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I don't feel comfortable pushing comedy onto someone who thinks they aren't going to feel it, because if you aren't in a laughing mood or feel primed not to laugh, it'll dampen your enjoyment of it. But, I will point out that while Rock and I are more on the lower end of the reception, we still are overall quite positive on the movie. So, if you find yourself wanting to watch something that will make you laugh...



I will say that based on the tone of some of the gushing praise I've read and the trailer, I was half expecting to be deeply annoyed by the movie, and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't. If a crank like me can be won over to a 7/10 rating, I would suggest giving it a shot at some point even if your interest is somewhat muted.



I will say that based on the tone of some of the gushing praise I've read and the trailer, I was half expecting to be deeply annoyed by the movie

My basic take. The trailer, which I've honestly never really concentrated on as it played in the background, just looks garish and overdone. It also gives me the vibes of a movie that aspires to cleverness, and with maybe the exception of Kaufman's screenplays, I have a deep distrust of clever. And then there is the title, which reminds me of the title of that Miranda July movie, which I didn't like much, and so I'm letting pointless bias get in the way a bit as well, because that's how I roll.


But what do I know? I remember seeing the bullet dodge in The Matrix trailer and thinking 'that looks like total garbage I will never see in a million years'. And while I still stand by the bullet dodge being showy trash (and, to my credit, it has aged as terribly as that silver ectoplasm nonsense in T2) The Matrix is a pretty indisputably great movie.



The reactions I read to this movie gave me the vibe that it was gonna be equal parts treacle and new age ********. Those things are still present in the final product, but not as forcefully as I'd feared, and easily outweighed by the good parts.


As for The Matrix, the Wachowskis are very good action directors and the first one is packaged into a pretty propulsive hero's journey structure, but I always found the philosophical elements to be a tad trite and obnoxious. I know there's been some revisionism around the sequels, but those movies are unbearable outside of the action sequences, whereas the first one was at least tolerable. I need to see Bound and Speed Racer at some point, but everything else they've done looks to have doubled down on the new age ******** and looks monumentally unappealing as a result.



The bullet dodge and T2 metal goop still own, though. Crumbsroom is wrong once again.



The Breakfast Club (Hughes, 1985)




This review contains spoilers.

The fact is I've been feeling a bit under the weather over the last few days. I needed something comforting, unchallenging, whose rhythms I knew like the back of my hand so I could de-stress, expand in my couch and feel my way through the movie without having to think about it too hard. Seeing The Breakfast Club pop up on Netflix, I decided to give it another viewing, although it's probably a strange choice given my history with the movie. For one, I didn't grow up in the '80s. I was born in 1991 and was of high school age in the 2000s, although I guess nostalgia works in twenty-year circles and this movie has lingered in the public imagination as a definitive portrayal of high school life. (I first became aware of the movie when my middle school art teacher jokingly threatened the class with a weekend detention. "You ever seen The Breakfast Club?" He thankfully didn't follow through.)

But it's also a movie I've found a bit frustrating, with passages of greatness undermined by its adherence to commercial demands. I was perhaps hoping to wrestle again with its contradictions, even though I've revisited it a number of times and come away feeling the same, and in my weakened state I was unlikely to put up much of a fight. (I don't really follow sports, so I'll let you pick out your own analogy. Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield's ear? Sure, let's go with that. I'll play the ear.) I will concede that as I was recuperating, I found it easier to be won over by the musical interludes. These are pretty obvious commercial concessions, but at the same time, I think it captures that uniquely energizing feeling of having a song stuck in your head and feeling like it's running through you, like you're a character in a movie. (You might even say it evokes the feeling of being the "dude", like the track "I'm The Dude", featured in the scene where Emilio Estevez gets high, does a bunch of cartwheels and shatters a few windows.) And I suppose I've grown fonder of Wang Chung since my last viewing, thanks to spending more time with their soundtrack for To Live and Die in L.A. I suppose these gestures blend more easily into the DNA of John Hughes' next film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which is another reliable comfort watch), but I've warmed up to them here. (After having recently become obsessed with the suspenders dancing musical number from RRR, I can't help but notice how limited these characters' dance moves are, but they're also, y'know, teenagers, so I suppose I will let it slide.)

