollywood. The type of rom coms that were funny and entertaining without being so predictable that the audience could figure out the ending half way through the movie.
I highly recommend this movie, despite what the critics say. It is funny and charming and exactly what a rom com should be.