Footloose (1984)

Footloose (1984) - IMDb

The first time I ever saw Footloose I was 15 years old in the year 2011. I wanted to see the original before the (horrendous and pointless) remake and my mom recorded it on TV. I knew it was from the 80s and after watching for the first time, the only thing I took away from it was the music. I honestly saw everything about it besides the music, as I always have preferred 80s music, as extremely dated.

Fast forward a couple years later and I watched it, it turns out the movie is dated but dated in the most fun ways possible: the fashion is 80s fun, the atmosphere and set design is cheesy, but its 80s cheese, the best cheese, and most of all the film just captures the essence of being a teen in the 1980s. We may not have the REAL MTV anymore, but there will always be Footloose!

Manic Monday - Footloose (1984) Final Dance Scene | Most popular wedding  songs, Popular wedding songs, Popular wedding dance songs

It all starts when Chicago teen Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), moves in with his Aunt and Uncle to Bomont, a small Utah town that bans dancing. The townsfolk see nothing but trouble in him as he is a teen who escapes reality with dancing, music, and gymnastics. He soon meets his match in Ariel Moore (Lori Singer) the rebellious daughter of a town preacher who’s brother’s death set the rules in motion. Ariel is a girl who lives for adventure and won’t be held back by town rules or her father Shaw Moore (John Lithgow). Rounding out the cast is Sarah Jessica Parker as Ariel’s bestie Rusty, Chris Penn as the lovable Willard, and Dianne Wiest as Ariel’s quiet but understanding Mother. It’s full speed ahead when Ren and Ariel challenge the status quo (and her Father!) to bring back dancing proving it’s an essential and natural part of life!

What makes Footloose a stand out is that it’s a musical, but not a musical and that is a key element of what makes this movie so memorable and timeless. You can’t listen to the song “Footloose” without seeing the opening and/or closing scene of the movie in the your head. I hear Moving Pictures “Never” and all I picture is Kevin Bacon dancing in an empty warehouse.

One of my very favorite scenes is Ren teaching Williard to dance with the “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” montage. It’s funny and sweet all at the same time. Ren with the boombox, Willard so desperately trying to be successful, it’s extremely heartfelt! Makes me wanna get up and dance with Willard!

A parallel I really adore between Ren and Ariel proving they are really meant for each other is their sense of danger. Although dared, Ren partakes in a game of tractor chicken in an epic showdown set against Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a Hero”. Contrast that with Ariel riding between windows of moving cars on the freeway while “The Girl Gets Around” jams in the background, and you’ve seriously got one fearless couple!

ARIEL is a daredevil!
BUT.. So is Ren!!!

Overall, “Footloose” is one of those films that is a great escapist film. It’s not fantasy, per-say, yet it allows us to go back, or in my case, get a glimpse of 1980s life. Who doesn’t want to incorporate amusing 80s songs into their everyday life!!! It’s just a feel good film, and there’s nothing wrong with that!!

This entry is for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur of 80s teen films! be sure to check out the rest!!

Made for Each Other (1939)

This entry is for Movie Rob’s August Genre Grandeur: Medicine. Be sure to check out the other entries!

Made for Each Other- 1939- Poster.png

Made for Each Other may not have been happily received by audiences in 1939, but it’s one of those films that has aged nicely. Directed By John Cromwell and produced by David O Selznick, this dramedy stars Carole Lombard and James Stewart.

Upon initial release, audiences were probably shocked to find their favorite comedic actress Carole Lombard in a serious melodrama. Furthermore, James Stewart was still a new leading man, with this being one of his first parts with that title.

Made for Each Other
(TCM) Such Cuties!

The flick is similar in spirit to 1941’s Penny Serenade with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Its peculiar, as many will say they love Penny Serenade (myself included) but Made for Each Other is awkward, slow moving, and uncomfortable to watch. I whole hearted-ly disagree, as it contains a sweet sentimentality and it’s a real showcase for Carole to prove herself dramatically. Moreover, it demonstrates Jimmy Stewart has always been capable of being the leading man even in his early career.

Made for Each Other does not start off revolving around medicine, but in the end, the whole film revolves around health and the macguffin of “life saving medicine“.

It all begins very dandy- with Jane (Carole) and John Mason(James Stewart) marrying on a whim. John is a young lawyer with an unsympathetic boss (Charles Coburn), and a domineering mother (Lucile Watson). Jane is very supportive of her husband, even reluctantly giving up her honeymoon cruise due to John having a case. Soon enough the couple has a baby, John Jr, and they move in with John Sr.’s mother.

Made for Each Other (1939) Carole Lombard, James Stewart, Charles ...
Happy Family?