And I think the movie does capture the anxieties and charged emotions of being a teenager, even if its style can sometimes clash with the naturalism of the writing and the performances. I think most of us have known characters like this and perhaps see a bit of us in one or more of them. (Which likely explains its potency as comfort food, doubly familiar not just through cultural osmosis but also real world experience.) As a high schooler, I was somewhere between Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy, a do-gooder and attempted overachiever crossed with a weirdo making halfassed gestures towards eccentricity. Although as I've grown, I've probably shifted in Sheedy's direction, as I had nowhere near the aptitude nor the work ethic to keep overachieving in the real world. The weirdo has won. (Of course, Hughes' perspective is predominantly white, so there are probably limitations in how much I see of myself in this movie as a brown kid who went to a mostly white high school, not that I would consider that a failing of his by any means. I don't think there's a problem in writing what you know, and I think Hughes captures this exact socioeconomic milieu quite well.)

A few years ago, Molly Ringwald wrote an article for The New Yorker about revisiting the movie with her daughter. She ruminates on the movie in light of the Me Too movement, and grapples with how the movie and Hughes' other work could be so clear eyed and compassionate towards the feelings of teenage girls yet throw in blatantly insensitive gestures. (They key moment she cites in this movie is the upskirt shot of her character when Judd Nelson is hiding underneath the desk.) It's a great piece and I recommend you give it a read. As someone who's found a lot of social-justice-minded pop culture thinkpieces to be embarrassingly reductive, I think Ringwald's piece tackles the subject with a refreshing level of nuance.

I don't think Hughes is a capital-M misogynist and I don't think Ringwald intends to paint him as such, merely to suss out these contradictions and the way the camera and the writing (or even different parts of the screenplay) can act at cross purposes in fostering or interrogating these attitudes, and bring into focus how someone could be so sensitive as a filmmaker yet have such glaring blindspots. (She brings up a number of elements in Sixteen Candles, which definitely did not go down well the few times I watched the movie.) I suppose there's some truth in reflecting the gaze of the overly sexually-minded mentality of teenage boys, although I think the movie reflects on the overall idea of toxic masculinity more potently with its portrayal of the Estevez character, who seemingly embodies strong, admirable traits, but is pushed by his father to hide any semblance of weakness. (I suppose Sheedy captures his fears most succinctly: "When you grow up, your heart dies.") And the bullying and sexual posturing between Nelson and Hall certainly rings true.

Because this is such an iconic movie, and these actors will be forever associated with these roles, it's fun to consider this movie in the context of their careers, and maybe pretend that they played the same character in all their movies. Most jarring here would be Nelson, who borders on grandpa vibes these days, while Estevez' jock contrasts starkly with the snot nosed punks he played in Repo Man and Maximum Overdrive. I'll happily let Sheedy have her eccentricities after she helped save the world from nuclear holocaust in Wargames, and it's easy to see why the dorky kid played by Anthony Michael Hall toughened up into a muscular meathead in Halloween Kills. Yet its hard to think of Ringwald outside of her Hughes movies, having crystallized into an embodiment of a certain set of teenage emotions. (And whoever promoted Paul Gleason's dumbass principal to an LAPD captain deserves to have their ass fired.) I don't really have a point here, other than the fact that the cast is so iconic that it's hard to picture anyone else in these roles, especially the other actors who were considered earlier in development. Imagine Estevez, John Cusack and Nicolas Cage in the role played by Nelson, and it's hard to see them nailing that exact blend of aggrieved roughneck insouciance. (Cage perhaps could have come closest, but I think of him in this era as maybe a little too nice for the character.)