Naturally all sorts of problems ascend: John struggles to move up at the law firm when his co-worker, Carter (Donald Briggs), is promoted instead of him, Jane clashes with her mother-in-law, and financial burden causes stress in the marriage. But the main conflict occurs when Baby John falls ill on New Year’s Eve. To save the baby’s life, it all comes down to the plane delivery of life saving medical serum.

There is no explanation of the serum will do, what it made of or anything of the sort- it just helps to save lives! And it’s a race against the clock, as the doctor says “every hour counts”.

Carole Lombard: Dramatic Actress

The scene in which Jane is at the hospital, and sees the doctors pick up the oxygen tank is both over played and brilliant. Carole is brilliant at being distraught. She emotes such a rawness that can’t be seen in any other picture. On the flip side however, you can tell she’s over acting, and is somewhat uncomfortable with she’s trying to play out. I personally think Carole did her best, considering she wasn’t used to playing serious drama.

As for James Stewart’s performance in this picture, it may sound cliche, but I declare he’s a natural. He plays the drama so well, no over acting and you feel his range of emotion. Sometimes you can’t describe what makes James Stewart so great, you just have to watch him.

Overall, Made for Each Other is a fantastic example of what makes melodrama fun to watch. It’s just wonderful to watch Carole and Jimmy Stewart together, and you can tell they genuinely adore working together. The plot may be a bit far fetched, but what plot in melodrama isn’t? 

Made for Each Other (1939) is in the public domain and is available to watch on YouTube!

Love Actually (2003)

This is written for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur which bears the theme of all- star casts!

Today the term “all-star cast” has all but almost faded in obscurity, as now it refers to those “epic event” movies from the 60s and 70s. Disaster flicks, war movies, and historical pics- the genre is endless, but the one movie that brought the concept forward into the 21st century was the Christmas essential Love Actually (2003).

Love Actually movie.jpg
(wikipedia)

Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually revolves around Christmas and the love lives of an all-star cast, whose characters are all connected to each other in some way or another. Due to the fact the film came out in 2003, I was too young to watch it then, and I saw this one for first time in 2016. My guy Colin Firth was the main draw for me (he’s practically the only A list star I love in relation to today’s stars), but it turned out that everyone’s storylines and performances were enjoyable.

Take a look at this connections web! It’s a bit over whelming! (wikipedia)

Whether a subplot was cheerful, sad, heartwarming or just plain hysterical- Love Actually manages to somehow make it all worth watching. Some of the character’s predicaments even mirrored the actor’s real life: Liam Neeson’s character Daniel is grieving the loss of his wife, while Colin Firth’s Jamie is trying to win the affections of his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), with the language barrier keeping them apart.

Of course, this movie is also a chance to view the late great Alan Rickman in a role that makes you believe he’s the most lovable jerk, as his character Harry cheats on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) for his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).

Personally, I can’t skip over Hugh Grant’s David the Prime Minister. The scene of Hugh dancing down the hallway and the stairs made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, and it’s what made me see him differently (I only knew him as Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, a favorite modern day movie of mine!).

In regards to reactions to this movie, the more I read other people’s opinions, the general consensus is this movie is polarizing. It seems to divide people into the, “this movie is trashy”, camp (think about the actual plots, and YES its trashy) and the, “this movie is iconic”, camp (the All I want for Christmas is You performance, the “you are perfect” moment). I for one do say the movie is full of clichés however; it’s the actors who make you care about the storylines and the characters they are playing. No matter what anyone thinks of it, the ending montage at Heathrow Airport set to Beach Boys God Only Knows, is very powerful and can even win over the harshest of haters.

For better or worse, Love Actually also spawned a bunch of other holiday all star cast movies such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day. While I haven’t seen these other movies, perhaps because they just don’t contain an actor I care about (and maybe because Love Actually is British), I will admit the idea of these movies are unique and a change to the usual style of storytelling.

Overall, Love Actually may be over rated, and a tad trashy, but also full of funny and cute moments that bring Christmas cheer. Its certainly one I watch every Christmas season, plus it’s just a fun excuse to see your favorite actor from basically any other TV show / movie you love.  (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Honest Trailer below- it’s seriously eye opening!)

The Princess Diaries 2

Its June and we all know that means one thing- June Weddings!!!

Which is exactly the theme I chose for Movie Rob’s June 2019 Genre Gandeur!

I gotta thank Movie Rob for choosing me to choose this month’s theme, as I think his GGs are a fun way to constantly keep it fresh with movies and pushing yourself to see more.

I had a bit of a hard time choosing which wedding movie I wanted to write about, and thought about reviewing Mamma Mia (2008), but I wanted to do something less talked about- so I ultimately chose to do a childhood favorite, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).