And after that digression, I must awkwardly pivot back to the fact that the one thing I still don't like about the movie is its ending. Over the course of its hour and a half or so runtime, we see these characters break out of their shells and the confines imposed on them by their social strata and the high school ecosystem, only for the weird girl to actually be secretly conventionally attractive and fall for the jock, and for the nerd to do everyone's homework. I suppose there's a bit of truth to this, in that these kids are still likely to go back to how they were and a single weekend was unlikely to change all that much about their lives and how they saw and interacted with each other, but the attempt to package this into a feel-good ending continues to not sit right with me. I suppose however, that I might be additionally sore because I see a lot of myself in the nerd, but with a dash of Nelson's antisocial tendencies, so I very much would sabotage this gesture towards false unity. "Yabadabadoo, **** all y'all, write your own mother****in' essays. Signed, Anthony Michael Hall." Yes, I'd break character to sign my name. Until the next rewatch.




If you want to break my suspension of disbelief during a movie though, even one at its premise says everything is possible, it's to act as if professional wrestling is a real fighting technique. Don't know why, but it always does. Martial artists flying through the air, no problem. Professional wrestling being a fighting technique, nope, just can't do it.
Well, if you modified those moves to use them in a serious "shoot" style manner (like actually piledriving a full grown man head-first against a hard surface, like in the movie), it would do some serious damage; just ask Stone Cold, after all:

I think Little Ash gets into some of the issues I had with the movie in the spoilered part of his post, but basically while the movie presented us with a lot of fun or funny shit, I never thought it really accumulated. It's one of those cases where the movie becomes unpredictable to a fault. If anything can happen, why should I care when anything does happen? And it made the pivot into a fairly conventional message feel a tad unwieldy. Also, this might seem a bit odd as a complaint given that the two movies I cited as ones that owned run longer, but I do think this one's manic pace got a little exhausting at two hour twenty or so minute runtime.
I get all that, but it worked for me because pretty much everything the film tried did work for me; to contrast, while I'm obviously a fan of a movie like Batman Returns and its strong sense of imagination, to a certain extent it does feel like Burton and company kind of threw everything randomly at the wall there, and it ended up working just because enough of it stuck (which still left a lot of stuff bouncing off and falling to the floor). With Everything, Everywhere though, the Daniels did throw "everything" at the wall, but they made sure that each individual thing was sticky enough to, well, stick to that once it left their directorial hands, which meant that every little burst of imagination and shift in tone hit home for me, you know?



The Breakfast Club (Hughes, 1985)




This review contains spoilers.

The fact is I've been feeling a bit under the weather over the last few days. I needed something comforting, unchallenging, whose rhythms I knew like the back of my hand so I could de-stress, expand in my couch and feel my way through the movie without having to think about it too hard. Seeing The Breakfast Club pop up on Netflix, I decided to give it another viewing, although it's probably a strange choice given my history with the movie. For one, I didn't grow up in the '80s. I was born in 1991 and was of high school age in the 2000s, although I guess nostalgia works in twenty-year circles and this movie has lingered in the public imagination as a definitive portrayal of high school life. (I first became aware of the movie when my middle school art teacher jokingly threatened the class with a weekend detention. "You ever seen The Breakfast Club?" He thankfully didn't follow through.)

But it's also a movie I've found a bit frustrating, with passages of greatness undermined by its adherence to commercial demands. I was perhaps hoping to wrestle again with its contradictions, even though I've revisited it a number of times and come away feeling the same, and in my weakened state I was unlikely to put up much of a fight. (I don't really follow sports, so I'll let you pick out your own analogy. Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield's ear? Sure, let's go with that. I'll play the ear.) I will concede that as I was recuperating, I found it easier to be won over by the musical interludes. These are pretty obvious commercial concessions, but at the same time, I think it captures that uniquely energizing feeling of having a song stuck in your head and feeling like it's running through you, like you're a character in a movie. (You might even say it evokes the feeling of being the "dude", like the track "I'm The Dude", featured in the scene where Emilio Estevez gets high, does a bunch of cartwheels and shatters a few windows.) And I suppose I've grown fonder of Wang Chung since my last viewing, thanks to spending more time with their soundtrack for To Live and Die in L.A. I suppose these gestures blend more easily into the DNA of John Hughes' next film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which is another reliable comfort watch), but I've warmed up to them here. (After having recently become obsessed with the suspenders dancing musical number from RRR, I can't help but notice how limited these characters' dance moves are, but they're also, y'know, teenagers, so I suppose I will let it slide.)

And I think the movie does capture the anxieties and charged emotions of being a teenager, even if its style can sometimes clash with the naturalism of the writing and the performances. I think most of us have known characters like this and perhaps see a bit of us in one or more of them. (Which likely explains its potency as comfort food, doubly familiar not just through cultural osmosis but also real world experience.) As a high schooler, I was somewhere between Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy, a do-gooder and attempted overachiever crossed with a weirdo making halfassed gestures towards eccentricity. Although as I've grown, I've probably shifted in Sheedy's direction, as I had nowhere near the aptitude nor the work ethic to keep overachieving in the real world. The weirdo has won. (Of course, Hughes' perspective is predominantly white, so there are probably limitations in how much I see of myself in this movie as a brown kid who went to a mostly white high school, not that I would consider that a failing of his by any means. I don't think there's a problem in writing what you know, and I think Hughes captures this exact socioeconomic milieu quite well.)

A few years ago, Molly Ringwald wrote an article for The New Yorker about revisiting the movie with her daughter. She ruminates on the movie in light of the Me Too movement, and grapples with how the movie and Hughes' other work could be so clear eyed and compassionate towards the feelings of teenage girls yet throw in blatantly insensitive gestures. (They key moment she cites in this movie is the upskirt shot of her character when Judd Nelson is hiding underneath the desk.) It's a great piece and I recommend you give it a read. As someone who's found a lot of social-justice-minded pop culture thinkpieces to be embarrassingly reductive, I think Ringwald's piece tackles the subject with a refreshing level of nuance.

I don't think Hughes is a capital-M misogynist and I don't think Ringwald intends to paint him as such, merely to suss out these contradictions and the way the camera and the writing (or even different parts of the screenplay) can act at cross purposes in fostering or interrogating these attitudes, and bring into focus how someone could be so sensitive as a filmmaker yet have such glaring blindspots. (She brings up a number of elements in Sixteen Candles, which definitely did not go down well the few times I watched the movie.) I suppose there's some truth in reflecting the gaze of the overly sexually-minded mentality of teenage boys, although I think the movie reflects on the overall idea of toxic masculinity more potently with its portrayal of the Estevez character, who seemingly embodies strong, admirable traits, but is pushed by his father to hide any semblance of weakness. (I suppose Sheedy captures his fears most succinctly: "When you grow up, your heart dies.") And the bullying and sexual posturing between Nelson and Hall certainly rings true.

Because this is such an iconic movie, and these actors will be forever associated with these roles, it's fun to consider this movie in the context of their careers, and maybe pretend that they played the same character in all their movies. Most jarring here would be Nelson, who borders on grandpa vibes these days, while Estevez' jock contrasts starkly with the snot nosed punks he played in Repo Man and Maximum Overdrive. I'll happily let Sheedy have her eccentricities after she helped save the world from nuclear holocaust in Wargames, and it's easy to see why the dorky kid played by Anthony Michael Hall toughened up into a muscular meathead in Halloween Kills. Yet its hard to think of Ringwald outside of her Hughes movies, having crystallized into an embodiment of a certain set of teenage emotions. (And whoever promoted Paul Gleason's dumbass principal to an LAPD captain deserves to have their ass fired.) I don't really have a point here, other than the fact that the cast is so iconic that it's hard to picture anyone else in these roles, especially the other actors who were considered earlier in development. Imagine Estevez, John Cusack and Nicolas Cage in the role played by Nelson, and it's hard to see them nailing that exact blend of aggrieved roughneck insouciance. (Cage perhaps could have come closest, but I think of him in this era as maybe a little too nice for the character.)