Movie the princess diaries 2.jpg
(Wikipedia)

In this somewhat inferior sequel to The Princess Diaries (2001), Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) has graduated from college and is set to take the throne in Genovia, with Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews) abdicating. Its all political work until tradition dictates she must marry before she can take the throne.

Most of this movie is build up to Mia’s coronation, with a great deal  involving wedding planning once she quickly becomes engaged to lovely, British Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth (Callum Blue).

To make things complicated, there’s another man in the picture: cheeky, mysterious, but handsome Lord Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine), who not only is staying on palace grounds with his Uncle, but is next in line for the throne if Mia fails to marry within Parliament’s 30 day decree.

At first, Nicholas is told by his Uncle to sabotage the engagement- but after a few close and crazy encounters with Mia (including my favorite scene when they fall in the fountain) they end up truly falling for each other. The dilemma then turns into duty or love.

My Fave scene!
Falling into the fountain and in love! (Pintrest)

The movie does have a fun bachelorette party which not only contains Julie Andrews flying down on a mattress, but also a scene in which she sings on camera for the first (and so far only) time since her throat surgery. The scene is an immaculate gem in the picture and according to the behind the scenes segment- made everyone cry.

Image result for mattress surfing julie andrews princess diaries
Queen Julie!!!
After this movie my friends and I tried blanket surfing down their stairs- we failed! (Pintrest)

And of course this movie does contain a wedding – with Mia walking down the aisle where she, not only calls it off with Andrew and abolishes the marriage law, but convinces Clarice to marry her longtime love, head of security Joe (Hector Elizondo), who earlier asked her to marry him.

Image result for princess diaries 2 wedding
With the silhouette it reminds me of Meghan’s dress, and with the lace it reminds me of Kate’s!! (Pintrest)

In all retrospect- this movie is not as amazing as seeing it initially when I was 7 (I saw it in the theater with my Mom, Sister and a group of our friends!). Its not as brilliant as the first one and became a tad too Disney-Channel with the plot, however, Julie Andrews saves this movie, and for that its worth a watch and re-watch. The chemistry of Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine is also wonderful enough to save it, with their banter being very alluring for a Disney kids movie.

Not to mention, I do look forward to seeing if there is a third installment because Julie Andrews playing a (Dowager) Queen is always deserving of my attention!!

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“A Queen is never late, everyone else is simply early”- Queen Clarice (Pintrest)

Genre Grandeur: The Madness of King George

For Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur, the royalty theme- I had to participate because royal themed films are my all-time favorite! It was the perfect opportunity to watch, The Madness of King George (1994), for the first time ever. I was not aware of the film until my fellow royal enthusiast Aunt told me about it. 

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(wikipedia)

Starring Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte and the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne as “The Mad” King George III, this film tackles the topic of King George III’s mental illness. 

For those who may not know, George III is the monarch America fought the Revolution against (he’s the, “taxation without representation”, King) and he is Queen Victoria’s grandfather (if you have seen season 3 of the ITV/ Masterpiece PBS TV show Victoria, this is Victoria’s mad grandfather they refer to). 

Although the research at the time suggested the King had a mental state caused by porphyria, which causes blue urine, as mentioned in the movie; recent findings have led many to conclude His Majesty was suffering a psychiatric illness and that the medicine he was taking was causing the blue urine.

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Sir Nigel Hawthorne as King George III (pintrest)

This movie is meant to be a drama, but it has its moments of humor- such as George playing cricket, giving a valet a piggy back ride in the corridor, and sliding down the railing with some of the servants.

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Family Photo! (IMDB)

The film does a fair job of balancing moments of the King’s illness versus the duties of being the monarch. The loss of America was a huge blow to George and the nation, but further issues persist such as ending the slave trade and dealing with their oldest son and heir’s Catholic mistress he wants to marry (which goes against The Marriage Act of 1772- forbidding Catholics on the throne).

But through it all, its Helen Mirren, who is the anchor and takes control when the King can’t. Even though The Prince of Wales is voted as regent, Queen Charlotte really is the one holding the family (and the monarchy) together. 

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Reel and Real life Queen, Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte (pintrest)

This film was Miss Mirren’s first time playing a Queen as she has done so three times since: she played Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I (2005), Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006; for which she won the Oscar), and will soon be seen as Catherine the Great in the HBO mini-series. 

Overall, I think my Aunt was right in telling me to watch this movie, as it was an interesting look on a King many Americans dismiss as, “unfair”. 

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The real George III (wikipedia)

The costumes were stunning and the sets were beautifully put together. There are some minor historical errors, mostly done for storytelling purposes, but the one that bugged me the most was the Louisiana Purchase being displayed on a globe. Other than that, even if some of the events that occurred during ‘episodes’ of the King’s madness didn’t really happen, they sure were entertaining! 

It really is royal movie making at its finest!