And after that digression, I must awkwardly pivot back to the fact that the one thing I still don't like about the movie is its ending. Over the course of its hour and a half or so runtime, we see these characters break out of their shells and the confines imposed on them by their social strata and the high school ecosystem, only for the weird girl to actually be secretly conventionally attractive and fall for the jock, and for the nerd to do everyone's homework. I suppose there's a bit of truth to this, in that these kids are still likely to go back to how they were and a single weekend was unlikely to change all that much about their lives and how they saw and interacted with each other, but the attempt to package this into a feel-good ending continues to not sit right with me. I suppose however, that I might be additionally sore because I see a lot of myself in the nerd, but with a dash of Nelson's antisocial tendencies, so I very much would sabotage this gesture towards false unity. "Yabadabadoo, **** all y'all, write your own mother****in' essays. Signed, Anthony Michael Hall." Yes, I'd break character to sign my name. Until the next rewatch.


The ending doesn't really bother me much, as I don't think the movie ever really pretends to be anything but being a crowd pleaser. But I do say this with the underlying frustration that Ally Sheedy ended up with Emilio Estevez. This is more a personal thing though.


And Ringwald's piece of Hughes (from what I remember) was good. It made fair points. Felt thoughtful rather than reactionary. It managed to embrace the positives of Hughe's work while still holding him accountable for the things he clearly got wrong. Kept things in perspective. Basically, it showed how we can explain to others how movies can let us down, how to take aim at those disappointments, how to articulate them clearly and not completely lose the ****ing plot.



The ending doesn't really bother me much, as I don't think the movie ever really pretends to be anything but being a crowd pleaser. But I do say this with the underlying frustration that Ally Sheedy ended up with Emilio Estevez. This is more a personal thing though.


And Ringwald's piece of Hughes (from what I remember) was good. It made fair points. Felt thoughtful rather than reactionary. It managed to embrace the positives of Hughe's work while still holding him accountable for the things he clearly got wrong. Kept things in perspective. Basically, it showed how we can explain to others how movies can let us down, how to take aim at those disappointments, how to articulate them clearly and not completely lose the ****ing plot.
Ally Sheedy should have ended up with Anthony Michael Hall. Or better yet, me, the viewer. Absolute tragedy that she settled for Emilio.


As for the piece , yeah, very much agreed. Obviously Ringwald has a different relationship to the movies than most of us, but what I think makes her piece so compelling (aside from the context of said relationship) is that she lays out how her thoughts and feelings develop as she processes the work in a very human way. Compared to any number of godawful pieces I've read where the author takes a stance that a work is objectionable and awkwardly works backwards, ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Ringwald doesn't write like she has an axe to grind, so she brings these contradictions into focus.



Victim of The Night
I thought the Matrix was just pretty good too, haha.
Did you see The Matrix when it came out in '99 or later?



Did you see The Matrix when it came out in '99 or later?
Well after, once it had been parodied to death. So definitely didn't go in with the same expectations as someone who went in cold when it first came out.



Victim of The Night
I think the reason the ending works so well for me and did at the time is that they each end up seeing the others as human rather than as the stereotypes that they are presented as, by the film, by their school, by society, whatever. It's really the point of the whole film that these kids that are supposed to be thoughtless teenagers learn a lesson in humanity from each other that, obviously, cannot be taught by and is totally missed by the adults. The movie makes a point to reinforce how each is painted into a role by the school, by their families, by each other, but each of them are actually much more than that inside.
That's why I like that, specifically, Sheedy and Estevez find comfort in each other. The other three are a little more obvious but it's this relationship, which obviously will not survive them going back to school and their regular lives any more than Ringwald and Nelson will, that to me really felt like we could all really see each other if we could shrug off our assigned roles and really look at each other.



Victim of The Night
Well after, once it had been parodied to death. So definitely didn't go in with the same expectations as someone who went in cold when it first came out.
Gotcha. I know this doesn't have much meaning in the long run but when it came out, many of us went with some trepidation that we would be wasting our money and two hours on a what-the-hell-is-this-? action movie with Keanu Reeves in it (as he was at the nadir, really, of public perception of his acting abilities and his star had fallen some).
And most of us came out blank-faced and stunned saying things like, "Oh my god, I just saw Star Wars for the first time again." (That was literally something multiple people said to me and I felt the same way.)
So, little bit of a different perspective on the film for me that I can never shake. There just wasn't anything remotely like it in American cinema when it came out and obviously its influence over American Action films is still reverberating today.